Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TFTD: Hypocritical Champions of 'Tolerance.'


A friend brought to my attention the campaign being used by certain homosexual activists to attach the name of Rick Santorum to a rather repugnant substance.  This article was conceived while reflecting on the utter hypocrisy of the action from people who claim to champion "tolerance."

The Scenario

Case #1: Homosexual activists try to stamp out the teenage use of "That's so gay!" (used as an equivalent of "that's bad") as an intolerant statement.

Case #2: Homosexual activists seek to promote the term "Santorum" as a neologism involving some pretty disgusting things as revenge for Rick Santorum speaking out against homosexual acts as a moral wrong.  They are so successful that the #1 and #2 Google hits for "Santorum" [at the time of this writing] involve this repugnant action, and it is not until the #3 hit that we are directed to any entry about Rick Santorum himself (the Wikipedia entry).

It is an interesting contrast.  In the first case, people are seeking to eliminate a pejorative meaning to a word commonly associated with homosexuality.   In the second case, the same people are seeking to create a pejorative meaning for a name belonging for a man they despise.

Now, if I were to campaign to make a pejorative meaning to "homosexual" (such as, "Oh man, I stepped in some homosexual… it's all over my shoes!"), I have no doubt that this action would be widely denounced (assuming anyone actually reads the site) as hateful.

So why is it that such people who campaign against "That's so gay" as being intolerant also make use of intolerance when it suits them?


These people certainly do not practice what they preach.  If they did, they would recognize that, if it is wrong to give the term "Gay" a negative term, then it reasonably follows that it is wrong to give other terms a negative connotation.

Given that the term 'Tolerate' means:

allow the existence or occurrence of (something that one dislikes or disagrees with) without interference.

Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

It seems that the person who claims tolerance is a virtue must accept the existence of views they disagree with.  Otherwise, they are not tolerant.  They are hypocrites, defined as:

The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.

The Syllogism


  1. [Tolerance] [Allows the existence of something one dislikes or disagrees with without Interference] (All [A] is [B])
  2. Some [Homosexual Activists] do not [Allow the existence of something one dislikes or disagrees with without Interference] (Some [C] is not [B])
  3. Therefore Some [Homosexual Activists] are not [Tolerant] (Therefore Some [C] is not [A])

I use the weaker [Some] and not the stronger [No] in recognition of the fact that some activists have human decency and do not act like these barbarians.  The use of [Some] limits the argument to certain people and does not attempt to lump all people into one category.

This courtesy is unfortunately not returned, as it is common to see Catholic teaching compared with being no different than the Westboro Baptist Church and their hateful activities.

The Inescapable Reasoning

The accusation of hypocrisy on the part of these activists is just and cannot be denied.

Since Tolerance is the virtue preached by these activists, but they will not apply to others what they demand for themselves, we can reasonably conclude that these activists claim a moral standard to which their behavior does not conform.  Since that is the definition of hypocrisy, those activists are hypocrites.

Absolute Values, Absolute Truth

There is only one way to attempt to escape the charge of hypocrisy, and that begins with recognizing that tolerance is not a universal value, but it is relative to an absolute truth.  Since one can refuse to tolerate something on the grounds that it is, by nature, dangerous to others and therefore cannot be permitted to exist without causing harm, one can attempt to argue that the Christian opposition to homosexuality is harmful to others.

Universal truths would be true in all times, for all people in all circumstances.  So if it is universally true that I cannot murder a person arbitrarily, it would be true a thousand years ago, now, and a thousand years from now.  It would be true whether I lived in America, Afghanistan or Australia and whether I was rich or poor.  Asian or Caucasian etc.  Even if some cultures utterly rejected this truth, it would not change the fact that it is universally true.

This is why Tolerance cannot be a Universal Truth.  If it was, one would have to give equal tolerance to the Jews and the Nazis who persecuted them.  It would have to give equal tolerance to the view that child molestation is wrong and to the views of NAMBLA.

Sane people recognize that these views cannot co-exist.  If it is wrong for the Nazis to persecute the Jews, one cannot tolerate the view of the Nazis.  If child molestation is wrong, the views that it is acceptable cannot be tolerated.  The person who tries to tolerate both views would have to be overlooking some serious issues.

This is also why Islam and Christianity cannot both be true.  If Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the fulfillment of Revelation, then the claim of Islam that He was merely a Prophet but lesser than Muhammad must be false.  Likewise, if the claim of Islam be true, then Jesus cannot have been the Son of God.

The point is, truth cannot contradict truth.  So if one view is seen as truth, a view which contradicts it cannot also be truth.

"Tolerance" and Truth

What this comes down to is this.  If Christians say that homosexual acts are wrong, and certain activists say homosexual acts are morally acceptable, both views cannot be seen as true.  Both must demonstrate why their views are true.  Christianity has done this, and one can look up the teachings on the matter.  Those who reject the Catholic teaching as being false need to demonstrate why it is false and provide reasons for why their view is true.

Yet this is exactly what is not done.  It is argued that the Catholic teaching is "intolerant," without showing why homosexual acts need to be tolerated as morally acceptable behavior.  Instead, logical fallacies are used, notably the appeal to fear and pity, to lead one to think that if Gay "marriage" is not made law, the Westboro Baptist Church and people murdering homosexuals will become the norm; and that the denial of the "right to marry" means homosexual persons will be forced to live alone without love.  We are told that we must either sanction "gay marriage" or else sanction the "persecution" of homosexuals.

The Position of Catholics Must Be Distinguished From Popular Distortions

It only makes sense to invoke the Westboro Baptist Church or those people who assault homosexuals against the position of the Catholic Church, if the Catholic Church accepts their actions as valid.  If they do not, the comparison is invalid.

Of course since the Catholic Church condemns treating persons as less than persons, this sort of argument is a slander.  Blessed John XXII wrote in 1963:

158. It is always perfectly justifiable to distinguish between error as such and the person who falls into error—even in the case of men who err regarding the truth or are led astray as a result of their inadequate knowledge, in matters either of religion or of the highest ethical standards. A man who has fallen into error does not cease to be a man. He never forfeits his personal dignity; and that is something that must always be taken into account.

So the right thinking Catholic recognizes that even though we must condemn homosexual behavior, we must still treat the person with homosexual tendencies as a person and not as a sub-human who may be mistreated.  However, one can still believe homosexual behavior is wrong without contradicting the view that persons must be treated as persons:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church

In other words, persons are to be treated with respect as persons even though we must oppose homosexuality as wrong.  There is no justification to the accusations of "homophobia" or bigotry against us, and to say our beliefs are wrong requires one to prove what beliefs are right and why.  Otherwise it is an ipse dixit claim.


This is the dilemma for the activist which rejects the Christian moral teaching and calls us "intolerant."

On one hand, if one wants to invoke Tolerance as an absolute value, they must either tolerate the views they disagree with (including us Christians) or else be labeled Hypocrite. 

On the other hand, if they want to avoid the hypocrite label while condemning our view as wrong, they must stop hiding behind the label of "tolerance" and acknowledge that universal and absolute truths exist and are knowable, and they must demonstrate the truth of their claims and not claim that their views must be true on the account that they reject our views.

If they will not, if they will simply continue on in personal attacks, using labels like "homophobe," "bigot," or "intolerant," then we can see that such activists are motivated by emotion and hatred, not by reason and logic and that they are guilty of the behaviors they accuse us of possessing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TFTD: This Catholic's View on the Abortion stance of Ron Paul

A good, even handed approach to describing Ron Paul's position can be found HERE.  For a summary of his positions, see HERE.  Of course all Catholics should read Evangelium Vitae which will be referred to often in this article, for it shows the great evil of abortion and how it must be opposed at all levels.


Ron Paul is mentioned by some Catholic bloggers (and commentators on Catholic blogs) as being the ideal candidate for President. Much is made of his being personally pro-life, and his voting against Federal legislation is explained as believing the Federal Government has no such authority to regulate the issue of abortion, and it is really an issue for the individual states to deal with.

While I am underwhelmed by his views, I am more troubled by Catholics who seem to think his views are satisfactory.  They are not.  While Ron Paul lacks the hypocrisy of Mario Cuomo's infamous "personally opposed but…," he seems to fail his moral obligation based on a false understanding of law and authority.

Now I do not doubt the sincerity of Ron Paul in his emphasizing in campaigning for President that he believes abortion is wrong.  It is reported he left the Episcopalian Church over the issue of abortion.  The problem is, if one recognizes a law is evil, one is obligated to overturn or (if this is impossible) at least seek to limit the harm of the evil law.

Unfortunately this is what Ron Paul has failed to do.

The Role of Law and Government

What is most troubling when it comes to certain Catholics supporting Ron Paul's views is that his views of Libertarianism seems to overlook what the law is for and what the government is obligated to do.  Now since Ron Paul is a Baptist, it is understandable that his understanding of law and government is not going to follow the Catholic stance.  However, the Catholic does need to be aware of the Catholic understanding of law and what we must do in regards to law.

St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of law as follows:

[A] law is nothing else than a dictate of reason in the ruler by whom his subjects are governed. Now the virtue of any subordinate thing consists in its being well subordinated to that by which it is regulated: thus we see that the virtue of the irascible and concupiscible faculties consists in their being obedient to reason; and accordingly "the virtue of every subject consists in his being well subjected to his ruler," as the Philosopher says (Polit. i). But every law aims at being obeyed by those who are subject to it. Consequently it is evident that the proper effect of law is to lead its subjects to their proper virtue: and since virtue is "that which makes its subject good," it follows that the proper effect of law is to make those to whom it is given, good, either simply or in some particular respect. For if the intention of the lawgiver is fixed on true good, which is the common good regulated according to Divine justice, it follows that the effect of the law is to make men good simply. If, however, the intention of the lawgiver is fixed on that which is not simply good, but useful or pleasurable to himself, or in opposition to Divine justice; then the law does not make men good simply, but in respect to that particular government. In this way good is found even in things that are bad of themselves: thus a man is called a good robber, because he works in a way that is adapted to his end.

Summa Theologica (I-IIa. Q 92 a. 1)

Since every law has the aim of being obeyed and the proper effect of the law is to make those to whom it is given, good, it seems to follow that those who are lawgivers must make laws which are just and strive to overturn laws which are unjust at whatever level they are legislating: the local level, the state level and the federal level.

To fail to do this is to fail to be a good lawmaker.

Blessed John Paul II pointed out in Evangelium Vitae #20:

To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin" (Jn 8:34).

So we can see here that the law which permits these evils is a threat to human freedom and must be opposed.

Ideology and Doing Right

While Mark Shea calls Ron Paul, "one of the only people in Congress whom I would call an honest man" I would have to question this assessment  (To clarify, Shea does disapprove of some of Ron Paul's stances so it should not be said he is pro-Ron Paul).  By saying this, I don't mean to call Ron Paul a liar of course.  Rather I mean that because of his ideology, he avoids doing what is right and seems to avoid the hard questions he needs to ask… perhaps because taking the right stand would call his ideology into question, perhaps because he is blinded by a false ideology into thinking it trumps the issue of abortion.  At any rate, his views of abortion are modified by his views of the authority of the government to make laws.

He believes that the Federal Government has no authority to make laws on abortion, so he has voted against restricting of minors being transported across state lines to have an abortion, making it a crime to harm a fetus during the commission of a crime etc.  Both of these votes do show a disregard for the importance of the family and the legal acknowledgement of the fetus as a person.

The problem is, the Federal Government is making laws about abortion, and therefore he is obligated to act on his principles that abortion is wrong at the Federal level.

Blessed John Paul II has said:

The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action".

As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the 'poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".

Evangelium Vitae #57

If the Federal Law permits the evil of abortion, lawmakers of good faith are obligated to eliminate or at least slow down the evil to the best of their ability.  Blessed John Paul II has also written,

A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.

ibid #73

In failing to seek limits to abortion at the Federal level, he is failing in his duty as a lawmaker and taking part in making it possible for abortion on demand to remain legal.

Why Catholics Cannot Accept His View that Abortion is a State Issue

The problem with Ron Paul's views is that if the Federal Government has no authority to pass laws on abortion, the individual states have no authority to pass these rights either and the attempt to push the decision about abortion to the state level is an evasion of the issue.

Again, Blessed John Paul II has said:

The real purpose of civil law is to guarantee an ordered social coexistence in true justice, so that all may "lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way" (1 Tim 2:2). Precisely for this reason, civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being. While public authority can sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which-were it prohibited- would cause more serious harm, it can never presume to legitimize as a right of individuals-even if they are the majority of the members of society-an offence against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a right as the right to life. The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom.

ibid #71

So his position is really an evasion of his duty as a member of Congress and is seeking to shift the issue to the states where a certain number of states decide it is legal while others decide it is not.  Admittedly, we would then have the possibility of 50 winnable battles in comparison to the tyranny of the Supreme Court which absolutely refuses to question Roe v. Wade and it's legalization of abortion of demand (an issue I had with Doug Kmiec in the 2008 election cycle), but the problem is that Ron Paul seems to think the problem will be solved simply by a strict constitutionalist point of view that puts the onus on the state.

In contrast, the Catholic point of view holds that the right to life needs to be respected at all levels of government and it is an obligation for the Federal Government to protect the right to life and for lawmakers at the Federal level to act to protect this right.

It is similar to the pre-Civil War stance that states could decide for themselves whether to have slaves or not to have slaves.  Such a view overlooked the fact that if slavery was wrong, no state could legitimately keep slaves.  Likewise, if abortion be wrong, no state can legitimately legalize abortion.


Time will tell whether Ron Paul gets the nomination for president (I doubt it myself – but then again, in 2008, I expected Hillary Clinton to get the nomination over Obama).  If he does, we'll have to decide about his positions in relation to Obama's positions.  However, in terms of the primaries I am inclined to think he is an unsatisfactory choice for the nomination for president.

If Obama were to receive a failing grade on the issue of abortion, I think it safe to say that Ron Paul can at best be given a D- as his grade.  Given how strongly the Church speaks about the obligation to defend the right to life, we can't really think of him as anything more than a "better than nothing (but not by much)" response to the current culture of death.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On Discrimination and Persecution against Religion in America

Preliminary Notes: Accident and Essence

Since I will use the terms below, I should very briefly explain them. Essence is what a thing is. A triangle has three sides and three interior angles which total 180°. If the shape has more or fewer sides than three or the interior angles do not equal 180°, then you do not have a triangle.

Accident are qualities a particular thing has but are irrelevant to the essence. I can have a green cardboard triangle. I can have a chromed sheet metal triangle, but the color or the materials do not make a thing a triangle.

In the issue of racism, properly speaking a human being is a human being regardless of gender, ethnicity or skin color. Gender, ethnicity or skin color are accidents of the essence of human being. Whether the person is male or female, dark or light, Asian or Caucasian is irrelevant to whether the person is a human being. So a person should not be treated as less than a person because of the accidents of appearance. Neither should they receive benefits on account of the accidents.


One attitude I have encountered over the years as American Law and Government becomes more hostile towards religion is the argument that since the treatment of religion in America is not like the treatment of religion in China or the former Soviet Union, it means the Church is not persecuted in America.

Thus when people speak out against the actions of the American government and use terms like "persecution" it is easy to be dismissive and say, "you're not persecuted… people aren't locking you up!"

The Fallacy of the accident

This is a metaphysical fallacy – The fallacy of the accident – which Peter Kreeft (See Socratic Logic 3e page 110) describes as either treating something accidental as something essential (for example, racism wrongly assumes the accident of skin color is essential in determining whether a person is to be treated as human) or treating something essential as accidental (such as denying that there is any difference between heterosexual coitus and homosexual sodomy since both can result in orgasm).

A common demonstration of the fallacy of the accident is:

  1. Cutting people with a knife is a crime.
  2. Surgeons cut people with knives.
  3. Surgeons are criminals.

(The accident of cutting people with knives depends on the essence of why a person is cutting you with a knife, to heal or to harm).

In our case, the argument that there is no persecution in America works this way:

  1. Communist China persecutes religion by imprisonment, torture and executions
  2. The United States does not imprison, torture or execute people on religious grounds
  3. Therefore the United States does not persecute people on religious grounds.

In this case, the accident of how persecution is carried out in Communist China (imprisonment, torture, execution) is confused for the essence of discrimination itself existing (the unequal treatment on the basis of religion).  Since the degree of persecution is greater in Communist China, a degree which is less is argued as not being persecution at all.

That would be like a triage nurse in the Emergency Room saying that because the patient's pain level is not at 10, the patient is not in pain.

Persecution and Discrimination Defined

To clarify issues, we ought to begin with the definition of Persecution and Discrimination

Persecute: 1. subject to prolonged hostility and ill-treatment. 2. persistently harass or annoy.

Discriminate: make an unjust distinction in the treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, sex, or age.

—Oxford English Dictionary

The two concepts are very similar.  The state discriminates when it treats one group of people less fairly than others because this group is different.  The state persecutes when it treats a group hostilely or harasses them.  Ill treatment can vary from unequal treatment under the law to active coercion.

In America, the Catholic Church can be said to be treated unequally under the law on the grounds that the First Amendment is ignored when it comes to State interference in compelling Church institutions to either act against their beliefs or else discontinue their services.  The political elites in America are treating those who act on religious convictions with hostility.  Our institutions have been ordered to act contrary to what they believe God requires of us and have needed to seek justice in the courts to try to protect ourselves from what the government has no right to do to begin with.

Lest anyone attempt a tu quoque and say we are hypocritical because we discriminate as well, we utterly deny the charge.  Catholic hospitals do not refuse to treat non-Catholics or sinners.  Catholic schools do not refuse to teach non-Catholics.  Catholic orphanages do not refuse to let non-Catholics adopt or refuse to take in non-Catholic orphans.

We merely insist that our institutions, being based in the Catholic faith, be allowed to carry out our mission according to the way we believe God calls on us to behave.  Those who come to a Catholic institution and insist on making us behave in a way we call sinful are not being discriminated against when we refuse.  Rather they are discriminating against us by trying to force us to act in a way we call sinful.

Now the state can make unjust decrees that it enforces through legal, physical or financial coercion.  However, such decrees are not binding laws in our eyes because the state has no authority to force us to do something that God forbids.


The degree to which the United States makes use of coercion to comply or face repercussions when it demands Catholic institutions to follow the Government commands may not be to the extreme of China or Afghanistan, but this does not mean that the coercion does not exist.  It does exist and it is unjust because even if one rejects our claims to be the Church established by Christ to teach with His authority, this coercion does violate the US Constitution.

To borrow from Pastor Niemöller, they are coming for us first.  You may not speak out because you are not Catholic.  However if one stays silent during these early and less extreme violations of our rights, you may find that eventually, "Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Apologia: Religious Faith Free of Government Interference


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

—The First Amendment (Emphasis added)

America was founded with religious freedom recognized as a primary right.  The state can neither compel people to belong to one faith, nor to persecute a faith because of what they believe.

Vatican II Document, Dignitatis Humanae, speaks of religious freedom in this way:

2. This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The two stances are remarkably similar – the State does not have the authority to force a person or a group to do what they believe is morally evil.

Unfortunately, the modern stance of the US Government and the political elites is one which seeks to compel the Catholic Church and the institutions affiliated with her to participate in behaviors she finds contrary to what she believes to be right.

CREDO: Right Belief and Right Practice

Doctrine is what is professed by the Church as believed, and denial of the doctrine is to deny what we believe to be true.  A person who denies the Trinity cannot be said to believe what the Catholic Church believes, even if he or she is a part of the Catholic Church.  Indeed, throughout the centuries, holy men and women have been martyred because they would not deny what the Church professes to be true and would not agree with what the Church teaches is false.

This point must be understood.  Even under the threat of punishment, we cannot go against what we believe.

In the Catholic view, we can know of God through Divine Revelation and through reason.  Through reason, we can grow in understanding about why the commands of the Lord are as they are and understand what reasonably follows from what we believe.

We believe God is all powerful, all knowing and perfectly good.  From this we recognize that His moral law is not based on an imperfect understanding of human nature and is not arbitrary (it isn't a case of "whatever God feels like is good").  God is perfectly good and His moral law reflects His goodness.  God's law also reflects what is good for persons.  He does not command us to do what is harmful for ourselves and does not forbid what is good for us.

Because our Lord has made it clear that to love Him is to keep His commandments, we who profess to love the Lord must obey Him.  It isn't a matter of merely following rules legalistically.  When you love a person, you act in a way which has the good of that person in mind.  The beloved can forgive actions done which are offensive.  However, a habitual contempt for the good of the beloved demonstrates a lack of love.

We believe that right practice (orthopraxy) depends on right belief (orthodoxy).  For example, a person who believes people are nothing more than cogs in a machine to serve a higher purpose will treat persons differently than those who believe people need to be treated with dignity and cannot have this dignity taken away for the sake of expedience.

From this we can see that Catholics – at least those with a proper understanding of the faith – believe that to love God is to behave in a way that is in keeping with what He commands, and that to act in opposition to His commands is not only to treat God wrongly but also are harmful to ourselves.

Non-Catholics may disagree with us and claim we have a wrong understanding about what God intends.  However, it cannot be denied that under the Constitution, Catholics and Catholic institutions are free to act according to what we think right.  We harm none by refusing to take part in abortion, homosexual "marriage" and other things we believe to be against what God commands.  We do not violate anyone's rights.  Rather, those who come to a Catholic group and insists we accommodate their demands against what we believe violate our rights – especially when they take us to court to force us to act against our faith.

Moreover, we do have the right as American citizens to seek to reform our nation and to reach out to others to teach them why our beliefs are true, just as every other American citizen does.

The US Government and Political Elites Are Behaving In A Way That Contradicts the Constitution and our Inalienable Rights

Now, our rights are being infringed upon.  A Catholic individual, a Catholic school, a Catholic hospital are no longer protected when it comes to living according to what our conscience demands.  Catholic institutions are told that they must take part in things we call evil or cease to function.  Moreover, members of the political elites are speaking out against us, claiming our beliefs are harmful and must be opposed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, when asked about the arguments against homosexual marriage, replied, "There is no answer from the opposition. There really isn’t.  Ultimately, it’s, ‘I want to discriminate.’ And that’s anti-New York. It’s anti-American."  He has also been on record as saying, "The laws would have to be paramount, and would have to be paramount to your religious beliefs."

That's chilling.  Either Cuomo misspoke or he is saying that law trumps religious belief.  I have found no evidence of the former (no clarifications or retractions).  If it is the latter, then it is Cuomo who is anti-American, because it is he who violates the First Amendment, not us.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), chair of the DNC, describes beliefs that the informed Catholic holds protecting the personhood of the unborn as, "an extreme and radical step."  She says that it is, "divisive, dangerous, and destructive laws which would cripple a woman’s right to choose, limit access to birth control, and put the lives of women with difficult pregnancies at risk."

There is no respect for our rights here.  Instead the motives for our beliefs are characterized as being motivated by hatred and by wanting to deny women their "rights."  Essentially the constitutional guarantees of our religious freedoms in America are being undermined, and the political elites are misrepresenting our motives to permit their violations of our freedom.

In the name of "fairness" we are treated unfairly.  Apparently all people are free to live out their lives in accord to what they believe to be right – unless those beliefs are religious beliefs which say certain actions are immoral.

Absolutes and Relativism

I've gone over this theme before, but it is important: If there are no absolutes, then there is nothing wrong with Catholics living as we do without interference.  However, if there are absolutes, and we Catholics are in the wrong, then we are justified in demanding that proof be shown to us that we are in the wrong and how this truth is known.

But if our accusers want to do this, they must be honest.  We are not "homophobes" because we believe homosexual acts to be wrong.  We are not "misogynist" or "anti-women" because we oppose abortion and contraception.  We believe that both homosexual persons and unborn infants must be treated as human persons with the rights belonging to all persons.

We condemn the view which says a person with homosexual tendencies may be treated as less than a person, but this does not mean we must support and promote homosexual acts as being morally acceptable acts.

Extremism, By Nature, Is Not the Norm

Our accusers must be honest and recognize that the extremist does not represent the Catholic position.  The person who assaults persons with homosexual tendencies and the person who shoots abortionists does not act in accord with the Catholic faith, but AGAINST the Catholic faith.  So it is either ignorance or dishonesty to label such persons as being inspired by our beliefs – such a person clearly overlooks the prohibition against murder for example.

The extremist, by definition, is: "a person who holds extreme political or religious views" according to the Oxford English Dictionary.  To label the Catholic position as extremist, is to declare a knowledge of what the norm is.  The norm is the standard and the further one deviates from the norm, the more extreme it is.

So to call us "extremist" means the accuser claims to know the truth (eliminating the claim of relativism) and then is obligated to prove their claim of what is the truth that we deviate from.

Our Guilt is to be Proven, Not Assumed

The fact is the US Constitution lists freedom of religion as part of the Bill of Rights.  If one wishes to argue that the Catholic faith is an ideology which is harmful to others, then it falls to that person to prove the charge.  Our rights cannot be taken away until we are proven guilty of a crime for we are innocent until proven guilty.  Yet people like Cuomo assume our guilt is proven and the state can compel us to act in a way our religion forbids.

We are accused of hatred and bigotry as our motives for opposing homosexual "marriage."  However, nobody actually looks to see if these are our motives.  In fact we explicitly reject this accusation as slander.

Our detractors dismiss our reasons and our faith, ipse dixit, as being without merit – but they cannot be bothered to learn our reasons.  They merely assume that because our views reject theirs we must be motivated by hatred.

Is it reasonable or just to condemn us out of ignorance?  Is it just to lump us together with those who commit crimes without investigating  whether we share their beliefs and motivations?

Not only is it unjust, it is actually bigotry.  The same sort of bigotry which assumes all Hispanics are "Illegals," that assumes all Jews are "misers" and all Blacks are "dishonest."  An entire group is accused of possessing a trait on account of a few people who fit that trait.


The Constitution of the United States gives us freedom to live as we feel obligated to live in the Freedom of Religion.  Yet today, the government and political elites would deny us our rights and would compel us to do things we have believed to be immoral far longer than the United States was a nation.  Not only do they infringe our rights, but they refuse to listen to our defense, insisting we must be motivated by bigotry because we believe their views to be wrong.

Americans will need to ask serious questions about justice and who is really being deprived of it.  The charge of being "anti-American" and the charge that we are dangerous because we consider homosexual acts to be immoral and personhood to begin at conception are unjust charges.

However, since the freedom of religion is enshrined in our Constitution, the charge of "anti-American" and "dangerous" does not apply to us, but rather to those who would restrict our rights to practice our faith and operate institutions according to our faith.

Postscript: Can This Apologia Be Applied Against Us as Well?

Some may argue that we do not practice what we preach, that we demand rights for ourselves and deny them to others.  We would reject this as a false charge.  We do not argue that homosexual persons should be denied the rights due all human persons.  We do not demand they be denied the rights they possess in the Constitution.  Rather we say certain actions are not rights to be recognized (abortion, homosexual "marriage") but the demand of recognizing a self-gratification now in vogue by misusing titles.

Homosexual persons can of course marry a person of the opposite gender.  But if our beliefs (that marriage is between a man and a woman) are true, then the whole concept of Homosexual "Marriage" is an oxymoron.

On the other hand, religious freedom is not a self-gratification in vogue, but a right which the Constitution recognizes that all people are entitled to.  Denying us this right is not denying us a privilege but denying us what is our due.

In other words, we deny nobody their rights by saying homosexuality and abortion are wrongs and refusing to accommodate these wrongs by having our religious institutions take part in them.  But people who do force us to accommodate what we believe to be wrong or else close up our institutions are denying us our rights.