Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Welcome, our Conquering Liberal Overlords!

The Connecticut Legislature is debating a bill that would madate Roman Catholic Churches be administered by an elected lay board, upon which the pastor and his bishop would have no vote. Obviously, many Catholics are up-in-arms, as it would redefine Catholicism. An editorial in The Advocate notes,

"Free exercise" of religion includes the way a Church chooses to organize. Strip the bishops and priests of their role in financial matters and their message becomes subject to the approval of those holding the purse.

Historically, "under trustee control, not only was pastoral authority practically eliminated, but the Church's message was utterly dependent upon the congregation's cultural and political condition."

The writer grants that many protestant churches have chosen such an arrangement. Nevertheless, the First Amendment grants churches the right to choose.

There are a multitude of directions this can go. I may pursue some of them in the days to come. Here is one:

Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report writes,

Some have written, what is the big deal? It is not likely to pass. It is a big deal, passage or not. This is how fictional rights are created and real rights eliminated. First is always the trial balloon. It is destined for failure, but passage is not the intent. The intent is to bring it into the conversation. The intent is to start a trend in other states with lawmakers proposing similar statutes, all under the guise of protecting regular folks. Then, after you have heard about it several times, it doesn't seem like a big deal anymore. Then maybe, just maybe, it passes somewhere. Then the gates will be opened and religious liberty in this country is over.
It reminds me of the proverb that error first demands toleration, then equality, lastly superiority. The slippery slope. How to boil a frog.

We see the same in every arena: politics, church, home. The trial balloon, the testing of boundaries, followed by further discussion and deliberations, and finally new laws or rights to protect us. The ELCA has been at this approach regarding homosexual unions for a decade or more. It looks like they will finally get their prize in allowing ministers to shack up with whatever they wish, as long as it's not serial or unseemly.

Beware the exploratory committee. Make sure you know what and where they are exploring. And remember, they will be back.

4 comments :

  1. matthew archbold said...

    I agree. This is far from over. Bad ideas never die. They just hibernate.

  2. orrologion said...

    I couldn't believe this story was true when I first read about it at GetReligion.org, but alas...

    I'm oft reminded of the words of Elder Ignaty of Harbin who warned (prophecied?): "What began in Russia [in 1917] will end in America."

    I was confused at first why the LGBT magazine The Advocate was so pro-Catholic, then I realized that you were quoting The Stamford Advocate.

  3. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Christopher: Yikes. I always feel a little nervous when an Elder makes a prediction.

    I thought the same thing about The Advocate, and should have clarified, yet their website does not qualify it as The *Stamford* Advocate, so I went with it, or forgot about it :)

  4. orrologion said...

    That is a pretty ominous, creepy and succinct quote, isn't it? I think that's why it always stuck with me.

    The lives of the Russian New Martyrs have always had an allure for me. I loved reading their lives when I was first exploring Orthodoxy. Luckily, many of them are available online these days - well, 'many' meaning a lot, not all, since there were 10s and 100s of thousands.

    There was a short lived tradition in my wife's family of giving boys the middle name Francis. This was due to a cousin/uncle who had been born near South Bend, IN but who had returned to his parents' native Lithuania as a 'freedom fighter' during one of the World Wars. He was captured by the Soviets and spent many years in the Gulag. The family in the US didn't know what had happened to him until one day a letter showed up with no address other than the name of my wife's 'Little Grandma' (great-grandma?) and the city and state. It was sent to the house she used to live in, so the family member that was living there brought it over since it was all in Lithuanian. Little Grandma's face went white and she dropped into a chair. It was Francis and he was alive. A number of letters were sent back and forth. Finally, the family caught on that he was trying to tell them, between the lines, that he wanted help to get out and come home. He was telling them this by including seemingly random pictures cut out of magazines and newspapers. Pictures of trains, planes, boats, etc. He died soon thereafter, before they could even attempt to help.

    While Francis is a rather un-Orthodox name, it was the middle name in our 'back up' name selection. I'm hoping we have another boy so we can use it. (The first name in that selection is secret as is our choice for a girl's name - such things are proprietary...).