“An online petition asking the White House to designate the Catholic Church as a ‘hate group’ for its views on marriage is drawing criticism for generating unjust animosity”(catholicvote.org). The power of an epithet is in its inherent ability to gain momentum. If Islamic extremists “hate” Americans for unscrupulous living they are regarded, not as a “hate group,” but as those whose religious beliefs are considered extreme. However, when the Catholic Church speaks up for the love of marriage and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, they are considered to be a “hate group.”
Labels and epithets require some standard of responsibility. Is the label an intolerant and hateful directive in and of itself or is attempting to channel dangerous viewpoints into an alert zone? When one chides a member of the Jewish faith for orthodox beliefs, the epithet that attaches is “anti-semitic.” This label is meant to preserve the dignity of Jews without promoting hatred – it bears a loving responsibility. By categorizing various terrorist groups as “extremists” the distinction is made between faithful Muslims and radicals. However, Catholic-bashing seems to be more acceptable and a formal petition to the White House to label devout Catholics for their beliefs about marriage as a “hate group” is not, so far, recognized as the type of labeling that inspires, well, hatred for Catholics. Do the perpetrators bear any responsibility for inciting anti-Catholic sentiment?
At a recent Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon hosted by a local senior care facility, the volunteer coordinator was accidentally asked “How was your Christmas?” The Jewish volunteer coordinator responded with “I don’t celebrate Christmas – thank God.” Quite vocal about her aversion to Christians, she is often heard to make comments such as “I hate the Christmas season,” or “I am allergic to such expressions about God.” This type of language seems to be tolerated and not admonished. The double-standard is championed as long as it is promoted by the well-meaning left.
The problem with attaching a “hate group” label to the Catholic Church is that there is no official language that demonstrates hatred for same-sex marriage supporters, gays, or alternative lifestyle groups. There are no Catholic slogans stating, Thank God I’m not gay, or “I hate same-sex marriage” or “I am allergic to support for gay rights.” What one will observe is a language taught to us by Jesus Christ in his gospels. “…at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’” (Mt. 19:4-5). This is not the language of hatred, but of love; love as defined by the Word of God. This is what Catholics reiterate and there is no hatred in this belief system.
Those who support the petition to label the Catholic Church as a “hate group” would do well to ask themselves if they do this out of love, or out of hate.
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