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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bigotry and hatred

This article on Mommy Life: really illustrated for me the extent of the bigotry and hatred many Catholics have to endure.

I personally, at least to my face, in real life have not experienced that. A friend of mine who was attending a "Christian" homeschool group was once insulted when the leader of the group picked up a Catholic Bible and threw it across the room, but I have never experienced that sort of behavior myself.

Online over the past year I've seen quite a bit of dislike, disdain, and hatred of all things Catholic (all while proclaiming "I don't hate Catholics")and it has made me start to wonder about the Evangelicals I do know I real life. I wonder about what is said behind my back, and I think personally after the new year, I'm going to ask.

Bigotry and hatred go both ways. Where as I might have viewed an Evangelical as someone to practice some apologetics with, it never would have occurred to me to avoid such a person. In fact I would even stop and watch some of their television programs from time to time and found them enjoyable and filled with a lot of substance. I blogged before that when my oldest son was assaulted by in our neighborhood by a black kid, he started to be more distrustful of other black kids his own age and older. Now I sometimes hear him talking about that subset of people as if they were one unit in a scornful way. That incident turned his heart and it is going to take a bold act of kindness I suppose from a young black man his age to change it I suppose. I write this however because I am fighting the same instincts to swallow back an unpleasant, almost visceral feeling when I come upon a blog, website or forum with "Evangelical" women on it. The more flowery or homey, the more my flight or fight kicks in and I choose flight because the fight is simply waning.

It's not easy to stay somewhere when you know you are hated, loathed, misunderstood. It's never easy to stay in a place where you are outnumbered and jeered. And other than my commitment to keep this blog up, I want very limited contact with that part of the blogosphere.

16 comments:

sara said...

I haven't read the article, I'm not sure what an "Evangelical" is beyond one who evangelizes, and I'm not a very good blogger, but you're welcome to hang out with me.

sara said...

ok, I read the article. I'll go reread the definition of evangelical on wiki, and you're still welcome to hang out with me.

I thought I'd mention, though I'm sure you know, that prejudice goes both ways. I dated a boy when I was a young person whose mother called me a darky heathen because I am a non-Catholic of Italian descent. In my neck of the woods, that is virtually unheard of.

Perplexity said...

I started writing a very convoluted reply to this but reazlied that something I read not too long ago said everything I could in a much more condensed and concise manner.

If a person has only faith and belief that they are right and don’t know they are right, their insecurity will manifest in the form of trying to convert others to their belief while simultaneously validate their own beliefs, thus validating themselves. If a person knows they are right in their beliefs, they are not threatened by other beliefs. Part of knowing is that each individual must come to their own religious belief in their own way. Basically, and individual must feel comfortable and good about their own beliefs while also being flexible and tolerant towards those with other beliefs.

I think it is that with all bigotry. And, I think that those who consistently put down others and their beliefs are insecure in themselves. That Shakespeare quote (however out of context and mangled it has become as a cliche') holds very true..."Me thinks thou doth protest too much".

If you are confident in your beliefs, they can't do anything to you. And, it's obvious you are very confident, comfortable and happy. You don't need to prove anything, to anyone.

But, I don't think that means you have to sit back and tolerate it. You just have to find how to deal with it in a way that works for you, and doesn't turn your heart.

Not visiting the sites of those that judge is probably a place to start. Keeping this site up as a place to defend your religion is another place. You're not just defending your Catholic beliefs here, you are educating people. It is next to impossible to do that objectively and without feeling when it is something you care about deeply - and believe deeply. I think that's why it bothers you; it's probably impossible for it not to.

At the same time, I think you, and the others, have done a great job and creating a balance.

I've said it before - I have learned a great deal. I have taken things I've read here (and even things I've read elsewhere) and used them as jumping off points, so to speak, and research. I love digging into things and finding out history, reasoning, meaning, etc. As a person of no declared religion and little to no religious conviction, I now have an understanding I've never had before. It hasn't changed where I stand, but it certainly has changed how I look at others, since I can see and understand where they are coming from.

Seeing opposing points of view is key to understanding your own. I've done that, thanks in very large part to this blog.

Perplexity said...

Sorry for the typos and wrong usage and incorrect tense - and everything else. That's what happens when one takes a long, convoluted message and tries to condense it to a shorter convoluted message.

Rachel said...

I can understand where you are coming from. It seems especially at this time of year religion gets picked apart. This or that is wrong, you are celebrating wrong, you are using pagan symbles, you are .. you ..you.. you.

ME? I'll do it my way.. and I know what my intentions are and the reasons I do things from the Bible I read to the tree I decorate to the mass I attend and the gifts I make and purchase to give.

I, too, find myself reaching out for the Catholic blogs more and more at this time of year and staying far away from the ones who bash.

I want to celebrate at this time of year.. to use it as a time of showing others the true meaning of Cmas (every religion and every person). I want to envision what Mary must be going through - about to give birth for the first time in a strange land and not knowing what the future holds. I want to rejoice in knowing our Saviour was born. I want to give thanks and praise..and sing and shout! I want to hug and cry and watch the joy and love and peace wash over those in my life. :)

Silly? Maybe to some. Wrong? Maybe to others. They can do it their way.. I'll continue to do mine :) I do have to say, most of my friends are Catholic.. or have enough respect to keep nasty comments or snide remarks to themselves - if they really have them at all.

TheDen said...

Elena,

I read the post on Mommylife and was seriously disheartened.

From what I can see on your blog, you are experiencing a type of Spiritual Warfare. There are forces out there that want to discourage you. They want to bring you despair in to your life—to separate you from God.

Don’t allow that to happen. Cling to Christ and His Cross and have faith in Him. Remember that Christ would enter cities and temples where people hated Him and would question Him regarding His faith and practice. Saying that He was from the devil.

What I’m trying to tell you is that what you’re experiencing has been around since the time of Christ. I’m sure it disheartened His apostles. But please don’t lose hope.

Pope Benedict XVI just released an encyclical on hope and talks about how Christianity focuses on the individual instead of the group Salvation. There is an individualism found in Christianity that hasn’t always been present. Our hope isn’t for me, or you to be saved. Our hope (and God’s desire) is that all men are saved.

And that’s our mission. It’s to work to save all people. It’s to shine the light of Christ on to people who don’t have it—or think they have it when they really don’t understand it. Our mission is to bring Christ in to people’s lives and to deliver hope to people who don’t have it. To show through our actions what it really means to be saved.

It’s to look at the bigoted person after they spew vile and hatred at us and turn the other cheek. To follow Christ to the cross in humility and to let them crucify us the way Christ was crucified.

Why do this?

To save them too.

Elena said...

Hi Den,

You might be misreading me just a bit. I have no doubts about my Catholic Faith and I have no desire to walk away from Jesus Christ.

I AM having trouble trying to "love" and in fact find that love turning into "loathe." It's hard to turn the other cheek when it keeps getting smacked hard too. Nonetheless I know that it is what we are called to do.

I just don't think that it is my particular calling to visit the flowery, homemaking, homeschooling, "aren't we just wonderful" type of blogs with the hope of befriending, or even seeking a mutual understanding. Continuing to do so at this time is giving me strong feelings - but it ain't love. I think I need a break.

TheDen said...

Elena,

Believe me, I know exactly what you mean.

I think I understood you pretty well. I was just trying to give you words of encouragement.

I'm serious about the spiritual warfare. You are being attacked by forces greater than you and you need to recognize that. Saying that, I think if you've properly discerned that visiting those sites is "taking you away from God" then by all means walk away from there and do not look back.

That loathing feeling is not what we're called to and from my experience, reading some of the vitriol that I've read on sites in blogs can make me feel that way as well.

That's why I say we should cling to the Cross. It's not that we may walk away from Catholicism but moreso we need to embrace His cross with all of our might. We need to acknowledge that we need His help. We are powerless without the grace of God. It's through Him that we can do anything. It's through our faith in Christ that we can change people and set the world on fire. Not from anything that we did or said but only through the grace of God.

So, when you feel that loathing feeling, pray then, pray harder. Go to confession. Partake in the Eucharist and above all...spend time with God and tell Him you love Him.

Chez Moi said...

I was baptized in the Church @ age 6 weeks and was raised Catholic by my mom (my dad at the time was not any sort of Christian) until I was about 7 when she left the Church. When I married my husband I ended up just following him into Protestant Evangelicalism. I just recently decided I am going to "re-convert" back to Catholicism. My oldest son,18, wants to join with me. He's even considering that he might have a vocation calling. Not sure yet.

I have had to sit and listen to ALOT of anti-catholicism from people I know and love and who used to love me, I think. You should hear the silence when I say something to them that I was raised Catholic and am going back to it now.

If anyone would pray for us, myself and my son, I'd really appreciate it! We're going to start attending Mass, again (after an almost 21 year absence on my part) this coming Saturday.

Thank You.

Tracy said...

Great post Elena, very well said, this needed to be addressed and this is the exact place to do this.

I too am constantly surprised at the catholic hate I have witnessed online, I have had a little in my life I admit but not to this degree, it is very sad and sometimes too much to deal with. I have had to just not view the hater type blogs, websites, etc. because it just hurts like I am being hit. But, thank you Elena and Kelly for being willing to address these things here, this is a safe place to hear the truth and not be hated for being Catholic.

Rachel said...

Oh, Chez Moi! You don't know how much reading what you wrote warms my heart! Today is the Birthday of my grandmother who passed away (3 years ago on December 17.) She could only say her prayers in French, read at 4th grade level and underlined in her bible and asked others when she didn't understand things. She was a great influence in my religious upbringing and she is the reason I hold fast to my Rosary when times get tough.

Please, keep us posted about your return to the Catholic Church. I will keep you in my prayers!!

aine said...

Upon visiting some of the "homemaking, homeschooling " blogs I noticed chatter about a movie to be released this month, "Noelle". I did some research a few weeks ago and was concerned, and today the Catholic league released a statement about it. Not a peep of concern out of the evangelical blogging community, at least none that I have found. Can you imagine, it's bad enough, but to release it in the Advent season, and on the eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception,it's, at best, in poor taste. Not going to be on my to see list.

catholicleague.org:

From the Catholic League:

CATHOLICISM TARRED BY CHRISTIAN FILM
December 3, 2007

On December 7, Gener8Xion Entertainment, a prominent Protestant film company, will release “NoĆ«lle.” Catholic League president Bill Donohue disputes the claim that the movie is merely “a parable of forgiveness and grace”:

“We’ve seen the movie and it’s a gem. In the synopsis provided by Gener8Xion, it accurately describes Jonathan Keene as ‘a young Catholic priest seemingly devoid of genuine human emotion’; his job is ‘to do what he does best: shut down a failing parish.’ Then there is ‘the child-like Fr. Simeon Joyce, a faithful but disillusioned priest who blatantly disregards church regulations, uses church monies to pay an old fisherman’s medical bills and spends most of his time drinking at the local pub.’ Both priests are portrayed as losers.

“Viewers learn that the only reason Fr. Keene became a priest is because he felt guilty about getting a girl pregnant when he was in college; to top things off, he pressured her to have an abortion. Fr. Joyce, the alcoholic, has serious reservations about celibacy and his idea of heaven is a jolly good Christmas party. Fr. Joyce tells Fr. Keene he wants to marry a woman named Marjorie so he can help raise her illegitimate kid, saying he ‘made a vow to God not to the Church.’ But Fr. Keene, a first-class klutz, is also in love with the same woman: he is shown bolting in the middle of Midnight Mass to be with her, knocking over a filled chalice and ripping off his vestments.

“Throughout the film, confession is trivialized, celibacy is ridiculed, the Virgin Mary is disrespected, nuns are belittled, last rites are mocked, and priestly vocations are caricatured. In short, that which is uniquely Catholic is trashed. However, the plot and the acting are so deliriously absurd that it is impossible for us to get too worked up about this flick.

“It means nothing that the movie has a pro-life message. Stereotypes about Protestant ministers abound, raising the question, Why didn’t Gener8Xion choose to mock one of their own clergy? Similarly, given that the film’s writer, David Hall, has said that his primary interest was in ‘dealing with hypocrisy,’ why didn’t he consult with Sen. Charles Grassley about all those ‘prosperity church’ pastors being investigated for ripping off their flock? We know why, and that’s why the Catholic League exists.”


Copyright © 1997-2007 by Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
*Material from this website may be reprinted and disseminated with accompanying attribution.

Erika S. said...

Elena- I completely understand how you are feeling. I too have had a very hard time having my heart not turn hard toward non-Catholic Christians. I have started to question their "friendship" with me. On one hand I feel right in feeling that way as one person who I thought was a good friend, asked me to read about Catholicism at CARM.com (a very anti-Catholic site) on the other I feel that maybe this is exactly what the devil wants more division, hurt feeling and pain. I will try to continue loving others because Jesus wants that of us and He said His burden was light not His way is a piece of cake!

Sal said...

Elena, dear
The vast amount of ignorance- and when we're not feeling battered we know that's what most of this is- can be daunting.
I don't blame you for feeling discouraged.
Take an Advent break, perhaps, and pick it up in the New Year?
You do a lot of good here.

Chez moi- so happy for you. Prayers for you and yours. Welcome back!

Jennifer said...

I joined google last night so I could finally comment on your blog! This is my 3rd attempt at commenting between computer error and a child's bloody nose. ;)

Maybe someday I can articulate it better, but I have learned so much reading your blog.

Briefly~ I first consider myself a Christian. And I consider you my sister in Christ. I am also a wife and a mother, a homeschooling mom to 4 kids, so I look to you as a mentor because you have a large family. I feel a kinship w/ large homeschooling families! For reference sake~ I am a protestant who has been going to a baptist church for several months.

The older I get, I am starting to finally read/study and understand things for myself and not just take the word of someone who teaches what they think is right and wrong.

Lately, I have really made it a priority to take a stand for what I believe in and what I think is right. Normally, I just don't want to rock the boat or possibly offend someone.

I was ignorant of the rift between Catholics and protestants.I was interested in reading both sides.

Sometimes your arguments are over my head, but I definitely admire how you can articulate yourself and defend your faith and beliefs!

I have been embarassed by the tone and actions of the "other side" of argument.

If there is a line, I want to stand on *this* side of it, if you don't mind. I have a feeling, that on this side, I will be accepted as a mom, a homeschooler, a Christian, even if I don't believe exactly as you do.

Sincerely, Jennifer

Tracy said...

Jennifer, I myself, want to thank you for not passing judgement on us and on our faith. I think that is the biggest things that non Catholics don't understand, we are not passing judgement on the Protestant Faith and personally, I think that we have more in common in our beliefs than not in common and it would be so wonderful to see people embrace that instead of pointing fingers at what we don't have in common. I think that Candy and people like Candy don't hate the Catholic church, they hate what they believe the Catholic church is (Fulton Sheen said this) so, instead of Candy allowing Catholics to ask questions or at least show her where she has posted something incorrect and we have information to back up why she is incorrect, she won't allow that, and why? Because she knows she'll have to admit she was wrong. If I make a statement about a non Catholic religion and a person comes along and say's to me "actually, you are wrong and here are the facts to show you that you are wrong" then, I need to say "you know what, I am wrong and I made a mistake" that is how we can at least learn about our faiths. I personally have not witnessed any faith Bashing from anyone on this site, all I have ever seen is people explaining what the church actually says, we have to say it on this site because Candy won't allow us to comment and sometimes a person just needs to say it out loud rather than let it go, when you are being persecuted for your beliefs you need to stand up and state the truth. You are more than welcome here and I for one will never put down your beliefs and I hope you can add to the conversations about faith, homeschooling, parenting, etc. Welcome Jennifer!