The proposed mosque set to be built near Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001 attacks has brought a sweeping condemnation from both rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia. Now that President Barack Obama has weighed in the matter, seemingly supporting the effort, one can only imagine how this will be used in the fall elections. However, a rift has appeared to have been opened concerning the views of the rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia following the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker over same-sex marriage. Many of the conservative intelligentsia, along with the establishment wing of the Republican Party has either been silent or voiced the view that the wished the whole gay marriage issue would simply go away. This has led to bewilderment from some conservative voices.
The best Catholic tie in with the efforts to build a mosque on Ground Zero came from the famed conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is Jewish. In his opposition to the mosque being built near Ground Zero, he correctly pointed out that Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.
While a small group of Muslims has stated their opposition to the mosque near Ground Zero, for the reasons mentioned above, the vast majority of Muslim spokesmen, as well as prominent New York officials have voiced their support for the project, including CNN’s Fareed Zakaria who returned an Anti Defamation League award he had received.
One more point about the Carmelite nuns praying near Auschwitz and the mosque at Ground Zero. The Nazi Government led by Adolf Hitler was largely agnostic or pantheistic New Agers who mocked Christianity and jailed and murdered Catholic and Lutheran clergy and laity, not to mention six million Jews. The 9-11 hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 people believed they were following the tenants of Islam and were given the ok by imams who were affiliated with Al Qaeda. In their martyrdom tapes they quoted chapter and verse of the Koran to prove their point. Now the overwhelming majority of Muslims abhorred their efforts and reviles Al Qaeda. However, enough of a minority believes the jihadist path is correct and the “decadent west and milquetoast Muslims” must be put in their place that Al Qaeda is still alive and functioning some nine years after the 9-11 attacks.
One should also keep in mind that mosques are being built all over the west from the shadows of Vatican City to locations in small towns and big cities all over Europe and North America. The same cannot be said for Christian churches in the Islamic world. Even in countries like Indonesia, which has a sizeable Christian minority, Christians fight red tape for years to build a church, if it ever does get built. There is no chance for a church to be built near Mecca, one even announcing they are a Christian in Saudi Arabia faces death. Archeological digs which find remnants of ancient churches in Saudi Arabia are often labeled as Roman settlements, instead of houses of worship.
The outrage expressed by a united conservative front is not seen on the issue of same sex marriage. Yet, even in the gay community the idea of marriage is not something that most say they will pursue. If this is true, how did we get here? As early as ten years ago, many homosexuals felt the issue of same-sex marriage was wasted energy. In 1996 President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act which he believed would stop same-sex marriage. (The issue was being bandied about in Hawaii.) His successor President GW Bush campaigned for a Constitutional Amendment stating marriage was between a man and a woman. His successor, President Barack Obama has stated he is against same-sex marriage. Against this backdrop,why then are we talking about this issue?
Some say the country has turned more culturally left, others say that gay activists, unlike other minority groups, who were often financially disadvantaged, have more money to spend and friends in high places with even more money to spend. Politically some feel that 2012 will be the year when conservatives use the activist court issue. According to this line of thinking, they are keeping their powder dry and using the readily available ammunition of a poor economy to make headway at the polls.
Some rank and file conservatives feel this is exactly the timid style that caused heartache for conservatives in 2008. It does seem perplexing that even though most American are opposed to same-sex marriage, including many minority groups like African Americans and Hispanic Americans, some feel this is a Third Rail type issue. African Americans in California were a key constituency in voting for Proposition 8 in the 2008 General Election. Perhaps some conservatives feel they would be branded a bigot. Yet as stated above, a sizable number of the gay community is ambivalent on gay marriage and voice the opinion they will never get married, even if allowed.
Yet, many conservative voices refuse to join the fray. Rush Limbaugh, though opposed to gay marriage has come out for civil unions and even paid Elton John $1,000,000 to sing at his recent wedding. Elton John has never been shy about issuing controversial remarks. It was Captain Fantastic himself who voiced the view that he thought Jesus was gay man. Ann Coulter, who has joked of being to the right of Attila the Hun, will soon speak to a gay group in New York. The event is being billed as Homocon. Though never at a loss for words, Coulter has yet to issue an opinion on Judge Vaughn’s same sex ruling. In addition Glenn Beck has said the issue of gay marriage is “no threat,” at all.
It is interesting that Beck even quoted Thomas Jefferson, who supported the bloody French Revolution, was a deist and purported to have ripped all of Jesus’ miracles out of his personal Bible. Perhaps Beck and others might do well to remember two other Founding Fathers, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Washington practiced his Anglican-Episcopal faith until his death. Hamilton after falling away from regular Episcopal practice pleaded for forgiveness at the end. After being shot in a duel with Aaron Burr, Hamilton summoned every favor he could to plead for Holy Communion as he lay on his deathbed. (For more on this read my article, Alexander Hamilton’s Dying Wish; Holy Communion.)
All of the world’s major religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam had always taught against homosexuality. Catholicism had been one of the more liberal religions in that it taught that some people are same-sex attracted and though they should not act upon these feelings, they should be loved and encouraged as this was there cross. The Catholic Church had long taught that every human being is to carry a cross in this world. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members. For many years, some religions took the Catholic Church to task for being too liberal, some said the Church should tell anyone, who acts on their homosexual feelings and does not repent, that they are destined for hell. Now the Catholic Church is catching it from those on the left who say the Catholic Church is engaging in hate speech for saying those who are same-sex attracted shouldn’t act out their feelings.
Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.
Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality, teachings exemplified in a recent letter on the subject from the prelate of Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted.
For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but His Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.) In addition to the Apostles, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. In other words, everyone of these great religious minds, as well as almost every political mind until about the year 2000 would have to be wrong for same- sex marriage to be right.
Many who disagree with the Catholic Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.
This does not appear to be the case today when so many truths are replaced by the whims of the modern world, hence Pope Benedict XVI’s favorite line; “The Dictatorship of Relativism.” Many on the left howl when the Holy Father uses these words, and yet those churches that have succumbed to these whims of the modern world have seen their numbers plummet, even as their positive mainstream media coverage increases.
Many mainline American Protestant churches have lost nearly half of their members in the last fifty years, some went to Evangelical Churches, some to the Catholic Church and others stopped attending any church. It would appear that in the latter case, they took the relativistic sermons they were hearing to heart and felt like those delivering them knew better than the teachings of orthodox minded Christianity.
It is much worse in Europe, where it is estimated that more people attend Friday prayers at Britain’s mosques than attend Anglican Church services on Sunday morning. Yet it gets worse for the Anglican Church. In addition to the laity, the Anglican Church lost a large amount of their clergy as well, and many more are coming to the Catholic Church, thanks to the Personal Ordinate offered by Pope Benedict XVI.The opposite is true of the Catholic Church where her numbers have increased, especially in Africa and Asia, precisely because of her conservative social message. The mainstream media, always quick to bring up the bad news when it surrounds the Catholic Church, has buried the Catholic Church’s good news; all the while it ignores the plummeting numbers of the liberal Protestant mainline churches.
As I noted before, all of this is made manifest in ordination numbers. 64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver. Los Angeles and Rochester were led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver were led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least.
While liberal convents are strapped for cash because they haven’t had a postulant in years, more conservative orders like the Sister of Mary of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan are running out of room due to the large number of young professional women coming their way. They are not the only conservative order growing; the Nashville Dominicans among others are also experiencing growing pains. For more on what you have read in the last two paragraphs read my column; If You Want The Political LeftTo Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done For Churches (Left Them In Tatters,) as well as this column entitled; The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.
It would appear from these numbers that what holds the socially conservative and political conservative worlds together is orthodoxy. Most social conservatives are firmly anchored to their religious beliefs, which for the past 2,000 years have been melded into what we now call Western Civilization. Religious based social conservatives will not stand for these views to be watered down or discarded for the sake of textbook economic conservatism. Tax cuts and balanced budgets are all well and good, but in the eyes of social conservatives discarding Western Civilization’s definition of marriage (2,000+ years) is simply a non starter.