As many of you know, the last month or so I have been publishing a series of posts on the Roman Catholic Faith, as well as teaching a class. In doing so, a number in our community have asked if we are “Anti-Catholic.” Now this is a loaded term. In looking it up on encyclopedia.com I came across this definition:
Bigotry against Roman Catholics, as well as the ideas that have rationalized such bigotry, have long been elements in North American politics and popular culture. Like racism and anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism is a fluid, international phenomenon buttressed by political, cultural, and intellectual justifications; like them, anti-Catholicism has served as a means of ostracizing a social group to consolidate political and cultural power in other groups.
Essentially, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, and racist all belong in the same category. While these terms describe genuine social evils which are inexcusable, they can also be carelessly and unfairly applied.
For example, let us consider homophobia – an irrational fear of homosexuals. There is no doubt that homophobia exists in the United States as many homosexuals have been attacked, beaten, mocked, and maligned by those that have an irrational hatred. It is also true that many used the Bible to justify such atrocities. Yet, let us agree that the term “homophobic” can be used as a weapon.
In the last wave of elections many Evangelicals and Catholics were labeled as homophobic because they opposed homosexual marriage. This was a serious allegation, and one which caused a lot of young people to reconsider their vote. After all, who wants to be associated with Fred Phelps or the men who murdered Matthew Shepard?
Yet this is an unfair charge against the vast majority of Christians and Catholics who have thoughtful objections to homosexuality. Believing that the Bible teaches that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor. 6:9-11) does not make you homophobic. Sharing the truth of the gospel with homosexuals hoping that they will turn from their sins is not an expression of irrational hate, but Christian compassion. From our point of view, Christian love demands that we show them the error of their ways, so that they can spend an eternity with Christ. Therefore, the allegation of homophobia against thoughtful and loving Christians who still believe in the sinfulness of homosexual acts is just as slanderous and ignorant, as the thoughtless and hateful expressions made by Fred Phelps.
I believe that Catholics would agree on this point as both Evangelicals and Catholics have often been maligned in the liberal sectors of the media for our stance on gay marriage. Consequently before you use the term anti-catholic to describe Flint Hills Christian Church, take a moment to consider the weight of such a term, and make sure that you are applying the golden rule in doing so.
Matthew 7:12 "Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
In the next post, I will answer the question “Do You Love Catholics?”