Wanted: Volunteers to Get into Trouble!
By Joyce Stolberg
The leader of "Duck Dynasty" lost his job for calling gay sexual behavior a sin. He regained it only after his whole cast stood by him. The mainline news media commented only on the "shameful intolerance" that denies equal respect to gay couples and gay activities. No mention was ever made of an individual's right to free speech. Rather, apology and remediation was demanded of the actor for speaking his mind. A public school teacher can get fired for the "intolerance" of refusing to teach "gay marriage" as an option on a par with traditional marriage. What was recently considered immoral by society has, through the highly vocal efforts of an organized minority, become a protected right. How about the widespread acceptance of persons living together and having children without the bonds of marriage, or the acceptance and even expectation that our teenagers will engage in sexual behavior?
Likewise, the programmed "war on Christmas," is being imposed on society, not only by customs geared toward promoting tolerance but also by legal intervention. One school in Texas prohibited any religious symbols, Christmas trees, or even the wearing of the colors red and green during the pre-Christmas season. They held a "Winter" party at which all the decorations were designed in purple. (They clearly spaced out the Catholic preference for purple during Advent, or they would have chosen another color!) Before Christmas, I was shopping in Toys R. Us buying presents for my Godchildren. As the clerk finished, she handed me my package saving, "Happy Holiday!" I winced, then proclaimed cheerfully "Merry Christmas!" Why doesn't anyone speak up about being offended by the acknowledgment of the winter solstice (a pagan ritual) when their right to express themselves with the Christmas celebration is being crushed? I could go on and on here discussing the dilapidated state of our society's morals. But I have done that in previous newsletters. I strongly suggest that you review the following, especially as you proceed in your discernment prior to the Rite of Election.
Presenting Catholic Teachings on Morality
Unprecedented Challenges for Neophytes
Catholics Must Rise above Conventional Morality
Where is the silent, overly polite majority? Must we be so concerned about offending every raucous minority that speaks out on any issue that we suppress our own right to free speech? Or must we fear public reaction to our speaking out? Could we lose our job for teaching the immorality of sexual acts performed outside the bonds of holy matrimony, or for refusing to take part in an abortion? Yes we definitely could. But we are not likely to lose our heads or be mauled by savage beasts as the martyrs of other times were. What are we willing to risk in order to proclaim the truth of God? A little bullying or harassment? One courageous young eighth-grader who went through our RCIA process faced a situation where her school was rewarding students for completing a battery of standardized tests by preparing to host a barbecue on a Friday during Lent. She stood up boldly in class and said, "I'm a catechumen [elect] preparing to be baptized in the Catholic Church at Easter and I am not allowed to eat meat on Friday." That public school changed the date of the barbecue to a Thursday. The courageous owners of the Hobby Lobby chain are risking their huge business because they refuse to fund abortion on their health insurance policies. What if we were actually persecuted for teaching proper morality? In our time we need Catholic laypeople who are bold enough to stand up for what we believe even if it gets us in trouble with the law, even if it costs us our positions and our livelihood. Saints Peter and John, when commanded to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, replied, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4: 19, 20) If speaking out should end up costing us imprisonment or our very lives, we would be in excellent company! If more Catholics and Christians were willing to speak out, we could change society!