Religion as Salad Bar (Part 2)
During the Obama campaign, I wrote about my theory of religion as a salad bar and I suppose that article could be considered Part 1. In that article I proposed that what kept Obama in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years was the typical salad bar approach that many have to religion. I listen to what pleases me and I discard the rest. Obama claims he never heard Wright say anything inflammatory. That just doesn’t pass the sniff test. I contend, Barack didn’t hear what he didn’t want to hear.
Now we move onto Part 2. For what must be purely political reasons, Patrick Kennedy, Democratic Representative from Rhode Island and son of the late great Senator Ted Kennedy, has decided to air his religious dirty laundry in public. Apparently back in 2007, Bishop Thomas Tobin told Kennedy essentially that he was not a good Catholic and therefore could not receive communion. The crux of the rift between Kennedy and his church was his pro-choice stance on abortion. According to Politico, Kennedy was not the only politician held in disdain by Tobin for a pro-choice preference.
On MSNBC’s “Hardball”, Chris Matthews pulled no punches in his interview with Tobin. If you can get past Matthews’ relentless and often irritating interview style, you get some interesting questions regarding separation of church and state.
When the church holds politicians personally accountable for the legislation they support is that a (not so) subtle way of influencing debate? Is Tobin right that it is the job of the church to provide moral guidance to government even if the church does not actually write the laws? I found Tobin’s argument compelling even if he could not handle the ultimate job of deciding what the punishment should be for illegal abortions.
But I digress. What I really want is to shine a light on the typical “religious so long as it suits me” attitude of Patrick Kennedy who wants to have his wafer and eat it too. I’m sorry dude but you signed up to be a Catholic. No one put a gun to your head to force you into it. Your church says abortion is wrong and if you support views contrary to that, then you’re not towing the line of your church. So it’s very simple, you don’t get communion. To me it’s a lot like the gay couples who want to yell and scream about not getting church weddings. Folks, at least if you’re a Christian, your religion considers your lifestyle an abomination. You’re not gonna change that. So get out of the church or find one that thinks differently. Same goes for Representative Kennedy. Catholicism is no salad bar, despite what you may see many of your hypocritical fellow Catholics do. Either you abide by the teachings of the church or you suffer whatever consequences the church has for you. It’s really that simple.