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Mar 19 2012

Vote with your feet

I was on a plane or in an airport much of March 9, and busy the rest of the day, so I missed the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s full-page ad in the New York Times. The ad is a good thing.

Before the ad, there was an open letter.

Dear ‘Liberal’ Catholic:

It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church.

It’s your moment of truth. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or Bishops and their wrongs? Whose side are you on, anyway?

It is time to make known your dissent from the Catholic Church, in light of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ ruthless campaign endangering the right to contraception. If you’re part of the Catholic Church, you’re part of the problem.
Why are you propping up the pillars of a tyrannical and autocratic, woman-hating, sex-perverting, antediluvian Old Boys Club? Why are you aiding and abetting a church that has repeatedly and publicly announced a crusade to ban contraception, abortion and sterilization, and to deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers?  When it comes to reproductive freedom, the Roman Catholic Church is Public Enemy Number One. Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of the Church’s antiquated doctrine that birth control is a sin and must be outlawed.

Damn right. This was one thing my co-author and I agreed on when writing Does God Hate Women? It doesn’t work to claim to be liberal when you’re helping to sustain a reactionary woman-hating institution; you should get out.

No self-respecting feminist, civil libertarian or progressive should cling to the Catholic faith. As a Cafeteria Catholic, you chuck out the stale doctrine and moldy decrees of your religion, but keep patronizing the establishment that menaces public health by serving rotten offerings. Your continuing Catholic membership, as a “liberal,” casts a veneer of respectability upon an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment and threaten liberty for women worldwide. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.

That. That, that, that.

By the way the ad’s headline should be “It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church” but the Times made them change it to “It’s Time to Consider Quitting” – the worms.

 

 

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Ophelia, if there were a way to be 1000% in agreement with you here, I would be. I was never raised in an overly religious household, so I didn’t belong to any specific denomination. I didn’t know much about religions in general (and catholicism specifically) until sometime in the last 5 years. I can’t understand why anyone would want to be part of an organization this vile.
    Over in Camels With Hammers, I *was* engaging with a female catholic for a short time earlier today. The last post I read of hers disgusted me so much that I can’t even respond to her. She dismissed the child rape scandal rocking the catholic church as ‘a few mistakes made in the past’. It pisses me off to no end that the church indoctrinates people so young that they treat children being raped as ‘not a big deal’. Yet still get on their high horse about contraception.
    I stand by my statement that anyone supporting the catholic church is complicit-to some degree-in their actions. They continue to grant that tyrannical organization power and prestige through their support.

  2. 2
    Doug McClean

    Nit-pick: For all the things the church may be, I think believers and non-believers alike can agree that it is not “antediluvian Old Boys Club”, because the former know that there was no flood and the latter know that the church came after Jesus and the flood long before. It’s certainly an old boys club.

    Actually, I will expand my nit. We (being the forces of reason) should probably avoid the word antediluvian entirely, it’s too closely wrapped up with the mythology.

  3. 3
    'Tis Himself

    To quote the eminent theologian and Catholic apologist, Fr. Guido Sarducci: “You no playa the game, you no maka the rules.”

  4. 4
    Egbert

    Anyone who worships a sky dictator, can’t be a liberal by default.

    I cringe every time a religious leader is described as a liberal.

  5. 5
    Matt Penfold

    Anyone who worships a sky dictator, can’t be a liberal by default.

    I cringe every time a religious leader is described as a liberal.

    Well not all religious leaders of course worship a sky dictator. The Church of England has quite a few leaders who probably do not even believe in god, or at least not the conventional Christian type god.

  6. 6
    Ahab

    One step ahead of you. I was raised Catholic and lost my faith years ago, but I grew so disgusted with the church’s misogyny, homophobia, and clergy abuse scandal that I officially defected in 2010.

    I think this is a positive campaign. If the Catholic Church refuses to rethink its cruel, antideluvian views, enlightened people can and should leave.

  7. 7
    Cassanders

    hmmm,
    While I don’t know much about this paper, but likely wouldnt support it, THIS story in itself is quite interesting:

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/14/times-nixes-anti-islam-ad-runs-anti-catholic-ad/

    Cassanders
    In Cod we trust

  8. 8
    Egbert

    Matt Penfold (comment 5)

    It only makes it worse when an atheist wears the robes and preaches how people should worship God, and then calls himself a liberal! Authentic authoritarian or inauthentic atheist, neither are liberals.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Matt – well do you really know that? Are they public about it? The current archbish has explicitly said he’s not one of those, he really does believe the stuff a Christian is supposed to believe. (That doesn’t mean he’s telling the truth, of course, but that’s my point.) If they don’t but pretend they do, they’re propping up the sky dictator just as surely as if they did believe in it.

    The C of E is credited with (or blamed for) being very liberal, but I see less and less reason to think it is (and more and more reason to think it isn’t).

  10. 10
    Boomer

    She called the ad a “ ‘telling truth to power’ moment,” adding that “The Roman Catholic hierarchy would wither away without the support, financial and otherwise, of its members. They must be accountable for what is being done in their name.”

    That is like so friggin’ 70s.

    After what’s happened to Salman Rushdie and a good number of other writers and artists, does this ad still rate as a truth-to-power moment?

    That’s not an idle question seeings The Times refused to run another ad, identical in design, graphics and ‘tone’, encouraging doubting Muslims to leave Islam.

    Interesting, too, that an organisation defending the separation of church and state, would advocate for the dissolution of such a separation when it comes to attacking aspects of a religion with which they don’t agree .

    This constitutional arrangement was adopted precisely so that politicians wouldn’t be telling churches how to run their business and visa-versa

    You can’t just temporarily dissolve that church/state separation to eliminate things you disagree with and then re-erect it once more to preserve and protect those thing with which you agree.

    And groups or individuals attempting to do so will invite one of two things; either a secular tyranny or a tyrannical theocracy.

  11. 11
    stonyground

    I will be interested to see whether the ad. has any effect. I can’t claim to be too optimistic, I would have thought that any thinking Catholics would have jumped ship already. The RCC is such a vile organisation that I would expect that any decent human being would be ashamed to be associated with it. Such is the power of childhood indoctrination that there are some, it seems, that will continue to make excuses no matter how much evidence of said vileness emerges.

  12. 12
    Egbert

    Secular tyranny? Hilarious. I guess the united states’ constitutional first amendment sets up a tyranny then. Funny, because I thought it did the complete opposite.

    And what is wrong with the Freedom From Religion Foundation encouraging people to leave the Catholic church while also supporting the separation of church and state? The FFRF is not a state or government so it’s not contradicting itself.

  13. 13
    Stacy

    Interesting, too, that an organisation defending the separation of church and state, would advocate for the dissolution of such a separation when it comes to attacking aspects of a religion with which they don’t agree .

    Wut? They are? How so?

    You can’t just temporarily dissolve that church/state separation to eliminate things you disagree with and then re-erect it once more to preserve and protect those thing with which you agree.

    How is encouraging dissenters to leave the Church “dissolving the church/state separation”?

  14. 14
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Stonyground:

    I will be interested to see whether the ad. has any effect. I can’t claim to be too optimistic, I would have thought that any thinking Catholics would have jumped ship already.

    Yeah, I was thinking this last night when I saw this post. Don’t get me wrong, the ad might persuade a few people who are still on the fence and looking for an excuse to jump off, which is all to the good. But the priest abuse crisis came to widespread light an entire decade ago. The returns are diminishing.

    Most of the remaining liberal Catholics are the ones who delude themselves with “The church is her people, not her hierarchy” and that liberation theology is going to come back from the grave. They get typically pissy at any sort of atheist challenge. I’ve even seen one who claims that liberal Catholics are “marginalized” in the feminist movement by all the atheists and Jews and pagans and so forth because classism. I can speak only for the U.S., but Catholics here are pretty well assimilated and, unless they’re deliberately breeding themselves into penury, just as likely to be affluent as any other religious demographic.

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