Yesterday my youngest son received the sacrament of confirmation. In his homily Bishop McManus extorted the candidates to have the courage of their faith saying how hard it is to be a Catholic in the modern world. This is certainly true, it requires courage which is the root of most virtues.
I couldn’t help think of that when I saw this argument on Gay Marriage that is being made by Tim Muldoon:
My thesis is that Christians ought to let go of the legal argument about what states should call “marriage,” and simply model the radical call of Jesus to live “what God has joined together.”
His basic argument is that the legal fight puts the prohibition on the “freedom” door which gives sympathy to the other side. He further believes we should instead model our lives after Christ and make the moral case outside of the courts and legislatures.
The second part of the argument isn’t bad, after all we should be modeling our life after Christ anyway and we need to be reminded of it on occasion. Christ should always be our primary focus.
Let’s however take the logical extension to the first argument and substitute some words in that paragraph (in bold) on a different Catholic social issue:
My thesis is that Christians ought to let go of the legal argument about what states or the federal government does about “abortion,” and simply model the radical call of Jesus to live “what God has joined together.”
Run that through your head a bit and while you’re at it consider this argument of his as well:
Gamaliel’s insight was that new ideas that are not rooted in God eventually fade away, but new ideas that are rooted in God are here to stay.
I guess Gamaliel has the insight that Islam is definitely from God as is every other polytheistic religion and the reformation.
Part of being Catholic is to acknowledge specific truths and fighting for them. It isn’t easy, we will face ridicule, we will face condemnation, we will be called bigots and we will be excoriated by the media elite, but if you look at scripture you will find that it’s part of the job description.
If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. John 15:18-24
It’s much easier to avoid the legal fight, you face a lot less grief, that is the temptation apparent in Tim’s argument, but I say there is no reason why we can’t make both the legal argument and the moral case that Tim Muldoon is calling for. Rather than running from these fights meekly we need to boldly make these arguments trusting in prayer and the Holy Spirit to lead us correctly in deeds, in argument and in Christian charity for those we disagree with.
What is it going to be?
Update: An important point I forgot to make. As I said there is nothing wrong with making the legal fight or the political one on social issues, in fact it is important. It is also vital that we don’t fall into the trap of making the fight more important than the faith that drives it.