Last Sunday as my girlfriend and I were walking from the parking lot into church, I noticed something which stood right out at me. One of the cars parked on the street had a bumper stick which read “You can’t be Catholic and Pro-Abortion.” Normally, things of this nature wouldn’t cause me to blink. After all, how many people still have their “Kerry/Edwards” bumper stickers on their vehicles?
Quick side note to those of you that still rock the John Kerry for president bumper stickers: The 2004 election is over, and to be honest I don’t like Kerry’s chances.
As I said, normally a bumper sticker of any kind would not cause me to have much reaction at all. Yet for some reason I have found myself thinking about this particular one for about a week now. This incessant chant over and over in my head.
“You can’t be Catholic and Pro-Abortion.”
I remember coming out of the church that same Sunday and noticing a middle-aged couple enter the vehicle being adorned by the sticker. I didn’t recognize the individuals, but I did get a good enough look to know that neither one of them was the priest at the church. Nor did either look like the pope. However, there they were; telling the world who may or may not be Catholic.
This caused me to ponder just who is allowed to be Catholic these days. Throughout the short period I have been attending this particular church, the priest has occasionally discussed his feelings on political topics in his homily. Upon hearing what he has said, I have come up with two definitive rules that must be adhered in order to be Catholic. I’m sure there are more, but these are the two that I have heard the most in the past six months or so.
Ironically, the first is summed upped perfectly by the bumper sticker. A person cannot call themselves a Catholic if they are pro-abortion. To be honest, I don’t have a problem with this rule. I would even go so far as to say a person cannot even be a Christian if he or she is pro-abortion. In fact, I’d even go out on a limb and say if somebody is pro-abortion, he or she probably isn’t a very good person at heart.
Thankfully, upon further examining of my psyche, I came to the conclusion that I am indeed not pro-abortion. I am pro-breathing. I am pro-eating. I am pro-Cleveland Browns. I am pro-cheerleaders. I am pro-choice.
Nope. Not pro-abortion. Whew.
Many people would see a bumper sticker such as the one I did and get all hot and bothered. That is because people have begun to equate pro-choice with pro-abortion. If the bumper sticker were to read “You can’t be Catholic and be Pro-Choice,” that would bug me. However, I agree whole heartedly that a person cannot be for abortion and call themselves a follower of God.
On the other hand, somebody may call themselves a follower of Jesus and also believe in freedom of choice. It is acceptable for a person to believe that the government should not pass a law banning another citizen from having an abortion to call either himself or herself a Catholic. It pleases me to know that this bumper sticker was distinguishing between “pro-choice” and “pro-abortion.”
However, it is the second point that the priest has been making that doesn’t sit right with me. If a person wanted to summarize this particular point in a bumper sticker, that sticker would simply read this:
“You can’t be Catholic and be Pro-Gay Marriage.”
Instead of distinguishing the difference between “pro-homosexuality” and “pro-gay marriage,” the priest has intertwined the two. While I am fully aware of the passages in the Bible admonishing homosexuality (thanks Pat Robertson for beating that into our brains, by the way), I must have missed that verse in the Good Book that says homosexual marriage is a mortal sin.
Perhaps it is just my flawed logic, but I fail to see what is so wrong in somebody being a Catholic and being pro-gay marriage. Maybe that person believes that if a gay couple marries it will be more beneficial when it comes to taxes or a census. Maybe he or she believes that, with half of marriages ending in divorce these days, the “sanctity of marriage” has already been compromised anyway. Or maybe this person just thinks the term “civil union” sounds really stupid.
Do those high up in the Catholic Church believe that banning gay marriage will eliminate homosexuality from existence? Perhaps they believe that allowing gays to marry would bring about the destruction of all ideals and morals. It is ironic that the Catholic Church has allowed couples to get annulments of failed marriages so that a person can marry a second time, something that was formerly seen as heresy. While this has been going on for awhile, morals and decency still seem to exist.
The point of this long rant is simple: I will no longer stand for individuals telling me what I am or what I am not. I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I am pro-gay marriage, not pro-homosexuality. This does not in any way mean that I am against abortion or homosexuality. It just means that I am not for it.
And that’s ok. The next time somebody gives you grief about these two subjects and demands that you take a side, just respond by saying that the world is not black and white, but shades of gray. Tell that person that just because you vote a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean you think that is the way people should act in their personal lives.
In closing, I sincerely do hope the people with the bumper sticker do mean “You can’t be Catholic and be Pro-Abortion,” because if they really meant “You can’t be Catholic and be Pro-Choice,” then what they’re actually saying is “You can’t be Catholic and have freedom of ideas.”