Thursday, April 16, 2009

Americablog: Republicans Dictating Who Is and Isn't a Real Catholic

And on the theme about which I've been blogging the past two days--the attempt of the right (and its enablers of the center) to limit the conversation about what constitutes Catholic identity in the public square--John Aravosis's Americablog has an interesting posting today.

It's entitled "Republicans Now Decide Who Is a Real Catholic" (here). The posting links to a article discussing a recent statement of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (here) attacking Catholics United for the Common Good as inadequately Catholic.

Yep. That's the point I've been making. What's at stake in these right-driven, centrist-enabled discussions of who is or isn't a real Catholic and whether Obama is alienating real Catholics is an attempt of the right to put American Catholic identity back in the neoconservative box it's been confined in for several decades.

And many of the bishops are working fast and furious along with the political and religious right to effect that confinement. As this happens, it's particularly distressing to see centrist Catholic commentators doing their same old shilling song and dance for the right, playing along with this game of marginalizing the very traditional, powerful justice-oriented voice of religious traditions.

And this game will succeed unless we who continue to struggle to release the Catholic voice from its idolatrous confinement by the religious and political right push back against the push-back. Things are about to get really rocky out there, with a very strong push by right-wing interest groups to reassert their control over the political and religious conversation. We can look for every ugly trick in their considerable grab-bag of tricks to be on display in the weeks to come, from torrents of lies to manipulation of the media to outright bullying and threats of violence.

We need to be prepared, and we need to push back, those of us who want democracy to flourish again in our nation. This is not a time for political naivete and wishy-washy hand-wringing about the possibility that the progressive mandate of the new president may polarize a political and religious right that will be polarized by anything the new administration does.