March 6th, 2011
A follow-up to The Blood of Christ (Not) Shed for You, inspired by Md.’s top leaders cross Catholic hierarchy on gay marriage (Washington Post 2/25/11) and the following letters to the editor about it, It’s the Catholic hierarchy that’s out of touch (Skip Perry, Washington Post 2/28/11) and Wrongly shepherding Md.’s gay-marriage issue (Michael Audet, Washington Post 3/05/11).
“The slow but steady advancement of a same-sex marriage bill in Maryland does not, as John Wagner wrote, suggest “a waning of Catholic influence in this heavily Catholic state.” Rather, it suggests a waning of influence of a Catholic hierarchy that has lost touch with its flock. Recent national polling from Pew Research Center shows for the first time that Catholics favor marriage equality for same-sex couples, and without the leadership of lay Catholics such as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), the prospects for the current bill would be slim to none. If the House of Delegates sends a same-sex marriage bill to Mr. O’Malley’s desk this week, it will be because of, not despite, Maryland’s rich Catholic history.” – Skip Perry “Skip Perry took exception to the headline on the Feb. 25 front-page article ‘Md.’s top leaders cross Catholic hierarchy on gay marriage.’ Mr. Perry suggested that it’s the ‘waning of influence of a Catholic hierarchy that has lost touch with its flock’ rather than ‘a waning of Catholic influence in this heavily Catholic state,’ as stated in the article. Mr. Perry seems to have confused the role of the shepherd and the flock. He implied that when members of the flock wander off on their own, the shepherd should follow rather than guide them. He lauds politicians, such as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D), as lay Catholic leaders, when, in fact, they are merely following the secular, not the Catholic, trend of the day. Unfortunately, many politicians who claim to be of the ‘flock’ seem willing to wander off and mislead others rather than follow the shepherd.” – Michael Audet I believe in separation of Church and State: Neither one should to the other dictate. Whenever either one tries to control the other The result is our freedoms to smother. — The Blood of Christ (Not) Shed for You
Mike, I think it’s you that’s confused the shepherd’s and flock’s respective roles,
Not to mention their respective goals.
A shepherd’s job is to protect and care for his flock,
Not receipt of the things they need to block.
When they hunger, does he lead them from food,
Or to spent pastures others did previously denude?
When they thirst, does he keep them from the clean mountain lake
And force them of tainted waters to partake?
Does he lead them to barren wasteland plagued by those who hunt them,
Or does he face his flock’s predators and bravely confront them?
In fact, a shepherd often follows his sheep,
Letting them forage while he their safety does keep.
He doesn’t abuse or demean them for being what they are,
Or supposed “black sheep” from the flock disbar.
After all, that sheep can’t help the way it was born.
Why should it live its life with its soul tortured and torn?
First and foremost, the shepherd must strive
He doesn’t self-destructive notions implant
That they’re bad but can become something they can’t.
But there is one problem with this whole analogy:
Since people aren’t sheep, blindly following is a fallacy.
When a shepherd doesn’t do his job, people can get a new one,
Which is what many Catholics of all orientations have done.
Some stay with their congregations and live more discretely,
But many find new churches, or leave religion completely.
I personally think the latter’s a shame,
Since religion as a whole is not to blame.
(Here let me indulge in a bit of sectarian vanity
And plug my own brand of Christianity.
Lutheranism has all those good Catholic values and none of the bad.
If you give it a try, I think you’ll be glad.)
Of course, most Religious Right sects are even worse,
And even more strongly to “black sheep” adverse.
At least some priests practice their own form of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”
And don’t repeatedly remind certain parishioners that they’re going to Hell.
One more thing: A shepherd has no authority in flocks not his own;
The Catholic Church doesn’t its politician members own.
Our political leaders swear an oath to the Constitution,
Which forbids any minority’s persecution.
We live in a Constitutional democracy,
And not, thank God, a theocracy.
But you say politicians should do what they believe to be right.
That’s what they’re doing, to their equality-loving constituents’ delight.
Maryland leaders aren’t fellow “sheep” leading the flock astray
Just because they don’t want to deny marriage to those who are
Here’s your theme music, Ever Fallen In Love With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve by The Bad Shepherds from their Nov. 2010 CD By Hook Or By Crook. The song is originally by the Buzzcocks (here’s their version), but I love The Bad Shepherds cover. Their “thing” (as they do here) is to perform punk music with traditional folk instruments, which I really like the sound of (not to mention that the band name perfectly fits my theme).
Tags: Born gay, Catholics, Choosing gay, Church and State, Clever titles, Democrats, Gay rights, Lutherans, Marriage equality, MD, Religion, Religion and gays, theocracy
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