Twelve years ago, dismayed at all the misunderstandings and hatefulness I was seeing among Catholics over the Presidential election, I decided to write a column about it for the East Tennessee Catholic. I thought I could dispel those misunderstandings and the hatefulness would cease.
Boy, was I wrong, wrong, wrong.
I was on bed rest (Lorelei was born just after Election Day) when the reactions to that well-intentioned column started coming in, but if I hadn’t been I might have taken to my bed anyway. And if I had seen where we we’d find ourselves twelve years down the road, I might have never gotten up again.
Already today I’ve received tweets hashtagged hypocrite, babykiller, and cafeteriaCatholic. It’s just another day in an election season during which I’ve been unfriended by an actual family member, deemed excommunicated by the friend of a friend, and attacked in a public Facebook post by someone I thought was a friend, all because I shared political articles that they didn’t agree with.
Rarely do I say anything about what my friends post on their own Facebook walls–with the rare exception being to offer a Snopes link to correct a blatant untruth. I have never unfriended someone because I disagreed with their views. I welcome respectful discussion and try to learn from others and to at least understand why they believe what they do.
I’m a bad Catholic, of course. I fall short on an hourly basis. But I’m NOT a cafeteria Catholic. Ask anyone who knows me and pore over every word I’ve written and try to find an example of any time I have EVER dissented from Church teaching. You’ll need more than good luck and a magnifying glass because you won’t find anything.
The friend who attacked me on Facebook accused me of being a “Democrat down to my toes.” I’ll write more about party affiliation another time, perhaps, but what I am down to my toes is CATHOLIC. That’s my core, that’s my worldview, and EVERYTHING I believe and the way I try to live my life–including my political life–springs from that.