The folks over at Jesus' General (a wickedly funny satire blog I should read more often) have shined a spotlight on an unforgivably stupid offense by the Catholic Church. Sure, we all know about the whole rabid anti-gay thing and the institutional discrimination of women. We're used to such annoyances. Heck, most Catholics I know have just gotten used to tuning the church out on such things. I can respect that position. Although such issues prevented me from joining the Church at a time I felt some pull to do so, I can understand why others who agree that these positions are wrong would still be a member of the church and even do little to influence the church.
Lately, though, the Church has started attempting to enforce Republican voting on its members, with bishops suggesting the denial of communion to a Catholic who takes the public position of being pro-choice. Well, if they are a Democrat, anyway. For all the denoucements of Kerry, there seems to be little said of Pro-Choice Catholic Republicans (and there are more than a few of them). The blatent political bias even led to an employee of the national Bishop's Conference getting fired for organizing a Catholics for Kerry discussion group. The singular focus on Democrats is all the more questionable when you see the chart Senator Durbin put together examining voting patterns in the Senate and their relation to Catholic teachings. Guess which party's Catholics consistantly vote more "Catholic".
It upsets me and reinforces my disagreement with the Church. I know lots of good Catholics, even went to a Catholic university, but the Church shouldn't be threatening people of faith with a denial of their faith simply because those people acting on their conscience. It just seems wrong to me, but such is the way of the things.
This, however, I cannot even remotely begin to understand. Denying someone religious rites because they don't vote how you want them to vote is wrong, but denying them religious rites because having them exactly as you require would KILL them is just outrageous. I cannot see how that is defensible. Why should an 8 year old girl be damned to Hell because she has a rare diagestive disorder. This girl has faith, is practicing her faith, and that's a good thing. For the Church to slam the door in her face over something some minor strikes me as absurdly inflexible and cruel. Jesus' General writes to the Bishop responsible in his appropriately sarcastic manner. I think I might right, too. I have a profound respect for those who practice faith, even as it is something I cannot do myself. So to deny this girl's chance to practice faith just seems terribly wrong to me. Its just not right, and I felt compelled to say so.