Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

The proposed mosque set to be built near Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001 attacks has brought a sweeping condemnation from both rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia. Now that President Barack Obama has weighed in the matter, seemingly supporting the effort, one can only imagine how this will be used in the fall elections. However, a rift has appeared to have been opened concerning the views of the rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia following the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker over same-sex marriage. Many of the conservative intelligentsia, along with the establishment wing of the Republican Party has either been silent or voiced the view that the wished the whole gay marriage issue would simply go away. This has led to bewilderment from some conservative voices.

The best Catholic tie in with the efforts to build a mosque on Ground Zero came from the famed conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is Jewish. In his opposition to the mosque being built near Ground Zero, he correctly pointed out that Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

While a small group of Muslims has stated their opposition to the mosque near Ground Zero, for the reasons mentioned above, the vast majority of Muslim spokesmen, as well as prominent New York officials have voiced their support for the project, including CNN’s Fareed Zakaria who returned an Anti Defamation League award he had received.

One more point about the Carmelite nuns praying near Auschwitz and the mosque at Ground Zero. The Nazi Government led by Adolf Hitler was largely agnostic or pantheistic New Agers who mocked Christianity and jailed and murdered Catholic and Lutheran clergy and laity, not to mention six million Jews. The 9-11 hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 people believed they were following the tenants of Islam and were given the ok by imams who were affiliated with Al Qaeda. In their martyrdom tapes they quoted chapter and verse of the Koran to prove their point. Now the overwhelming majority of Muslims abhorred their efforts and reviles Al Qaeda. However, enough of a minority believes the jihadist path is correct and the “decadent west and milquetoast Muslims” must be put in their place that Al Qaeda is still alive and functioning some nine years after the 9-11 attacks.

One should also keep in mind that mosques are being built all over the west from the shadows of Vatican City to locations in small towns and big cities all over Europe and North America. The same cannot be said for Christian churches in the Islamic world. Even in countries like Indonesia, which has a sizeable Christian minority, Christians fight red tape for years to build a church, if it ever does get built. There is no chance for a church to be built near Mecca, one even announcing they are a Christian in Saudi Arabia faces death. Archeological digs which find remnants of ancient churches in Saudi Arabia are often labeled as Roman settlements, instead of houses of worship.

The outrage expressed by a united conservative front is not seen on the issue of same sex marriage. Yet, even in the gay community the idea of marriage is not something that most say they will pursue. If this is true, how did we get here? As early as ten years ago, many homosexuals felt the issue of same-sex marriage was wasted energy. In 1996 President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act which he believed would stop same-sex marriage. (The issue was being bandied about in Hawaii.) His successor President GW Bush campaigned for a Constitutional Amendment stating marriage was between a man and a woman. His successor, President Barack Obama has stated he is against same-sex marriage. Against this backdrop,why then are we talking about this issue?

Some say the country has turned more culturally left, others say that gay activists, unlike other minority groups, who were often financially disadvantaged, have more money to spend and friends in high places with even more money to spend. Politically some feel that 2012 will be the year when conservatives use the activist court issue. According to this line of thinking, they are keeping their powder dry and using the readily available ammunition of a poor economy to make headway at the polls.

Some rank and file conservatives feel this is exactly the timid style that caused heartache for conservatives in 2008. It does seem perplexing that even though most American are opposed to same-sex marriage, including many minority groups like African Americans and Hispanic Americans, some feel this is a Third Rail type issue. African Americans in California were a key constituency in voting for Proposition 8 in the 2008 General Election. Perhaps some conservatives feel they would be branded a bigot. Yet as stated above, a sizable number of the gay community is ambivalent on gay marriage and voice the opinion they will never get married, even if allowed.

Yet, many conservative voices refuse to join the fray. Rush Limbaugh, though opposed to gay marriage has come out for civil unions and even paid Elton John $1,000,000 to sing at his recent wedding. Elton John has never been shy about issuing controversial remarks. It was Captain Fantastic himself who voiced the view that he thought Jesus was gay man.  Ann Coulter, who has joked of being to the right of Attila the Hun, will soon speak to a gay group in New York. The event is being billed as Homocon. Though never at a loss for words, Coulter has yet to issue an opinion on Judge Vaughn’s same sex ruling. In addition Glenn Beck has said the issue of gay marriage is “no threat,” at all.

It is interesting that Beck even quoted Thomas Jefferson, who supported the bloody French Revolution, was a deist and purported to have ripped all of Jesus’ miracles out of his personal Bible. Perhaps Beck and others might do well to remember two other Founding Fathers, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Washington practiced his Anglican-Episcopal faith until his death. Hamilton after falling away from regular Episcopal practice pleaded for forgiveness at the end. After being shot in a duel with Aaron Burr, Hamilton summoned every favor he could to plead for Holy Communion as he lay on his deathbed. (For more on this read my article, Alexander Hamilton’s Dying Wish; Holy Communion.)

All of the world’s major religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam had always taught against homosexuality. Catholicism had been one of the more liberal religions in that it taught that some people are same-sex attracted and though they should not act upon these feelings, they should be loved and encouraged as this was there cross. The Catholic Church had long taught that every human being is to carry a cross in this world. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members. For many years, some religions took the Catholic Church to task for being too liberal, some said the Church should tell anyone, who acts on their homosexual feelings and does not repent, that they are destined for hell. Now the Catholic Church is catching it from those on the left who say the Catholic Church is engaging in hate speech for saying those who are same-sex attracted shouldn’t act out their feelings.

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality, teachings exemplified in a recent letter on the subject from the prelate of Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but His Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. In other words, everyone of these great religious minds, as well as almost every political mind until about the year 2000 would have to be wrong for same- sex marriage to be right.

Many who disagree with the Catholic Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

This does not appear to be the case today when so many truths are replaced by the whims of the modern world, hence Pope Benedict XVI’s favorite line; “The Dictatorship of Relativism.”  Many on the left howl when the Holy Father uses these words, and yet those churches that have succumbed to these whims of the modern world have seen their numbers plummet, even as their positive mainstream media coverage increases.

Many mainline American Protestant churches have lost nearly half of their members in the last fifty years, some went to Evangelical Churches, some to the Catholic Church and others stopped attending any church. It would appear that in the latter case, they took the relativistic sermons they were hearing to heart and felt like those delivering them knew better than the teachings of orthodox minded Christianity.

It is much worse in Europe, where it is estimated that more people attend Friday prayers at Britain’s mosques than attend Anglican Church services on Sunday morning. Yet it gets worse for the Anglican Church. In addition to the laity, the Anglican Church lost a large amount of their clergy as well, and many more are coming to the Catholic Church, thanks to the Personal Ordinate offered by Pope Benedict XVI.The opposite is true of the Catholic Church where her numbers have increased, especially in Africa and Asia, precisely because of her conservative social message. The mainstream media, always quick to bring up the bad news when it surrounds the Catholic Church, has buried the Catholic Church’s good news; all the while it ignores the plummeting numbers of the liberal Protestant mainline churches.

As I noted before, all of this is made manifest in ordination numbers.  64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver. Los Angeles and Rochester were led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver were led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least.

While liberal convents are strapped for cash because they haven’t had a postulant in years, more conservative orders like the Sister of Mary of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan are running out of room due to the large number of young professional women coming their way. They are not the only conservative order growing; the Nashville Dominicans among others are also experiencing growing pains. For more on what you have read in the last two paragraphs read my column; If You Want The Political LeftTo Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done For Churches (Left Them In Tatters,) as well as this column entitled; The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.

It would appear from these numbers that what holds the socially conservative and political conservative worlds together is orthodoxy. Most social conservatives are firmly anchored to their religious beliefs, which for the past 2,000 years have been melded into what we now call Western Civilization. Religious based social conservatives will not stand for these views to be watered down or discarded for the sake of textbook economic conservatism. Tax cuts and balanced budgets are all well and good, but in the eyes of social conservatives discarding Western Civilization’s definition of marriage (2,000+ years) is simply a non starter.

Dave Hartline

27 Responses to Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

  • Ge0ffrey says:

    There are plenty of natural law and non-religious arguments against homosexuality. It is not a natural co-equal with heterosexuality. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Men and woman are complementary, not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically.

    Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Almost every society, primitive and complex, has had laws and taboos against homosexuality. This isn’t just a Christian thing. There will always be a visceral reaction to homosexuality because it goes to the very heart of the survival of our species.

    Where homosexuality occurs in the animal world, it is primarily a temporary condition, and when the opportunity presents itself, animals will copulate heterosexually.

    Two-parent heterosexual families, despite the exceptions, are proven over history, across cultures, as the better way for healthy child development. Healthy children produce healthy societies.

    It’s time, in my opinion, for a Constitutional amendment that establishes once and for all that marriage is between one man and one woman. Then we can put this issue to bed.

  • ron chandonia says:

    I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage. I suppose it is because Americans of all stripes have internalized the notion that it is “mean” to express “intolerance” toward homosexuality. Genuine intolerance, however, including intolerance toward Catholics, remains quite socially acceptable.

  • c matt says:

    discarding Western Civilization’s definition of marriage (2,000+ years) is simply a non starter.

    As pointed out above, it’s not just Western Civ’s definition, it has been humanity’s definition since recorded history, and likely pre-dates that as well. try more like 5,000+ years.

  • From what I can tell, those members of the conservative “intelligencia” who aren’t members of Fox & Friends or proprieters of talk radio shows have mostly remained in favor of religious freedom — as they should.

  • T. Shaw says:

    Try on this one, Bunky:

    “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

  • Art Deco says:

    I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage.

    I suspect you usually could not do this without making evaluations of their personal disposition and conduct, as in noting that some folk appear other-directed by default (Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher) or have been married four times (Theodore Olson), or make use of the self-description ‘conservative’ to obfuscate (Conor Friedersdorf).

    Someone on the payroll of The American Conservative or the Rockford Institute can likely also supply a dismissive commentary to the effect that those resisting this burlesque have neglected some deeper cultural deficiency which these resisters are too shallow to detect and about which we can do nothing in any case.

  • Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Same can be said of blacks. I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

  • M Wagner, says:

    Tide turning towards Catholicism? Just today I read a credible report saying that in the last 10+ Catholic marriages have decreased. One point of view is that the religion is too strict and another is that it is not needed with modern thinking. I just had a conversation with a liberal who said life is a pendulum goes from one extreme to the other finding it’s way in the middle. I do not believe this that societies do go by the wayside, that they undo themselves, with no virtue to survive pop trends.

  • Art Deco says:

    I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

    Why don’t you try making the case FOR it? Start with an explanation of why male friendships which do not incorporate sodomy as part of their daily practice should received less recognition than those which do.

  • Art Deco, I don’t know why you want me to make the case for it but you asked so I’ll try.

    The closer the relationship, the greater the rights and responsibilities between them are. If we want to legally protect expectation interests, we will want to recognize intimately committed couples in ways that we don’t recognize mere friendships. We may also want to legally recognize friendships but that’s not at issue here.

  • Art Deco says:

    RR,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored? Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    My question was rhetorical. The gay lobby wants this as a gesture of deference. The only reason to give it to them is that they will be put out by refusal. Lots of people do not get their way, and public policy is enough of a zero sum game that that is inevitable. For some, it is incorporated into their amour-propre to regard some clamoring constituencies as composed of those who are So Very Special. Then there’s the rest of thus, who are not so well represented in the appellate judiciary.

  • AD,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored?

    It shouldn’t.

    Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support. When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties, it would be unjust to allow one party to escape their duties at the expense of the other(s). It’s why we enforce contracts. If your father and his friend did have such an arrangement, it should be enforced.

  • Blackadder says:

    I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

    Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

  • Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

    Nobody would object if those wanting to building the mosque volunteered to build it elsewhere. But who is the more honorable person? The Jew who welcomed the Carmelites or the Jew who told them to go somewhere else?

  • Art Deco says:

    Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

    They ignored the law and act to frustrate lawfully constituted immigration policy. Can we have a wee bit o’ antagonism, pretty please?

  • Art Deco says:

    I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support.

    I cannot say if they borrowed money from each other or not. Ordinarily, working aged men are expected to be self-supporting if not disabled.

    When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties,

    Human relations are not commercial transactions and the law does not ordinarily enforce amorphous and unwritten ‘expectations’ that someone else is going to pay your rent.

    Right now, RR, I am pricing insurance policies. I was offered (unbidden) discount rates by the agent if I was in some sort of ‘committed relationship’ with some other dude. Uh, no, nothing like that Chez Deco, ever. I inquired about purchases for my sister. No discount offers there.

    Maybe sis and I can manufacture an ‘expectations interest’ and get you and Judge Walker to work on our problem.

  • sortacatholic says:

    This article has a lot of interesting points. However, it rambles all over the place. The essay would have been easier to understand if it was broken up into three mini essays.

    There’s no intrinsic connection between the Cordoba Mosque, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage. Why lament that some conservatives have an opinion on one topic but not the other? You might (rightfully) argue that the establishment of a mosque near Ground Zero does not carry even a tenth of the socio-moral import of same sex marriage. But the logical independence of the two questions renders party lockstep on the two issues irrelevant. Let the GOP/right/conservative rank and file make up their own minds about the relationship between these two variables.

    Gratuitous aside: I know that you and other faithful/orthodox Catholic bloggers must boost reparative therapy. To not do so would negatively impact one’s orthodox Catholic street cred. Still, one can be a faithful Catholic, live morally, and not support COURAGE. Indeed, I found the meetings emotionally intrusive and psychologically manipulative. I wish that the Catholic orthodox/conservative/right would think twice before lavishing praise on an organization and therapeutic model that at the very least has emotionally troubled some participants. Sing your praises only after attending a meeting or two.

  • Dave Hartline says:

    Sorta Catholic, the beauty of writing an article for a blog or newspaper column is that you have the freedom to write it as you see fit. Perhaps, some would like shorter columns, while others may favor longer columns, the choice is up to the writer.

    As for Courage, the group’s spiritual mentor is Father Benedict Groeschel, his credentials are certainly good enough for me. Perhaps, the meeting you attended was not run properly. I can only tell you that the group is trying to impart the Church’s teachings in a world that has become enamored with self, and not with faith.

    As for orthodox-minded street cred, we aren’t trying to impress anyone only help spread the message of Christ through His Church. We have divergent opinions on a variety of topics, but yet we fall under the same umbrella of supporting the Church’s teachings. The longer you submit to the will of God, the more you realize the wisdom of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church. It really does make you a more content indiviudal, free from the whims of the modern world. Take care!

  • Pax Christi of Bakersfield, CA says:

    It is a shame that the likes of Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh would let their libertarian views get the best of them when it comes to SSM. Divorcing that from their preaching for conservative values is not the charitable thing to do when the eternal salvation of those who engage in homosexual acts is at stake. Frankly, by doing so, they are committing the grievous sin of omission. A priest in Texas recently made that point clear when he said that Catholics have a moral duty to oppose abortion and SSM.

  • sortacatholic says:

    Hi Dave,

    A person that bases his or her judgement of an organization on the perceived reputation of a founder/leader/mentor in that organization commits the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority”. Now, Fr. Groschel is an upstanding authority. I respect him as a religious leader even if I do not agree with many of his points. Even so, the absolute metric for any organization is its ideology/methodology. Perhaps you’ve provided a rigorous defense of reparative therapy elsewhere on your website. If so, point me there. Otherwise, an appeal to authority without prior analysis of an institution’s ideology or methodology is rather insubstantial.

    Appeals to authority or subjective statements such as “X is trying to impart the Church’s teachings [...]” sometimes hide insufficient research. Also, “orthodoxy” (i.e. strict adherence to a religion’s dogma/doctrine) does not guarantee the success or failure of a particular therapy.

  • Dave Hartline says:

    Hi SortaCatholic, I hope your day is going well. I must say that I find these sorts of exchanges very interesting. I don’t believe my “Appeal to Authority,” is some sort of man made or earthly authority. You see I have worked for the Church in a number of capacities. I have seen the good, bad and the ugly. There is some great people who work for the Church and some really inept ones. I have always felt with all of these inept folks, the Church would have to be who she says she is to have survived 2,000 years!

    Perhaps someone at Courage might come across this and answer some of your questions. I do know that God does help us and prayer does work, but rarely in the sort of miraculous way in which we would like it to happen. God sorts and sifts us. We all have our own sets of problems, blessings, gifts, talents and struggles. I have always found Christ’s words of seek and you shall find, knock and you will be heard to be very true (Matthew 7:7-11.) In addition, I have always found this Scripture reading from Hebrews about God showing us the way through trial and struggle very revealing in my own life (Hebrews 12:5-12.) Take care!

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