Thursday, May 22, 2008

Christianity as Counter-Cultural

5/22/2008--There was a strange comment reported by the Catholic News Agency today. Here is the opening paragraph of the story:

“Oakland, May 22, 2008 / 02:08 am (CNA).- In a pastoral letter responding to the California Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, Bishop of Oakland Allen Vingeron said that Catholics must respond to this “profoundly significant” issue by bringing a proper understanding of marriage into public life. The failure to do so, he said, would result in a difficult situation where Christianity becomes a counter-cultural way of life.”

The question is, when has genuine Christianity not been “counter-cultural”? How could a Catholic Bishop imagine a world in which Christianity was anything else? Jesus was executed after all because he was, profoundly, counter-cultural.

If you listen closely, you hear in this comment the throbbing of the imperial Church in charge of Western Christendom. But that world plainly does not exist today. Today, Christianity should not seek to impose its rules against gay marriage on non-believers. This is especially so, since these non-believers simply want to love each other in their own way. Though this way is sinful to the believer, the matter is plainly nothing like abortion or other life and death issues. Gay marriage is a perfect example of an issue, like divorce, in which the believer should try to convert, but should not seek to use the coercive power of the State to impose Christian doctrine. There is supposed to be some difference between the Church and the secular world. Not evey sin should violate the State's law.

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