I think I have written about this before.
I am absurdly honked off at one of the three Catholic churches in my hometown. This particular parish pulls the same stunt every October during even numbered years. They plant hundreds of small crosses on their spacious front lawn along with a few billboards quoting the Pope and Mother Theresa speaking out against abortion. The church is situated along one of the busiest streets in town; it's impossible to drive past this display and not notice it. I saw it on Monday of this week.
In my eyes, the timing of this display makes it nothing more than a blatant reminder that the Catholic church expects you to vote Republican. In the past there was one other billboard in this display, one that said "Vote as if your life depended on it." I haven't seen that billboard since 2000.
I can only assume that enough people pointed out to this parish that perhaps they should not be making that big of a political statement, so they found a way around it by getting rid of the only wording that politicizes the issue. At least in their eyes. But don't forget that several people in higher up positions in the Catholic faith have expressed publicly their views that pro-choice candidates should not receive communion. The church politicizes itself as much as any organization I can think of.
My personal feeling towards abortion is that is much more than a simple "yes or no" issue. It should not be a political crutch for either side, and it should be a private matter. If you ask me if I am pro-choice or pro-life, I will answer that I am pro-it's none-of-my-business.
I understand why the church gets involved with the issue, but I resent that they stick their nose into the political realm by performing stunts like this. Don't tell me that it is just a coincidence that this display goes up a month before the election and will stay up through November 2, and that you won't see it in 2005, when there are no major elections.
I strongly believe in the separation of Church and State, and I am concerned about the way that some Christian groups have become a solid base of the GOP. I think people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who have large followings of people who believe every word they say is gold, are corrupting the political process.
I'll be happy to point out a Christian fundamentalist who I believe unfairly steers his flock towards the Democrats, as soon as I can find one.
In the meantime, I am wondering what I can do to counter this parish and their disregard for the fact that they pay no taxes and thus don't really belong in the political discourse. I could plant tons of dollar bills on their lawn and make a sign that says "Politicize like you pay taxes." Or maybe I'll print pictures of GW and put papal hats on top of his head instead, with a sign that says "Please vote for our new Pope."
For now, I'll just be sending the pastor of that parish a letter asking him to explain why he feels that his church is entitled to do something like this.
But I'm open to suggestions on how to counter this.
And please, while I respect other people's opinions, I'm not interested into turning this into point-counterpoint. It's none of my business, remember?
I'm more concerned about pointing out hypocrisy. Every time I hear or see someone spouting off on a political issue in the name of God I can't help but think of what I learned when I was a kid, that Jesus was the most forgiving, pious person ever to be on this planet. I was taught that he loved everyone and embraced everyone. I don't recall ever being taught anything about him that excluded people or condemned them. There was always forgiveness and acceptance with Jesus.
That's why I don't believe in the death penalty, but that is a rant for another time.
As much as I try, I can't picture Jesus planting crosses on any lawn.