Thursday, December 21, 2006

A good ole fashioned church bashin'

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The ad hominem attack seems to be growing both more common and more acceptable in today's culture. Yesterday's Washington Post carried Harold Meyerson's column "Episcopalians Against Equality", which exemplifies the current trend.

The church is called "God's country club." The faithful who uphold Christian teaching on marriage (in this case, the "Fairfax Phobics") are said to protest "the equal treatment of homosexuals." Meyerson then stangely begins a diatribe against a non-existent ecumenical organization founded by the late Pope John Paul II called the Orthodox International (OI), which "unites frequently fundamentalist believers of often opposed faiths in common fear and loathing of challenges to ancient tribal norms." For Meyerson, the Roman Catholic Church is best described with the phrase "inimitable backwardness." He's just outright inaccurate when he names the founders of the Episcopal Church as those who wrote the Declaration of Independence (Jesus and the apostles did not write the Declaration of Independence).

Of course, the criticism of the ad hominem argument is that it is usually empoyed when there is no argument to be made, when one just doesn't have the facts, or when one is too lazy to bother with all that anyway. In this editorial from the Falls Church News, the Falls Church in Falls Church, VA (I know, I know) is described as "a regrettable and despised bastion of bigotry, prejudice and hatred." I have come to expect such an approach, even within the church. One priest told me to more or less drop dead at the end of this exchange in which I commented on her seminarian's grammar in his sermon. (Of course, I suppose that correcting someone's grammer might be the last acceptable excuse for getting your teeth kicked in.) However, I'm happy to say that the seminarian felt no need for the ad hominem at all. Perhaps that bodes well for the future.

And since I mentioned kicking, the picture at the top of this post (which I nonetheless can't help but find quite humorous) comes from a website where people submit photos of themselves or their friends kicking local churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques (but no mosques so far). The church in this picture is Grace & St Stephen's Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs. (I don't want to link to the site because some of the material is not family-friendly.) Sometimes the kicking is because the building is ugly or just for kicks, but more often the kicking is an expression of outrage against that church's moral values. Sometimes certain requests for photos (called "hits") are put out in response to a local church being in the media for upholding Christian values.


Fr Timothy Matkin said...

(I'll stop writing in parentheses now.)

Chris Coucheron-Aamot said...

Ms. Keaton totally didn't pay attention to your argument. So much for her projected image of tolerance and friendly openness.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

I'm intrigued by your use of the word "image."

As they say, in our current media culture, "image is everything." I think that's a big part of the deterioration of political discourse in our day.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Shame on you!

This was not about a seminarian's "grammar" and you know it.

C'mon, Timothy. You are smarter than that! And, you know that I am, as well.

It's always fascinating to me how the so-called "pious orthodox" always play the "tolerance" and "friedly openness" card when faced with obvious bigotry and prejudice.

Jon was preaching the truth, as he knows it, from his heart.

You - 'scuse me, that would be y'all - are nitpicking and swatting at theological straw men.

We can disagree, theologically, and there is great honor in that.

Please do not insult the intelligence of our great Episcopal and Anglican heritage with this sophomoric pap.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

I rest my case.