First they ignore you…

July 5, 2006 at 7:00 pm | In religion | Comments Off on First they ignore you…

This is a press release from the conservative Catholic League. Religious Left Seeks to Silence Church’s Voice:

A coalition of religious leaders in Massachusetts who are pro-gay marriage has lashed out at Boston Archbishop Sean Cardinal O’Malley and other Catholic leaders for opposing same-sex unions. The coalition accuses the Catholic leaders of practicing “religious discrimination” and has requested that they stop campaigning for laws that protect the institution of marriage.

We respect the Roman Catholic Church’s desire to speak in a public forum about this, but it has come to a point where the advocacy about same-sex marriage has come to impinge on our own religious practices, because not everyone believes same-sex marriage is wrong or sinful or against religious beliefs,” said the Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, a United Methodist minister who works with homosexuals. She added, “What happens when the Roman Catholic Church seeks to create public policy based on their religious beliefs is that they negate other religious beliefs that might be contrary to that.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“It is important that the religious coalition stop practicing religious discrimination against Roman Catholics and stop campaigning for laws that weaken the institution of marriage.

We respect the religious coalition’s desire to speak in a public forum about this, but it has come to a point where the advocacy about same-sex marriage has come to impinge on our own religious practices, because not everyone believes that same-sex marriage is not wrong or sinful or against religious beliefs. What happens when the religious coalition seeks to create public policy based on their religious beliefs is that they negate other religious beliefs that might be contrary to that.”

The full quotation is, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” And yes, you read that right, Donohue basically responded with a big f u, but in a mocking sort of way. Over at Street Prophets, Frank Cocozzelli argues that this is a victory:

Why is this a victory? Simple: because the Catholic League, a significant player of the Religious Right, has finally felt threatened enough to attack us. It means that our side has made a significant impact on an issue now in the public discourse. But most of all, a reactionary group such as the so-called “Catholic” League has effectively admitted that it can no longer claim to reflect the sole voice of religious thought on any given matter.

Frank is right: we’re certainly past the ignore stage. Still, I hope we’re not stuck in-between the laugh at you and fight you stage.

…by the way, that quote is attributed to Gandhi all over the Internet, but I’ve learned not to trust the Internet when it comes to verifying a quote’s provenance. (Long story short: this quote should really be attributed to John F. Kennedy, Jr., misquoting Dante.) This longer version seems more believable as the original: “It’s the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then dangerous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you.” — Tony Benn (b. 1925), British Labour politician. Quoted in Observer (London, October 6, 1991).

Oh, hopefully this will help some future Google searcher:

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality” — John F. Kennedy, misquoting Dante.

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