Christians didn’t start the war on religious liberty

Archbishop Chaput answers Rome's foes of Catholic-Evangelical alliance

Archbishop Chaput: The goal of at least some gay activism is to “punish the wicked.”

The following comes from a July 18 story in Catholic Philly.

History is full of great quotations that people never said. One of the best lines comes from Vladimir Lenin. He described Russian progressives, social democrats, and other fellow travelers as “useful idiots” – naïve allies in revolution whom the Bolsheviks promptly crushed when they took power.

Or so the legend goes. In fact, there’s no evidence Lenin actually spoke those words, at least in public. But no one seems to care. It’s a compelling line, and in its own way, entirely true. The naïve and imprudent can very easily end up as useful tools in a larger conflict; or to frame it more generously, as useful innocents. The result is usually the same. They’re discarded.

History is also full of unfortunate comments that really were said – as found, for example, in a recent Rome-based journal article that many have already rightly criticized. The article in question, La Civiltà Cattolica’s “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism,” is an exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.

Catholics and other Christians who see themselves as progressive tend to be wary of the religious liberty debate. Some distrust it as a smokescreen for conservative politics. Some see it as a distraction from other urgent issues. Some are made uneasy by the cooperation of many Catholics and evangelicals, as well as Mormons and many Orthodox, to push back against abortion on demand, to defend marriage and the family, and to resist LGBT efforts to weaken religious freedom protections through coercive SOGI (sexual orientation/gender identity) “anti-discrimination” laws.

But working for religious freedom has never precluded service to the poor. The opposite is true. In America, the liberty of religious communities has always been a seedbed of social action and ministry to those in need.

The divide between Catholic and other faith communities has often run deep. Only real and present danger could draw them together. The cooperation of Catholics and evangelicals was quite rare when I was a young priest. Their current mutual aid, the ecumenism that seems to so worry La Civilta Cattolica, is a function of shared concerns and principles, not ambition for political power.

As an evangelical friend once said, the whole idea of Baptist faith cuts against the integration of Church and state. Foreign observers who want to criticize the United States and its religious landscape – and yes, there’s always plenty to criticize — should note that fact. It’s rather basic.

Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a “narrative of fear” — as the La Civiltà Cattolica author curiously describes it — might have made some sense 25 years ago. Now it sounds willfully ignorant. It also ignores the fact that America’s culture wars weren’t wanted, and weren’t started, by people faithful to constant Christian belief.

So it’s an especially odd kind of surprise when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true.

Earlier this month, one of the main architects and financiers of today’s LGBT activism said publicly what should have been obvious all along: The goal of at least some gay activism is not simply to assure equality for the same-sex attracted, but to “punish the wicked” – in other words, to punish those who oppose the LGBT cultural agenda.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out whom that might include. Today’s conflicts over sexual freedom and identity involve an almost perfect inversion of what we once meant by right and wrong.

Catholics are called to treat all persons with charity and justice. That includes those who hate what we believe. It demands a conversion of heart. It demands patience, courage and humility. We need to shed any self-righteousness. But charity and justice can’t be severed from truth. For Christians, Scripture is the Word of God, the revelation of God’s truth – and there’s no way to soften or detour around the substance of Romans 1:18-32, or any of the other biblical calls to sexual integrity and virtuous conduct.

Trying to do so demeans what Christians have always claimed to believe. It reduces us to useful tools of those who would smother the faith that so many other Christians have suffered, and are now suffering, to fully witness.

This is why groups that fight for religious liberty in our courts, legislatures, and in the public square – distinguished groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom and Becket (formerly the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) – are heroes, not “haters.”

And if their efforts draw Catholics, evangelicals and other people of good will together in common cause, we should thank God for the unity it brings.



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  1. The Watchman says:

    Radical gay activism is anathema to religious liberty and freedom. Brothers and sisters in Christ we are called by Almighty God to proclaim the Gospel truths no matter what this secular atheistic pagan world does to those of us who proclaim the word of God. Jesus Christ told us in scripture if they persecuted and crucified him for proclaiming the word of God they will persecute us for doing the same. Soon the coming of the Son of Man Jesus Christ King of Kings Lord of Lords True God and True Man will come like a thief in the night at his Second Coming. Prepare for this day and don’t let it catch you unprepared. Repent and Convert. Pray America Pray.

  2. Michael McDermott says:

    So rather than risk personal retaliation – people who were not nazi members pretended to be so and saluted, and thus it seemed that the ‘party’ was much bigger than the truth. Ahem

    Gill and gang pay a virtual army of Trolls to infest the internet and Target the Enemy of their modern Gaystapo Pogroms – with the aim of destroying them like Rohm and his homosex bully boys did in the 1930s.
    The strange, strange story of the gay fascists

  3. Michael McDermott says:

    *There is nothing Gay about the Gaystapo:
    Millionaire Gay Tech Giant Targeting Christians

    Ultra-wealthy gay tech titan Tim Gill, a megadonor to gay rights causes, is vowing to “punish the wicked” by stripping Christians of religious liberty protections…
    Few Americans have heard of Tim Gill. That is purposeful. He wields enormous influence in the United States, but from behind the scenes
    Described as “one of the Left’s most potent political donors,” Gill is a master of so-called dark money, financing advocacy groups through his various nonprofits to push change at the state and national levels.
    The Gill Foundation…

    • TheVeiledThreat says:

      Tim Gill and his machinations was mentioned in a three part exposè in Catholic San Francisco in the fall of 2014. In fact this was mentioned here in a Cal-Catholic article:

      The archdiocese fried to open a dialog with local people after this but there must have been some blow back. Not surprising. You do not dialog with fascists. If you don’t give the salute it’s off to camp with you.

  4. Michael McDermott says:

    Abp. Chaput Chastens Fr. Spadaro
    Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is saying U.S. Catholics and Protestants are heroes and not haters for collaborating in defense of religious freedom.
    On Tuesday, the archbishop refuted what he called “willfully ignorant” points made in an article co-authored by Fr. Antonio Spadaro …
    In his rebuttal, Abp. Chaput affirmed “groups that fight for religious liberty in our courts, legislatures and in the public square … are heroes, not ‘haters.'”
    The archbishop questioned Spadaro’s attack on such people. “So it’s an especially odd kind of surprise,” Abp. Chaput reasoned “when believers are attacked…

  5. Bohemond says:

    The war is here folks, the gays are our enemy whether they think it or not.

    • But Bohemond ..How can I be your enemy? I sat next to you at mass today and we shared the Sign of Peace. I”m the Eucharistic Minister who gave you the Body of Christ. I’m the woman who spoke after mass last week about the St. Vincent DePaul Society’s good work and you then contributed gererously. I’m your Christian sister. How can I be your enemy?

      • Anne T. says:

        And Judas sat next to Jesus and the Apostles, all the while he was “picking their pockets” and missing using their funds. To take what belongs to traditional families to relieve the stress of raising children and use it for evil purposes (such as encouraging faux “marriages”) is not being anyone’s friend.

        • and that should be “miss using ” in my second line.

          • Anne … Honest .. in all my years on the Parish finance committee I never stole anything. As for traditional families, I’m part of one, nuclear and extended. I support my brothers and their wives and my wonderful nieces and nephews. If I ever find “Ms. Right” and have a civil marriage it won’t hurt my parents marriage, my brothers’ marriages nor anyone’s marriage, including yours. As for the stress of child raising you should know the challenge is as great for gay parents as for hetrosexual parents. Anne .. you’re a very good person. Please rethink your agreeing with the wholesale condemnation of me and people like me by some of the posters here.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Dear Miss Using –

          When did C&H pick your pockets? What did she “take” of yours that didn’t allow [your] marriage to “relieve the stress of raising children”?

      • Anne T. says:

        C&H, I do not know if anyone who has come on here for a long time can back me up, but i believe you once told us that your two brothers were homosexuals. If I am correct, than you are making up stories as you go along.

        How can you even think of desecrating the Body and Blood of Christ by taking Communion when you teach others to commit an abominable sin. I am NOT condemning those with temptations of any kind, just those who practice and teach others to commit such abominations.

  6. anonymous says:

    To add to what Michael McDermott is pointing out about tech-software developer multi-billionaire and fiercely aggressive gay activist, Tim Gill, stands for, in an interview (Jun 23, 2017) with Rolling Stone magazine, he declares regarding targeting Christians, “It’s time to punish the wicked!”
    Here is the actual interview. Well, McElroy, Chaput, PJ McGrath, and Joseph Tobin need have nothing to fear!

    • Anne T. says:

      Anonymous, God rules not Time Gill. Tim Gill got that idea from Chuck Mc Ilhenny’s book published in the seventies called “When the Wicked Seize a City, and we all know what happened when they did not listen to Surgeon General Koop and other very knowledgeable people.. Some come on here and talk about science when they cannot even pass biology 101.

      • I forgot to put in my last post that the AIDS and STD epidemic came after they did not listen. God can take Tim Gill or anyone else out in a split second if and when he wants.

  7. The Watchman says:

    Bohemond the devil is our real enemy and the real author the radical gay agenda. The devil hates mankind so much that he wants to destroy the family of husband and wife created by Almighty God and replace it with his diabolical version of the family. Remember we are not fighting principalities of this world but of the dark spiritual realm. I urge everyone reading this post to pray the daily Rosary always. I would even encourage you all to pray all four Rosaries every day. The Rosary drives the devil crazy because he is totally afraid of facing Mother Mary. According to St. Maria Faustina if you are fighting demons just say, ” And the word was made flesh and it dwells among us.” Guaranteed to drive demons away every time. Tried…

  8. Joel Fago says:

    Those who attack Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues fear the truth.

  9. The Watchman says:

    To conclude my last post it should read Tried and Proven. May God bless all California Catholic Daily readers and posters.

  10. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    Let’s be clear: Religious liberty does NOT mean the right to impose one’s morality on others and to make Catholic Canon law the law of the land or to stand in for the Constitution whenever one feels like it.

    • Anne T. says:

      You Fake Catholic, sodomy is against Jewish Law too, and well-educated Buddhists do not practice it either They know it tears the lining of the anal canal and opens it up to more diseases. It also contributes to anal and colon cancer. The well-educated Hindus of India discourage it and backed marriage between a man and a woman. They are not stupid. If constipation is dangerous to the anal lining, and it is, sodomy is far worse.

    • Bohemond says:

      “Impose one’s morality” ladies and gentlemen this is same logic that gave us 50 Million dead unborn babies, gay so called marriage and basically sexual anarchy. YFC there is NO reconciling what you believe and what the Church teaches none. So time has come for you to choose between Christ and His Church or sodomy.

  11. The Watchman says:

    Anne T. it looks as if you are facing against a tag team on California Catholic Daily News. And in your last post you have gotten to the real bottom of the problem. God Bless You.

    • Anne T. says:

      They always come after those who tell the truth with a vengeance. Next they will be telling us homosexual acts are natural because it is found in the animal kingdom. Well, my daughter’s hamster mated with one of her own sons, and ate the baby that came as a result before I could stop her because it was deformed. Do they think humans should be doing that too? Oh, I forgot some peoples are already aborting children for their body parts. Their God is neither the God of the Old Testament nor the New, but the pagan god Saturn who ate his own children.

  12. It would be interesting to hear Lenin’s take on one who would tut-tut “Useful Idiots” as legend. The term depicts Westerners, by the way, not Russians. It’s akin to Sentimental Sympathizer on the softer end of Orwell’s subversive scale, and all too real.

    Chaput’s confusion, I suspect, stems from an overreliance on Wikipedia and an underestimation of the Cold War.

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