If holdouts do not demonstrate approval, they are labeled…by the Lobby and its passionate supporters in the media…bigots. And the best hurler of spit-balls telling reader all opponents of civil unions are dolts and bigots…a guy who to the uninitiated…those who yearn to belong to the Smart Class… the guy who really has his finger on cool is one Edward McClelland who writes for the NBC-TV blog “Ward Room.”
McClelland ruled finis to the mayoral candidacy of Rev. James Meeks yesterday because Meeks voted “no” on civil unions, in retaliation for which McClelland, who was hired to sling political gossip, not theocratic law from an eschatological perspective, said the pastor “may have blown up his mayoral campaign”—because wanna know why? Because he “places what he believes are eternal moral principles above his ambition to hold a temporal office for four years.”
Gee, that would be normally a spectacular recommendation. But McClelland says Meek’s church “runs a haunted house that depicts a homosexual couple burning in hell.” Does it? A “haunted house” like in Hallowe’en? Readers of “Ward Room” have to take McClelland’s word for it. I would doubt it but no matter. The important thing is this: Then McClelland, writing for a publication of NBC-TV Channel 5 dusts off Meeks’ hopes as finis with these words:
“But you don’t have to vote for him.” Nobody said you do and we understand that McClelland the sophisticated political writer hasn’t just discovered the obvious. No, it’s a well-used colloquium that means: don’t vote for him. Believe me as one who has read and written political commentary and analysis for 57 years when I say this comment is no piece of political analysis; it is writer’s short-hand—something you shouldn’t find in analyses put out by NBC but something that belongs in a work of hard-shell political advocacy….as in The Nation, the venerable left-wing publication to which Edward McClelland been a signed contributor and to which he probably has been too busy to write for given his duties at NBC and his authorship of the laudatory book Young Mr. Obama: The Making of a Black President at your booksellers now.
Remember since the topic is bigotry, the sin is not Meeks’ but McClelland’s. Meeks’ views of sinful homosexual practice didn’t spring from his head as his own divination. They are adhered to by the 22,000 members of Salem Baptist and beyond that to American Baptist Churches USA composed of 1.4 million adherents arrayed in 5,659 churches. They believe “the Bible is the inspired word of God”…and “final authority on earth.” And what does the Bible teach?
In Genesis (19:1-11) and Leviticus (18:22, 20:13) the word of God pronounces that homosexuality is condemned in the story of Sodom, that Paul inveighs against the practice in Corinthians (6:9), Romans (1:18-32) and in the first chapter of his first letter to Timothy. Some theological revisionists have said the passages pertain to other evils but one has to grunt until his eyes bug out to adjust to that formulation. The important thing is that Meeks, his church and overwhelming number of Baptists subscribe. Pronouncing their beliefs anathema to Meeks’ mayoral election is a startling overreach by McClelland and a clear-cut sanction of what may well be religious bigotry by NBC.
And of course this scriptural condemnation is not only subscribed to by Baptists but the overwhelming number of Christians including by my own Catholic Church. Catholic Rick Garcia may well…as he advertised to same-sex-marriage advocate Carol Marin (a part-time commentator for NBC-TV)…go to pray at the grotto of the Our Lady of Lourdes on South Ashland. Ah, good for him.
But Catholic Garcia probably knows…as the likely theologically illiterate nominal Catholic Marin does not… that the trick used since biblical reading circulated via Gutenberg is an ingenious self-deception utilized to soothe one’s conscience, is the heresy called “Fundamental Option.” Condemned for centuries but misuse of which was formulized as heresy ona Humana .
According to it the slick “Fundamental Option” no mortal sin can be committed unless a person completely and absolutely rejects God or completely closes himself to the love of others. It is as old as murder’s rationalization by Cain and as recent as my time at St. John’s (1946-50) by the slickest of the slick theologians, Godfrey Diekmann OSB. My roommate came whistling into our room after a Diekmann lecture saying “hell, it means I can make out with my girlfriend in St. Cloud and not commit mortal sin since I don’t reject God. I don’t reject God, would never reject God—so, Roeser, I’m covered!” (He didn’t use the term “Fundamental Option” but described it as his personal salvation, healing balm, a springboard to seduction. I later learned its name from a scholarly friend.)
Well let me tell you, I raced down the corridors to find Ernie. Fr. Ernest Kilzer OSB professor of philosophy and theology. He was praying his Office but we asked him the next morning.
The unmatchable Ernie told us no-no-no we hopeful carnal spirits weren’t covered by what I later learned as “Fundamental Option” since it was heresy. Ernie said: “Gentlemen, please! It is wrong, heresy, to say that particular acts are insufficient to constitute mortal sin. The point is that there are serious sins—murder, adultery—because the actions themselves are gravely wrong. Believing to the contrary would upend the whole moral order since the essence of mortal sin is the deliberate choice of an action known to be gravely forbidden by God.”
But “Fundamental Option,” the perversely brilliant heretical legerdemain in the mind of “Catholic” lawmakers exculpates and salves them who support abortion, homosexuality and any other practice, sexual or non, serving (they hope) as an escape hatch allowing them to receive the body and blood of Christ each Sunday confident they were told something by a “confessor” who schmoozed their conscience…or somebody who passed along the spurious “theology” they read in McBrien’s Catholicismunauthorized by the Church that all is okay if one doesn’t out-and-out reject God. It is this feel-good interpretation that has made Fr. Greeley the fans he has had (until his late tragic accident).
Now to return to the central topic:
The fact is that McClelland’s initial estimate of Meeks as a man guided by eternal verities is right and his sly “report” that by living up to the teaching of the Bible he has committed political suicide…this larded over with the whimsical statement “but you don’t have to vote for him”…is the essence of soft bigotry…the intent of which is clear.
It’s high time for the Gay Lobby to come clean and acknowledge that what it seeks is not tolerance…which to an overwhelming degree it has and deserves …but approval…approval that can only come from those who forsake the Judeo Christian moral tradition.