Monday, November 19, 2012
How the majority are bullied into fear. . .
The majority were bullied by the classic methods of marginalizing, stereotyping, and discrediting the values and positions of an opponent. We were stereotyped over and over again as haters, thieves plotting to steal away the rights of the many, and more anti things than for them. Example: Abortion. When it became an argument about birth control, we lost the edge. Pro-life became anti-abortion, anti-birth control, and anti-personal freedom and individual responsibility. I do not believe we need to change the argument but we do need to break the stereotype and speak passionately of what we are for -- the pro in pro-life. You cannot tell me that a majority of Roman Catholics and especially Hispanic Roman Catholics do not resonate with these values and positions but we let the stereotype steal away the upper hand of our moral position.
The majority were vilified and made to be evil and wicked folk. Example: Those who are pro-life and pro-family and pro-children were effectively painted as close-minded, harmful to human dignity and freedom, intolerant, hateful, bigoted, unfair, homophobic, reactionary, and just plain mean and evil people. Never mind that these are the folks who built religious hospitals, run huge charitable and social service organizations, care for those feel abortion is their only choice, give aid to the victims of natural disaster, settle the refugees, feed the hungry and provide the bulk of the service to the poor and homeless. We somehow let our deeds get lost and we ended up sounding like the narrow minded and judgmental people who hate everyone who is not like us. I believe that we are still the majority and we need to take back the argument as church folk who do mountains of good in our neighborhoods, communities, nation, and world.
The majority were painted into a corner in which we sounded like we were more interested in money than people, in protecting our backside instead of truth. Example: The HHS assault on religion with respect to the coverage of abortion, abortifacients, and mandatory birth control coverage. The issue here is not only nor primarily abortion and its related points but the first of all guaranteed rights -- freedom of religion. We failed to communicate to people that this was not an insurance argument for the cubicle and allowed them to forget they and their religion and values were under assault. It ended up looking as if the religious were throwing a hissy fit over some little deal instead of religious freedom at stake. I believe that the majority still want the government to get out of religion and to allow religious freedom to remain our first right.
The majority have been persecuted by selectively targeting what to defend and what to assault. So, for example, the Hosanna - Tabor case became about the terrible treatment of this poor disabled teacher instead of a case for religious freedom. We won in the courtroom but lost in the courtroom of opinion. Those opposed, the minority, will continue to selectively persecute what is clearly the majority opinion held by a majority of people but, unless we change our image, it will appear to be something benign and bogus to the public. When we are free to hold our religious dogmas and moral values only in the privacy of our heart or home they become meaningless and powerless. It is only if we are allowed to stand on principle in the public square that our moral values and religious doctrines carry weight. I believe the majority still believe that the government is stretching in its pursuit of religious institutions and the narrowing of their freedom of expression and practice to merely a freedom of worship but we have to take back the argument or we will be cornered by our oppressors through the selective persecution of the vocal and vulnerable.
For pete's sake -- if only the vast majority of Roman Catholics and Lutherans and Protestants opposed to abortion had voted their conscience without the fear mongering of the liberal left, the election might have had a very different outcome. But I write not for the sake of elections or candidates. My passion is for the truth, for the protection of our guaranteed rights, for the high moral ground we have staked out, and for the majority, though often silent, that still believes this is good, right, and true.