Ironic divorce

I retweeted someone else’s post on Twitter today:

Ha ha. I love it when f*ckin hypocrites are revealed: http://bit.ly/kQkiT (via @clarkcox)

I thought the comment was a little harsh, and I should have edited it, but I left it as is.

The backstory is that Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to help ban same-sex marriage in California. From this article in the NYTimes, he says

This really is a free-speech, First Amendment issue. While I respect everyone’s choice of partner, my Catholic faith and longtime affiliation with the Catholic Church leads me to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

And now, he is divorcing his wife of 43 years, which is against the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is what I find ironic. And it is ironic, partly because I know more gay couples in long-term, committed relationships, but also because I believe that if you are going to publicly announce that you are supporting something because you are affiliated with the Catholic Church, even though divorce is a different subject matter than same-sex marriage, I don’t believe that as a member of the Church you should be allowed to pick and choose which doctrine you follow. If you say you are Catholic, then you believe what the Vatican says you believe. You believe that the Catholic Church is the one, right, true religion. You believe in all of the ten commandments. You believe that there should be no sex before marriage, gay lifestyle is wrong, and that marriage is sacred. And that is the reason I left the Catholic Church. I didn’t believe everything they wanted me to believe.

As a side note, yes, Catholics get divorced, but the Church doesn’t recognize divorce. In order to ever get married in the Catholic Church again, you must get an annulment. And if you have ever seen the questions or experienced the process of an annulment, you have to confess before God that your entire marriage was a scam from the very first day. And the Catholic Church teaches me not to lie, yet I think a lot of people lie their way right though that, which I also think is hypocritical.

And to me, gay rights and marriage fall under this whole Family Values ideal that people have been pushing. A friend mentioned that people of faith usually get labeled as hypocrites faster than others. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize Manchester was Catholic until I re-read the article after my friend made that statement. I had initially just assumed he was a Family Values kind of guy. And I don’t think of Family Values as being something that is pushed by a particular religion. I actually think of it more as a political platform. But the same argument holds. I think that if you subscribe to some sort of doctrine, religious or not, that you don’t get to pick and choose which messages you follow. It is an all or northing deal. Especially if you are going to talk about your stance in the NYTimes.

On the topic of people of faith being labeled hypocritical first, I think that people would be happy to point fingers at me if I used a Windows box at home. Or if I wrote articles against the benefits of same-sex education. Or if I drove an SUV. Or if I secretly smoked. I don’t think it has to do with having faith. I think it has to do with publicly voicing your opinion on something and then doing the opposite.

I had a discussion with another friend about this. He thinks you do get to pick and choose which values you uphold. And that you don’t have to uphold all of them. And that is why he doesn’t find this ironic. That may be true for picking a political party, but I don’t think my priest would agree. And Manchester himself is the one who publicly brought religion into this.

And yes, I agree with my friend who says,

As a person of faith, I’m grieved. Anyone who takes a dogmatic moral stand is always scrutinized. I dread the next time I screw up

I also dread the next time I screw up. But I should dread it if I publicly say one thing and do something completely different. I do have a right to change my mind, and I will have to explain why I don’t practice what I preach. I will expect people to think it is ironic. To mock me. I’ll deserve it.

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