I am Catholic; I do not recognize Amy Coney Barrett

Catholicism does not Condone Hate.

It’s sadly not surprising that a party which condones rape and sexual assault would try to ram through a hypocrite who hides behind her religion against the will of the American people. While a similar metaphor applies to known serial rapist, Brett Kavanaugh, at least he wasn’t confirmed during a Presidential election.

Amy Coney Barret claims to be a Catholic and I have satirized that claim in the past. I was raised Catholic. I went to Church and underwent four of the Seven Sacraments. I own multiple rosaries and have used them to pray. I know the prayers by heart. I am well versed in Catholic practices, culture, and hierarchy. But most importantly I know how fake Catholics will use performative religious behaviour to manipulate the faithful.

I denounced the Catholic hierarchy in high school because a man who is now sadly a priest was using the religious hierarchy to protect a boy I knew to be a rapist. And had he simply kept that boy from facing legal ramifications for his behaviour that might have been one thing, but this false priest — and yes, that is what he is — instead chose to vilify the boy’s victims and compound the injury.

Mary Magdalene is understood in Catholicism to be a “fallen woman” who through Christ’s grace was redeemed. In truth, she was probably a wealthy patron. But her historical and apocryphal legacy as well as her presence in the gospels speaks to the position of women in Jesus’ esteem. Hers was one of an equal.

I refused the Eucharist because I did not believe that a man who was willing to warp the Church and the religion to maintain power had any access to God. Neither this priest nor the rapist he protected have ever asked me for forgiveness or made even the slightest attempt to redeem themselves because at the time and relatively still, I am powerless. Surely, “the meek shall inherit the earth,” but if you’re not faithful what use do you have for scripture? If he was willing to openly and knowingly violate the Commandments and teachings of Jesus Christ then how could I trust him or those near to him to conduct Mass or direct any form of prayer?

At present, I am not a practicing Catholic and this is not because I’m not faithful. I actually am. But for religious purposes I do not recognize the authority of men. Catholic brothers and priests from my experience are just not honest enough and do not generally operate with enough integrity and faith for me to expect them to conduct the rituals of Catholicism in good faith.

And … we can Old Testament this thing.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

This is usually taken to mean you shouldn’t blaspheme or swear and sometimes it is taken to mean that you cannot utter the name of or the reference to God in a profane context meaning using the term, “OMG,” is sinful. I happen to think that last is a bit ridiculous and would not exist if not for this Commandment, but there are people who would stand by that. But, what I do believe the deeper meaning of this Commandment is, and the reason I bring it up for this discussion, is that you shouldn’t use religion or the sacred to justify the profane. You shouldn’t use God or religion to cement or grow your own political position be it in power or simply wealth.

This Church, built by hand, was where I held memorials for both my mother and her mother. (Photo)

Putting to one side the very convincing arguments that Jesus Christ was actually a bit of a feminist particularly for his time as well as the multitude of unimpeachable evidence that he advocated power or at least autonomy for the powerless in combination with the doctrine of radical love, trying to use Catholicism, or any religion for that matter, to disempower people is just deeply wrong.

If your religion informs your life choices or how well or poorly you personally treat people then that is your affair. Hopefully, it will have a benevolent effect on how you treat people but even if it doesn’t, as long as it is just your belief system, it’s fine. The issue comes when religion becomes a state matter.

Possibly the best worst example of this is North Korea where the Kim family are literally worshiped as gods and use religion to control the populace. There are other examples of this both at the nation-state level and local levels, but religion as control is always inherently undemocratic and frankly, sacrilegious.

North Koreans bow towards statues of the Kims. It has been effectively argued that “Juche,” the only permissible ideology in North Korea is actually a religion. (KIM WON JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

I do not recognize Amy Coney Barret as a real Christian and she’s certainly not Catholic. But, I do recognize her as adhering to the same ideological power structure as the Kims of North Korea and the priest who protected my friend’s rapist. She is ungodly and faithless and like the Kims, the priest and the rapist I pity her, but she is a fundamentalist. She has used religion and cherry-picked parts of Catholic tradition to hurt and control others and she has done it to gain power among people who share her selfish ideology.

Catholicism — real Catholicism — teaches you to love your enemy. No faithful Catholic would try to impose their will on others or would use their position to deny care to people regardless of who they are. There are entire parables about loving people and being decent towards them no matter how much you might disagree with them or how much they’ve actually hurt you.

When Amy waves about the crucifix professing her Catholic faith but then says she doesn’t think women or people of color should have healthcare, when she takes actual steps to curtail civil rights including marriage equality and does all of this in the name of religion she is blaspheming.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

I could have taken virtually any moment from the New Testament: the beatitudes, excerpts from the various letters, just about any story where Jesus appears, and shown how she’s directly violating the very text of my religion. But the reason I chose a Commandment is because of how incredibly corrupt Barret’s and the GOP’s violation of Christianity is. The Ten Commandments are basic, and violation of them is base. With the exception of “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,” “Thou shalt not covet,” and “honour the sabbath,” they’re straightforward and rather difficult to violate.

The GOP has long laboured under the pretense that destroying civil and human rights is somehow either ethical and moral or appropriate for capitalism, and these claims are just corrupt. But for them to now capitalize on the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg who was beyond being just a giant of civil rights, judicial acumen and American history, a faithful woman of the Book, and replace her with this faithless caricature of a Catholic simply for political gain is an obscenely hedonistic display.

I will restrain myself and not comment on the attitude and behaviour of the current head of the Republican Party beyond saying that it is wrong for a Catholic to behave in the manner that the GOP and Amy Coney Barret do and it is wrong for Catholics to associate with and benefit from this extremity of corruption. There is no good to be found here. There is nothing Christlike to redeem them and should they wish for forgiveness and absolution then they need to embark on the very first steps towards it.

I am insulted that my human rights are on the line in a country that is meant to represent political and personal freedom. But I am disgusted that my rights and those of all around me are threatened under the guise of my own religion. This is wrong. I do not recognize Amy Coney Barret as a fellow Catholic and I would ask that you ignore her assertations to such until such time as she atones for her many many sins. Do not hate her, but do not give her power.

In conclusion, I will let Denyse Graves at RBG’s memorial service play us out.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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