When I was growing up, there seemed to be some room left for dialogue with others regarding the pressing issues of the day. To a certain extent, we could debate an issue on its merits and explore the various concerns. But at the end of the day, even though we might agree to disagree, there was always mutual respect.
Today, however, that era is, to use the venerable words of one sports broadcaster, “Long gone.” Sadly, it has been replaced with an era of demonization. “If they are not with us—-entirely, they are most certainly against us.” Having become a nation of polar opposites, we immediately declare those who differ with us as our enemies.
For example, when debating whether the minimum wage should be increased to $8 or $10, $9 is never the answer. When compromise is not reached, one side is declared as “uncaring” or “greedy,” whereas the other is branded “caring” and “compassionate.” But never should reasoned voices from the business community (who employ and make decisions regarding the employment of labor) and politicians come together. For doing so might result in actual data and clarification. Besides, why allow facts to get in the way?
In regard to the issue of abortion, one clearly higher than the economic within our moral stratosphere, we are told that our collective starting point must begin with the infamous 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut case. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court discovered that a so-called “right to privacy” existed within the U.S. Constitution. According to such modern theorists, the debate should begin and end there. As such, the debate regarding abortion must never again intersect with “when life begins.” After all, the “tolerant” must alway triumph over the “intolerant” who continue to raise their voices on behalf of the unborn.
Just yesterday in Michigan, a federal judge discarded a 2004 vote whereby 2.7 million (59%) Michigan voters enshrined in their state constitution the long-held reality that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Shortly thereafter, the Catholic bishops of Michigan issued this response:
“Going forward, we, the Catholic bishops of this state, working through the Michigan Catholic Conference, will collaborate with those who are upholding Michigan’s Marriage Amendment and adoption statute and will assist to the greatest extent possible efforts to appeal Judge Friedman’s most regrettable ruling.”
In opposition, State Senator Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing), reacted this way when informed that the Michigan Attorney General would appeal the decision:
“It’s time for Bill Schuette to step into the 21st Century and stop using his taxpayer-funded office to wage his illogical and outdated crusade against our own people who just want to live their lives the way they choose.”
In reading Ms. Whitmer’s statement, I wonder. In 2004, did not the people of Michigan already speak regarding their understanding of marriage and the way they chose to live their lives?
Again, the sides have been drawn. If you are not with us, you are against us. By a federal judge’s pen, we are told that the transformation of marriage has enabled “equality” to triumph over “inequality.”
In mocking Attorney General Schuette for stating that he will defend Michigan’s marriage amendment, what Ms. Whitmer is really saying is that he should not exercise the duties of his office as defined by law. While declaring that Mr. Schuette’s actions render him part of the Neanderthal age, she pulls from community organizer Saul Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals.” Divided into ten chapters, each chapter is said to provide a lesson on how a community organizer can accomplish the goal of successfully uniting people into an active organization with the power to effect change on a variety of issues. One rule states that “ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Another is equally valuable: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
So what is next? In our continual redefinition of reality, your guess is as good as mine. If you care to, stay tuned. If not, know that the next chapter is sure to bring another clever quip from a public official.
REVEREND MR. KURT GODFRYD is editor of Catholic Journal and a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Married and the father of five children, Deacon Kurt was ordained to the diaconate on October 4, 2008 by His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida and is assigned to St. Clement of Rome parish in Romeo, Michigan. A native Detroiter, he was educated at the Jesuit-run University of Detroit Mercy, where he received a B.S. in finance, M.B.A., and M.A. in economics. His theological training was taken at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where he earned an M.A. in pastoral ministry.