A Tent Grows in the Coliseum
The term persecution has taken on a whole new perspective for the mangy beasts who once roamed the blood-soaked turf of the Coliseum floor have morphed into the modern two-legged, stone-hearted mangy beasts whose animalistic tendencies remain the same: to devour and destroy those who emit any scent of upholding the tenets of Christ which teaches us to love our fellow man but hate man's sins, and never, ever tolerate any kind of sin!
"Persecution now means more than inflicting physical harm, or hitting, spitting, yelling, criticizing, or not accepting. It now means not embracing that group! This means that I can be accused of persecuting any group, which I do not embrace through my actions and words. Accused of bias and persecution, I must show that I have not done or said anything against that group, and that my whole conduct actually shows an acceptance and embracing of that group as any other even if I am diametrically opposed to their agenda for moral reasons!"
One of the fastest growing words in the English language today is the term Persecution. As the New Order Tent of Inclusion expands calling for greater acceptance of different lifestyles, religions, and viewpoints, so too this word grows dangerously into a weapon, which is already being, used against Catholics and Christians everywhere.
The word persecution began humbly many years ago. It used to mean actually going after someone, pestering or bothering them, increasing to outright physical and verbal attacks upon one's target. Taken at this level, the word persecution implied actions contrary to God's Laws and later Christ's call that we treat each other as we would like to be treated. Such an aggressive, violent, and abusive view of the word persecution could never fit under true Catholic teaching and doctrine, and therefore could never be morally justified. We must remember that this original view of persecution sees this violence not as self-defense, justified on moral grounds, or in any way founded on ethical or God-given principles of conduct. To the extent that any previous persecution was practiced by any Catholic authority under the guise of justified conduct, that conduct was wrong, immoral, unethical, and certainly a degradation and distortion of God's Laws.
Given the above points, it is clear that a battle to defend one's land, faith, family, and society would not be persecution. It was only when one's aggression was directed toward a non-threatening, innocent party without any justifiable purpose and only for amusement, bias, or hatred that the term persecution would apply. Hence the term as used to describe what was done to the Christians in the Coliseum.
It is only in the last few decades that the term, which used to mean unjustified physical and sometimes verbal abuse toward a group or person out of hate, bias, or some other evil motive began its dangerous expansion. From physical and verbal abuse the term expanded to mean criticizing a group, as this was seen as a harmful precursor to eventual verbal and physical abuse. It was thought a good idea to prevent the abuse by preventing the kind of talk and thinking, which precipitated that abuse. Eventually, that expansion of the term continued to include not accepting that group into one's society.
Again, this was seen as further preventative medicine. It was thought that physical abuse came from verbal abuse, which came from criticism, which came from non-acceptance.
It was no longer enough to teach respect for a group's difference. Now one must teach actual acceptance of that group's difference which is another thing altogether. It is one thing to tell me that I should avoid attacking someone. It is further to tell me that I cannot even speak against that group in any way. It is now even more extensive to tell me that I have to accept that group as I would any other, despite the nature and philosophy of that group, because "everyone is equal".
The most damaging expansion, however, is coming about as we speak. Persecution now means more than inflicting physical harm, or hitting, spitting, yelling, criticizing, or not accepting. It now means not embracing that group! This means that I can be accused of persecuting any group, which I do not embrace through my actions and words. Accused of bias and persecution, I must show that I have not done or said anything against that group, and that my whole conduct actually shows an acceptance and embracing of that group as any other even if I am diametrically opposed to their agenda for moral reasons!
Thus if a homosexual man wants to teach my children, and I do not want to allow him to do so in a public setting, I may be accused of persecuting that man even though I have never actually attacked or even criticized him in any way. My mere actions and conduct in not just accepting him and even embracing him as any other teacher would be considered by many to be persecution already! Given this outrageous expansion of what persecution means, one can see how practicing an assertive and courageous Catholic faith will be harder to come by now.
According to the expanding view of persecution, it would be wrong to speak out against the homosexual lifestyle, and to prevent homosexuals from entering my organization or group. Obviously private organizations will always be the first to feel the sting of such expanding terms, but private groups will always eventually be caught up in the web, or tent, of expanding terms. We already see examples of people trying to sue churches and Christian organizations, which try to exclude sinful sodomites from their ranks.
The Greatest Irony and Hypocrisy
What is most unbelievable about all of this is that as the concept of persecution expands to protect everything from the right to sodomize or abort a child to the agendas of radical feminists, secularists, and atheists, the protection from persecution against Catholics, Christians, and other religious groups has been eroded. How is this possible? First, conservative, religious thinking and beliefs have been painted as promoting persecution of many groups once marginalized but now very politically influential such as homosexuals, feminists, secularists, and others. This distorted depiction of religious positions turns the entire debate into one of conflicting interests wherein the favor of the power majority is protected. Therefore, while Catholics may argue that it is persecution to push homosexual lifestyles into their institutions, the greater secular society will argue that it is persecution of homosexuals not to include them in Catholic institutions. Therefore, as society increases its protection of homosexuals, it necessarily decreases its protection of Christian ideals, which it does not favor anyway.
Secondly, once society depicts sexual preference as akin to skin color, nationality and gender, it will naturally ask why we should not protect sexual preference just as we would skin color. The growing acceptance of homosexuals has lead to a "leave them alone" attitude, which does not mean, "don't beat them up" but further "don't keep them out of places they want to be".
Lastly, as groups like homosexuals and radical feminists infiltrate Catholic and religious institutions, they will obviously create dissension from within these institutions and eventual wear down and tear down any remaining opposition from within the institutions themselves. We are already seeing this in the mystic goddess babble and abuse scandal that has already ravaged the church beyond description. Indeed the Mystical Body of Christ in no way resembles the exterior of His Mystical Body 40 years ago, so battered and bruised, whipped and scorn has It been punished, scourged and beaten beyond recognition. Yet it is the same Mystical Body of Christ. The only difference is the poison that courses through its veins, which have turned it into the ugly monstrosity it presents to the world. However, beneath that skin-deep 'pastoral new and humanistic teaching' of Vatican II still beats the pulse of the True Church. It only needs a skin grafting to rid the epidermis of apostasy and put on the garment of grace.
Even garbed in this armor of grace, Catholics will not be out of harm's way. Indeed, they will have ventured even deeper into that gauntlet of secularist stone-throwers and accusers. That is part and parcel of embracing the Cross. Truly the days of Rome have returned in an entirely different venue, yet the goal remains the same: to eliminate those pesky Christians who remind offenders of their sinful lifestyles. We cannot have that, and so the modern Neros, Caligulas,and Diocletians, through lobbying and legislating, through intimidation and the lie, have entered the arena, their thumbs pointing downward toward the abyss: "We must eliminate this threat to our lifestyle of sin. How dare these John the Baptists remind us. Therefore, death to righteousness and good. Off with their heads! Long live evil!"
The expansion of persecution has moved the idea of abuse from outright physical and verbal attacks past the free expression of criticism and into the realm of forced acceptance and even enforced embracing of groups and philosophies contrary to Catholic, Christian, and religious ideals. As this tent or umbrella of persecution expands, it has ironically promoted the most acceptable persecution of all, which is that directed against God and all those who would use their religion to criticize or exclude anyone. Taken in this context, the expansion of persecution is nothing more than another weapon of The New Order designed to tear down and destroy the presence of religion in everyday life.
It was once said that persecution can never be totally abolished because "someone always has to be persecuted somewhere and somehow" in order to allow others to live as they wish. It is obvious that the umbrella of protection given by the secular expansion of the term persecution was never designed for religious groups, who used to be its primary beneficiaries.
Once again, Catholics will be mocked and challenged with "come down from your cross." We already have seen it with the way secularists are trying to tell us what Catholic theology is in their vicious attacks against Mel Gibson and his movie. More the more Catholic we are, the more we will be persecuted. The more Catholic we truly are, the more we willingly will take up that cross without compromising our principles and the Faith. We need only remember that our faith and trust in God is ultimately the only protection we will ever need!
Editor's Note: We are pleased to announce Gabriel Garnica will be contributing many articles in 2004. Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, will submit regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes will be music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.