Embracing Bibles instead of bumper stickers

ItÕs been 53 years since the election of JFK, and Rev. Anthony Yasi of the Universal Life Church proved in a recent letter-to-the-editor that Catholic bashing is still alive and well in this country.

No, I donÕt mean the Protestant-on-Catholic sort. Rather the seething, irrational contempt for them, more deeply rooted in todayÕs American seculars.

Before I am accused, like JFK was, of taking orders from the Pope in writing this column, I should note that I am, in fact, not a Catholic; IÕm Jewish.

If you have not read Rev. YasiÕs column, IÕll sum it up quickly: Rev. Yasi, in writing a response to the director of the Catholic Center at UVM, who wrote a response to a Cynic writer about the virtues of faith, decided to Ñ instead of rebutting the FatherÕs point Ñ attack the history of the Catholic Church.

His rant would have made Martin Luther cringe.

His point: ÒFaith isnÕt the answer.Ó What, then, is? Rev. Yasi doesnÕt really say. HeÕd prefer to destroy bridges and leave the rebuilding to moral cowardice.

After all, if you take a look at his churchÕs website, the only doctrine is, ÒDo only that which is right.Ó

And if that includes bashing other religions because their doctrine is slightly more developed than a John Lennon song or pithy bumper sticker on a Toyota Prius, Rev. Yasi is on board.

Nevermind the fact that the churchÕs website, on its homepage, states, Òthe Universal Life Church wants you to pursue your spiritual beliefs without interference from any outside agency, including government or church authority.Ó

By Òchurch authorityÓ or Òoutside agency,Ó I suppose it exempts itself.

Though there are evident theological distinctions between my religion and Father SchnobrichÕs, I can admire the fact that his doctrine is rooted in something which is far more profound than Rev. YasiÕs unspoken Ñ but true Ñ doctrine, ÒDo that which feels good.Ó

I suspect that Rev. Yasi is jealous of the fact that Father Schnobrich has actually found spiritual meaning in his life.

After all, Catholicism offers its adherents a stringent, yet profound and fulfilling doctrine.

WhatÕs more, itÕs original. After all, even Stalin could have told you that itÕs good to do what is right, even if by ÒrightÓ he meant smashing printing presses and packing farmers into mass graves.

Moreover, Rev. Yasi utterly fails to recognize the right of which his church speaks. The good deeds, of which his church is so fond, stem from post-Enlightenment, Judeo-Christian values.

The average fundamentalist Muslim from Wackistan could tell you that obliterating the United States, also known as ÒThe Great-Satan,Ó is right.

I do hope that Rev. Yasi would condemn such religiously motivated hatred, but to do so, would interfere with what makes another Òfeel good.Ó

The words behind Rev. YasiÕs column serve not to criticize the specifics of Father SchnobrichÕs doctrine, but to condemn that the Father even has a doctrine.

Disdain for promiscuous sex? ÒTrite dogma!Ó declares the reverend. Aversion to abortion? ÒUnscientific!Ó Opposition to gay marriage? ÒYour opinions are rooted in hatred.Ó

ItÕs not only jealousy that inspires so much irrational hatred for Catholics, itÕs ignorance, too.

If youÕre a socially-conservative Catholic at UVM, you donÕt think abortion is murder.

You just want to crackdown on those lippy broads setting up camp at the Planned Parenthood downtown. This appears to be Rev. YasiÕs view.

People actually have strong convictions and a certain rationality behind what they believe.

As Father Schnobrich pointed out in his column, people donÕt actually hate the Catholic Church; rather, they hate what they think is the Catholic Church.

Rev. Yasi never quite progressed beyond a sixth grade understanding of the Catholic Church.

And why should he? His ÒchurchÓ never came with a manual, only a bumper sticker.