Catholicism isn’t the first faith to spring to mind when discussing progressive religion. Usually, I think of something like Reform Judaism, Universal Unitarians, or Wiccans. However, there are plenty of progressive movements within Catholicism that are pushing against the chains of tradition — especially on the issue of LGBT equality and support.
And as these things often go, it’s drawn the attention of some unsavory individuals online who have started targeting well-meaning pro-LGBT leaders within the Catholic Church. They call themselves the “Church Militant,” and if you just envisioned Warhammer 40K, well — you and I think alike.
Now, there are a number of reasons why any comparison between them and the fascist nightmare state that is the Imperium of Man is unwarranted, and not least of all because these fine folks are brave soldiers of the alt-right 501st Flying Keyboard Brigade and the Imperium is intended to be an over-the-top parody.
Even if they’re little more than a cybermob, however, they can and do put pressure on leaders. So far, they’ve been successful in getting several pro-LGBT speakers disinvited from Catholic events, including a recent event at Madonna University.
Among those disinvited is Jesuit Priest James Martin. Martin was scheduled to speak at Catholic University’s seminary, Theological College, and is the author of a book called Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community can Enter Into A Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. This, when combined with his past criticism of conservative Catholicism, earned him ire of the alt-right Inquisition. After a concerted campaign, the cybermob managed to get Martin’s talk canceled by the College.
They also don’t like the pope, but given that Francis is good at pretending to be progressive (he cares about some of the right things, at least), that much should be expected. Any group that willingly calls itself a “Church Militant” clearly isn’t about promoting understanding and tolerance.
And since tolerance is a ceasefire pact and they aren’t upholding their end, that means we aren’t obliged to uphold ours.
Numerous Catholic leaders have come out against the “Church Militant,” with one leader, Bishop Robert McElroy, describing them as a “cancer” in the Church, and calling them a “threat:”
The attacks on Building a Bridge tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community. The persons launching these attacks portray the reconciliation of the church and the L.G.B.T. community not as a worthy goal but as a grave cultural, religious and familial threat.
Furthermore, 61% of American Catholics support Same-Sex Marriage and oppose allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT groups. The “Church Militant” is in a minority position right now, but while they can’t harm leaders, they can still do damage.
Martin acknowledged this:
In the end it’ll hurt not me, because I have plenty of speaking engagements. But it’ll hurt LGBT Catholics.
Which is the point, and it’s why we can’t be any more tolerant of groups like the “Church Militant” than we are Nazis.
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