Friday, November 7, 2008

Respecting Enemies?

Lately I've been reading articles, such as this article at InsideCatholic, which say we should show respect for President-elect Obama, even though we might be fighting him on some serious issues (pretty much the same kind of respect conservatives wish liberals had given President Bush). Without fail, someone responds with a comment like, "We can't show respect to that no-good baby-killer!"

I've heard similar back-and-forth about Bishops who are perceived by some as failing the Church.

I agree with the writers who say we should show some respect, but I personally have a hard time staying respectful when I want to try to be strong in my stand against whatever evil my opponent is promoting. So I understand, to an extent, both sides of the argument. What I think I need is an exercise in how this respectful opposition would play out in specific circumstances.

1. Let's say we ran into Mr. Obama, and he asked us, "What do you think we can do to make America better." What should we say?
A) "You should just keep telling everyone to have hope."
B) "We need to recognize that women are truly helped by offering them loving support when they face an unplanned pregnancy, rather than lying to them about the nature of their unborn child, and convincing them to kill it. Which means that the government should support crisis pregnancy centers instead of supporting Planned Parenthood."
C) "We could kick you out of office, you baby-killing slime ball."

Oh... I think I'm already able to detect a trend. The long, well thought out answers are the best ones.

2. We prepare to send a letter to our Bishop, because we believe he is being too resistant to the Pope's call for more traditional Latin Masses. What should we write?
A) "Dear Bishop, I respect you too much to complain. Keep up the good work!"
B) "Dear Bishop, I truly love the old Mass. I feel so much more connected to God during that form of the Mass than I do in the modern form. I like the respectfulness, the music, and even the Latin. When I heard that Pope Benedict was trying to make this Mass more widely available, I was overjoyed. I hope you will work to make it available soon in my area. I can't think of any better way to connect with the Saints who have gone before us."
C) "You old heretic! Why do you hate the Pope? People who think the Latin Mass isn't any good don't think the Church is any good, so why don't you just leave? You'd do a much better job as manager for a rock band."

Anyway, I hope you get my point. I think I'm starting to get it, but we'll see.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Okay, my "right" responses are a bit soft to cover every circumstance. But I generally don't think people respond too well to rabid attacks. People in power probably learn to ignore that kind of comment in order to still sleep at night, since they'll get attacked that way even if they're doing the right thing.