Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rick Santorum and female priests

I knew I could count on Santorum to be a slump buster. And he delivers with yet another religious topic. Religion has been in political news a lot lately. Abortion, contraception, now priests. Though this is more so news that resides in Santorum's screwy head than something like the Planned Parenthood or contraception stories. Nevertheless:

What they’ve done here is a direct assault on the First Amendment, not only a direct assault on the freedom of religion, by forcing people specifically to do things that are against their religious teachings. . . . This is a president who, just recently, in this Hosanna-Tabor case was basically making the argument that Catholics had to, you know, maybe even had to go so far as to hire women priests to comply with employment discrimination issues. This is a very hostile president to people of faith. He’s a hostile president, not just to people of faith, but to all freedoms.

No one is being forced to do something against their religious teachings. Though I'd argue, half jokingly, that it's against my religion to have to hear nutjobs like Santorum speak. But I doubt the narrow-minded courts in this country would hear me out on that. And I highly, highly doubt that Obama would actually try to force the catholic church to hire women priests. If he really was as hostile to religion as Santorum claims, he wouldn't have included any type of exemption for contraception in the health care laws.

Anyway, I find it interesting that Santorum is so concerned that someone would want female priests in the catholic church. Interesting, but not surprising. The fact that women aren't priests and don't make up any part of the church hierarchy speaks to why the church has the stances it has on abortion and contraception. And people like Santorum are so small-minded that they react angrily to any sort of change in their world. Their identities are so tied into things they were raised on that when you critique aspects of those things they take it as a personal insult. That's the only way you can interpret the exception for contraception as an assault on all freedoms.

Priests are an important component to the catholic churchgoing experience, and I would assume the same for other christian churches. Different priests present different tones and personal experiences to the audience. I can't tell you how many times the number one topic about mass was regarding how the priest performed it. And even aside from church, the priest is supposed to provide moral guidance. That's easier for a man to do for men who are struggling with male related issues, and less so for female related ones, notably contraception and abortion. Sure, you can talk to nuns. But I would argue that priests are seen as a higher moral authority than nuns. Plus it would serve the church as a whole to get women into powerful positions within the church hierarchy. If that were to ever happen maybe then they would adopt a reasonable stance towards contraception.

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