Freethought Today ·

Vol. 29 No. 2

March 2012

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Open letter to ‘liberal’ and ‘nominal’ Catholics

‘It’s time to quit the Catholic Church’ - Annie Laurie Gaylor

Dear “liberal” Catholic: It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church. It’s your moment of truth. Will it be reproductive freedom or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or bishops and their wrongs? Whose side are you on, anyway?

It’s time to make known your dissent from the Catholic Church, in light of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ruthless campaign endangering the right to contraception. If you’re part of the Catholic Church, you’re part of the problem.

Why are you propping up the pillars of a tyrannical and autocratic, woman-hating, sex-perverting, antediluvian Old Boys Club? Why are you aiding and abetting a church that has repeatedly and publicly announced a crusade to ban contraception, abortion and sterilization and to deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers?

When it comes to reproductive freedom, the church is Public Enemy No. 1. Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of the antiquated doctrine that birth control is a sin and must be outlawed.

A backer of the Catholic presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, says that if women want to avoid pregnancy, we should put an aspirin between our knees. Catholic politicians are urging that the right to contraception should be left up to states. Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court upheld contraception as a private right, we’re going to have to defend this basic freedom all over again?

For that matter, why have you put up with an institution that won’t allow women priests, which excludes half of humanity?

You’re better than your church, so why stay? No self-respecting feminist, civil libertarian or progressive should cling to the Catholic faith. As a cafeteria Catholic, you chuck the stale doctrine and moldy decrees of your religion, but keep patronizing the establishment that menaces public health by serving rotten offerings.

Your continuing Catholic membership as a “liberal” casts a veneer of respectability on an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment. You are an enabler, and it’s got to stop.

If you imagine you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem cell research — you’re deluding yourself. If you remain a “good” Catholic, you’re doing “bad” to women’s rights. You’re kidding yourself if you think the church is ever going to add a doctrine of Immaculate ContraCeption.

It’s disgraceful that U.S. health care reform is being held hostage to the church’s bizarre opposition to medically prescribed contraception. No politician should have to jeopardize electability for failure to genuflect before the Catholic bishops. (Question to ask your Bishop: Does he hold up an umbrella against the rain? Isn’t that just as “unnatural” as using a condom or diaphragm?)

Your church hysterically claims that secular medical policy is “an assault against religious liberty.” You’re savvy enough to realize that the real assault is by the church against women’s rights and health care. The louder the church cries “offense against religious liberty” the harder it works to take away women’s liberty.

President Barack Obama has compromised, but the church never budges, instead launching a vengeful modern-day Inquisition in your name. A body that hasn’t persuaded you to oppose contraception now wants to use the force of secular law to deny contraceptive rights to non-Catholics.

Is there any point in going on? After all, your misplaced loyalty has lasted through two decades of public sex scandals involving preying priests, children you may have known as victims, and church complicity, collusion and cover-up going all the way to the top. Are you like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go?

We have a more welcoming home to offer — free of incense-fogged ritual, unhampered by what freethinker Bertrand Russell called “ideas uttered long ago by ignorant men,” free of blind obedience to an illusory religious authority. Join those of us who put humanity above dogma.

As a member of the “flock” of an avowedly antidemocratic club, isn’t it time you voted with your feet? Please, exit “en Mass.”


FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor is an original co-founder and is author of Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So and editor of the anthology Women Without Superstition. Her full Feb. 20 statement:

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