The Day I Was Disinherited…

I love new yorkThis past Friday, while I was less than 100 miles away (in New Hampshire) from where I grew up in Schenectady, New York, I was disinherited. That’s right. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of my birth State said this: “You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington… Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

So while I was visiting my grandchildren I was disinherited and branded an extremist because I am a Christian who is Pro-life and Pro-heterosexual marriage. Thanks gov for being such a tolerant guy and for being such a good Catholic, like your dad. At one time Catholics and Prots saw eye to eye on most social issues, but no more. I loved what Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote about this in a National Review article. “Who is the worst enemy of religious freedom? The enemy is within. Andrew Cuomo is a professed Catholic proclaiming the Gospel of secularism. Just as many a professed Catholic whose names are on the case names of all the lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services abortion drug, contraception, sterilization mandate. Secularism is not just a religion for atheist and agnostics, but every practical atheist – every religious believer who doesn’t live any differently than the culture prescribes. Any Christian who isn’t constantly challenged by the mandates of the Gospel and the precepts of his faith contributes to the tsunami of secularism. Too many of us all too often fall into this category, some as a matter of fallen nature and bad habits, others as a matter of lukewarm faith and utter indifference. Make no mistake: We make it easier for politicians to push religious faith to the margins.”

As we celebrated right to life Sunday nearly a week ago, let us realize that this is more than just a political battle. These issues are at the very soul of our faith and if we become cafeteria Christians, like Cuomo, then people like Cuomo will continue to marginalize believers by calling them extremists and lumping us altogether with those who believe in Sharia Law.

By the way, Cuomo’s reckless dismissal of what he considers an “extreme” minority is not accurate picture of even in his own state when it comes to abortion. Michelle Mankin writes that in “a recent poll of New Yorkers showed that the vast majority ‘support sensible restrictions on abortions, with 80 percent opposing unlimited abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy and 75 percent opposing changes in current law so that someone other than a doctor can perform an abortion.’ Contrary to Cuomo’s distorted view, the 21st-century pro-life movement is a diverse convergence of increasingly young and minority activists, feminist pro-lifers, independents and social conservatives. And contrary to Cuomo’s reckless telling of history, pro-life activism is ingrained in New York history.” Even Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other women suffragists who met at Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1840 were clear in their stand for life. Cady Stanton condemned the “murder of children, either before or after birth.” Alice Paul, who crusaded for the Equal Rights Amendment, called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women.”

So in a way, the governor’s words challenged me to continue to live out my faith according to the mandates of the Gospel. His rant also warned me of the dangers of a lukewarm faith which can cause me to be so easily sucked into the vortex of my culture that I become less like Jesus and more like Andrew Cuomo.

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15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris Neilsen on January 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Amen! Thank you for sharing this Pastor Dave.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Rick Franklin on January 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Well put Dave! I couldn’t agree more! Richard Roberts just posted something along the same vein writing that the slide of the culture is just as much a responsibility of the church as it is the culture because we have (and know) the Truth. The problem is we live so far from it (Him)! Have a great weekend and STAY WARM!!!

    Reply

  3. Good article, David. No words minced. Keep His light shining. Thanks! In Christ’s love, John

    Reply

  4. Posted by Mary Therese Hern on January 24, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I think technically one can’t actually be a practicing Catholic under these circumstances, according to the tenants of the Faith, which have always transcend American Buffet-Style Catholicism. If I remember my catechism correctly, I imagine that one would fall (pun intended) under the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, where by a penitent would need to appear in the confessional on a regular basis and confess to even having thoughts like this, If the confession was to an ongoing belief, absolution would not be granted and The Sacrament of Eucharist would not be available. Thus one would no longer be in a State of Grace. I mean one might say they are a “practicing Catholic” but this does not make it so.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

    It’s interesting, I think the Catholics would probably say the same of the Prots relatively easy acceptance of divorce, as Marriage is considered a Sacrament as well as Baptism, Confirmation, Healing and Holy Orders.

    One thing that is a comforting thought in all this is that those babies skip right over the hell that can exist on go straight to God, for I cannot imagine God eternally punishing somebody for making a choice they never had an opportunity to make.

    Ephesians is very interesting, Paul talks about empty words and being kind to one another, forgiving one another, and then throws out all kinds of seemingly judgmental words that would lead us right to unkindness and unforgiveness, lack of forbearance. Now I am a simple person, not learned in these ways, but I have been reading a book about Grammar, did not realize the comma and other punctuation was introduced well after the revelation in the Scriptures, and have enjoyed reading them from that perspective, wondering about things, being curious about riddles. Is it possible that Paul told us not to be thrown by empty words and then threw us for a loop by throwing a bunch of them at us? I know it is a radical thought and a priest would likely be unable to absolve me of it giving the fact that I have been ruminating about it for months, now, but still it is interesting. Actually a priest has not been able to absolve me for decades now.

    It’s also interesting. Luther stopped being a practicing Catholic, too, I realized one day, and wondered what would have happened if he stayed and prayed and changed things from the inside. It is so strange to realize that we “hold true” to so much of what was handed down from Catholicism, read Augustine and other Church Fathers, yet here is this schism, and we celebrate the breaking away from church teaching.

    On and on it goes, where it ends, only God knows.

    I often joke about my lapsed Catholicism and say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been 30 years since my last confession.”

    At my mother’s funeral, when it was time to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it was socially desirable for me to get up and get in line with everybody else who hadn’t been to confession in years, but knew my mother would have rolled over a couple of times in her coffin, then parked in front of the Altar, if any of us 10 children had not publicly demonstrated our commitment to the faith. I hadn’t been to Confession in 28 years and I knew it, so I stayed alone in the pew.

    In my own backwards way, I guess I was practicing Catholicism.

    Reply

  5. Posted by davideikenberry on January 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Once again I’ve enjoyed, appreciated, and benefitted from your thoughtful comments. While I understand and agree with the point you’re making, we both know it’s no more right to generalize all catholics as now being pro abortion than it is to assume that all protestants and/or evangelicals are now pro life.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Elizabeth on January 26, 2014 at 1:07 am

    I am not going to lie, I had to look up a few words from your post in order to slightly understand what you were talking about. What I did hear loud and clear is that there is no room for being passive in a life committed to Christ.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth. I want to be a better writer expressing my thoughts in ways people can understand. Maybe you can help me by relating which part or parts of my blog you found hard to understand. I’d appreciate that.

      Reply

      • Posted by Elizabeth on February 1, 2014 at 2:43 am

        I smile as I write this, because my post was to merely poke fun at myself and my own ignorance, not to question your ability as a writer. I thoroughly enjoy your style of writing and I use it to challenge myself when I am unfamiliar with a word or phrase that you use. Thank you for your honesty in your blogs and always exposing a vulnerable heart for Jesus.

  7. Posted by Paul on January 27, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    To pols like Cuomo, anyone who disagrees with them on any issue or menu of issues is “extreme”. As has happened (and continues to happen) to so many words, the misuse and over-use gradually diminishes the word of any objective meaning. I happen to believe that, while that may not be the primary intention behind such abuse, it is not an unintentional result. If one wishes to remove societal morals and norms, it can be easier to achieve through the back door, rather than through a head-on approach. But I suppose it is most effective to employ a coordinated attack from both fronts. (And they do.) It’s like covering one’s tracks or rewriting history. If you succeed in destroying what a word represents and at the same time remove that representation from the word, it’s as though that concept never existed.

    But perhaps the more appropriate response is to point out that one of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” is to incessantly tell the majority that they are a minority. People (not all, but enough) will wear-down and believe you after a time. Politicians of a particular stripe seem to be quite fond of Saul Alinsky. But I don’t appreciate politicians of any stripe telling “the American people” (or people of any community – say, Chicago) what we believe or what our values are. As though we can’t think for ourselves…. Obviously, they don’t want us to think for ourselves.

    Reply

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