There is no such thing as "acceptable" Christianity
Despite the bright, warm sunshine outside, a pessimistic fog spread over the Washington Hilton early this morning as the 10th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast was underway in the ballroom.
“My message for you today is a somber one,” said Professor Robert George, who lectures on civil liberties at Princeton, to a packed ballroom of Catholics that included failed Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli. “The days of acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. …It’s not easy anymore. There are costs to discipleship, heavy costs that are burdensome to bear.”
Soon enough he’d get specific. George stressed that there are “powerful forces and currents in our society that press us to be ashamed of the Gospel. For example, if you believe that marriage is the consensual union between a man and a woman, you’re portrayed as bigoted, even hateful. …If you believe these things, some forces say you are a bigot [who is] against homosexuality [and] you ought to be ashamed.”
Again and again, George said Catholics must be brave — pointedly protecting the unborn and marriage between a man and a woman. “One can still be a comfortable Catholic, a tame Catholic who is ashamed of the Gospel,” he said. On the other hand, “A Catholic who makes it clear that he or she is not ashamed of the Gospel is in for a rough go.”
Believing in the Gospel, he warned, makes you “a marked man or woman” and jeopardizes “one’s standing in a polite society.” He said it also may cost you friends and provoke the alienation of family members.
His speech didn’t conclude on an optimistic note. Instead, he had pointed questions:
And he pushed practicing Catholics to not be wimpy. “Courage and cowardice, that’s what makes history,” he said. “We are not pawns moving around a chess board. We have choices.
“History is not God. God is God.”
That is the true power of the Christian faith.