07 August 2012

Rock the Desert, good music, fun times, a little Catholic bashing too.

This past weekend, many people of different ages gathered at Rock the Desert.  From our parish, there was a large group that attended the event, even set up tents.  In the midst of all the good music and fun, I was perplexed to hear that on Saturday evening, one of the speakers started to bash Catholics and Catholicism, reminding everyone of our need to be saved.   I was bothered to hear this, not only because as a priest I have dedicated my life to Christ and often interact with pastors and ministers of other denominations, but also because in a time when society facilitates the creation of “us” and “them” attitudes, a festival such as RTD, should be an event in which people come together in understanding and united in their beliefs, diverse as they may be.  Instead, through ignorant and false rhetoric, people such as this speaker are given authority and permission to continue to perpetuate misinformed ideas about “those” people.  Ideas that can often lead to such tragic events as what we most recently saw in Milwaukee, at the Sikh Temple, or ideas that can create further division and ignorance.  Instead of continuing to create a divisive atmosphere that can lead to xenophobia, maybe we should begin to reach out to our neighbor in an earnest attempt to understand who they are and what they are all about.  This means that tolerance is not an option, nor is distance, rather, it is about reaching beyond the things that make us different, and uniting to share with my neighbor as a fellow human being.  More and more, it has to be about bridging the gaps that may divide us, and taking the time to discover that “they” are just as human as I or we.  And so it is that in reaching out, beyond the Catholic, the Christian the this or that, we not only come to be a better people, but perhaps, it can be said that we become more human and better children of God.  

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