Lately, the Church has gotten a lot of grief from a lot of different places. I'm going to point out a couple major examples.
In my dorm at Michigan State, I can’t go a day without hearing about how because I’m a Christian, I “don’t care about gays”. Now, I am not numb to the fact that there are many Christians out there who do not reflect Christ’s love to all beings; that is a generalization that I would like to strike down. Although I am not perfect, I do my best to show love to everyone- regardless of their sexual orientation. So, to the people who tell me that I hate gays because I’m Christian, I am not the judgmental one. The judgmental one is you.
Of course, the same people who assume that I hate homosexuals are also pretty likely to bring up the whole “priest-altar boy sex scandal” argument, too. I don’t know about you, but the second someone makes that the basis of their argument against the Church, every other point they are about to make is completely invalidated. Not only are these cheap shots, but they’re also extremely inaccurate. In all seriousness, it’s a problem, and it makes me sick… it’s awful how a few people ruin the reputation for the entire Church.
Let’s be honest here- as a whole, the Church has a major PR problem. People see the Church as a hypocritical, scandalous, intolerant, gay-hating, self-indulgent, fun-sucking group of people who reject any kind of modern change. If reading that last sentence boiled your blood, then congrats- you’re a passionate Christian. These stereotypes get me going, too, because they couldn’t be any farther from the truth.
People expect that, because the Church endorses a virtuous lifestyle, its members must reflect that perfectly. Here’s the kicker: our faith doesn’t make us flawless. It makes us holy enough to be worthy of God’s grace. It doesn’t matter if you claim to be Christian or not, because if your actions don’t reflect it then you’re just a fake. It’s a problem if people only know that you’re a Christian by your Facebook. This is why we (as a Church) have such a bad reputation and are constantly attacked.
So I’ll admit, all of this definitely ticks me off. But get this- sitting here and pouting about how this persecution makes it hard to be Catholic &/or Christian will never solve anything. Even scripture tells us that we will be persecuted for following Christ:
2 Timothy 3: 10 – 13
“You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings… persecutions that I endured. Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me.In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived.”
So, what can we do about it? We are called to love, above all things- and honestly, that’s what we’re good at. We are called to welcome everyone into the Church, no matter what. We are called to be a not only tolerant, but loving Church. We, as the body of Christ, are called to be his hands and feet- to love one another as he has loved us. We are called to witness to Christ’s love through everything. A good witness not only knows the truth for him/herself, but is also prepared to share it with everything that they’ve got. We are all called to be bold and courageous witnesses to our faith- our faith in Jesus and our faith in God. If you want example of being bold and courageous, just look at the cross.