Monday, July 29, 2013

Poll: Religious Conservatives Shrinking

There was an interesting poll put out the other day. It dealt with religion and politics, and it's worth discussing. What the poll shows is that the Religious Right is shrinking fast. And while some will certainly want to dismiss this poll, they probably shouldn't because the implications are rather startling.

The poll in question was conducted by a group called the Public Religion Research Institute in conjunction with the left-leaning Brookings Institute, and it found two interesting things.

First, the poll found that Americans are split religiously: 28% of Americans identify themselves as religious conservatives; 19% identify themselves as religious progressives; 38% identify themselves as religious moderates; and 15% identify themselves as non-religious. The poll did not identify intensity, so these numbers overstate the actual support each group would get politically, but that doesn't change this analysis; indeed, it only strengthens the point because what these numbers tell us is that no religious agenda can prevail with the public unless you win the moderates, i.e. there just aren't enough conservatives, progressives or non-ists for any of those three groups to push through their agenda without pulling in moderates. That’s bad news for Team Santorum, who argue that getting more extreme and more exclusive is the answer.

Indeed, it suggests what should be obvious: if you want to change the public's mind on this (or any other issue), go slowly. As Walter Williams once wrote, you can't boil a frog by throwing it into a boiling pot. You need to turn up the heat little by little. It's the same with persuading the public. You need to win them over bit by bit, winning their confidence with each step and making the next step seem less intimidating and less significant. That's the only way to win people over.

The second thing the poll investigated was the future of religion in America. This is where the really bad news for the Religious Right arises. What the poll found was that the number of religious conservatives is shrinking in each generation:
● 47% of the WWII Generation are religious conservatives
● 34% of the Baby Boomers are religious conservatives
● 23% of Gen X are religious conservatives
● 17% of Millennials are religious conservatives
This means the number of religious conservatives is collapsing and the Religious Right will lose about half its size over the next 20-30 years. Among Millenials, by the way, religious progressives (23%) and the non-religious (22%) will both easily outnumber them.

So what does this mean? Well, on the one hand, it means the Republicans have hitched their wagon to a dying horse. They have essentially become a party that caters to what may have been nearly 50% of Americans at one point, but will soon be less than two in ten. That's suicidal for a political party.

On the other hand, it stands as a warning for the Religious Right. Various statistics I’ve found suggest that conservatives have around 30% more children than liberals, and presumably religious conservatives would have even more, yet "religious conservatives" aren’t managing to get their kids to adopt their beliefs. Nor are they apparently able to attract others to their beliefs. Each of the other categories is growing, but religious conservatives are not. This suggests that religious conservatives are doing something that is driving young people away. Now far be it for me to suggest, but if the Religious Right wants to reverse this trend, I would suggest figuring out what the problem is and addressing it.

What's the solution? Well, that's up to you. But I think it's instructive that the Pope is facing a similar problem and his response has been to make a push for the Church to return to the substance of religion rather than the pomp and procedure. Just this week, he told his bishops to get out of their ivory towers and go help people. It's also interesting that this has resulted in a severe backlash by conservative Catholics, who view the pomp and procedure as the purpose of the Church. Interestingly, the nature of that backlash is explained by this poll as well. The poll found that religious conservatives are much more likely to believe that "being religious" is about having the right theological views rather than being moral AND that "being moral" is about being religious rather than how you behave. In other words, they subscribe to dogma over substance... the very thing the Pope is trying to reverse within the Church. It will be interesting to see if the Pope's plan works. It will be just as interesting to see if the Religious Right can turn this trend around.

Thoughts?

91 comments:

K said...

As the west's economic arc follows the Soviet Union, I predict religious progressivism/secularism will atrophy and be replaced by more conservative Christianity - as has happened in the past during crisis. Alternatively, and to my mind probably, Islam will rise to dominate by virtue of being willing and able to violently intimidate the media/academic machine, something which Christians are disinclined to do.

Patriot said...

Andrew.....I don't understand these terms you are using. You identify Santorum as the leader of the religious conservatives. Boo...hisss....bad man with bad ideas! Who is the leader or face of the religious moderates...or progressives? What do they believe and stand for?

Perhaps these affiliations have more to do with traditionalism than religion. I also submit that the % of religious "conservatives" has more to do with age than most anything else. I've heard it postulated that the older we get, and the closer to death, the more religious we get. Do we get more "progressive?" More "moderate?" in our religious views, much less our political views? So perhaps a better analysis of the data suggests that as we age, we become more "conservative."

Maybe there's a reason for that? Maybe we see our starry eyed idealism of our youth wane in the face of the realities of life? It's great to want to be a socialist when you're young. Living as we did when all our needs were taken care of by our parents. As we get older and realize that it is up us to take care of our basic needs and not rely on others. Look at OWS and all the young people at these rallies.

So, the poll results don't surprise me. What bothers me is the constant linkage of "religious conservatives" to the "conservative right-wing." Sure, they are a part of it, and maybe a big part, yet the primary driver I believe is a desire for a less intrusive government, greater states rights and a focus on individual freedom in decision making, rather than the opposite. That seems to me to be the distinction, rather than religion.

Tennessee Jed said...

well, if one couples this information with the fact nearly 4 out of 5 are relying on a government of assistance, a continually shrinking work force, and a "what's in it for me" mentality, I'd say get ready for the second version of the Clinton administration." "I'll take the blame, but not the fault," will go the way of the I.R.S. investigations ....basically nowhere. Nobody cares that an administration gets away with investigating itself. They care only about getting by from one government assisatance check to the next.

ScottDS said...

To sort of take up the baton from Patriot, if you showed this survey to anyone on the Religious Right (basically anyone who runs an organization with "Values" or "Family" in its name), they'll say something to the effect of, "People get more religious as they get older and just because someone is not religious as a youth doesn't mean they'll stay that way."

On that note, I'm wondering if you saw the study about the six different types of atheists. Many people who are vocal atheists are, in fact, anti-theists. As opposed to a "Ritual Atheist/Agnostic" like, say, me.

El Gordo said...

"This suggests that religious conservatives are doing something that is driving young people away."

Or maybe it is just a matter of convenience. The way of least resistance. We are getting less good at doing hard things and this is just one consequence. We couldn´t win WW2 either these days. Americans get "exhausted" by merely watching the news on tv. Once people realize faith is not required - even considered uncool - they drop it. I know I did.

Some denominations have tried to become "modern" and adjustable but they failed even more spectacularly. Therein lies a lesson.

Second, people who claim to be non-religious are not often truly secular. They still need to feel good about themselves and deal with their mortality. They become "spiritual" (i.e. superstituous) and they resort to easy paganism (the politics of blood and soil, the worship of nature, sex and other idols). Less Christian does NOT mean more rational.

Since America is built equally on enlightenment and Christianity, there is no way for conservatives to accommodate these folks while actually conserving anything.

The failure of conservatism may signal the failure of the social organism´s will to live, in the words of Roger Scruton, whose definition of conservatism works best for me.

Patriot said...

El Gordo....... Exactly! "Less Christian does NOT mean more rational."

The general gist of these arguments against religious conservatives, seems to be that somehow, if you are more of a traditionalist when it come to your religious views, then you concurrently lose any rational thoughts or behaviors. This is a standard trope of the left. 'Because we are not as religious as you troglodytes, we are more enlightened, thus more rational.'

That sentiment and belief is a bedrock of liberal thought. And I believe it drives religious people nuts, and they respond in kind with slams of their own. 'You're going to hell.' 'No society ever lasted once homosexuality became prevalent.' 'You liberals worship Satan.' 'Liberals religion is idol worship or cult of personality.' 'Gore's religion is global warming.'

So, can we accept that just because some of us are more religious than others does not mean we lose our ability to think rationally?

AndrewPrice said...

K, That's an interesting thought and I can definitely see angry young men joining something like Islam. It is a big thing in prisons apparently already.

But as the for the population at large, I doubt they will move toward the conservative view. I suspect they will move toward the progressive view as they become more activist in their thinking... "somebody need to fix this." So if we do follow the fate of the Soviets, which I totally doubt, I would suspect progressive religion would be the beneficiary.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, These people self-identified as religious conservatives, religious moderates, religious progressives and non-religious... they weren't assigned a label. And they were asked a bunch of other questions, about their views on things like (1) do you need to believe in God to be moral, (2) what defines religion, (3) what defines moral, and then a bunch of other economic and political questions.

The answers between the groups were startling in how far the religious conservatives were an outlier compared to each of the other groups. In other words, each of the other groups had fairly strong answers in one direction (only a few percentage points apart) yet the religious conservatives had basically mirror opposite views.

In terms of who is the Religious Right, it's the same people it's always been and Ricky is one of them. The names are familiar. They are the same people whose butts the Republicans just kissed in Iowa at their convention this month. They hold councils. They sit on and dominate the Republican Platform Committee. Etc. They are an identified set who claim to be the leaders of religious conservatives.

Who are they in this poll, well they are a subset of religious conservatives. They are not the full 28% (in fact, only 49% of "religious conservatives" felt that religion had a place in politics). But they claim to speak for the 28%, that's why these numbers matter politically -- it's the same way black leaders claim to speak for all blacks, La Rasa claims to speak for all Hispanics, gay groups claim to speak for all gays, and the progressives claim to speak for all liberals. It's not true, but it is what they claim and what the public wants to believe. So when the numbers of people they speak for drop, they lose influence.

So if you want to break the linkage, you'll need to start a pretty strong campaign to delegitimize the RR's claim to leadership... same problem conservatives and Republicans have with the public.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, "I'll take the blame, but not the fault." Wow, does that encapsulate so much these days! Nicely done!

I don't think government benefits really affects this, to tell the truth. I can't rule it out, but if benefits were the problem, the numbers would probably look different with people in their working years being the outlier. In fact, I would say that politics is not driving this. The Boomers were raised under massive liberalism. The Xers were raised under Reagan. The Millenials were raised under quasi-liberal Clinton. That should make the Xers stand out if politics were the core, but they don't.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and Patriot, It is possible this an age thing, though I doubt it. I would also not be happy just accepting that explanation if I were a religious conservative.

1. Just because people get more religious as they get older (which is an assumption, not a fact), does not mean they will choose the conservative version. Especially as progressive religion grows with the young, I would think they would be more likely to "return" to progressive religion as they age rather than suddenly becoming conservative religious.

2. I would argue that the Xers and the Boomers are well past the point they should be having their epiphany moments. The Xers now have children and families -- the moment this conversion to greater conservatism is supposed to happen. Yet only 2 in 10 fall into the category. The Booomers are retiring. The first wave is already 67. If they haven't made the switch yet, I doubt they will.

I have not seen the study you mean and I'll check it out later. But I agree with your statement. I think the political atheist movement is not an atheist movement, it's an anti-theist movement... their goal is not to be allows to have their beliefs, it's to stop others from having theirs.

tryanmax said...

I'm not the least bit perturbed by this news. For one, I don't believe that you can't be religious and a Democrat/Republican/on-the-sidelines. Claiming any combination of titles requires some acrobatic prioritization and willful blindness to something or another. But more than that, I'd be happy to see politicized religion back in the Democrat party where it rightly belongs.

El Gordo said...

"I'd be happy to see politicized religion back in the Democrat party where it rightly belongs."

That is an utopian view and not realistic. Religion and politics are always intertwined. Sometimes it is more obvious, sometimes less.

How can we complain about the insular outlook, the lazy clubbiness of the RR establishment and in the next step disown Christian conservatives? In pragmatic terms, even 17% are a block that Democrats would never let go of.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, The spiritualism angle is certainly rising and the Democrats are starting to take advantage of it by focusing on spiritual rhetoric. Look for that to expand. I think their goal is to take the moderates.

In terms of Americans not doing anything hard, I don't agree with that. I think it's the same mistake the Japanese/Germans made in WW2 when they saw us as soft because we were happy people who threw a lot of parties... decadent and soft. The American public is remarkably capable of rising to all challenges. What we aren't though is spartan. We will do the hard things, but when we don't have to, we like to play. That's the American way. Right now, there is no challenge facing us, so Americans are playing.

In terms of conservative religion being hard, I think the real problem is not that it's hard, but that it "lacks value." According to the poll, the overwhelming majority of religious conservatives said what makes someone religious/moral is "having the right beliefs." In other words, believe the dogma is the goal... embrace the theory. By comparison, each of the other groups went overwhelmingly the other way and said it was about being moral and morality was about how you act. In other words, walk the walk... embrace the practice.

I get that some people think "this is the word of God and either you do it or you go to hell." For them, it's a no-brainer that the dogma has value. To them, that's all that matters. But they are a small group. Outside of them, it seems to me that religion is about value... "how does it make my life better?" In that regard, it seems that dogma is less attractive and behavior is more important.

To me, the solution is what the Pope seems to be contemplating, if I'm reading him right: (1) don't drop the dogma, because that is the ultimate purpose, but (2) embrace the rest of it... do the charity work, give people comfort, pull in the stuff that makes the moderates happy.

El Gordo said...

There are many on the Right - not just Christians - who don´t want to be in power. They prefer purity and smallness, being in their cocoon, never having to compromise. They don´t want to engage the bad world out there. They want to drive people away. Everything is a fight to the death over principles. It is a seductive way of thinking but not a winning formula. Even if it makes certain "leaders" rich, it must be overcome.

If they want to play a role in politics, religious conservatives must be smarter. They must be aware that they are not an outright majority, silent or otherwise. They must realize that you cannot survive politically if you use you faith as a shield against the world.

On the other hand, as I tried to make clear in my previous comment, conservatism is pointless without a foothold in Christianity. If we cannot conserve that, we have lost and might as well not bother. There is no Enlightenment without Christianity.

We may believe that we cannot legislate morality, that we can govern rationally, pragmatically without recourse to religion. It doesn´t work that way. I am not a believer, but I know only two truly secular people and I´m one of them. In my way, I do not trust the People either. The alternative to Christianity is not secularism, not "progressive Christianity", it´s pagan barbarism. I´m not going to trust the relaxed attitudes of millenials as a safeguard against it.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, "Less Christian" does not mean "more rational." The two concepts are unrelated.

What is related is "less obsessed" means "more rational"... in any pursuit. Once you switch to emotional thinking, especially the kinds of blindness and rage that go with obsession, you lose all of your rationality.

In that regard, there are Christians like Rick Santorum who are flat out nuts and completely irrational and there are "anti-Christians" who claim to be rational but are just the flip side of the Santorum coin... they obsessed in the other direction.

In terms of this being an attack, I think it's important to note that again, except for the anti-theist fringe on the left who do attack all religion, few people would mock ALL Christians. What they tend to mock are the select set who do play into that... the busybody set.

tryanmax said...

Gordo, by "politicized religion" I mean just that--not a broader reference to the interplay between relation and politics in general. I see the Democrats as reflecting the more collectivist end of the political spectrum and, as such, politicized religion (I will use law to make you conform to my beliefs) belongs more in their wheelhouse. Please bear with me; an adequate dissection would take pages and this is just a brief comment.

tryanmax said...

LOL autocorrect! Above should read "...between religion and politics..."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Politics corrupts everything it touches, and religion is no different. The problem is the dynamic. Politics attracts the worst kind of people. It attracts narcissists who want to control everyone else. To them, religion isn't a belief system they follow so much as a tool they can use to justify their claim to divine right. So what ends up happening is they end up twisting and reinterpreting the religion to fit their own purposes... "yeah, Jesus said hate purple people who own boats." That is ultimately destructive to religion, and it generates a backlash.

And to make the point clear, this applies to any religion, not just Christianity.

The best way for religion and politics to interact, in my opinion, is when people's religious beliefs inform their ideas of right and wrong, which then help shape their opinions about policy. The worst way is to claim to speak for the religion through politics.

Kit said...

'No society ever lasted once homosexuality became prevalent.'

Like Sparta and Athens! ;)

Kit said...

"The worst way is to claim to speak for the religion through politics."

Cough! -Roy Moore- Cough!

El Gordo said...

Outside of them, it seems to me that religion is about value... "how does it make my life better?"

Christianity is special in that it teaches two things: that the universe is orderly, like a clockwork, and can (and should) be deciphered and even controlled by man. And that each man is unique, having an innate value, created in the image of God but also fallen and imperfect.

That is where our values come from. So cnservatism must care about that.

And these values are not easy to deal with. It is hard to explain in purely rational terms why we shouldn´t kill those who won´t be missed, for example.

"By comparison, each of the other groups went overwhelmingly the other way and said it was about being moral and morality was about how you act. In other words, walk the walk... embrace the practice."

But without the discipline of organized religion, when the practice becomes uncomfortable, you get mission creep. The abortion debate illustrates that.

I believe that people have to find a way to deal with their mortality and in the absence of Christian dogma there will be another dogma, at least for a sizable percentage. If they don´t believe this, they will believe that. For example that people in the third world need to starve so the planet can heal. We used to call that idolatry. And they can make a perfectly logical argument for it. Not that all Christians are impervious to bad ideas, hell no, but at least you can tell them they are bad Christians. What do you tell a barbarian?

Kit said...

"The American public is remarkably capable of rising to all challenges. What we aren't though is spartan. We will do the hard things, but when we don't have to, we like to play. That's the American way."

So Americans are basically Tom and Huck? We'll stop Indian Joe or save Jim from slave-catchers but for the most part we just want to "play hooky" and relax?

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo and trynmax, The issue isn't really disclaiming anyone. The issue of the article is really just the trend that seems to be happening and if it can be changed.

I think it can, but it's not up to me.

El Gordo said...

"I see the Democrats as reflecting the more collectivist end of the political spectrum and, as such, politicized religion (I will use law to make you conform to my beliefs) belongs more in their wheelhouse."

Good point. I get that. But Judaism and Christianity (unlike Islam) are not inherently collectivist although they certainly can and will be misused for collectivist goals. As Andrew says, "politics corrupts everything it touches, and religion is no different." But Democrats do that with anything, even old Abe, even the flag and the constitution. No reason to give up on them.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, There are many on the Right - not just Christians - who don´t want to be in power. They prefer purity and smallness, being in their cocoon, never having to compromise. They don´t want to engage the bad world out there. They want to drive people away. Everything is a fight to the death over principles. It is a seductive way of thinking but not a winning formula. Even if it makes certain "leaders" rich, it must be overcome.

BINGO! I'm kind of writing about that tomorrow, based on a rumor that appeared this weekend. Right now, conservatism is beset by lunatics... some religious, some libertarian, some who-the-hell-knows. They are in this to feel like armchair martyrs. They want to drive people away because it makes them feel special to be this small, pure group who think they are better than everyone else. We need to be rid of these people because they are destroying us. They are not our friends.

On conservatism and Christianity, I would substitute "religion" because I think Jews and some other religions like Hindus are capable of being solid, enlightened conservatives, BUT that quibble aside, I agree with you. Religion done properly is an amazing foundation for a peaceful, orderly, moral and decent society.

And religious belief and conservatism should go hand in hand, especially if you've ever read the actual words of Jesus. The things he talks about should be conservative values.

Unfortunately, a lot of people (left and right) twist his words into things they are not... cough cough Rick Santorum cough cough. And a whole segment of people have reinterpreted his words into "Let's get the government to handle my obligations to God for me." That flies in the face of everything he said.

T-Rav said...

Further proof that I was born about fifty or sixty years too late. Thank God my birth wasn't postponed until 2050, I guess.

Kit said...

Andrew,

I too am tired of these "armchair martyrs".

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, There are many who claim to speak for religion as politicians... both left and right. Moore is a great example on the right.

This has been going on since we fell out of the trees probably, so it's nothing new. In fact, most Kings once claimed to be chosen by God as their representatives on Earth. I think the reason it's an issue right now is basically that modern social issues are no longer mass movements about obvious injustices... slavery, segregation, etc. They are instead small group (6% of the public verses 6%) issues and they tend to be based on theological points: is homosexuality a sin and should the law consider it the such, when does life begin and which belief should the law accept, etc.

That makes the question of who is behind each side much more important/relevant than it was when the issue was stopping slavery or letting women vote.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, If you were born 50-60 years ago, you could be collecting social security and living in Florida right now yelling "get off my lawn!" :D

Tennessee Jed said...

I'm going to apologize for a very brief off-topic on the thread. If you have access to a DVR and MGMHD, the original Rollerball airs on that network tonight at 7:30 p.m. If you have never seen it, or worse, have only seen the excrutiating re-make from a few years ago, you owe it to yourself to catch this or rcord it for a more covenient screening.

Sorry for that, but maybe someone will benefit as a result. Like Lawhawk, I was raised Lutheran. Kick ass hymns and liturgy. I loved that so I never got too hung up on how "literal" the bible was meant to be taken, and concentrated more on living my own life as ethically as possible. The Golden rule covers a lot of it. As a matter of fact, if the Weiners and Clintons would only follow the golden rule, they would both get out of public life and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, "That is where our values come from. So conservatism must care about that."

I agree, but I think that's the "theory problem." I think most people are looking for more from religion. I think the problem is that conservatives and moderates are split on the next step...

Conservatives seem to think there is no step: "You know the rules, what more do you want?" That to them is the value in religion. Whereas, moderates look to religion to give them more touchy-feely stuff: acts of comfort. They don't disown or deny the part conservatives like, they just don't see that as sufficient value.

If that's true, then what you have is a disconnect. That's what I think the Pope is up to. I think he's trying to add that second step while keeping the first step as the focus so that he can pull moderates back into the Church, because I don't think moderates object to conservative beliefs on religion, they just want more.

That's my take.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Excellent interruption! That's one of my favorite movies. Thank you! :D

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I don't know if that's 100% accurate because Americans are workaholics. I think a better way to describe it is that Americans focus on their own lives until it makes sense to deal with bigger picture issues. And when they do, they are prepared for any challenge. It is a mistake to assume that Americans can't meet those challenges just because our natural mode is "live your own life."

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, That is so true... Democrats corrupt everything they touch.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I am too. Tune in tomorrow.

Kit said...

Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel?

AndrewPrice said...

Abso-battin'-lutely.

Koshcat said...

I'm not touching this one. All I will say is you have to keep the democrats out of your wallet and republicans out of your bedroom. This isn't a new saying and probably reflects waxing and waning of different influences.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, LOL! I've heard that before. Nice saying. :)

Koshcat said...

I got it from my dad and I think I first heard it from him at least 25 years ago.

AndrewPrice said...

I have no idea where I heard it, but it sums things up pretty well.

ScottDS said...

Adding to what Koshcat said, I once saw a comedian on TV who said something to the effect of:

"I can't be a Democrat because I like to spend the money that I make and I can't be a Republican because I like to spend it on coke and whores!"

Kit said...

Sounds like a libertarian saying.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, LOL! Nice.

Kit, I would say it leans that way.

Individualist said...

Well As a Catholic I am confused by what we define as conservative catholics because as I udnerstand it, the conservative catholics the ones that still want the mass said in Latin come from a very liberal Democrat base where most Catholics were in the 50's.
:
The Catholics that I know today that are religious and conservative are not on baord with Pat Robertson and never will be. More and more I see Catholics getting annoyed at and despising the left over what are obvious attempts to harm the church and tell her what her principles should be.
:
It is getting to the point that bishops who are normally very quiet politically and try to stay out of politics are feeling the need to publicly tell Nancy Pelosi to STFU about what Catholicsm teaches. Catholic charities are being regulated out of business by this government. The abortion issue being forced on Catholic Insurance plans, the adoption service being told they have to give children to gays or essentially they can't get fudning which equalte to not being able to operate since you can't engage in the charity without the approval of government funds.
:
I don't know where these numbers come from but where I live I see more conservative Republican Catholics than I ever have in the past. My aunt who is around 80 and the only democrat left in the family one Easter came to me and said why is everyone now a Republican, Catholics are supposed to be democrats.
:
Then again we don't live in the north.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Catholics are a strange group. For reasons that I think are more historical than accurate, they are presumed to be "working class whites." They are also presumed to reject most of the Church's teachings and go their own way. I suspect that information is rather out of date.

As for what makes one a conservative Catholic versus a liberal Catholic, I know the Latin mass and the fish on Friday thing was a big deal in the past, but I suspect today's divide is more about how strictly to follow the Church's teachings. I'm not sure though as I'm not Catholic.

Patriot said...

Indi and Andrew.......As a Catholic, albeit a lapsed one, I was brought up a strict Roman Catholic who attended parochial Catholic schools. Here's a few "insider" points I don't think those who aren't Catholic understand.

* Catholics study the catechism not the Bible. Although the catechism is taken from the Bible, I never saw a Holy Bible in church or studied it in school.

* Many, many Catholics believe the Vatican II changes to the Mass caused a major rift in the Church, with many formerly devout Catholics leaving or 'lapsing' into a more individualistic faith.

* Catholics felt that the never-changing, comfortable rituals of the Mass over the centuries (based on the Last Supper of Christ) were what tied them in an unbroken line back to the first Christians.

So, the Catholic Church we see today is really nothing like the old ways. And remember, the "Puritans" and "Pilgrims" that settled this land were NOT Catholic, and in fact, probably hated Papists. A feeling that lasted all the way up to the early 60's when JFK became the first Catholic President. Boy, he was a great representative of the faith wasn't he?

Anyway, I like Pope Francis and what he stands for in the new Catholic Church. Always felt the Church could have done more ministering to the poor and downtrodden (homeless?). He looks like he's getting back to the basics of Church first principles teachings.

"In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti"

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, That's my impression too, that Pope Francis is trying to get the Church to do more ministering. It will be interesting to see if that works. If it does, then it could prove a good model for religious conservatives to follow. Right now, the SOP seems to be mega-churches preaching to upper-middle class whites with little one-on-one contact. Obviously, they aren't all like that, but the ones around here are -- people like Focus on the Family.

In an odd sort of way, I think JFK has become the stereotype for "Catholic" in the US.

Patriot said...

Andrew....But I think that is the problem. Lay people (agnostics, atheists, liberals) view Catholics in the same sphere as the mega Church pastors, when in fact, there are very few mega Catholic Churches with popular, charismatic leaders (priests) who pontificate (nice huh?!) about politics and social issues.

What's amazing to me is Pelosi's brand of Catholicism and politics. Politics takes preference over Church dogma and doctrine. She will probably campaign to be placed on the Sainthood track because she's a "good Catholic."

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Very nice! I got a chuckle out of that! :D

On how average people view the Catholic Church, I'm not sure they see them in the same category as the mega churches. I think people tend to think of Catholic churches as older, smaller and more minority-oriented.

I know they are seen as doctrinaire, but I get the sense people also see a schism between "the Church" and the parishioners, with the parishioners tending to ignore the parts of the doctrine they don't like. At least, that seems to be the popular portrayal. I have no idea how true any of that is in practice.

On Pelosi, Pelosi is one of those people who uses religion to justify her own behavior. I don't think she cares at all what the Church/Bible/etc. says because she bends theology to fit her ideology... she believes only in herself.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, not being Catholic, I couldn't say, but it's my sense that there's a considerable disconnect between official priestly dogma and the behavior of parishioners, especially on specific issues like birth control; and that this has been especially the case since Vatican II. No statistics to back it up, but that's my impression.

On Pelosi.....word.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Not being Catholic, I'm only going by what I've read here and there, but that's my sense too.

Word, indeed. :)

Koshcat said...

The religious right has another bad habit. If they feel like the person representing their party isn't "conservative enough", they won't show up to vote. It may not have been enough to elect Romney, but I think there were several from this group who stayed home. I suspect many of these people did so due to Romney being Mormon. Mormons seem to set off the religious right faster than Lohan can snort a line of coke.

BevfromNYC said...

Well, Pope Francis stated today that "who was he to judge" celibate priests who were gay. This, of course, was interpreted by the HuffPo crowd that he sanctioned homosexuality in general. Maybe he did, but my interpretation of what he said is that if priests are supposed to be celibate anyway, if they are gay then it should be kind of non-issue since..well they are supposed to be, well...celibate. Any thoughts?

BevfromNYC said...

Koshcat - The whole Mormon issue still just baffles me. I know that it goes back for generations, this discrimination of Mormons, but I am do not really understand why. All of the Mormons that I have met are the nicest, most wholesome people that I've ever met. Though that whole "no caffeine" thing is just wrong to me. How can they be so cheerful and NOT use caffeine???

Koshcat said...

It's the Postum and the garments that makes them so happy.

The RR sees them as a dangerous cult. They do have some, what I consider, goofy ideas. Many who lived all their lives in Utah are not as friendly (as I discovered living there for awhile) as others outside the state. I grew up with friends who were Mormon and overall seemed harmless to me (heck, some of them threw keggers back then).

BevfromNYC said...

I can understand why they would be less than friendly considering that once they got to Utah, people tended to try and kill them on a regular basis. The garments are no different than any other religious garments (see: conservative and orthodox Jews, Muslims, Sikhs etc.). And since it's undergarments, how do people know they are wearing them anyway? Hmmmm?

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I know that they have denied that, but I agree with you. Prior to the election there was a clear effort to keep RR voters from voting for Romney. It took the form of luckwarm support, lack of endorsements, faint praise, and constant backhanded attacks.

I think it stemmed in part from the Mormon issue and in part from a pure power play. The RR has been losing power within the party to the Tea Party element and this was an attempt to tell the party, "If you don't give us everything we want, we'll leave you and you'll lose."

The things is, even beyond this last election, they have repeatedly threatened to stay home, just as the RINOs have. You can't trust allies who play those games.

Now, all that said, I do think they stayed home, but it didn't matter. The problem is that the party is bleeding voters in the middle and without those voters, we won't win. Turnout can't win it for us.

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, and on the kegger thing, I knew many a Baptist and Church of Christ young member who was out partying on Saturday night drinking everyone under the table and was the holiest of the holies on Sunday morning....

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Here's what I've read....

He has not changed the Church's position on gay marriage. He was actually asked about that today and he said, "You know what the Church's position is."

The thinking seems to be that what he's doing is saying that the Church will "de-emphasize" sexual issues rather than change positions.

They think what he's doing is he's reminding/chastising the faithful that they are meant to love gays and not discriminate against them, but he's not going to change the Church's position that "gays are called to celibacy."

In effect, he's saying, look we aren't going to change, but all you faithful better remember that you have obligations to gays... now let's move on to other issues and stop talking about this sex stuff because it's not the reason the Church exists.

That would be consistent with the other things he's doing.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's the magic underwear.

All the Mormons I've met have been nice people... so nice I can't associate with them without going on a crime spree to reset the balance of good and evil in the fricken universe. I have heard from non-Mormons who lived in Utah that they are not very pleasant to outsiders out there, but I've never lived there.

But it's not the niceness that matters. The RR is about doctrine. And to them, the Mormons are the same thing as Muslims -- heretics. That's the issue in the poll about what makes someone moral. Religious moderates say "moral behavior" makes someone moral. Religious conservatives say "being religious" makes people moral, and they define being religious as "having the right beliefs." Ergo, "having the right beliefs" makes someone moral.

That's why the RR doesn't like Mormons. They don't care about the behavior, they care about the theology, and Mormon theology is unacceptable to them.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Nice Lindsey Lohan reference. She's given so much to the world. LOL!

Patriot said...

Andrew......The point of the Church commenting on modern societal trends is moot. I think you're right in what the takeaway to Pope Frank's comments on gays. "Render unto Caesar" and all that. Everyone Catholic, and others, know what the Church's position is on most issues. I think the press just loves to push, and poke and prod a Pope to see if he'll start moving the goalposts a little bit on modern issues like gays. There have always been gay priests. It was the profession one went in to to stay alive if they weren't the #1 son or were boy lovers.

So I think the Pope gave a great diplomatic answer on the Church's position on gay marriage. It is not up to the Church to proclaim. We all know what the Church's position is. The "poperazzi" (hah!), like all sniveling whelps, want to be the ones to break the next big papal schism in the Church. Doesn't look like they're going to get one from this Pope!

AndrewPrice said...

Ok, that was even funnier... "poperazzi." LOL! Nice!

BevfromNYC said...

Yes, I most definitely agree with you, Andrew about Pope Francis. I think he wants to move the Church back to its original purpose to minister to the poor in a very real way and admonishing his flock to live as true Christians with compassion rather than "judgment" including all in the leadership of the Church. I find it refreshing that he is leading by example by literally throwing off the mantel of the Pope and living what he believes and by all accounts, has always believed. It will breath new life into the Church. I don't expect he will last very long as there are powerful people who are are more married to the trappings than to the true meaning of Christianity.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I have to say that so far he has impressed me with his genuineness and his spirit. I suspect he will do very well at reviving the Church throughout the world.

As for the other part, are you suggest that "Big Church" will stage an assassination?

BevfromNYC said...

Well, who poisoned Pope John Paul I, hmmmm? He was also a "pastoral" Pope...hmmm? I know, "they" say it was "the Mafia", but which "mafia"? A papal Mafia, maybe? Hey, I've read Dan Brown's novels!!

AndrewPrice said...

Sounds like the Masons... Jackie Mason and Perry Mason.

BevfromNYC said...

Would you consider the Free Masons a religious organization? This is a serious question, by the way.

AndrewPrice said...

Not based on the ones I know. I know they have a lot of religious beliefs and some teachings, but from what I know of them, they seem more like club than an organization with a mission.

What's your view?

BevfromNYC said...

I have a very broad definition of what I consider "religious". Maybe a little too broad, I admit. But it has a doctrine by which members must adhere, ritual custom and costume, and mysteries not known to people who are not adherents. And they minister to the less fortunate including financing hospitals. Though I don't know of any other religious organizations who ride tiny tricycles.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I suppose you could define them as a religious organization then. I know that some of them view it as a religious organization.

I don't thought because I don't think it's a "stand alone" religious organization. In other words, they aren't offering a particular religion... they seem to farm the religious part out to other churches.

Plus, most of the Masons I know seem to view it as just a place to further their intense alcoholism... and ride tricycles periodically.

Kit said...

Frat clubs for Adults?

AndrewPrice said...

I would say that's accurate. I doubt the Masons would agree, but that's kind of how I see it.

Rustbelt said...

Countdown to Catastrophe

JULY 29, 1914 (99 years ago today…) -Part 1 of 3

Early Morning
In Russia, orders for partial mobilization- against Austria only- begin to be sent out. NOTE: This was approved yesterday afternoon when Czar Nicholas signed the two mobilization orders.

7:00 AM
The British First Fleet sails through the Straits of Dover on their way to Scapa Flow on the orders that Churchill issued yesterday

Morning
At a Cabinet meeting, British Foreign Secretary Grey refuses to commit Great Britain to any policy regarding impending war on the continent. This is because of a deep divide in the Liberal government. If Grey were to recommend neutrality, Prime Minster Asquith and Churchill would resign over Britain apparently abandoning France. On the hand, declaring warlike intentions would lead to other Cabinet members- possibly Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George- resigning. This policy of no policy will keep the British government together for the moment. Churchill’s request to fully mobilize the fleet will be rejected later in the day.

11:00 AM
At Chorister’s Bridge, Pourtales meets with Sazonov. Pourtales says Russia shouldn’t make things worse with a ‘premature mobilization’ against Austria. (He’s invoking the telegram the Kaiser sent to the Czar the night before.) Sazonov says Austria should halt its own mobilization.

Early Afternoon
After arriving a few hours earlier in Dunkirk, French President Poincare and Prime Minister Viviani finally get back to Paris by train. A massive, patriotic crowd excited over impending war is there to greet them. Both have been behind events due to the limited range of their battleship’s wireless transmitter. French Undersecretary of State Abel Ferry tries to get them up to speed. The pair now know that French Morocco and Algeria have been mobilized with many civilians evacuated. The two then meet with Russian Ambassador Alexander Izvolsky. Izvolsky doesn’t go into detail about Russia’s war preparations (likely because it’s a violation of their alliance; neither side can mobilize without telling the other first.) Instead, they only discuss Sazonov’s demand that Austria immediately suspend military action against Serbia.
At about the same time in London, Austrian Ambassador Mensdorff tells Grey that it’s too late for a diplomatic settlement with Serbia. Grey responds, “then perhaps it’s also too late to avert a general war.”
German Chief of Staff General Helmut von Moltke sends a note to Chancellor Bethmann, warning that Austria is provoking Russian mobilization and that the system of alliances would quickly result in a catastrophic war, or “the mutual butchery of the civilized nations of Europe.” The two then meet with War Minister Fahlkenhayn, who wants Germany’s “Imminent Danger of War” program (similar to Russia’s "Period Preparatory to War") to begin immediately. The plans call for it to be followed automatically by general mobilization two days later. Moltke and Bethman hedge, holding out hope for the Kaiser’s Halt-in-Belgrade plan.

Rustbelt said...

Countdown to Catastrophe

JULY 29, 1914 (99 years ago today…) -Part 2 of 3

12:50 PM
At Moltke’s urging, Bethmann orders ambassadors in France and Russia to clarify the intentions of those countries. He does so by ordering the ambassadors to tell those countries that Germany would have to take up pre-mobilization efforts in response to their military build-ups. His first mistake of the day- telling the potential enemies that Germany will threaten war.

Late Afternoon
Berlin staffers learn that Russian mobilization is now very likely. Foreign Minister Jagow angrily tells Russian Ambassador Sergei Sverbejev “Germany would be obliged to mobilize as well. There was therefore nothing more to do; from now on diplomats would have to let the cannons talk.”

4:40 PM
Bethmann, Moltke, Fahlkenhayn, and Tirpitz meet with the Kaiser in Potsdam. Everyone takes their turn blaming the whole thing on Bethmann. However, everyone- except for Fahlkenhayn- is still holding out hope for the Halt-in-Belgrade plan. Believing that British neutrality is still the key to winning a major war, Bethmann suggests surrendering the German Fleet to Britain as a goodwill gesture- his second mistake of the day. The Kaiser shuts him up and sends him back to Berlin.

5:00 P.M.
Sazonov meets with Austrian Ambassador Szapary, saying “Russian interests are identical to those of Serbia." He learns of Austrian shelling near Belgrade while they talk and ends the meeting in a rage.

7:00 P.M.
Pourtales meets with Sazonov again, this time bringing along Bethmann’s threat of Germany being “compelled to mobilize if Russia continued its own preparations." Russian Chief of Staff Schilling records that Sazonov “sharply replied, ‘I no longer have any doubt as to the real cause of Austrian intransigence.’ At this, Count Pourtales jumped up from his seat, and also sharply exclaimed, ‘I protest with all my power, Mr. Minister, against this injurious assertion.’” The meeting ends “coolly.”
In Berlin, Bethmann’s day just gets worse. Belgium is preparing to defend itself, strengthening its fortifications, mainly Liege- the closest fort to Germany. He then receives reports from Ambassador Lichnowsky in London. Word in Britain is that Italy will not support Germany and Austria in a war; also, there is a firm conviction that unless Austria backs down, world war is inevitable. And with Russian mobilization possibly underway already, Bethmann meets with the military leaders, who agree that Russia must be made to look like the aggressor. Bethmann decides to try one more card.

Rustbelt said...

Countdown to Catastrophe

JULY 29, 1914 (99 years ago today…) -Part 3 of 3

Late Evening
Ambassador Tschirschky finally delivers the note detailing the Four Power peace plan- Telegram 174- to Austrian Foreign Minister Berchtold. Berchtold refuses it outright.

8:00 PM
Sazonov and Czar Nicholas discuss the telegram from Kasier Wilhelm and the threat delivered by the German Ambassador. Nicholas gives permission for mobilization to be discussed.

8:20 PM
The Czar sends another “Willy-Nicky” telegram. He asks for clarification on the contradictory positions he and the chancellor have sent, and also proposes his plan that the whole situation be handled by the Hague Conference in Belgium.

9:00 PM
Nicholas gives permission to begin general mobilization against Austria-Hungary and Germany.

9:40 PM
Czar Nicholas receives another “Willy-Nicky” telegram from Kasier Wilhelm. (He doesn’t realize that it’s a response to the one he sent last night, as the Hague proposal isn’t mentioned.) Wilhelm agrees to act as mediator, but says that Russia’s military moves might threaten peace talks. Within twenty minutes, Nicholas gets past his surprised military leaders and calls off the general mobilization. He tells an aide, “everything must be done to save the peace. I will not become responsible for a monstrous slaughter!”
Note: Partial mobilization against Austria, due to start at midnight, has NOT been called off.

10:30 PM
Bethmann meets with British Ambassador Sir Edward Goschen. He starts off good, explaining that a Russian attack on Austria could lead to a general European war. Then he makes his third blunder of the day. He promises that Germany doesn’t want any French territory. But when Goschen presses him on French colonies, Bethmann can’t promise anything. (Germany seems to desire French colonies.) Then, after getting Bethmann to assure that Germany will respect Holland’s neutrality, Goschen asks if Germany will also respect Belgium’s neutrality as guaranteed by the 1839 Treaty of London. Bethmann can only say that as long as Belgium doesn’t take sides against Germany, “her integrity would be respected after the conclusion of the war.” His fourth error- practically giving away Germany’s plan of attack in a war against France. After Goschen leaves, Bethmann gets another telegram from Lichnowsky. He reports that Grey has told him that if a European war breaks out over the Austria-Serbia issue, “the British government would be forced into taking rapid decisions. In this case, it would not do to stand aside and wait.” (Meaning the British will side with France and Russia.)

Rustbelt said...

You know, I haven't been naming these WWI posts. But if I was, I'd probably call today's post:

"Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I keep thinking what for an interesting situation this was. You've got fear, incompetence and bravado all coming together to start a war that none of them want.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, I would add to that:

-Foreign Ministers trying to prove they have guts (Berchtold, Sazonov)
-an entire country that just wants revenge (France)
-a terrorist-sponsoring state that (almost) everyone feels sympathy for (Serbia)
-a rising country (Germany), desperate for respect, but so alienated that they feel they have to rescue a friend who only gets them into trouble (Austria); come to think of it, Austria is almost like that guy you grew up with, become a perpetual troublemaker, and is always asking you to bail him out at 3:00 AM; you know you should toss him aside and move on, but you're afraid that might leave alone because it seems that no one else likes you

I don't know how long the list of "what ifs" would be for this thing; after all the theories about national aspirations, personalities, complex backgrounds and government systems, I can only conclude this as a massive, historical perfect storm.

Rustbelt said...

You know, Andrew, that just reminded of a famous quote about World War I:

"It was feared before it started, loved while it lasted, and hated after it ended."

(This was written about America's participation, as Europeans came to hate it long before it was over. But it seems to sum a lot about this conflict.)

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, It really is. Any one of these guys could have stopped this in any number of ways, but none of them was able to because their own "issues" aligned perfectly to keep making things worse.

It's interesting because it shows that one of the world's greatest wars was started not by warmongers, but by cowards and fools and weak leaders.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, it actually makes me appreciate the strong leadership America (mostly) enjoyed during the Cold War. Sure, we had minor conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. But just imagine what would've happened if fools like these had been in charge in a time of nuclear weapons.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, Our system is superior.

The Europeans were run by inbred fools who had a small cadre of elites who were given responsibility for everything (France and Britain still are today). They weren't answerable to the public. Thus, they had people with no particular skill except being born to the right family occupying vital jobs and they answered to monarchs whose goal was just to compete with their fellow monarchs. They were countries whose motivation was pride.

Americans are too practical to allow that. To get to the top in the US, you need to demonstrate some level of achievement to get recognized and then prove yourself with a grueling campaign. Once you take office, you can pick from the best and the brightest to fill your cabinet -- with the Senate to keep out any real freaks. Then your primary job becomes managing America, Inc. in conjunction with the other competing branches. And the purpose of the country is not glory or pride, it's to make sure that average Americans can go about their business. That simply doesn't lend itself to adventuring or incompetence. And it means that when Americans do get involved, they have smarter people running the show and they know their mission is to solve the problem quickly and effectively... not to please a borderline retarded descendant of a European strongman.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, I agree completely. Even though we have problems here, there's always the chance we can correct it.
However, I can't get that nagging worry out of the back of my head that America, being run by imperfect human beings, could end up in a perfect storm without anyone realizing it. Maybe I'm reading too much into the gloom-and-doom talk and my own opinions of the Obama Administration. Or maybe WWI just proved George Washington right when he said, "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance." So far, we've done a far superior job than Europe. I just hope the incoming generations aren't as complacent and foolish as they seem to be at the moment.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, We make mistakes all the time, but America excels at correcting them. And those fixes come from the bottom up, not the top down, which is why they keep coming and why they work so effectively.

As for Obama, let me say that I despise him and I think he and his team are total fools. But I also realize how little influence they really have, how quickly they defer to smarter people when something serious (like war) arises, and that nothing they've done can't (or won't) be undone. Obama has been far less dangerous than Nixon was in terms of government growth and loss of freedom. He's actually on a par with Bush W. in that regard.

I think there is a "doom and gloom" sense that hits us because that is what everyone is selling. EVERYTHING is the end of the world... debt, war, poverty, immigrants, moral decay, inequality, fat kids, corporate corruption, crappy films, lawsuits, gays, crazies, climate change, unions/non-unions, bankruptcy, China, etc.

The news, talk radio, the MSM, politicians... they don't tell us about the problems are we need to fix, they scream about THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH! 99% of it is simple BS and the parts that aren't don't really threaten anything and can be fixed. Do we have problems? Sure. But nothing earth shattering... nothing we can't fix.

Rustbelt said...

"nothing we can't fix." That's the American spirit we need to hear more of.
You know, Andrew, when I was working at the TV station, people (after learning where I worked) would ask me in restaurants why all the news has to be so gloomy. I often replied with one of my producer's top rules, "in order for us to have a good day, someone else has to have a very bad day. But I agreed that we needed to hear more positive news about problems and what was being done to correct those problems.
It's hard to stay optimistic at times, but it sure bears better fruit than being a pessimist. Or maybe I'm just a little exhausted. Boy, I am really going to enjoy going on vacation next week. (The war starts on Aug. 4th, so I'll still finish the series in time.)

AndrewPrice said...

What?! You're not taking us through the entire war? Just kidding. I've enjoyed this a lot.

The American spirit is highly optimistic. Everybody has a dream of what they want their little corner of the world to be like and a plan for how to make that happen. Sit down and talk with anyone and you'll hear it... they'll gladly tell you. Sure, there are some exceptions, but they are few in number compared to everyone else.

The problem is that it's impossible to get people's attention when you aren't offering anything except your own leadership to fix problems that don't really affect 99% of the audience. Thus, to get people's attention, you scaremonger to make them think that it is their problem and that you are the solution. Thus, everything becomes a crisis that will destroy something you need to feel safe... the military, the police, the environment, the job market, the education system, etc. The end result is a constant barrage of how bad things are, even though they aren't.

The news gets into this as well because good news is not only harder to find, it's harder to sell because it's harder to make people see how it matters to them. Bad news is easy to sell... you can use it to scare people. Thus, the one shooting this year between the two guys who knew each other turns into RANDOM CRIME SPREE THAT COULD KILL YOU RIGHT NOW!! STAY TUNED!! That sells because it makes people think it's important for them to know. Knowing that someone knitted the worlds biggest ball of yarn doesn't sell because it doesn't affect the viewer.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, are you sure you never worked in the news? I think you know the game a little too well. It may be unfortunate... ah, just kidding. You can't really sell spy language in text, anyway.

Glad you're enjoying the series. I needed something to keep me busy recently and this just seemed like fun.

Individualist said...

Patriot

As a former Catholic School student who had Catechism class every day I can attest to the fact that you are correct.

Part of the reason is that for Catholics the Bible is an unfinished document. We beleive (rightly or wrongly) that our Popes date back to Peter (the first Pope) and when Jesus said "I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven what you loose on Earth so shall it be in Heaven" whcih gives the Papal Edicts the authority of scripture.
:
Catechism class includes that as well. I know that half my Religon classes were memorizing the church's official postion of sins and what they meant, whether they were venial or mortal. There is a lot of additional stuff that I guess would seem very weird to a Protestant. Our views on the afterlife are different as well. we have limbo and purgatory.

Individualist said...

Bev

Chruch views on homosexuality are different. Catholics have this strange notion that Sex should only be had to bring children into the world. It is a concept that dates back to the early church when women used celibacy as a kind of women's rights movement against mysoginist Romans. The idea that sex was inherently evil comes out of this.
:
In essense it is not gays desiring each other that is sinful. It is the sex. Since it can't produce a child they should not have it.
:
This is also one of the reasons that condoms are considered immoral.
:
Mind you this is one of those things few Catholics follow but then most of our sinners go to Purgatory to be cleansed of sin to go to Heaven later. I guess it is why we are weird.

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