Vote with your feet. Please.


The Pope has invited entire Anglican congregations to defect en masse to the Catholic Church. As the journalist for above linked the Christian Science Monitor article puts it, "it could...result in hundreds of thousands of churchgoers unhappy with openly gay and female clerics defecting to Rome."

Personally, if I were an Anglican (which I am not), my reaction to those who wanted to defect would be, don't let the door hit you on your way out. It is clear to me as I look at the Anglican communion from the outside that reactionaries have served as a major stumbling block to progressive change, as leading Anglicans have struggled to somehow make everyone happy (as if that were possible); so if those same reactionaries want to leave in favor of a church whose leadership proudly proclaims its homophobia and its misogyny, I say more power to them. I think there is something to be said for people voting with their feet; this allows the denominations to sort themselves out theologically and allows progressives to move forward without having to accommodate obstructionists who are stuck in the dark ages. As John Shelby Spong expressed it in his manifesto, talking to such people is pointless anyway.

In fact, I see that with regard to the upcoming ballot initiative in Maine that seeks to overturn legislation enabling same sex marriages, the Catholic diocese of Portland, Maine is one of the top three contributors of this campaign:

Yes On One/Stand for Marriage is relying on several large organizations to provide most of its funding: the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage, already under scrutiny by the Maine Ethics Commission for the source of its donations, has contributed more than $500,000 to the campaign so far; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has given more than $300,000 and Colorado-based Focus on the Family has raised about $90,000.
In this light we can view the fight against same-sex marriage as a kind of recruiting tool for the Catholic Church. But I would argue that religious debates should not be about popularity contests, where the denomination with the most adherents "wins". It should instead be about what is right and what is just. And in this battle, the Catholic Church stands on the wrong side of history.