Tonight, I felt the power of hatred firsthand. Never before in my life have I been discriminated against because of my beliefs. I have been treated differently or made fun of possibly, but never experienced hatred simply because I am Catholic.
I know there are many people that have strong feelings about Catholics. I am not out to evangelize anyone. In contrast, I just want to have the same level or respect given to me that I give others. I joined the Financial Peace University class at a local Christian (non-denominational) church. I felt a bit nervous at first going into that setting as one of only a few, if not the only, Catholic in the bunch. There are over 200 people in the group so I had reason to feel apprehensive but I chose to do it. On the first day, I shared with our small group that I did not belong to the church and was, in fact, Catholic. I don’t recall at the time noticing any disrespect, but I can honestly say that I am not sure I would have been aware anyway if there was because I was nervous around this new group.
There have been some instances over the past few weeks that made it clear to me that there were some negative feelings about Catholics. From snide remarks to snickering when things were said, I started to pick up on this prejudice. Tonight, I felt this hatred loud and clear.
One person in our group was talking about going on a job interview with my church. There are several churches in the area, but this job was specifically at my church and that was mentioned. One man in the group had some very snide things to say about Catholics. He made no effort in trying to contain his feelings, negative feelings, about my beliefs. I know that he is aware that I am Catholic. I know that he knows what my home parish is. I also know that I shouldn’t take all this personally… yet I am.
My question is this…
This man claims to be a Christian. He, and others, claim to love Jesus and care about their fellow Christians. Why then are they showing hatred for my faith, my beliefs? How can they claim to be good Christians when they speak negatively of my church in general? How can they claim to be good Christians when they show prejudice simply because of what church I go to? I am not a member of their church but does that make them better than me?
I don’t think so. I may not agree with the beliefs of every Christian, but I am not going to persecute others for those religious beliefs. It is not my job to play God. I am not a perfect Christian nor a perfect Catholic. But, at least I am not a hypocrite. I will not hold your beliefs against you and I certainly won’t attack those beliefs.
My prayers are not more powerful or more important than yours. My love of Jesus is not stronger than yours simply because I am a different denomination than you. We are equal in God’s eyes as far as I am concerned. Does the doctrine I believe really matter all that much that others feel hatred because of it? I think that is a sad state of our society. We, as Christians, are all part of the Catholic Apostolic Church. Don’t you think that we should all act like it whether we are choosing to be a member of a non-denominational, Catholic, Protestant, or other church? No matter what bible you read or church you belong to, the message is the same.
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
Shouldn’t we all love one another?
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:7