The following is the letter I received from the local Catholic bishop acknowledging my resignation from the church. Note that he says: “I respect your decision.” I trust the bishop is a man of his word. However, the behavior of some Catholics indicates that they don’t respect my decision.
The bishop’s claim to be “heartbroken” and asking if my decision was “the result of a bad interaction with a priest or parish representative” is pro forma. The Catholic church would like to keep a dialogue alive indefinitely, but obviously that would render my decision to leave functionally meaningless. Since I don’t know the bishop or any of his clergy, the situation cannot be personal.
It’s a matter of ideological and cosmological incompatibility.
Free exercise of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, or lack thereof.
Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
(Adopted July 9, 1868)
The right of Free Association has been held to be an essential part of Free Speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. The courts have ruled that raising money is also a form of Free Speech. A religious organization of which you are no longer a member that claims you must donate money to them or help them raise money is violating your right of Free Speech. This is not Obstruction of Religion, it’s free exercise of your Civil Rights. There’s no legal requirement to set a “good example” to entice donations. You don’t have to give a religious organization you’re leaving a “goodbye gift.”
Had I known Catholic protocol required those resigning from membership submit a letter to the local bishop, I would have done so decades ago. I have never sought, nor received, financial assistance of any kind from the Catholic church, nor will I reach out to them in the future. Having endured one set-up after another, the Catholic church and I will not reconcile. Frankly, I think it was just dumb luck that I survived.
Some Catholics will become abusive if you tell them you’re not interested, and they’ll lie to save face, so stand your ground.
The reader is probably wondering what sort of incidents I’m referencing. Here’s what happened in late February: I’m awaiting spinal surgery in an emergency room bed at a local hospital. As I’m talking to medical staff, two Hispanic women walked by my room and said “Get him out of here!”
Apparently I’ve been a victim of stalking for more than two decades, and I’ve got a relative who thinks it’s funny. But it’s no joke. When, as I am, you are satisfied with your present spiritual practice, but Catholics are harassing you to convert, it’s Hate Activity. And that’s a Federal Offense.
But the church’s favorite tactic is to level one accusation after another to see if they can make you jump through hoops defending yourself—ironic when you consider that for 50 years the church has been covering up the most appalling sexual misconduct imaginable. If that doesn’t work, they’ll try to dig up dirt on you—but unfortunately for these modern inquisitors, my record is clean.
Obviously that behavior is self-destructive, but it’s not my problem.
According to Missouri Revised Statutes 565.225:
“”Harasses”, to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that serves no legitimate purpose, that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and that actually causes substantial emotional distress to that person.
Any person who purposely and repeatedly harasses or follows with the intent of harassing another person commits the crime of stalking.”
First offense is a Class A Misdemeanor. Following offense is a Class D Felony.
The Catholic church is an institution which is all-image and no-substance, its hallways awash in throngs of sinecures and sycophants with the mentality of accountants, so this kind of thing unfortunately isn’t surprising.
This letter I received from the Archbishop of St. Louis in response to a question regarding the Catholic church’s position on religious freedom:
In it the archbishop argues that it’s legal to establish religion and the government can make no laws regulating it. That the Founding Fathers disestablished the Church of England after the Revolution proves his argument to be false, and no Constitutional scholar would support it. Nonetheless it gives the reader a preview of what the Catholic church wants to be law in the United States.