• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Photo of the Day April 17, 2018
      See also the previous Wild Reed posts:• Spring's Snowy Start• Farewell Winter• Out and About – Winter 2017-2018Image: Michael J. Bayly.
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • The Spring Blizzard of 2018 April 14, 2018
      It's being called a blizzard and a winter storm of "historic" proportions. I'm opting to acknowledge the season we're actually in (as hard as it may be to believe) and calling it the spring blizzard of 2018. . . . And, yes, it's still very much happening right now in the Twin Cities and across southern Minnesota.I was out in it […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Mystical Czech artist, Marie Brozova February 22, 2018
      About Life, Universe and All…The luminous Czech artist, Marie Brozova, creator of the wonderful 'Forest Shaman' painting featured on my blog, lives with her husband and seven cats deep in a Czech forest - without electricity or running water. No computers, no cell phones, no TV. Only the silence and the sounds of nature and the spirits. Artist Mari […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • SPICING UP THE CHURCH: February 14, 2018
      Here is the website of the wonderful meeting group for gay Christians in the Czech republic, Logos. And below is their position statement. Check them out. Logos – Gay Christians in the Czech RepublicWe are an ecumenical fellowship of gay and lesbian Christians and their friends, in which we share our faith in all its diverse manifestations, and try to suppor […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • RIP: Barbara Bush April 19, 2018
      Sad to hear that Barbara Bush has died. She was a Republican but I liked her ... her championing of reading, her fearless un-dyed white hair, her book about/by Millie the dog :) .... she was admirable and authentic. Here's more about her from the PBS NewsHour ...
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)
  • Advertisements

Stephen Colbert’s Confident Catholicism

“I love my church, and I’m a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout…I was raised to believe that you could question the church and still be a Catholic.”
-Stephen Colbert

There was a very heartening piece in Friday’s Washington Post about comedian Stephen Colbert’s Catholicism. After years of seeing the media spotlight being directed at strident orthodox types such as Catholic League President Bill Donohue or neocons such as Robert P. George or George Weigel, it was refreshing to see a more progressive take on my faith finally being highlighted.

Colbert’s faith is not one that needs to lecture or condemn. Nor does it rely on blind obedience. Instead, as the piece notes, it focuses on how we treat each other. Stuffy dogmas are put aside in favor of speaking up for those living on the margins of society. And as several of his skits on The Colbert Report demonstrates, it is confident enough to chide the Church on its hypocrisies and foibles.

This tact was recently on full display when he went to Capitol Hill and testified in character before a House Judiciary Committee on migrant workers. At the end, however, he put his Bill O’Reilly-based character aside and in plain language told the attending congressmen why he chose to testify. As the WaPo piece recorded:

“And, you know, whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, and these seem like the least of our brothers right now,” Colbert said, quoting Jesus. “Migrant workers suffer and have no rights.”

That simple but eloquent statement captured the essence of progressive faith.

Colbert’s practice of his faith is one that resonates far more effectively than the “pray, pay and obey” brand of the Catholic Right. As Rev. Jim Martin, the editor of the Jesuit journal America aptly put it, “I think that is a great catechesis for many people because he might be reaching Catholics who never go to church and he is speaking to them in language they can understand.”

Many years ago when I went to Catholic school, I remember the nuns teaching us that being faithful means more than saying that you believe in God. Faith is instead articulated by acts of kindness and generosity. I suspect that Stephen Colbert was taught the same lesson.


3 Responses

  1. hmmm, I think I should devote a post to Mr. Colbert. I always enjoy seeing him out of character, like in that genealogy special, Faces of America. He truly is a Catholic icon of our time.

  2. Thanks Terrence, this was a great post. I’ve long been a Colbert fan and I think he’s a great example of a moderate, engaged and humour filled Catholicism.

    I can’t wait to see how his rally To Keep The Fear Alive works out.

  3. Terrence? This is Frank here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: