I love social media. I do. I check my Facebook page about thirty five times a day (at a minimum), I have a Twitter account, and I even used Google Buzz a couple of times. Social media is great. But it also sucks.
Around the time of the 2008 election, I got a lot of flack from friends of mine on Facebook – good friends, one of whom was one of my bridesmaids, for crying out loud – for not voting on the Republican ticket. (I had posted that I was going the Democratic route, not that it was anyone’s business. But I wanted to share.) A huge fight broke out on my wall. I wasn’t a real Catholic, they said. They said I was confused, that I couldn’t possibly love God and the Church because of my stance on civil – not religious – issues. People I hadn’t talked to in years got involved, and my Wall became this giant land of in-fighting, mostly by people who all belonged to the same faith!
And those comments hurt. I lost friends over that, good friends who knew I loved God and knew I loved the Church and knew that I valued my faith over pretty much everything else. They couldn’t see that because I wasn’t like them, believing what they believed, then I wasn’t for them and I was thrown out.
Today there’s a similar thing going on on someone else’s Facebook about gay marriage being passed in NY. They’re against it, quoting a Pope and rallying against the breakdown of the traditional family. My mom’s involved in the conversation, and so’s my husband, but I’m not. (Partially because I know if I start reading it I’ll probably have a seizure, and partially because it’s their Facebook page, and they can post whatever they want.) But mostly I’m not involved because it doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant to me. It’s a civil issue. I know a lot of gay people, and I’m happy for them because they’re happy, but it doesn’t affect me the way social conservatives says it affects me. They say that it’s a breakdown of the family, that my own marriage and my family will fall apart if this happens. Well, it’s happened, and I’m still happily married and my family is still together.
If this was a conversation about gay marriage being allowed in the Catholic Church, I might have more of an opinion. I might contribute to the conversation. But it’s not. I know what the Church teaches about homosexuality, and I know what the gay population thinks about the Church’s teachings about homosexuality. I’ve seen what trying to evangelize looks like when people think you hate them, even if you don’t.
And that’s my point. At the end of the day, does this help the Church? Does all of the Facebook fighting and all of the back-and-forth accomplish what Jesus said to accomplish – helping the “least of these?” No. Does this help God’s people? No. Do hungry people get fed? Do the sick get visited, do the thirsty get a cup of water? Probably not, since we’re having such a good time sitting around arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong and who is the better Catholic. The truth is, neither of us probably are, since we’re not doing anything better than arguing with each other.
The Devil, I’m sure, loves all this crap, all of this distraction. He gets to sit back as we do the job for him. I’d much rather be of the mind that the message of the Church is a simple one: helping others. At the end of the day, that’s what I want to be judged on. (Of course, if I died right now, I’d probably not make the cut, since I don’t do much helping.) Do people know Jesus because I loved them the way He does? That’s the question. Not am I a better Catholic than you because of a law that was passed in New York?