This past Friday, while I was less than 100 miles away (in New Hampshire) from where I grew up in Schenectady, New York, I was disinherited. That’s right. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of my birth State said this: “You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington… Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
So while I was visiting my grandchildren I was disinherited and branded an extremist because I am a Christian who is Pro-life and Pro-heterosexual marriage. Thanks gov for being such a tolerant guy and for being such a good Catholic, like your dad. At one time Catholics and Prots saw eye to eye on most social issues, but no more. I loved what Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote about this in a National Review article. “Who is the worst enemy of religious freedom? The enemy is within. Andrew Cuomo is a professed Catholic proclaiming the Gospel of secularism. Just as many a professed Catholic whose names are on the case names of all the lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services abortion drug, contraception, sterilization mandate. Secularism is not just a religion for atheist and agnostics, but every practical atheist – every religious believer who doesn’t live any differently than the culture prescribes. Any Christian who isn’t constantly challenged by the mandates of the Gospel and the precepts of his faith contributes to the tsunami of secularism. Too many of us all too often fall into this category, some as a matter of fallen nature and bad habits, others as a matter of lukewarm faith and utter indifference. Make no mistake: We make it easier for politicians to push religious faith to the margins.”
As we celebrated right to life Sunday nearly a week ago, let us realize that this is more than just a political battle. These issues are at the very soul of our faith and if we become cafeteria Christians, like Cuomo, then people like Cuomo will continue to marginalize believers by calling them extremists and lumping us altogether with those who believe in Sharia Law.
By the way, Cuomo’s reckless dismissal of what he considers an “extreme” minority is not accurate picture of even in his own state when it comes to abortion. Michelle Mankin writes that in “a recent poll of New Yorkers showed that the vast majority ‘support sensible restrictions on abortions, with 80 percent opposing unlimited abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy and 75 percent opposing changes in current law so that someone other than a doctor can perform an abortion.’ Contrary to Cuomo’s distorted view, the 21st-century pro-life movement is a diverse convergence of increasingly young and minority activists, feminist pro-lifers, independents and social conservatives. And contrary to Cuomo’s reckless telling of history, pro-life activism is ingrained in New York history.” Even Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other women suffragists who met at Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1840 were clear in their stand for life. Cady Stanton condemned the “murder of children, either before or after birth.” Alice Paul, who crusaded for the Equal Rights Amendment, called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women.”
So in a way, the governor’s words challenged me to continue to live out my faith according to the mandates of the Gospel. His rant also warned me of the dangers of a lukewarm faith which can cause me to be so easily sucked into the vortex of my culture that I become less like Jesus and more like Andrew Cuomo.