It was something I thought about when I was reading some posts on blogs I read irregularly that dealt with the American HHS policy, and the bishops statements.
First, I read a few prominent conservative blogs which said, more or less: "Oh, now the bishops want to act. If they had only listened to us or done their job back then, we would not be in this mess now..." Some of these blogs are very popular with large readerships and followers. They could have thrown their support along with their followers behind the bishops, but instead chose to use this as an opportunity to say "See? I was right."
I read this post of Fr.Z's the other day, wherein Fr Z shreds Doug Kmiec's letter to Obama, not because he disagreed with the letter and what it said as such, but because Kmiec had supported Obama and had helped cause the current mess. Apparently, the whole "there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner..." thing doesn't carry much weight. As usual, Father's combox went nuclear in a short time, with comments ranging from full agreement, to saying that Father did not go far enough in condemning Kmiec.
Then I read this post over at Mark Shea's, wherein he said something similar to what I thought- namely, if American conservatives and faithful Catholics hope to defeat this issue, they need to increase their voting power, which means they need to draw off some people who supported the president. If they reject people simply because they once supported Obama, they will certainly lose again.
And then the debate started in the comboxes. It quickly grew contentious, with Shea himself getting rather dismissive. As others have noted, Shea, when responding to comments, will resort to ad hominems and non sequitors to dismiss and belittle negative commenters.
My question, which I asked in Shea's combox, is this: How does any of this get any of us closer to heaven? How does being angry with the wrathful, or passing judgement on the judgemental, or envious of those who covet power, or proud that in our humility we are not like the arrogant, do us any good?
I see this quite often in blogs. With no filters, no editors, it is too easy to just spout off anything at all, off the top of our heads, or when we are angry, or frustrated. Are we not going to be called to account for all our idle words? To put it simply: how does being a jerk with a keyboard make us better than other jerks with keyboards, or even jerks without keyboards?
While I admit that this battle needs to be fought and won, will it be any of any benefit to bloggers and commenters to win what will be a most bitter battle if it costs them their souls?