Rick Hinshaw, who served as editor of The Long Island Catholic Magazine since its inception and before that as editor of The Long Island Catholic Newspaper, has taken on the new role of communications director of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. In his column in the September issue of the magazine reprinted below, he shared his thoughts on issues in the news and embarking on his new endeavors.
Some parting thoughts
With this column, and this issue of The Long Island Catholic, I take my leave after 8 ½ years as editor. More on this later; first some thoughts on several critical issues:
Laudato Si’: With this encyclical, Pope Francis has stirred much controversy, and one suspects he intended to: not to sow division and rancor, but to challenge us all to broaden our horizons to encompass a range of perspectives beyond our own. He teaches the inviolability of all of God’s creation, and reminds us that we cannot value some of that creation while exploiting or destroying other parts of it. He encourages economic growth to uplift all, but warns against exploitation or destruction — of the earth and its resources, of marginalized human beings — the poor and oppressed, the unborn, the sick, disabled and elderly — in the narrow pursuit of power or profit. In short — as he seems to be doing in other areas, like last year’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family — it would appear that the Holy Father is intent on roiling the waters, so to speak, in order to bring our different opinions, perspectives, and priorities to the surface; that we may, amid healthy dialogue and discussion, humble prayer and reflection, strive to reach a consensus that puts God, and His plan for creation, at the center of all human activity.
The Planned Parenthood scandal is a prime example of exploitation and destruction of God’s creation in pursuit of profit. All who now recoil in horror at this unconscionable selling of human baby parts — but who nonetheless still defend the “right to choose” abortion — need to think through their inconsistency. If it is wrong — and horrific — to traffic in the dismembered remains of human babies, isn’t it equally wrong — and equally horrific — to have dismembered those babies in the first place?
Same sex “marriage”: The U.S. Supreme Court has redefined marriage to include same sex relationships, contradicting the natural law on which our nation was founded. The ruling — as all four dissenting justices noted — also threatens to accelerate the attacks on religious freedom that have already seen individuals prosecuted for declining to participate in same sex “wedding” ceremonies; dubious “hate speech” laws used to criminalize free expression in support of traditional marriage; and now challenges looming to the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to host or perform same-sex “marriages.”
In my view, the defense of religious liberty must therefore be our focus right now in the public policy arena. The Church, of course, must redouble efforts — and explore new, more effective ways — to help Catholics and others understand what the Church teaches about marriage and why; communicating “truth in love,” as David Prosen calls for in the humble, powerful personal witness he shares with us in this month’s feature story. But the Church — and all of us as individual Catholics — are going to have to defend our right to even express these ideas in an increasingly intolerant public square; let alone to live our faith and conduct our personal and business affairs in accord with our moral and religious beliefs.
It is to that struggle for religious freedom — as well as to the ongoing defense of our Church and of individual Catholics against defamation and discrimination — that I am now called in a different capacity, returning to a position I have held previously as communications director for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. I am most grateful to Catholic League president Bill Donohue for this opportunity.
I am also most grateful to Bishop Murphy for the opportunity he has given me here — and in particular for the support the diocese, and he especially, gave me during a period of serious illness several years ago. I have always striven, from my appointment as editor of the newspaper through the recent years of transition to a magazine — including during the long months of my illnesses — to repay our bishop’s trust and support with the very best effort I could give. I hope I have done so.
I hope also that I may continue, as a member of our diocese, to support our communications efforts in whatever ways I am able.
I thank everyone for your cooperation and support; your ideas and insights; and yes, your helpful criticisms. I thank all our bishops, pastors, priests and deacons; consecrated sisters and brothers; all our parish, diocesan and Catholic school personnel; and all the extraordinary volunteers and professionals who serve the people of God in so many and varied ways here on Long Island. In a special way, I send my heartfelt thanks to all our former staff members at TLIC; to all our readers and contributors; and to everyone with whom I have been blessed to come in contact during my time here.
May God bless you all.
– Rick Hinshaw