If a politician stood before us and proclaimed, polemically, that his campaign would be entirely without polemics, would we believe him? Or, worse, if he said his campaign would try to avoid politics? Tyranny over language either works or backfires spectacularly in political movements, and each passing instance of it adds urgency to the need for political to be rescued from its current status as a slur.
Styled after the Rainbow Sash Movement, People Representing the Sexual Minority is a student group at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict. Like Rainbow Sash, PRiSMs favored method of protest is to disrupt Catholic Masses, as they did recently against Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The group expressed frustration after Archbishop John C. Nienstedt withheld the sacrament from them because they wore rainbow buttons and sashes signaling their support for same-sex marriage and homosexuality. The archbishop, who was celebrating his first student Mass at St. Johns on September 26, instead gave a blessing to members of the group, which included students from St. Johns University and the College of St. Benedict, as well as three nuns and a priest.
Though the groups tactic relies upon denial of Communion for effectiveness, members nonetheless chided Archbishop Nienstedts withholding of the Sacrament as an extreme statement. And then there was the best line of all , from one of the students: We werent the ones who made it political . . . .Once the archbishop denied communion, he made it political. Immunity from politicking aside, the protesters truly didnt seem to grasp how thickly they had layered the irony. Plainly, a statement that a protest is not political is itself a political statement. Second, if Nienstedts adherence to Church law is a political statement, it was a statement coerced by PRiSM members, which, of course, means it is properly attributed to them alone. An interesting episode, indeed, wherein Nienstedts purported political offensein the eyes of PRiSM activistsalmost seems to overshadow the primarily sexual issue at the heart of the activists cause.