An Ex-Catholic’s Take on Harrison Butker’s Speech

A recreation of the 'Memorial Tablet With the Visitation' by Master of the Spes Nostra, circa 1500. Instead of Mary, the figure on the left is holding a Kansas City Chiefs arrowhead logo and spitting on it. The setting remains medieval, with intricate details and a reverent atmosphere, while the figure's actions introduce a contemporary twist. The background features classical architectural elements and the other figure remains in traditional attire, adding to the historical contrast.

By Larry Billinger

Okay, it’s a bit late, but I did not want to miss the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Butker speech. A speech given at a small private Catholic college in Kansas should have never made the news but somehow made headlines. I overall agree with most of his speech and decided to break down in detail my thoughts on his remarks, as well as how they reflect biblical truths. I’m still in shock that anyone outside of those who attended the speech and maybe the local media had anything to say about it. I initially heard about the speech from headlines, and it looked like he was being canceled. After a few weeks, I finally decided to listen to it myself. I watched it and loved it. The guy, for the most part, aligns with a lot of my thoughts. To see more details, please continue reading below. I have attempted to organize it to make it easy to follow topic by topic, explaining why his remarks were countercultural and received so much negative media.

Critique of Abortion and IVF

Remark: “While COVID might have played a large role throughout your formative years, it is not unique. Bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values in media, all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder.”

Countercultural Aspect:

  • Criticizing abortion, IVF, and surrogacy goes against the prevalent societal acceptance of these practices.
  • His views challenge the mainstream perspective on reproductive rights and technologies.

My Personal Views
Even though I’m not Catholic anymore, I still hold firmly to my stances on things like abortion and euthanasia. The denomination I am currently a member of, to my understanding, holds the same views on all four of these topics as well. I would take this even one step further, especially with him being an athlete, and that is the use of embryonic stem cells for therapy and healing from injuries. Especially considering embryonic stem cells used by many athletes come from aborted IVF embryos. But how does his statement hold up to some biblical teachings?

  • Romans 13:1-2: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
    • This passage underscores the importance of respecting and submitting to governmental authorities as part of God’s ordained order.
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
    • Paul encourages believers to pray for their leaders, which promotes a respectful attitude and acknowledges the role of leaders in maintaining societal order.
  • 1 Peter 2:13-17: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right… Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
    • Peter instructs Christians to respect all authorities and honor those in positions of leadership.

Christians are called to submit to governmental authorities as a general principle for maintaining order and justice. However, this submission has limits when laws or commands directly conflict with God’s moral law.

  • Acts 5:29: “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!'”
    • This verse is crucial in understanding the limit of submission to human authorities. When human commands directly contradict God’s commands, Christians are to obey God rather than men.
  • Daniel 3:16-18: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship the golden image set up by King Nebuchadnezzar, choosing to obey God rather than the king, even under threat of death.
  • Daniel 6:10: Daniel continues to pray to God despite King Darius’ decree against prayer to any god or man other than the king, resulting in his being thrown into the lion’s den.
  • Exodus 1:17: The Hebrew midwives disobey Pharaoh’s order to kill Hebrew male infants, fearing God more than the king.

The biblical instruction to submit to governmental authorities does not permit Christians to engage in sinful behavior if commanded by those authorities. Instead, the Bible clearly teaches that God’s authority is supreme. When human laws conflict with God’s laws, believers must obey God, as demonstrated by numerous biblical examples of righteous civil disobedience. Thus, while Christians are to respect and pray for their leaders, their ultimate allegiance is to God and His commandments.

Critique of Catholic Leaders

Remark: “Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but at the same time is delusional enough to make the Sign of the Cross during a pro-abortion rally. He has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies that I’m sure to many people it appears that you can be both Catholic and pro-choice.”

Countercultural Aspect:

  • Openly criticizing prominent Catholic leaders, including political figures, for their stance on abortion.
  • Challenges the compatibility of being both Catholic and pro-choice, which is a contentious issue within and outside the Catholic community.

My Personal Views
I 100% agree. I don’t want to dive too much into politics here, but it doesn’t say much for me that any politician would choose their party over their church. Especially when churches like the Catholic Church have objective right and wrong beliefs, as do the Brethren in Christ and some other denominations. I can’t say that for other denominations, such as the United Methodist Church. More will be said on this in the next section.

Gender Ideology and Cultural Values

Remark: “He is not alone. From the man behind the COVID lockdowns to the people pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America, they all have a glaring thing in common. They are Catholic.”

Countercultural Aspect:

  • Criticizing gender ideologies promoted by some Catholics, which contradicts the increasing societal acceptance of diverse gender identities.
  • Challenges the narrative of inclusivity and acceptance of all gender expressions, which is widely supported in contemporary culture.

My Personal Views
I have been following news related to Catholicism lately, and I have to say I have been impressed with what I have been reading. There have been multiple podcasters finding faith and leaning on God in the Catholic Church. Something is happening, and according to articles like this one from AP News, Catholics—not necessarily the church—are shifting towards more traditional Catholic values. It seems people are drawn towards a church that stands by its values and doesn’t try to incorporate the culture around us into the church. This new movement is doing the opposite, and apparent from Butker’s comments, it is very controversial.

This is honestly a difficult one for me because the church has a set of disciplines for those who are in sin. And yes, I do believe that any politician promoting abortion is in sin, and I think the Catholic Church or any church that politician is aligning with should discipline them in love.

  1. Matthew 18:6: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
    • Jesus strongly condemns causing others to stumble or sin, indicating the serious responsibility of influencing others’ actions.
  2. James 4:17: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
    • This passage suggests that failing to do what is right, including promoting laws or policies that align with moral values, can be considered a sin of omission.
  3. Romans 1:32: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
    • Paul indicates that both committing sins and approving or promoting sinful practices are culpable actions.
  4. 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
    • Leaders are called to promote peace, godliness, and holiness through their governance.

Authentic Catholicism and the “Church of Nice”

Remark: “But if we are going to be men and women for this time in history, we need to stop pretending that the ‘Church of Nice’ is a winning proposition. We must always speak and act in charity, but never mistake charity for cowardice.”

Countercultural Aspect:

  • Rejecting the “Church of Nice” approach, which aims to be more accommodating and less confrontational.
  • Advocates for a more assertive and unapologetic expression of faith, which may conflict with modern tendencies toward political correctness and avoiding controversy.

My Personal Views
This is such a vague statement to me. I believe the Bible outlines different ways we should treat believers and non-believers. Yes, I absolutely agree that almost every church out there is the “church of nice” when it comes to those sinning or not aligning with their biblical values. The Bible has lined out a way we should handle discipline in the church, and every denomination has its own way of doing that, but what I have found is that, for the most part, most churches have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Most churches in the USA are set up to only get surface deep in people’s lives, and if this is the case, it’s easy for most people to hide the funny business they are taking part in. At the risk of losing members, which equals dollars, yes, the church needs to be more confrontational with believers, but in the hopes that their members can start living a more productive life in Christ, not in the hopes of damning them.

Scriptural Support for Believers:

  • Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
    • This passage outlines a step-by-step process for addressing sin among believers, emphasizing private correction first, followed by involving others, and ultimately the church if necessary.
  • Galatians 6:1-2: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
    • Paul encourages gentle restoration of those caught in sin and emphasizes bearing each other’s burdens, fostering a spirit of support and accountability.
  • Ephesians 4:15-16: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
    • This passage stresses the importance of speaking the truth in love to promote growth and unity within the body of Christ.

Scriptural Support for Non-Believers:

  • John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
    • This verse highlights God’s love for the world and the gift of eternal life through belief in Jesus, emphasizing the message of love and salvation.
  • Matthew 5:44-45: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
    • Jesus commands believers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them, reflecting God’s impartial love and kindness.
  • 1 Peter 3:15-16: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
    • Peter advises believers to be ready to share their faith gently and respectfully, maintaining a clear conscience and good behavior.
  • Matthew 7:1-5: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
    • This passage warns against hypocritical judgment and emphasizes self-reflection and humility when addressing others’ faults.

By adhering to these scriptural guidelines, Christians can navigate the balance of truth and love in their interactions with both believers and non-believers, fostering an environment of growth, support, and compassion.

Emphasis on Traditional Roles for Women

Remark: “I can tell you that my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother. I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

Countercultural Aspect:

  • Highlighting the role of women as homemakers and mothers, which contrasts with modern feminist perspectives advocating for career equality and independence.
  • Elevating traditional family roles, which can be seen as counter to the push for gender equality in professional and public spheres.

My Personal Views
Yeah, not going to get an argument from me here. There might be a hint of American culture in this thinking over biblical truth. I also have to state that nothing in this speech would make me think he was against women working; he just wanted to state what has been so understated since I have been alive by the rest of society. It’s okay to stay home and take care of your children. It’s not a requirement, though. I really don’t think the current system of family life is working that well. Maybe something should change.

  • Proverbs 31:10-31: This passage describes the “wife of noble character” who is hardworking, manages her household and is praised for her contributions to her family.
  • Titus 2:3-5: This passage encourages older women to teach younger women to love their husbands and children, be self-controlled and pure, and be busy at home.
  • Ephesians 5:22-33: These verses discuss the roles of husbands and wives, highlighting the importance of mutual respect and love, with wives called to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ, and husbands called to love their wives as Christ loves the church.


Remark: “To the gentlemen here today: Part of what plagues our society is this lie that has been told to you that men are not necessary in the home or in our communities. As men, we set the tone of the culture, and when that is absent, disorder, dysfunction, and chaos set in.”

Countercultural Aspect:

  • Asserting the necessity and importance of traditional masculinity, which counters current cultural trends that question or redefine traditional gender roles.
  • Emphasizing the role of men in setting cultural norms and maintaining order can be seen as challenging the broader push for gender fluidity and equality.

My Personal Views
Probably my favorite part of this speech. I cannot agree more with Butker on these remarks. I’m just going to say it: most men hate going to church. Most American and many international churches are composed of mostly women and have become very feminine, boring, and not relevant. Read “Why Men Hate Going to Church.” Why Men Hate Going to Church

This is one of the areas in which I love the Catholic Church becoming more traditional. At the same time, seeing male podcasters I listen to steer toward the Catholic faith is encouraging. Why? They don’t feel alone anymore in a culture that has been telling them they are different for their beliefs and they need to fall in line and believe the ideas the left has been pushing on them.

Traditional Latin Mass (TLM)

Remark: “Society is shifting. And people, young and old, are embracing tradition. Not only has it been my vocation that has helped me and those closest to me, but not surprising to many of you, should be my outspoken embrace of the traditional Latin Mass.”

Countercultural Aspect:

  • Advocating for the Traditional Latin Mass, which contrasts with the more modern forms of liturgy that have become prevalent since the Second Vatican Council.
  • Emphasizing a return to traditional practices and values in a time when many religious institutions are seeking to modernize and appeal to contemporary sensibilities.

My Personal Beliefs
Okay, he had me until this. It’s not based on any biblical truths and is purely based on tradition, which in the Catholic faith is very important. While he is trying to place his heart in a worshipful posture with the TLM, I think it’s greatly misguided here.

  1. 1 Samuel 16:7: “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'”
    • This verse emphasizes that God looks at the heart and intent of worship, not the external aspects such as language.
  2. John 4:24: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
    • True worship is defined by worshiping in spirit and truth, not by the language used.
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:9-11: “So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly, there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me.”
    • Paul stresses the importance of intelligibility in worship so that the congregation can be edified. Worship should be in a language that people understand.
  4. 1 Corinthians 14:19: “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
    • Paul prioritizes clarity and edification over the use of languages that are not understood by the congregation.
  5. Acts 2:4-8: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.”
    • The event of Pentecost shows the inclusivity of the gospel, as everyone heard the message in their own language. This underscores the importance of communicating the gospel in a way that is understood by all.
  6. Revelation 7:9: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
    • This vision of heaven includes people from every language, indicating that God’s kingdom is not confined to a single language or tradition.

Analyzing Harrison Butker’s speech, it’s clear that his remarks have sparked significant controversy due to their countercultural nature. His stances on issues like abortion, gender ideology, and the role of tradition in worship challenge modern societal norms and provoke deep discussions on faith and values. As a Christian, I find resonance in many of his views, particularly his emphasis on authentic faith and the importance of traditional roles within the family. However, I also recognize the importance of balancing tradition with biblical truth, especially regarding worship practices like the Traditional Latin Mass.

Ultimately, Butker’s speech serves as a reminder of the ongoing tension between cultural trends and steadfast religious beliefs. As believers, it is essential to navigate these tensions with grace, holding firm to biblical principles while engaging respectfully with the broader culture. By doing so, we can contribute to a more thoughtful and meaningful dialogue on these crucial issues.

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