Apparent free thinker in most areas, but describes himself a Catholic who believes it is ok to question the Church.
If he can manage it, fine. Still, I have to believe that, with a personality like Stephen's, there might be some pretty sophisticated processes going on to deal with what has to be some massive cognitive dissonance in places.
This sort of begs the question: why do people who see the contradictions and the perfidies of the RC church remain with the church? Habit? The social relationships built up over time? A desire to change the church from within? WHAT?
This is anecdotal so take it for what it is worth. A few years ago, a Louisiana-born attorney of my acquaintance retired from the practice. He sent me a client or two, including one superior client who gave me a third of a very good jury verdict. This other lawyer (we'll call him Rick) had done a considerable amount of work for the local nuns; in fact, he not only handled all of their legal affairs, which were considerable (dying Catholics often will estates to the RCC -- perhaps as a kind of self-indulgence if you know what I mean), and I found it interesting that Rick had never suggested he might hand the nuns' business over to me. Now Rick and I were in the habit of going one day each week to a taqueria for coffee and chorizo with eggs. Over breakfast one day I asked him, "What would I have to do to get all those nuns hiring me as their lawyer...convert to Catholicism." He replied, "That goes without saying."
As a side note, you can get a great insight into how the RCC "works" by watching the movie, True Confessions, with Robert DeNiro as an up and coming priest who takes the job of assistant to Cardinal Daniher. The way the movie tells it, they are so woven into the fabric of a community there is no extricating them. Plutarco Calles of Mexico had the right idea: run 'em off.
We talk about "indoctrination" so much, yet what you're referring to here goes way past that. It's more like TOTAL SATURATION ... and that's what's going to make removing religion as the influence that it is in the States that much more difficult (if it's possible at all).
In some cases religious "saturation" is increasing. Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah have been sued because the Mormon-controlled towns are essentially arms of the Mormon church.
...the Justice Department claims that the towns' municipal government, police force and utility companies are de facto arms of the church. Members of the towns' police force, called the Marshal's Office, arrest non-FLDS members without probable cause and refuse to help excommunicated women leave the community with their children, the lawsuit states.
"The Marshal's Office fails to protect non-FLDS individuals from victimization by FLDS members, fails to investigate crimes against non-FLDS individuals and their property, and refuses to arrest FLDS individuals who have committed crimes against non-FLDS individuals," the lawsuit claims. "These crimes and actions include destroying crops on a non-FLDS-operated farm, vandalizing property in the control of the UEP Trust, returning at least one underage bride to a home from which she had fled, and trespassing on property occupied by non-FLDS individuals."
The sect's leader, Warren Jeffs, was convicted of two counts of child sexual assault in 2011, but supposedly still heads the group from prison.
"Defendants have engaged in a pattern or practice of illegal discrimination against individuals who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," the lawsuit states. [emphasis mine]
I have no idea what Stephen Colbert is all about. I am not sure Stephen Colbert know what he is all about. With that said, I think he is a hoot and I love the way he makes fun of conservatives. And more than that I love it when conservatives don't realize he is making fun of them.