Monday, December 01, 2008
To Catholics and other Christians on the immorality of voting for the current GOP.
I haven't wrote anything new about pro-life issues since '04. It wasn't something I just posted on the BLOG. I sent it to my parish, bishop, and the National Conference of Bishops. I have strong beliefs of conscience for my political leanings. I know my convictions will stand up against all but the most rabidly close-minded conservatives.
I'm constantly told I can't be a good Catholic or any other kind of Christian unless I'm the dedicated conservative Republican kind. Why? Because, they're against abortion. It doesn't matter that the GOP hasn't done anything, it's in their platform and that's good enough.
I would much rather be pro-life in the Democratic Party than be someone in the Republican party who rejects most, if not all, Judeo-Christian social teachings. To be a conservative member of the GOP I would be forced to tolerate if not embrace the following...
The Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war as demonstrated by our invasion then occupation of Iraq. For Catholics it should be noted that Pope John Paul II voiced strong opposition to this war he called immoral. The Council of Catholic Bishops voiced strong opposition as did most of the Religious community. In fact every dominate Cristian church voiced similar opinions. The only churches strongly endorsing Bush and Cheney's criminal actions were the Armageddon-ready Evangelical Fundamentalist types.
The concept of illegal enemy combatants.
Indefinite detention with no Habeas Corpus or right to any type of legal representation.
Geneva Convention does not apply to us.
Torture and ill-treatment of those in our custody.
Disappearences - It's when we kidnap someone, from whatever country they're in, ally or not, and transport them to a country where they can be tortured or to a secret place where we can do it ourselves.
During a time of war the president has dictatorial powers (the unitary executive) and that the war on terror is an endless war.
Diplomacy is overrated, that military action is the preferred choice for our national interests.
Spying on Americans without a warrant is acceptable.
That Neoconservative influenced changes to the executive branch are about freedom and liberty. Rather than the fascist-like ideology it truly is.
I'm supposed to be comfortable with religious fundamentalist ideological dominance in all branches of government
That we are a Christian nation. Catholics and others should realize they are left out for being the wrong kind of Christian. We're viewed as being okay except that we get a few things wrong. We must see the error of our ways and become like them to be truly a part of the family of Jesus and truly loyal Americans.
There's no need to worry about McCain's age because Palin is well qualified. In fact she shows the depth of Neocon involvement within the McCain campaign. If his health were to fail they would have a George W. Bush type personality, complete with bravado driven tough talk, intellectual laziness and mesmerized follows for them to manipulate.
The money I pay in taxes is many times more important than all of the above.
And on and on and on........I was going to go through a much longer litany of Republican ills from economic violence at home and throughout the whole world, Global Warming and immigration, etc. The above sins are serious enough to deter any self respecting Christian from accepting any of it. Voting for it would be, too much.
It would be different if the Catholics and other Christians within the Republican party fought for a complete embracing of Catholic and Christian social teaching. If the Devil himself rose to the highest level of the GOP, would you all vote for him as long as he stood on a plank against abortion? In all reality you all sided with some evil and horrendous acts done in your name, with acceptance in your silence if not enthusiastic approval.
While I do believe life does begin at conception and fully understand the concept of surrendering to God's will, most people in America see that as a religious belief. And that's the problem. In this nation we can't impose our religious beliefs on them anymore than we would want anyone imposing theirs on us. That's what freedom of religion is about.
There are people in the Democratic Party who are against abortion, but there are many more who are open to banning late term abortions, as long as the life of the mother is taken into consideration.
"a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother."
"Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term."
It seems to me that more and more people are considering at what point personhood begins. This is a point where Republicans and Democrats can work together for improvement.
Another area would be in lessening abortions among the lower income women. Often, they become pregnant because of a lack of birth control or knowledge about it. Once again those who do not hold to this religious belief should not be held to it. Now, that a pregnancy has occurred the biggest reason to end a pregnancy is financial. It's shameful that money would get in the way. But it does every time the amount of taxes a person may have to pay rises above the need to make a serious and meaningful reduction in abortions by providing all the material and physiological help a young mother needs.Once again conservative ideology and a little old fashion selfishness interferes with what good could be accomplished.
Life Does Not End At Birth (pdf)
Also, I would like to add that truly prolife people who embrace the full spectrum of social teaching are, while disagreeing with us on abortion, respected by the liberal community. A beginning of dialog lies there. The faulty tactics and hypocrisy embraced by the religious right have only hurt any cause to decrease abortions.
Stringing along religious conservatives has been very advantageous to the Republican power structure who have used it to their political, economic and international gain. It's little wonder why they talk a good game but have nothing to show for it after all these years.
It's easy to feel good about yourself for only voting for this one issue based on what they tell you but our voting responsibilities as Christians and citizens are much more serious than that and a lot more complicated.
Lives in the Balance From Jackson Browne
Do they not deserve a voice of equal magnitude?
Citizens of countries that let tyranny reign either through direct involvement or through welcomed ignorance and laziness or fear have found they’re faced with guilt and shame for several generations. I predict when things are said and done everyone will claim to have opposed Neocon excesses, abuses and crimes when in actuality they were either blind followers or apathetic or just to scared to speak up.
The truly remarkable lady from Africa, who, a few years back, won the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai, tells a story of a hummingbird that flies back and forth to the river scooping up mouthfuls of water to spit on a roaring jungle fire. All the other animals, just sitting around hopelessly, laugh at and belittle the poor hummingbird and inquire as to why such a small animal is even trying to put the fire out. The hummingbird just looks at them and replies,” I’m doing what I can.” I’m trying to follow that example in my own stumbling bumbling off the beaten path kind of way. The illness constantly interferes.
It is well known that honest dissent takes courage and is the highest form of patriotism. People say they have love of nation and faith in God but once again it is necessary to point out that the greater part of faith is trust. If we love Jesus it’s imperative that we at least struggle to trust in what He taught us.
But, as a Christian community, as varied as it is, for us who are so bold to refer to ourselves as followers of Jesus to outright deny His teachings in favor of fear and hate in order to grasp at some illusion of earthly security is just wrong. We should all be encouraging each other in this struggle and not be putting pressure on those who disagree to join in an orgy of embracing evil. Hate is evil, it always has been and it always will be the largest obstacle to fitting through the needles eye.