Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Conservative Catholicism

Recently there have been a spate of posts, comments, and stories which have dealt with Christians and Catholics (I'm not sure why I seperate those, but always see it that way) and the upcoming midterm elections. A letter in a recent National Catholic Register raised the question about Catholics' support for pro-abortion Democratic candidates. Additionally, today at was this article, on "Red Letter" Leftists. If you do not want to read the article, it describes a group of "Evangelicals" who are tired of what they call the "single issues" of abortion and marriage defining the religious-political debate, and argue that true Christianity means adopting all of the typical Democratic talking points:

We are evangelicals who are troubled by what is happening to poor people in America; who are disturbed over environmental policies that are contributing to global warming; who are dismayed over the increasing arrogance of power shown in our country’s militarism; who are outraged because government funding is being reduced for schools where students, often from impoverished and dysfunctional homes, are testing poorly; who are upset with the fact that of the 22 industrialized nations America is next to last in the proportion of its national budget (less than two-tenths of 1 percent) that is designated to help the poor of third-world countries; and who are broken-hearted over discrimination against women, people of color, and those who suffer because of their sexual orientation.

In addition, they feel that placing anti-war activism and environmental causes out front, above abortion and marriage issues, more closely follows the teachings of Christ and what he said, hence the "red letter" tag. Abortion is the hot button issue here, the issue they believe should be minimized, and by bringing forward a liberal agenda, they hope to appeal to those Christians who feel that social justice consists of more than simply the two issues of abortion and marriage.

Unfortunately this could work very well with Catholics, in addition to Evangelicals. What has to be noted, however, and which the article states, is that these evangelicals, the "Red Letters," are "progressives," first and foremost, liberals, Democrats, with a very specific and clear agenda. It amazes me how many Catholics here consistantly vote Democratic, because of these social justice issues. I do, however, have one comment.

The most basic social issue, a social right, and one which Catholics, as well as Evangelicals, should remember, is the right to life. It all starts there. If you fail to protect the unborn, you show a true hypocrisy that the environment, giving to the poor, and all of the other "Red Letter" issues cannot overcome. You have, in essence, denied human beings the most basic right there is. Democrats, or at least the majority of them, support abortion, and hence the denial of this most basic human right. It seems to me that, to truly believe in Jesus and follow his example, you MUST not allow those that say it's okay to kill kids to control the country.

It's all at stake in November.


Blogger -l said...

I used to be a Democrat. Born and raised. But our issues have to do with a wide range of beliefs, help for the poor, unions and pro labor, etc, etc. Now I am older and a Republican but I still don't see the abortion issue as the only one to divide us. There is Iraq and true leadership to keep all those who have life a good quality of life. And now as a lifelong Catholic I don't believe in abortion but until lately did not see that as the one defining issue. But like I said, I am older now.

10/19/2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

For what it's worth, an Amen from the choir loft here.

Of course the bottom line dollar amount that we give to poor countries exceeds all other nations, it's just not a high percentage because we are such a wealthy nation. And those statistics don't include free-will donations which everyday Americans give to international charities in staggering amounts.

I'm pretty sure that that figure also doesn't include goods or services. So if we donate $3B of wheat to a country in famine, and use the US Army to distribute it, none of that labor or expense counts.

But your main point that the right to life is paramount is exactly correct. If we don't have our basic liberties, squabbling over greenhouse gases or soup kitchen funding is excrutiatingly petty.

10/19/2006 9:57 AM  
Blogger He who wears the most black wins. said...

Absolutley, Darren. I really could not agree more. I am so glad Melissa referred us over here. ;)

And, for what it's worth from us, thank you for being a strong man willing to speak out about a "woman's issue". My husband makes me proud every single time he talks about his stance on it. Every time. This is no more a women's issue than healthcare or education. It's a HUMAN issue.


Great blog!

10/19/2006 2:23 PM  
Blogger Mrs Marcos said...

I am Catholic and I am a Democrat.

I struggle so much with the abortion issue. NOT because I believe in abortion - I don't. My "problem" is that it has become this hot button issue that people use to determine which party to vote for in every election.

Honestly, I've come to believe that the Republican party is every bit as "pro-choice" as they label the Democratic party. The Republicans have been in control of the House, the Senate, the White House, AND the Supreme Court for how long now? In the six years since President Bush took office what has been done to change the abortion laws? Certainly with such a stronghold in every branch of the government they should be able to reverse Roe v. Wade, right? Why haven't they? What has been done? Nothing. Yet, every election cycle the "Pro-life" vs. "Pro-choice" commercials run, pamphlets are printed, yard signs are posted.

A while ago I heard discussions that perhaps the Democrats should concede the whole abortion "argument." Work to end abortion and then focus our efforts on other issues plaguing our nation. I pray this will eventually happen. Abortion is wrong.

Personally, I've come to believe that extreme right-wing politics depend on the hot issue of abortion. Republicans NEED to keep abortion legal so they can use their "I'm Pro-LIFE" posters to win elections and keep power. If abortion was off the table people would have to look at other issues and decide if a politician deserves to be elected.

I'm not here to flame, I hope I don't come off as disrespectful because that is not my intention whatsoever.


10/19/2006 3:05 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Jennifer -

YES...IF abortion were off the tables, we'd have to focus on other issues...

But until abortion is off the table there can be no other issue!!

I vote pro-life, not pro-party. I have voted for "none of the above" because there was no pro-life candidate. Fact is, it is the Democrats who are catering to the left-wing radicals and supporting abortion for any female at any stage of pregnancy.

If you want to know what has been done in the last 6 years to protect the unborn, check out NOW's website. They'll be ready to tell you exactly what the President has done to take away a woman's right to kill her child. If you don't understand why Roe v. Wade hasn't been overturned in the last 5 years, then you really should begin to follow politics a bit more closely. It's just not that easy. We are a republic...there are state laws to contend with...and our system of government moves intentionally slowly so that we alter things deliberately and not at every whim.

Please, I challenge you to work to end abortion and encourage other Democrats to work for this change too. And then, yes, we can look at other issue. But too many people of both parties have given up on abortion and focus elsewhere and that is like ignoring the elephant in the living room.

P.S. Not all Republicans are pro-life. It's not a rule...just as being pro-choice is not required to be a Democrat.

10/21/2006 6:04 AM  
Blogger Barite said...

Just a quick response while I have a few minutes. I agree with Jennifer that the parties are often indistinguishable on many issues, and with Michelle that there are pro-choice Republicans, as well as pro-life Democrats. However, had there been no GOP-controlled House and Senate, Judges Alito and Roberts would probably not have been confirmed. The seating of pro-life judges is important in what are sure to be some rather nasty upcoming battles regarding the Roe decision.

For me, that is a primary concern with keeping a Republican majority in both houses. Local races are another matter, and I have voted many ways, but nationally, to me at least, the seating of conservative judges is crucial, and unlikely under the Democrats.


10/22/2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger Mom of boys said...

First let me say that I am not a Republican - in fact I voted for Clinton in my first election and campaigned for him twice. I did this because while I was opposed to abortion, I believed that it could not be the only issue.

I have since discovered that while abortion is not the only issue, it is the most important. If you can not first grant the right to life, then all other rights are utterly meaningless. Food, shelter, education, equality are all pointless if there is not first life.

Abortion is also not the only issue that Democratic leadership (leaders, not all Democrats) want to enshrine in the Constitution either. Traditional marriage would be abolished under the Democratic leaders. Parental rights would be demolished entirely - after all, government or "the village" are better equipped to raise children than parents, who should really both be working and sending their tax dollars to Washington to support the Democratic programs. International customary Law would override American law, since Europe is so much more progressive than Europe. And if you think that is a good thing, really research what is happening over there. Sick people cannot get adequate care because the government can't/won't fund it. (Government run healthcare is not all that American progressives have talked it up to be! I know a few people in Canada that say Government healthcare is great until you get sick!) Parents are jailed or in hiding for trying to homeschool there children or teach them moral values. Churches are empty, except for the visitors to the great cathedrals.

Judges are the key here. Judges are why I am still voting for a Republican majority in both houses and a Republican president. As despicable as some of their issues are, I see who Democrats are supporting for judges and I cringe at the thought of what that would mean. I know someone will point out that most pro Roe judges were placed by Republican presidents, but that is because before the 90's the Republicans were too dimwitted to realize how important this was and did not carefully discern who they nominated. And the Democrats contributions to the bench are much worse than even Souter et al.

Sorry for the diatribe. This issue is a sore spot for me, and I think the real problem is that many Americans still downplay its importance! I also don't think that Catholics who vote for Democrats are evil - I just hope that they are considering everything and not listening to the soundbites spouted by progressives who won't give up their devotion to abortion!

10/22/2006 10:03 AM  
Anonymous erin said...

Hey Darren!

So, I read your post a while ago and now feel like commenting, which might be a bad idea since I can really only remember the jist, but I am sure you'll forgive me, right? Anywho, it seems to me that the "abortion issue" is made out to be an overly simple one. I know most people would disagree with me, but most people have a very different view of life than me too. What needs to happen if abortion needs to cease to be an issue is a refocusing of governmental money to provide prenatal care to poor pregnant women and to impoverished children, to develop a better system for setting up adoptions, and for better mandatory sex education for kids/teens. In this part of the country, ignorance runs rampant and babies having babies and babies having abortions are the outcome. I think we can all agree that a crack-addicted woman has no business having a baby, but she has no guaranteed support for getting clean during her pregnancy, and that baby has guaranteed home after it is born. All of these little and costly parts have to be reconciled before we just right off abortion. But then, I would rather not be born than to starve to death (worse case scenario).

10/23/2006 10:51 AM  

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