Friday, October 12, 2012

Sign of the times: the Catholic hierarchy is for Romney and aggression in Iran, against the poor and the right to vote

Leave unto Caesar the things…

The Catholic Church hierarchy has taken an unusually reactionary role in the Presidential election. It has made abortion the sole issue on which to vote – thus, supporting Romney. It has told pro-Obama voters not to vote.

It has thus dissociated itself from the Christian concern about the poor or unjust war - aggression - against Iran which would suggest Obama against Romney. Even were one to agree that abortion is a crime, do these practices also not take innocent lives?

The Church hierarchy opposes the Thomas Mertons, Father Berrigans, Dorothy Days, the many Catholics who live saintly lives and pursue justice. It allows no thinking or compromise or working out by individuals of a balance. It is thus both a partisan organization and a nasty one.

Two weeks ago, my wife registered voters in Morrison with a Catholic woman who had, extremely angry, come directly from church. The core right to vote and the importance of registering people is non-partisan. See here. It affirms the core of democracy- the right to vote should be far more easily available to all citizens; one should have basic civics classes and be registered along with finishing high school; in addition, people should be able to vote on the weekends and not on Tuesdays. The current contrast means that 50 to 60 per cent of eligible Americans vote in Presidential elections, 80 to 90% of Europeans.

The “Republicans” – once again imperial or militarist authoritarians and racists, not conservatives* - seek to disenfranchise as many poor and elderly and black and brown people and students as possible. They are, in this way, enemies of democracy and engage in what though currently “legal” ought to be outlawed (the Republican legislators, secretaries of state and Governors should all face legal hearings for trying to restore Jim Crow – the cost of a driver’s license is a poll tax, equivalent to what was done in the segregated South - which would put a stop to such actions).

Yet the Catholic hierarchy aligns itself even with this. It is a sign of what they sense is, what they are working toward as an extreme shift to the Right in America that Church leaders allow themselves to take such a stand.

Here are two letters about its stance from ordinary Catholics who are appalled (h/t Paula Bard).

“Hi, this is the catholic thing that women was talking about that I did V[oter]R[egistration] with couple of weeks ago, download and read it, very interesting, stick it on your blog??? The whole thing is pretty creepy!!!

Begin forwarded message:

“[A.] asked me to send this to you. St. Judes Catholic Church in Lakewood passed these out after mass and their "3 minute cathicumin" telling us how we can't vote for anyone that supports abortion. If we don't like the other candidate, we just don't vote. Wait till you read this booklet!

What a mess. If you want to share this with anyone, feel free. Just don't use our names. …[A.] still goes to church. I have stopped attending because of this.
Have a good day, PS check out There might be some enlightening information there on voting as well. We were given a post card with their information after mass also.”

Here is the text from the Catechism:

"If a political candidate promoted abortion or any other moral evil, such as assisted suicide and euthanasia, it would not be morally permissible for you to vote for that person. This is because, in voting for that person, you would become an accomplice in the moral evil at issue. For this reason, moral evils such as abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia become examples of a "disqualifying issue." A disqualifyying issue is one of such gravity and importance that it allows for no political maneuvering. It is an issue that strikes at the heart of a human person and is non-negotiable. A disqualifying issue is one of such enormity that by itself it renders a candidate for office unacceptable, regardless of his position on other matters. You must sacrifice your feelings on other issues because you know you cannot participate in any way in a basic violation of human rights."

It must be nice to have God speak to you with such moral authority about such trivial moral evils as aggression or starving the poor or denying medical care or consigning old people to eat dog food or to deny the right to vote. It must be nice to decide that people who are moved by such concerns do not have "the heart of a human person." This is a truly sad document.

*Conservatives believe in habeas corpus – the right to a day in court, not to be indefinitely detained or tortured. In 2008, Romney advocated a Guantanamo of twice the size…

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