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This article, about American Catholic bishops urging people to vote for Bush because Kerry is pro-choice, depresses me.

For all its (many, many) faults, and its rather repugnant views on sexuality and fertility, the Catholic church's teachings on socio-political matters have been pretty liberal. There's always been a huge progressive wing. But this obsession with women's wombs over Iraq bombs and the electric chair sickens and enrages me and always has.

One Republican priest says:

"One can't hold public office and say it's O.K. to kill some of the public.".

Um, okay. So two-month old foetuses are members of the public, and death-row prisoners aren't? Fuck off.

But it is impossible to know how many bishops share this view, and there is resistance from a sizable wing of the church that argues that voting solely on abortion slights Catholic teaching on a range of other issues, including war, poverty, the environment and immigration.

Damn right. And here's Kerry himself:

In the presidential debate on Friday, Mr. Kerry discussed his religious beliefs. "I was an altar boy," he said. "But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever."

That's the central principle of the separation of church and state. Who would have thought it would be a big issue - or even an issue at all - in 2004? Come on, lefty/liberal Catholics of America! I know you exist (I'm related to some of you)! Stand up to these horrible conservatives who think it's okay to vote for someone who's against gay marriage but in favour of executing minors!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2004 02:31 am (UTC)
I would say "Amen" if it didn't feel vaguely blasphemous. The Catholic cathedral at the end of my street has only just taken down a thirty-foot-high Jubilee 2000 "drop the debt" banner, and that's what most Catholics I know are about, no matter what a few who sadly all seem to have church titles might be saying.
Oct. 12th, 2004 02:53 am (UTC)
Yes, that's what my parents are like too. I'm not a Catholic (and the proof of the once-a-Catholic thing is in the fact that I feel very odd typing that, even though it's true), but I have a huge amount of respect for their progressive political stuff. But whenever it's anything to do with sex it feels like another organisation. There was a discussion on RTE the other week about the Pope's planned visit and how Irish Catholics are totally disillusioned with the Church, and one woman pointed out that when you read the Pope's writings about the developing world and immigration it's like something from a ultra-lefty, and then when he's writing about sex he turns into this fanatical bigoted misogynist maniac. Bizarre.

Of course, there are lots of liberal lefty clergy people too (like my friend Louise's uncle who risked his life in El Salvador for years), but they tend not to get as much publicity as the maniacs.
Oct. 12th, 2004 03:03 am (UTC)
and the proof of the once-a-Catholic thing is in the fact that I feel very odd typing that, even though it's true

I've decided I'm a social Catholic. As in, I'm an atheist but I still reserve the right to be offended by anti-Catholic nonsense.
Oct. 12th, 2004 03:08 am (UTC)
Oh, that's perfect. Well, that's what I am too! Apart from the atheist part, being pretty agnostic.
Oct. 12th, 2004 02:34 am (UTC)
I find the whole thing with Catholic bishops saying that you shouldn't vote for Kerry on the grounds of his support for abortion rights truly bizarre. I could understand lay Catholics coming to that conclusion, but actual leaders of the church? Have they not read their own theology? The Church's position on pro-life is that it's pro all life, as you say, and then there's a hefty chunk about international trade and relationships with the developing world and all that kind of stuff.

If you base your vote purely on looking for someone who would pursue the Vatican's position on international economics, I'm pretty sure you'd struggle to endorse either candidate. How on earth can men who have risen to such a high position in the church make such appallingly partisan statements? For me, that's almost as dire a reflection on the Catholic Church in America as the whole child abuse scandals.
Oct. 12th, 2004 02:55 am (UTC)
If you base your vote purely on looking for someone who would pursue the Vatican's position on international economics, I'm pretty sure you'd struggle to endorse either candidate.

Exactly! And these bishops are the people who complain about a-la-carte Catholics....
Oct. 12th, 2004 03:11 am (UTC)
I hate to sound all foaming at the mouth, but I think it's fear of women's independance that makes abortion such a focal issue for some people. And it's leading to insane things like medical care being taken away from pregnant women and given to 'children from conception' because the woman is nothing once she has a potential boy[1] inside of her.

[1]OK, now I'm definitely over the top, but I really can't see any other explanation
Oct. 12th, 2004 05:14 am (UTC)
I hate to sound all foaming at the mouth, but I think it's fear of women's independance that makes abortion such a focal issue for some people

I think that's the only explanation from the hardcore anti-choice people. I know several people who are anti-abortion because they genuinely think that it's murder (which I, obviously, don't) and that's a perfectly logical viewpoint. But the church's and the likes of George Bush's borderline obsession with it seems only to come from the reason you mention above. I can't see how someone who is anti-social welfare and vehemently pro-capital punishment can possibly claim that he's against abortion because he values life so much.
Oct. 12th, 2004 09:43 pm (UTC)
Especially since while he was governor of Texas he put more prisoners to death than anyone else in the past 60 years.

As bothered as I am by the disconnect between the abortion/capital punishment in his mind, I am increasingly distressed by how little the American public is noticing the encroachment of women's rights. We notice that the war in Iraq is unjust, that gas prices have gone sky high, that jobs are leaving the country. But I can't think of anything that's being protested or done in the media about Bush's attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade, or that if he wins this election, he'll be able to stack the Supreme Court in his favor. And that Scalia is getting progressively more conservative with each judgement, and he's a friend of Bush's.

Oct. 12th, 2004 07:07 am (UTC)
I think you're missing the key point here, and it's not about religion. Buried waaaaaay in the bottom of that article:
Archbishop Chaput says he has had no contact with either campaign or political party. He says his sole contact with the White House has been his appointment to the President's Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Remember, with everything you hear about the US election: It's okay if you're a republican.

If it were about religion and faith, then that asshole in office would be in LOTS of trouble with his base for not ever going to church, despite his facile expressions of faith.

And when this question comes up (it will), his answer will be that he's too busy and it's hard work or something like that, just remember that Jimmy Carter managed to teach Sunday school every Sunday whilst in office.
Oct. 12th, 2004 07:10 am (UTC)
Catholics For a Free Choice

I saw Frances Kissling speak once, she was very inspiring.
Oct. 12th, 2004 08:31 am (UTC)
The Pope tried to pressure our Prime Ministers (the current PM is Catholic, as was the one before him) on the gay-marriage issue. I don't think he got very far, and most of the articles/letters I read on the subject expressed disgust that the Catholic clergy would try to use their personal influence in that way.

I admire a lot of RCC positions — not on sex, but on a lot of other things. It makes it all the more upsetting when they team up with scary Protestant fundamentalists.
Oct. 12th, 2004 11:51 am (UTC)
My husband and I talk about this *all* the time. It is such a damn shame that many Catholics let their views on abortion vot for them, even when they are apalled by the Republican stances on most other social issues. I think it is especially heart-breaking that the (mostly poor) Hispanic population here overwhelmingly votes Republican for this very reason, when the right has historically done little or nothing for them.

Unfortunately, I think the problem here is bigger than just the Bishops. Many priests here urge their congregations to vote the same way. There do exist parishes that lean left (for example, some campus "Newman Center" congregations and some big-city northeastern churches), but they are in the minority.

I fall neatly into the category of "liberal Catholic," as do some of my peers. It's a difficult label to wear here. Unfortunately, many of the Catholics I grew up with have been unable to balance liberalism and Catholicism and have left the church.

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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