Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

22 Jan 2017

Conservative? Liberal? No: Catholic

My father-in-law has been asked if he's conservative — or liberal.

His answer: "I'm Catholic."

I'd give the same answer.

Catholic teachings are quite definite, so it's possible to peg them on the American political spectrum — as long as you don't look at the big picture.

Taking bits and pieces of Catholic beliefs, and the history of Catholics in America, I could claim that the Catholic Church is conservative or liberal. That would be as big a mistake as seeing all conservatives as hate-fueled foes of diversity, or all liberals as irresponsible lunatics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Oct 2016

Grace in a graceless season: notes from a Catholic in politics


Spare a moment and a prayer for the political types, please and thank you. I’m one of them.
The bitter election-year exchanges on every platform are part of my daily life. Whether on television on online, shutting them down altogether is not an option, appealing though it may be. Politics is part of my vocation. Times like these, I’m tempted to wish it were otherwise.
This is a plague-on-both-your-houses year, looking at the major parties’ candidates for president. I am reading  C.S. Lewis’s  Mere Christianity this month, and something he wrote in there captures my attitude.
I feel a strong desire to tell you – and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me – which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.
Providence was at work when I pulled that book off the shelf days ago.
We have to keep our eyes on the goal – the absolute goal of eternity in the Kingdom of God. Few things are harder for me to do. In politics, the goal is the next vote or the next election. In the greater scheme of things, in the Kingdom, the goal is something different.
I lose sight of that sometimes as a veteran campaign staffer, pro-life lobbyist, and policy blogger. Urgency inheres in those occupations: this vote, this minute, this interview, this crisis, leading up to a defined point: a specific vote or a specific election. Votes and elections are important, but they’re not final.

1 Oct 2016

Love, Neighbors, and Voting

(From Wiley Miller, via GoComics.com, used w/o permission.) (Wiley Miller's January 16, 2016, Non Sequitur. The field of major candidates has narrowed considerably since then.).

I have no great enthusiasm for November's election, but I plan to vote with whatever prudence and wisdom I can muster.

Being a good citizen, contributing to the good of society and taking part in public life, is part of being Catholic: or should be. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1915, 2239).

In my country, that includes voting intelligently: thinking about issues and candidates, voting for whoever and whatever is best; or likely to do the least damage, in some cases.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

24 Jul 2016

Citizenship and Being Catholic

I like being an American, most of the time.

I know that my country is far from perfect, but I'd rather be here than anywhere else on Earth.

Living in Sauk Centre, a smallish central Minnesota town, probably helps. I really like it here.

But it's no Brigadoon, unchanged and unaffected by the outside world....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

1 Feb 2016

Politics and Religion Intersect!


Politics and Religion

It’s that time again folks, where politics and religion collide! Today marks the beginning of the 2016 Presidential electoral process. The great state of Iowa, the first in the nation, conducts their Iowa caucuses today, to determine who will get Iowa’s electoral votes for the Democratic and Republican parties. Now the race is really on!

Have you been watching the political news? The Republican candidates are cutting each other’s throats with trash-talking and degrading language. One candidate is famous for spouting racial, cultural and gender bias against the citizenry. The Democratic candidates are no holy saints either. They try to set themselves apart from each other with negative “policy” commentary that somehow spills over into personal insult.

What’s the kicker? Read more...

15 Nov 2015

Paris, Evil, and Love




(From Anne Sophie Chaisemartin/AP, via New York Daily News, used w/o permission.)
("Victims of a shooting attack lay on the pavement outside La Belle Equipe restaurant in Paris Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Well over 100 people were killed in Paris on Friday night in a series of shooting, explosions."
(New York Daily News))

I've read that Friday's attacks in Paris are the fault of right-wing hate-mongers, that America's president is to blame — — — and the American election is still nearly a year off. I am not looking forward to the usual self-serving balderdash....

...I am pretty sure that Muslims who blame France, America, and Western civilization for their problems are sincere, too.

But the grand imam of Al-Azhar called Friday's attack "odious," Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said it was "heinous," and Saudi King Salman called it "repugnant."1...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Sep 2015

Being a Citizen

I was surprised and flattered when two tourists from Thailand asked me if I was Jewish. That was about four decades back, at Grand Canyon National Park, near the visitor center.

I'd brought a big topographic map of that massive gulch, spreading it out at intervals to see what I was looking at, and taking photos. That's not mine, by the way: it's from Tom Bernard Anyz.

I think the Thai tourists had noticed that I had a full beard and never took my cap off.

Quite a few gentiles in America wore caps indoors and out at the time, and still do: but not many American men grow a 'haven't shaved in years' beard. The plain black jacket I wore probably helped, too.

I enjoyed being mistaken for one of our Lord's relatives, but my ancestors are about as gentile as it gets, west of the Urals. They probably hadn't even heard of Abraham or Isaac until missionaries arrived, and that's another topic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

3 Jul 2015

Climate Change Talks, and Remembering King Cnut

Golda Meir,1 Henry Kissinger,2 or someone else, said "even a paranoid can have enemies."

I do not think humanity is doomed to extinction, or that life on Earth will end because we built factories. I do, however, think we need to use our brains: and take care of the planet we live on....

...I also think remembering who we are — and what we've been learning about Earth — is important....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Aug 2014

Caesar, Civilization, Dealing With Change — and Building a Better World

After nearly five hundred years, the Roman Republic had grown from a small city-state to a major world power: and it was a mess.

I'm not talking about the chronic SNAFUs perpetrated by America's Congress.

If America's government was like the Roman Republic's, we might see the House ways and means committee lead an armed assault on the Senate: while their assassins took care of a filibuster the hard way. Yes: things could be worse.

Run-ins like the Catilinarian Conspiracy and Second Catilinarian conspiracy made the worst Washington mudslinging seem like a sedate poetry reading.

The Roman Senate finally named one of their members "dictator perpetuo" ("dictator in perpetuity") — hoping that Julius Caesar would solve their problems.

A few Senators got nervous: cutting the term, and Caesar's life, short.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

2 Feb 2012

A Catholics response to the HHS mandates


A few days ago a friend asked me to rebut this argument that she received in an e-mail loop discussion.  - I was happy to comply!  The comments in yellow are from a member of the loop who supports the Obama administration mandates.   My reply follows.
While I respect your right to have an opinion, belief and even a faith with regard to your religious beliefs - I think it is important to remember that this mandate, by the Health and Human Services Department, does absolutely nothing to force you or any other religious person to do anything against their will - to themselves. What it does do is guarantee that people who CHOOSE to use such medications, whether for birth control, at the advice of their medical doctor or in the event of a rape etc. will have the same access - independent of whether their community is served by a Catholic hospital or a public hospital. It makes sure that Catholic's have the choice to access such services through their employer"s health insurance - IF THEY CHOOSE to do so.
This country was founded on religious freedom - not any particular religious belief. I know the religious right wants people to believe that it was founded on Christian beliefs - in fact - the First Amendment to the Constitution clearly states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Imagine how some would react if others were trying to force sharia law on their community, employer or local medical facility. Do you think that would be appropriate simply because some number of Muslims were in favor of the beliefs? Would it be fair if you were a tourist in a predominately Muslim country? What if your child were ill in a country that believed no medical treatments were allowed,   only prayer to their god?    No government should force religious beliefs on its people.

Remember - there are 2000 religions on this planet. Not everyone was born into a Catholic family. Catholics are just as free to not use birth control today as they were last week and the week before that. Have faith in your fellow Catholics, they can still choose to do what they believe.

In my opinion - we as a nation (and the world in general) would be much better off if the separation of church and state were MUCH more specifically declared. So much so - that even people who rely on Fox "News" for their information could understand that this is a secular nation. A great one in which people have the FREEDOM to make personal choices without the threat of having others personal choices forced on them. People should have the right to believe - or not believe - in any or all (or none) of the 2000 religions. They simply do not have the right to force others to believe.

Jesus could have forced the soldiers who were crucifying him to become believers - but he did not. He, in many ways, gave his life (assuming you believe in the bible) to allow people to make decisions for themselves. Just like he allowed humans to develop medications that could control population when they acted on the urges that he gave them in the first place. What do you think Jesus would do? If he is all powerful - then it would appear that he would allowed people to choose...
My rebuttal:

With all due respect John, while you say that you are 100% for the complete separation of church and state, you seem to be just fine with the federal government forcing Catholic Institutions to provide coverage for drugs and procedures that it finds abhorrent, immoral and intrinsically evil. And they are NOT giving the administrators of those Catholic institutions or the bishops a choice - they are saying that they MUST violate 2000 years of sacred tradition and moral teaching to be in line with this mandate. John, this simply is NOT separation of church and state; this is a huge infringement on the beliefs, teachings and moral authority of the Catholic church.

People can have a choice as to where they work. I could never, for example, work for NPR or MSNBC or any of the abortion clinics in the country. And so it is with employees in Catholic institutions and schools. Frankly they shouldn't be working there anyway if they cannot support the vision and values of their employer.

But I tell you what this will do John - I saw something this week that I haven't seen in quite a while - the moral outrage of Catholics in the pews and most importantly - from the bishops themselves. Bishop Lennon, for example said that this will not stand. I think he will close the Catholic institutions in the diocese rather than succumb to mandates that force the Cleveland Diocese to be complicit in immorality.  Currently 1 in 6 patients in this country are treated in Catholic health care settings. You think the ER waiting room is busy now? Just wait. Public schools crowded? Move over for the Catholic school kids - unless of course they decide to home school - which I imagine many parents would rather do anyway.

It sounds like you are an unbeliever so you may not be aware that Jesus once told Satan, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the Test" Luke 4:12 He gives man free will to choose good or evil. And out of that free will has come both great good but also great evil. I wouldn't necessarily say that just because mankind had developed it, that it is good. Instead He calls us to form our consciences to know the difference between good and evil and to live our lives accordingly. And how do we know the true difference between good and evil? From the pillar of truth - the church. 1 Timothy 3:15

God allows us most of the time to suffer the consequences of the actions we have chosen. Sometimes we don't get those consequences for years. Sometimes they are immediate. But I don't think you should act on the urge to jump in front of a city bus John. Jesus is all powerful - and he will indeed allow you to choose. Guess how that will turn out?

As the Morning Rising: Sacred Heart - Fire of Approachability

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