Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Reminder of 2008's Trials and Tribulations!

On today's LRC Blog, Ryan McMaken makes an excellent post. He poses the question "What is worse than a Catholic Democrat?" The answer of course is a Catholic Republican! 

This post reminded me of what I went through in my parish during the election of 2008. As a Jesuit educated, Austrian economist, and supporter of Ron Paul, I was a marked man. The "pro-life" dignity battalions were in full force, and of course, were incapable of seeing the forest through the trees. I thought I would share some of the thoughts and ideas that I had blogged about this very idea of the "Catholic" republicans that alienate others through their ignorance of Catholic doctrine, and their penchant for being duped by politicians who sell them a "pro-life" bag of goods every election cycle. I had put these up and then taken them down, large in part to the fact that I was encouraging others to sin. You should have seen some of the things "Catholics" said and wrote to me! Anyway, without further ado, here are the posts. And special thanks to Ryan McMaken, who has made me realize that I am not the only one who sees this disease in Catholics in America

Post I
October, 2008

I may never get the chance to post ideas I am learning in my studies. Why? McCainist Pro-life Dignity Battalion goons won't stop emailing me about the "Pro-life" candidate, and why Catholics must vote for him. 

What follows is an email I received today that instructs me to vote McCain, as it is my duty as a Catholic. It is riddled with the fallacies I talked about in an earlier post. To make it more fun to read, I added my own thoughts to the message so you can really see what this unfortunate person is saying implicitly. She is unaware however, having put her mouth on the McCainist water fountain. My additions are in bold: 

“Dear fellow members of (an allegedly pro-life Catholic organization),
I have an important message for you regarding this crucial upcoming election in 52 days. (This message came via diktat from the neocons that convince us once every four years that this time the GOP presidential candidate is really, really pro-life. Disregard any thing you have heard from the Pope). 
As a Catholic organization that (selectively) supports and defends the moral teachings of our Magisterium, (except those on war, capital punishment, and embryonic stem cell research, all of which John McCain supports) we must be courageous (and intimidating) enough to convince our fellow Catholics (especially the ones who, orthodox in their beliefs, reject McCain and Obama for their positions on the warfare/welfare state) not to throw this election to a pro-abort like Obama (but unlike McCain) who not only believes in partial birth abortion, but also believes in Infanticide - by leaving babies born through a botched abortion in the dirty linen closet.
Obama must be defeated and the only (allegedly) prolife candidate for President must be elected (so we can have another warmongering neocon to merely tell us what we want to hear and make us feel good).
Voting for a third party candidate throws away your vote (and suggests that you are a critical thinker independent from the trough of partisan politics), and will only help elect Obama (who is pretty much like McCain on just about everything else).
Good shepherds (that also can ignore the world wide war that is accelerating the decline of Western Civilization) both inside and outside this diocese have reminded us that abortion is the most crucial moral issue in this election; homosexuality/same sex marriage second.  Obama supports both, McCain does NOT. (He only supports one, depending on the audience, which is still better than two).
Please attend the Rally for McCain (War, Capital Punishment, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Government Regulation) - Sunday, Sept. 28th 

“Encourage many other Catholics (who also have never read Agustine, Aquinas, Thomas More, or any papal encyclical) to attend with you. Catholics (that disregard Catholic Just War Teaching and the last two Popes) can and must defeat Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion candidate ever (as well as defeat John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and any other Catholic who stubbornly believes that there is a higher authority than the neocon and socialist warfare/welfare statists that run our government)!
Sincerely Yours in Christ,

“(Another sadly confused Catholic that I will continue to pray for!)”

Post II
October, 2008

An operative within the "Catholic" McCain Pro-Life Dignity Battalions has advised me to choose McCain, for he is the "lesser of two evils" regarding life issues. My reply is as follows:

1. To help me better understand your point of view, please answer the following questions:  

2. Is it not acceptable for a Catholic to choose to resist evil, rather than choose evil itself?  

3. Would Christ choose between two evils? If so, what evil would he choose? If not, shouldn't we follow His example?  

4. How should a Catholic reconcile encouraging another Catholic to choose any evil, regardless of its scale?  

5. Which evils are acceptable for Catholics to willfully choose?  

6. Why would some evils be acceptable for Catholics to choose, while others remain forbidden for Catholics to choose?  

7. In willfully choosing evil, where would a Catholic draw the line regarding the scale of evil?  

8. Which of the Ten Commandments authorizes the willful choosing to commit evil? Where in the New Testament is the willful choice of evil discussed and promoted?

What was the response to these questions? I was called Pontius Pilate! It is nice to know that reasoning is no longer valid!

Post III
November, 2008

Do you ever have déjà vu all over again? I do, particularly around election time. I experience it in so many wonderful ways, the negative ads, the pandering, the flip-flopping, etc. But I also have another wonderful reminder: some of my fellow Catholics who feel the need to remind me of what they think my duties are as a Catholic as far as voting is concerned. They say that since I am a practicing Catholic, and that I am pro-life (small p). Their claim is that as a Catholic, if I do not vote for John McCain, aka the “Pro-life” (capital P) candidate, I am committing heresy, and must be burned at the stake. There are several fallacies that they employ to try to convince me of what they believe is my obligation as a Catholic. I would like to share with you those fallacies, as well as some as my remedies for dealing with the Pro-Life (capital P) Dignity Battalions.

The “You Are Throwing Your Vote Away” Fallacy

This is a classic, because the neo-cons love this one too. I am led to believe that if I vote for anyone other than McCain, I am automatically voting for Obama, because 
Ron Paul, my aunt, and Murray Rothbard have no chance of beating Obama.

What it assumes: This fallacy makes several poor assumptions. First, it assumes that I do not have a conscience. Second, it assumes that I care about who is elected president. Third, it assumes that Barack Obama is “worse” than John McCain.

My response: If I vote at all, I will do so with my conscience in tact by not voting for anyone other than the candidate that I truly believe is going to act with moral clarity, prudence, and integrity. That leaves Ron Paul. (Sorry Auntie!). If I vote my conscience, I do not care who wins. Why should I compromise? As a Catholic, should I compromise my faith to support “the lesser of two evils?” Evil is evil, and is to be resisted, even if it is the “lesser.”

The “Brave Men Died To Give You That Right To Vote” Fallacy

Another timeless classic! Many like to use this one with me because I served as an officer in the Marine Corps for six years. They cannot see how I would not participate in the “right that I defended.”

What it assumes: This fallacy also makes very poor assumptions, namely that you get your rights from man made institutions like the state. Clearly they have not read the 
Declaration of Independence, JFK’s inaugural address, the Bible, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Every Catholic should know that their rights come from God, not man, or the state. Second, it assumes that just because I was a part of an institution previously, I can never change my mind from the orthodoxy of the state.

My response: Brave men probably die more because of the right to vote, not for it. Since the modern democracies have become dominant, we never seem to get a breather from wars. In the “bad old days” of monarchy, wars were much more limited relative to today. (
See Hans-Herman Hoppe).

The “John McCain is the Only Pro-Life Candidate” Fallacy

This one is so funny it is tragic. People who had just been waterboarding others for Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, or Fred Thompson, are now circling the wagons around their last choice to “save us from Roe v. Wade,” John McCain. It is ironic that they somehow seemed to never factor in Ron Paul, the only candidate worthy of the term “pro-life.”

What is assumes: The assumption here is that John McCain is a pro-life candidate who is going to overturn Roe v. Wade. How? They are not sure exactly, but they seem to think it has something to do with appointing “pro-life” judges. They also have to assume that only the president can cause Roe v. Wade to be overturned. This is merely due to a poor understanding of how the three branches of government are supposed to function.

My Response: John McCain supports war, the death penalty, and embryonic stem cell research. These are hardly pro-life stances. Furthermore, if he really wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, at some point during his long career in the senate he would have introduced legislation that enforced Article III, Section 2 of the constitution. This clause enumerates the areas of responsibilities of the courts. Abortion is nowhere to be found! If McCain or any of his new “pro-life” supporters would have read the constitution, specifically this clause, they would know that abortion is not anywhere remotely close to being in the jurisdiction of the federal courts. All it would take is one member of either the house or senate to introduce this bill, and get a simple majority to support it. Roe v. Wade and all of the drama that goes with it would disappear quickly.

The “Who Would Jesus Vote For” Fallacy

This one is not limited to Pro-life Catholics, but many other Christian groups.

What it assumes: That if our Blessed Lord were here on Earth, he would delay judging the living and the dead so he could vote for John McCain.

My response: If our Blessed Lord were here on Earth, he would indeed be judging the living and the dead, not voting. There would be no need to vote because the world would be at its end. Furthermore, if he was here in His human form, would he go through all of the trouble to go to a voting booth to pull the lever for John McCain to end abortion, or just do it Himself. Remember that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, not John McCain. Plus Christ is a king, and kings don’t vote.

The sad part is that people like this, who are incapable of critical thought, are led away from the truth by belieiving that people like John McCain, or any other "Pro-life" member of Congress really cares about ending abortion. The results never match the intentions.

1 comment:

Ryan McMaken said...

Amazingly, I still get some fundraising letters like those you mention above. They're good for a laugh, I suppose.

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