the drift

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Just in response to Bishop Finn and every other one issue Catholic voter

I just don't buy it, guys. I don't buy it. And on the eve of casting a vote that could damn me to hell -- in the opinion of Bishop Finn of the Archdiocese of KC -- I sent this email to him. I doubt it will reach him, but I just wanted to tell him what probably few if any of his sheep have had the honesty to.

"I'm sorry but I have a hard time understanding why as Bishop Finn states, my eternal salvation is in jeopardy if I vote for Obama. Am I wrong but aren't there innocent children -- who just happen to have the unfortunate luck of being born already and in Iraq and Afghanistan -- who are being killed by our government? By our fellow citizens? How is voting for McCain who states that he is going to continue to kill these children any less of an offense against my salvation? I mean, really? You don't think there's a GIANT gray area there? You don't think God understands why I can't vote for someone who is a war mongerer? Because Obama will simply continue to let women choose to kill their babies or not? It's a terrible thing, I hate abortion but I also think that God gave us free will. And those women have to answer for that choice. What about our soldiers? Killing people for no reason at all? Other than it's their job? I'm just so confused and I don't think Bishop Finn's statement is correct. I just don't see God as that myopic. I think he loves babies that are here already just as much. Oh, and also he cares about lives of death row convicts, another group that McCain turns a blind eye to when it comes to being 'Pro-Life'. I mean, come on Bishop. Aren't we all a little bit cafeteria Catholics in this election? It's EASY to pick the babies. It's harder to stick up for the foreign children a world away, or the guilty convicts on death row. I thought Jesus lead us to make the TOUGH choices, not the easy ones.
If this even made it to you, I thank you for listening. I hope God has mercy on my soul -- and yours-- since we are BOTH making some pretty big concessions this election."

4 Comments:

At 10:25 PM, November 03, 2008 , Blogger Curmudgeon said...

Thanks for the softball....God is certainly not myopic, nor is His Church, but he does have an order and a hierarchy of values:

Hate the war as we might (whatever our reasons; mine probably differ from yours),

(a) war is not, in itself, intrinsically evil. There are times it is justified. I'm not saying this one was justified; I'm just pointing out the question is different for dealing with war with abortion. With war: are the conditions for a just war met? Is there a culpable agressor? With abortion: there is no just abortion. No child is ever an aggressor.

(b) As for wars, we've got Democratic and socialist wars and we've got Republican and neo-con wars. You can't honestly believe that Obama's going to avoid using the military, can you? Look at Clinton: he was critical of daddy-Bush's wars, but then he pursued his own low-intensity wars in the Sudan; he used it in Serbia; he used it in Haiti. Obama's going to perhaps change the theatre, but rest assured, he'll continue the war.

(c) McCain's goal isn't to kill Iraqi children. Bizzare as it may sound (and it is bizzare), he wants Iraqi children to love the US. He is not making a conscious decision to kill children; they're collateral damage. A tragedy (even by an idiot) is not the same as a premeditated killing.

(d) indeed the women have to answer to God for their choice. Their answer will be different depending on their subjective culpability (who's pressuring them, what they really understand about their baby and their actions). And those around them who take a material part will answer, too. But while we leave it to God to judge their souls, the civil government can and must regulate and judge their acts.

(d) Death row convicts? Yes, he does care about them. But (leaving aside particulars and getting to the principal of capital punishment), it's a different issue. We're not talking about innocent life here. We're talking about an aggressor again. And the state has a right to protect itself and its citizens from an aggressor. That may include capital punishment for certain crimes, both as a means of rendering the aggressor harmless, BUT ALSO to restore justice. If you actually read real Catholic doctrine (and it's a chore...you'd best start with a copy of Denzinger's Sources of Christian Dogma) and not just the crap the USCCB puts out, you'd be surprised.

(d) Choosing between babies or foreign children: a false choice and you know it.

So that answer is, no, we're not being cafeteria Catholics in this election. We're voting against Obama in principal. And some of us are voting for McCain as the lesser evil. But note: Finn didn't tell you to vote for McCain, now did he? You don't know who Finn will vote for. I don't either (when I talked to him last week, I should have asked him to write me in).

I for one am NOT voting for McCain as a lesser evil. I refuse to make a choice between the candidate who will continue down the long road to ruin and the candidate who promises a shortcut. I'm more scared of the short cut, and perhaps I'm doing what you say Jesus wants us to do (although I'm not sure your basis in so asserting it), in that I'm making a TOUGH choice...not compromising on McCain even though it might mean Obama could win. I would encourage you to do the same. Maybe vote for Bob Barr, the libertarian candidate. He's anti-war, too, but he won't bring a bunch of NARAL baggage and spend-happy policies to Washington. As for me, I'll probably write in Ron Paul again.

I do hope God has mercy on your soul. And for that matter, on Obama's, too. And for that matter, on McCain's, too. And for that matter, on mine, too.

 
At 11:48 PM, November 03, 2008 , Blogger rubigimlet said...

Wow! Thanks for that. (Seriously) However, I don't agree with your idea of an 'agressor' at all (remember the turn the other cheek and the love those who hate you thing) or that it's our call as human beings to determine what kind of aggression makes killing in turn a valid expression of our Christian humanity.
But you're right, it's inevitable that Obama is going to have to use the military for something. And that's a shame. But is that the same as continuing a war of no conscience for another 100 years or more (yeah, I know it's a conveniently bad quote but it's a quote nonetheless). His goal may not be to kill Iraqi children, and in God's eyes apparently they are acceptable collateral damage, but he is not going to ACTIVELY seek a way out of that side effect of war -- in his own words. And this is a man who clearly understands personal honor in terms of war, given what we know of his temperament in the Senate. I don't think it's a huge leap to assume he could conceivably get us into more pointless pissing matches.
And, again, the fact that death row convicts are aggressors, makes it okay to kill them? In God's eyes or in man's eyes? And am I wrong in that the Vatican has ALSO issued letters against capital punishment? Why is that less important than its stance on abortion? Because it's concerning (in most but not all cases) guilty people? Because I understand that God wouldn't want us to love and show mercy on GUILTY people. Heck no.
But I'm going to take you up on the tip to read up on my dogma. I hope it helps me understand where the church is coming from because yes, I simply don't get it.
And while I think you personally may be avoiding the cafeteria Catholic thing by writing in Ron Paul, anyone voting for McCain as the lesser evil is not. Not any more than me voting for Obama is my attempt (or understanding) of the lesser evil.
All of that said, you've given me the most reasonable answer any of my (even well-read) Catholic peers have been able to give in this election season. For that I sincerely thank you. I'm going to look at the Libertarian thing again.

 
At 1:13 AM, November 04, 2008 , Blogger rubigimlet said...

so... bob barr. the libertarian party. Here is the official Libertarian platform position on abortion:
"Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."
Doesn't sound quite like overturning Roe v. Wade.
Also, there's some (below the belt, but ain't it all) history of hypocrisy there with Barr in particular and abortion.
Once again... it's looking pretty gray from where I stand.

 
At 4:57 PM, November 05, 2008 , Blogger Midtown Miscreant said...

Probably way out of my element here, being an agnostic former lutheran and all, but I'll pipe in anyway. I'm not really up on catholic Dogma or theology, so if I committ a big fat error, put a good word in for me, I could use it. A Bishop is just a man, so he isn't infallible, maybe he is wrong, maybe you are right. I find it hard to believe that a vote for Obama will risk your mortal soul.
Your reasoning about McCain wanting to stay in Iraq, so a vote for him should be a sin,following your bishops logic. Killing is killing, and one of those "Thou Shall Not" rules, so the method and victim are really a moot point, No? Maybe it is a far greater risk to your soul to blindly follow some directive that you find morally wrong. I think one of the motivating factors in my own fall from grace, is the churches narrow black and white , the whole our way or damnation attitude. The world is full of gray areas, maybe that's why GOD gave you a brain and such a big heart. If all else fails, you can hang out with all the evil free thinkers when you get to hades. Look me up I'll be the bald guy with a bad sunburn.

 

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