This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Bishop's letter from the pulpit and in the bulletin on faithful citizenship


Last weekend, our bulletins included a letter on faithfully voting.  Today, only the highlights were mentioned in a letter which was read from the pulpit.  I am not sure if the Bishop or the Pastor chose the language to use, but I expect the former rather than the latter.

You can guess which issues were highlighted if you have been paying attention.  Oddly enough, these are the three issues which have or will play out without any regard to electoral politics.
The pro-life movement seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade.  This will never happen, however, because even the last two Republican appointees added to the Court, Roberts and Alito, chose to uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Act using the Commerce Clause to justify the bill rather than using the case as a way to overturn Roe.  Indeed, with a majority of Catholics on the Court (there are six) the bishops could not actually order these Justices to support the Church's position.  They would have to recuse themselves from the case at the request or if Communion were used to force them to.  What you can't do to the Justices, you certainly can't to the appointing or confirming officials or the voters.

No personhood amendment will be added to the Constitution any time soon (count the states for yourself) and while a federal personhood bill is possible, it is not likely - at least not one that deals with the equal protection concerns having to do with miscarriage.  Any bill submitted is to make the base feel heard, but there is no serious legislation - and if there is no bill, I need not take into account this issue in determining whom I vote for.  In other words, the entire movement is a con game which my local bishop has sadly decided to support.  I need not follow him into sin, however and will not.

The second issue is the contraception mandate.  This is also a non-issue because preventative policies have required contraception coverage since December of 2000.  Similar state based insurance mandates have already been litigated.  Indeed, Catholic Charities of New York has already lost in federal court.  Twice.  This is not really an electoral issue at all and even though Valerie Jarrett did want it stoked, the fact of the matter is that the EEOC and the federal courts have already constitutionalized it as a woman's right to receive this coverage.  The only thing that changed from the prior mandate was the lack of a co-payment.  Indeed, the exception allowing Church organizations that are involved in active worship to not offer this coverage is probably unconstitutional.

The third issue is gay marriage.  While the White House has certainly made noise on this issue and it is proceeding in some legislatures, it is pretty much understood that if gays are a protected class, which recent federal judicial holdings are making them out to be, than the right to civil marriage cannot be denied to them.  In other words, the courts will settle this, not the elected officials.  Indeed, what the Church is worried about is not the state forcing them to treat employees with charity or forcing them to perform gay marriages, but that the priests and people will largely ignore the bishops and have civil marriages blessed in Church.  Worse, seminarians may start demanding the right to marry the man of their dreams and still be ordained.

In today's excerpt, no mention was made of the more essential issues of poverty and economic justice that elected officials do actually have something to say about.  The fact that the tangential was mentioned at the expense of the real is deeply troubling.

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