Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Communists With Crucifixes

Back in the year 2000, a co-worker of mine proudly displayed two bumper stickers on the back of her car: A Bush-Cheney sticker, and a Pro-Life Woman sticker. She confessed -- if you'll pardon the expression -- that she was a Republican solely because of the abortion issue. If the Democrats would adopt a pro-life stance, she said, she would register and vote as a Democrat. The reason? She was a Roman Catholic, and Democrat policies largely reflected her Catholic values. She was what we call a "single-issue voter". One issue trumped all others for her. A simple sea change would turn her to the other side.

There is a minor debate raging on the pages of the Psychosis-Gazette's Letters to the Editor page. Yesterday, a Catholic voter dismissed Barack Obama as a viable candidate, based on his and his party's position on abortion. This prompted a flurry of responses from outraged Catholics who argue that Barack Obama reflects their "Catholic values" on issues like war, capital punishment, and "social justice".

Normally, I don't pay any attention to Catholic intra-faith squabbles. Whether or not something is "Catholic enough" is totally off my radar -- unless it concerns the governance of my nation. Then I keep both eyes -- and ears -- open.

My belief concerning government is that, if there is a system in place, we ought to follow that system -- unless that system is irrevocably flawed, in which case it's time to hit the proverbial "reset button" and try something different.

I like the Federal system that we have in place. You might call me a constitutional fundamentalist. I believe that the fundamentals of our system are sound, in spite of the fact that politicians have spend over two centuries trying to screw things up. It's still a free country.

After reading the letters from left-wing Catholics, I'm not so sure. The responsible American voter should consider constitutionality when taking stances on the issues of the day. Most voters are not so responsible, and make their choices based on attitudes like, "what's in it for me?" or "how can I help people?" These Catholic correspondents fall into the latter category. It bothers me. They are trying to impose their religious views on the rest of us.

Funny thing is, if a pro-life Catholic (or conservative Christian in general) votes Republican because of abortion, leftists accuse them of trying to impose their religion on others. It makes me wonder -- what part of "Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness" do these people not understand?

Every election, there is a great deal of talk about the Catholic vote, as if Roman Catholic adherents constitute a monolithic voting bloc that always goes one way or the other. Truth is more complex. There are plenty of diehard Catholics who are also diehard Republicans. If I were to conduct a survey of my mostly right-of-center blogroll, I expect a majority would turn out to be Catholic. They can be good practicing Catholics without taking a subversive stance on American political issues. They believe that charity means "freely giving to others" and not "we need to pass legislation to soak the taxpayers for more of their income because it's easier than giving away our own money". Catholic Republicans are like the peaceful monks who gained converts by setting a good example of selflessness. Catholic Democrats are like the zealots who converted pagans at the point of a sword, upon pain of death.

Do you want your taxes to go up and government spending to increase because it allegedly "reflects Catholic values"? Or do you prefer the American system of government under which you have the freedom to give as you see fit? Unfortunately, the raging financial crisis may give the advantage to the former.

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