America's Babylonian Captivity?
So, for instance, the Dems were, once upon a time, much more amenable to enacting Catholic social teaching. They were also, as are all pols, about getting elected. But it was still a workable alliance so long as the Dems didn't pit themselves in a fundamental way against some crucial and non-negotiable teaching of Holy Mother Church. During that long-ago time, it was the GOP that was a political home for registered Republican Margaret Sanger. Had I lived then, some sixty or seventy years ago, I would have been an Al Smith Labor Democrat, trying get as much of Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno enacted as policy as I could.
But when the Dem party cast itself in with fealty to the sacrament of abortion in the '70s, they committed spiritual suicide in their worship of Moloch and have paid for it ever since. I will never support a candidate who favors intrinsic moral evil, and abortion is a spectacular example of precisely that.
A lot of people share this sentiment. So many, in fact, that the GOP saw the opportunity in the late '70s just as the Dems were making themselves willfully blind to it. So the GOP became, sort of, the party that "opposed abortion" and started to bill itself as the Party of Human Life. They also, to a degree, became serious about the Little Guy (though, to their credit, the Dems still have those sympathies too—to a degree). Of course, the GOP "opposed abortion" largely by phoning it in every Roe v. Wade Anniversary and occasionally enacting laws that brought American jurisprudence and legislation up to sub-Carthaginian levels of respect for the unborn. They also gave us such valiant pro-life warriors as David Souter, Harry Blackmun, Anthony Kennedy, and Sandra Day-O'Connor, who did ever so much to advance the prolife cause. And they reliably made the right noises to us prolifers every four years, keeping us on the reservation and getting our votes while coughing up an occasional token effort here and there. Oh, and they panicked the faithful into voting booths with dark prophecies about the horrors of Dem presidents who appoint pro-choice justices—even as they supinely approved the appointments of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer. But they were better than nothing and, while not much to write home about in their supposed dedication to the dignity of unborn human life for thirty long years, they were at least not zealous fanatics for the sacrament of abortion as the Dems were. So I supported Republicans on the theory that it's better to have politicians who don't care about abortion than politicians devoted to killing as many children as possible.
But the thing is, now both parties are increasingly the parties of Salvation through Grave and Intrinsic Moral Evil. Dems do it with their Nanny State devotion to the Culture of Death and the sacrament of abortion, their sole core value. "Bush Conservatism" does it with its insane combination of Mystical Imperialism that believes in redemption through democratic capitalism by means of torture and war crimes. And, as icing, both parties believe devoutly in the Drunken Sailor approach to the national larder. Dems want to build the Great Society at home and Republicans want to build the Great Society abroad. But for me, the deal breaker is not so much the utopian nation-building stuff as the grave intrinsic evil stuff: abortion or torture, which shall I choose? As a Catholic, I choose neither.
Now living, as we do, in the land where there are only two sides to every question, I find that the result of this choice is to be routinely accused of being a closet Obama supporter on the theory that failure to support the preferred grave and intrinsic sin of the GOP means I simply must support the preferred grave and intrinsic sin of the Dem party. But, in fact, when I turn my back on grave and intrinsic sins, my mind actually goes, not to the platform of either party, but to scripture.
Mark P. Shea is a senior editor at The Catholic Exchange, and a columnist for Crisis Magazine. Visit his blog at Catholic and Enjoying It. This piece originally appeared at www.mark-shea.com and is reprinted with permission.