Catholic Bishop tells voters to vote Republican or go to hell

David Ricken (above) is the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI.

Recently the bishop sent out a letter to all the Catholics in his diocese. Dated October 24, 2012, his letter in part reads:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

AN IMPORTANT MOMENT

It is almost time to vote and to make our choices for president and other political offices both local and national. You have often heard it said that this is a turning point in our country’s history and I could not agree more.

The Church is not a political organism, but … the Church has the responsibility to speak out regarding moral issues, especially on those issues that impact the “common good” and the “dignity of the human person.”

I would like to review some of the principles to keep in mind as you approach the voting booth to complete your ballot. The first is the set of non-negotiables. These are areas that are “intrinsically evil” and cannot be supported by anyone who is a believer in God or the common good or the dignity of the human person.

They are:

1. abortion

2. euthanasia

3. embryonic stem cell research

4. human cloning

5. homosexual “marriage”

These are intrinsically evil. “A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program that contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals.” Intrinsically evil actions are those which have an evil object. In other words, an act is evil by its very nature and to choose an action of this type puts one in grave moral danger.

But what does this have to do with the election? Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally “complicit” with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.

The letter goes on to warn of the evils of Obamacare and to talk about how great it would be to have a president who knows how to fix the economy and put people back to work. (Read the whole letter here.)

Now, of course, chickenshit bullies old enough to have any conscience at all rarely have the nerve to actually say what they’re really saying, and this cowardly cretin is no different. He doesn’t just say “Vote Republican or go to hell.” That would be too honest and forthright. What he says instead is that voting for one party [gee, I wonder which party he's talking about?] could make you morally complicit with evil—which could put your soul in “jeopardy.”

Vote wrong and damn your eternal soul to hell.  But, ya’ know. He’s just sayin’.

Speaking of voting in polls:

[polldaddy poll=6647003]

 

You might also check out my The Catholic Church and the “sin so grievous it cries out for vengeance,” and Father “No communion for you!” not the whole story.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Kelly Anderson via Facebook

    It is several ministers right now…if you are not voting GOP, you are going “against the Bible” willfully. I am not sure many have said “Hell” but many are preaching that it is not aligned with God which I wholeheartedly disagree with…

  • http://www.facebook.com/Nirakia Karin Kloppers via Facebook

    Srsly? O my *bangs head on desk*

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.meadows.5 Brian Meadows via Facebook

    Just sayin’? HA! Like Torquemada!!

  • Graham Ward via Facebook

    Jaw droppingly wrong headed. What happened to the church that would challenge the state on the real non-negotiables of injustice and unjust wars?

  • http://www.facebook.com/harvey.summers Harvey Summers via Facebook

    And the Bishop can go to hell.

  • Lynne Jacobson via Facebook

    The man is nuts. period.

  • Tor de Vries via Facebook

    Jesus didn’t say ANYTHING about any of the five issues listed by the bishop. NOTHING.

  • http://www.facebook.com/blaine.williams.77 Blaine Williams via Facebook

    funny…that’s what the drunk in the neighborhood bar said to me last week.

  • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

    When “religious” organizations step from the spiritual realm into the political realm it’s time to hold them to account. The separation of church and state allows churches to operate as charitable organizations, with a tax exempt status. When they allow themselves to stray into the political realm they need to be held to account by revoking their tax exempt status and obliging them to pay taxes as the corporations they have now become.

    • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

      Exactly. If all these churches sticking their greedy little fingers into politics would have their tax exempt status revoked, I believe there would be a sizable amount of money that could be used for things that could better help this country.

      Heck, just revoking the Catholic Church’s tax exempt status would probably pay off the National Debt.

      • Diana A.

        This. Right here.

  • K

    We need an “all of the above” option.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      oh, yeah. good point. will go do.

  • Jon Herrin via Facebook

    Harvey: He can go to hell — after he pays his back taxes. Federal and state.

  • Lynne Jacobson via Facebook

    —undereducated christianists and patriarchal dogma have given Christianity a bad name. This “god” that is spoken of would have to be sadistic, makes me think the believers in such a god must be, too.

  • Bill Lentzsch via Facebook

    “Oh noes!! And I already casted my ballot for the other guy!” LOL…

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      Yeah. Same here. Guess I better order an eternity’s supply of spf 100

  • Paula Hepola Anderson via Facebook

    right here around Reformation Day -

  • Richard Williams via Facebook

    This is a man of what god? I have a problem with this dude.

  • http://vimeo.com/wgeorgecook William Cook

    Billy Graham sent out a similar letter to my wife a few weeks ago. It’s asinine at best, fatalistic at worst. I wonder how his more liberal followers (and there are a few in that area) took to this.

    • http://vimeo.com/wgeorgecook William Cook

      Follow up: How exactly would this “new mandate” require that only Catholics be served at Catholic hospitals?

  • Elena Omard via Facebook

    Yeah him first. Every time I consider going back to mass these guys just make it SO easy to stay lapsed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.russell.5 Patricia Russell via Facebook

    I’m soooo tired of these assholes

  • Mike Lapomarda via Facebook

    Hello, IRS?

    • jesse

      *like*

      • Owengirl79

        My thought exactly! And, where does the Bible say that any of these things puts your salvation at risk?

    • http://deep.mastersfamily.org B. John

      http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-General-Issues:–Complaints-about-Activities-of-Exempt-Organizations

      If you believe that the activities or operations of a tax-exempt organization are inconsistent with its tax-exempt status, you may file a complaint with the Exempt Organizations Examination Division, at the following address:

      IRS EO Classification

      Mail Code 4910

      1100 Commerce Street

      Dallas, TX 75242

      You may also use Form 13909, Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form, for this purpose. The complaint should contain all relevant facts concerning the alleged violation of tax law.

      • http://deep.mastersfamily.org B. John

        Rest assured, nothing could happen before the election, but this has gone on before, and will only get worse. If enough people file a complaint, perhaps finally the IRS will take some action.

  • LVZ

    My favorite John Shore quote of all time:

    “Show me someone who’s sure what political party God belongs to, and I’ll show you someone so dumb they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.”

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    I would have picked all that above too. Of course any pastor who threatens me with hell in a matter that is none of their business would have me vote opposite just out of spite.

    Why I don’t ask permission from clergy on matters of politics

  • Valerie

    I need an “all of the above” option!

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.maynes Charles Maynes via Facebook

    Romney makes money from Contraceptives….. FAIL. now thats personal integrity….. http://veracitystew.com/2012/02/09/report-romney-profits-from-contraception-he-opposes-video/

  • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

    I vote my morals.

    I don’t vote for a party that adopted torture as an American value.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.maynes Charles Maynes via Facebook

    Romney’s Goldman Sachs 2002 Exchange Place Fund, valued at over a million dollars in 2010, brought in nearly $600,000 in gains in 2010 and is invested in:
    Watson Pharmaceuticals: manufacturer of nine forms of emergency contraception (which Romney incorrectly identifies as “abortifacients“).
    Johnson & Johnson: launched the first U.S. prescription birth control product in 1931 and produces various forms of birth control.
    Merck: produces various forms of birth control
    Mylan: produces birth control medication and filed the first application for a generic birth control pill last year.
    Pfizer: a contraception producer that recently had to recall about a million packs of birth-control pills that weren’t packaged correctly.

  • Diana Ruby Sanderson via Facebook

    Join me in hell, everyone! There’s a party going on.

  • Blake

    I think I’ll go with hell. Really, it just seems like the better option.

    • David S

      You go, Huck Finn. I’ll join you! And let’s take up wickedness again (which is my mind, bein’ brought up to it). ‘Cause as long as we’re in, and in for good, we might as well go whole hog!

  • Barbara Harris via Facebook

    The ‘church’ should be paying taxes if it wants to influence elections. Just sayin’.

  • Daryl Statham-Waring via Facebook

    Dear David Ricken

    I have heard many religious people say that politics and religion should not mix. And here we are yet again, the church TELLING people who to vote for. I thought that being religious was about faith. I do not believe you have faith any more. Or you could believe that the majority of the world is evil. Gay Marriage (or marriage as most people like to call it) is a human right (obviously not in the backward thinking medieval times i grant you). Please reread your bible, there is so much in there that you need to take in. Love thy brother….let him without sin cast the first stone etc etc etc. Please, before you try and ruin more peoples lives with your hate and bigotry, find love and spread that. (I am straight, but not narrow (minded) and as a semi-religious person i appear to have more love for my fellow humans than i believe you do. Thank you for your time.

  • Daryl Statham-Waring via Facebook

    Sent to his diocese

  • Andrew Raymond via Facebook

    He’s just a fraud, and engaging in Simony.

  • Anne

    And THAT’S why I’m a recovering Catholic (I think we need our own 12-step program) and grateful to have found the ELCA.

    • Krissy

      ELCA rocks!!

  • Dan W

    Huckleberry Finn decided to go with hell, and so will I. I wonder iof this bishop considers that there are those who are certain HE is going to hell just for being RC. People who live in glass houses don’t ever seem to realize the fact.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cawomack Cynthia Anne Womack via Facebook

    Of course,one CAN do both. I’ve heard Jesus went to Hell but while He’s gone into the voting booth with people of all parties,I don’t think He’s voted in U.S. elections-not even ones where having died doesn’t end one’s eligibility.

  • http://www.facebook.com/randy.pyles.12 Randy Pyles via Facebook

    I’m all for freedom of speech, so “brother in Christ”, knock yourself out…it’s cool…we don’t see everything through the same lense….but, here’s what I think, while on the topic of freedom of speech — I think you need to pony up and start paying some taxes in order to truly show some patriotism and support for our country. And while I’m at it, I think that the big expensive and elaborate churches that you shepherd, borderline tacky. I think it’s a flagrant waste of good people’s money. It’s wrong of me to presume what Jesus would say about it, but I’m going to do it anyway…I think He would have a major issue with the fancy schmancy stuff, the buildings, the garb, the…and so on and so on…. …moreso than 2 people that are lovingly committed to each other and simply want the same rights as others.

  • Matt

    Have you seen this one from Minnesota’s Arch Bishop Nienstedt? Basically says the same thing to the mother of a gay son.

    http://www.truthwinsout.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/nienstedt_letter.bmp

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.covey Greg Covey via Facebook

    Take away their tax-exempt status.

  • Tom

    It’s time for people to look at facts rationally instead of following these negative, backward-looking, so-called “people of faith”. Some of the best human beings are atheists who treat their fellow humans with dignity and love.I grew up a Catholic and would NEVER return to that or any other religion. People should stop attending these religious services and stop contributing to them. They stigmatize minorities and all churches should pay taxes if they want to be able to “order” people how to vote. Remember that separation of church and state is what this country was based on. WAKE UP, America!

  • Heather

    And this was received from my pastor. I typically love what he has to say… Not anymore.

    October 23, 2012

    An open letter to Family Community Church and the Silicon Valley community:

    Our nation is on the verge of a vitally important presidential election. In the coming days we will vote to determine who will lead the United States of America for the next four years. As the Senior Pastor of Family Community Church, I am gravely concerned about the moral decline we are experiencing as a nation. I realize that the economy, education, and foreign affairs are all very important. But I would be abdicating my duty as a pastor if I remained silent regarding two clearly moral issues that are at stake in this election.

    The Sanctity of Life

    The Bible teaches that it is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being. Because of this, abortion is morally wrong. This is not an issue of choice. Neither public opinion nor our personal preferences ultimately determine what is right and wrong. God reveals his perfect moral standards in the Bible. These never change, because they are based in God’s holy and unchanging character. It has always been wrong to take an innocent life, and it will always continue to be wrong. In this election one candidate supports abortion and the other does not. I urge you to seriously consider this issue when you vote.

    I am aware that many have been personally affected by abortion. The good news is that God’s grace is available to forgive and bring healing. FCC is a church where grace and new life are experienced regularly. Over the years we have helped scores of people living with the guilt and regret of abortion to discover healing in Christ. In other words, I’ve seen first hand the collateral damage which abortion produces and this is another reason I urge you to vote pro-life in this election.

    The Sanctity of Marriage

    The Bible is also clear that God designed marriage as the union of one man and one woman for one life. God’s first instruction related to marriage is this: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

    God’s standard throughout the Bible is for sexuality to be expressed only within the bond of marriage between a man and woman.

    The marriage bed is to remain sacred. But since humankind is broken, we have devised endless ways to inappropriately express our sexuality. Fornication is illicit sexual activity by men and women who are not married. This is prohibited in God’s Word. Adultery is illicit sexual activity by those who are married—violating their marriage covenant. Adultery is prohibited in God’s Word. Homosexual behavior is illicit sexual activity by those of the same sex. This is also prohibited by the clear standards revealed in the Bible.

    As a result, so called “same-sex” marriage endorses homosexual behavior as morally acceptable when, in fact, it is clearly prohibited by God. Once again, neither public opinion nor personal preferences ultimately determine right and wrong. These standards are based on God’s holy and unchanging character.

    In the upcoming election one candidate believes in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and one candidate supports homosexual marriage. We must consider this soberly when we vote for our next President. This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue based clearly on God’s Word.

    I realize that some people struggle with deeply rooted same-sex attractions. In a similar way some struggle with overwhelming urges to drink excessive alcohol or to indulge in pornography. But we do not endorse those behaviors, because we intuitively know they are wrong. The fact that we have deeply rooted urges does not mean that those urges justify immoral choices. Urges and deeply felt desires do not establish the moral boundaries for human society. The ultimate standards for right and wrong are established by God’s Word.

    God will provide the strength to choose what is right, if we rely upon his grace. I know personally some great men of God who have overcome same-sex behaviors through the power of Jesus Christ. After years of living a homosexual lifestyle, these men have found forgiveness and freedom through Christ and are now experiencing robust heterosexual marriages with exemplary families. FCC is a church where we admit freely that we are all broken, and we all need God’s grace and mercy. Those who struggle with same-sex proclivities are welcome in our church because all of us are dealing with one issue or another that reminds us of our desperate need for Christ.

    Summary

    Our nation stands at a crossroads. I do not recall a presidential election in my lifetime where the two candidates were as polar opposite as this year. I believe the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage are two biblically clear moral issues which are at stake in this election. Because of this, I urge you to join me in voting for the presidential candidate who will best support life and marriage. Once again, these are not political issues—these are moral issues.

    My prayer is that in this election we will vote for the local and national candidate that best reflects the moral values which are clearly expressed in the Bible. To that end we have two free tools available at the Information Booth in the lobby of our church. (1) A prayer guide for God’s blessing on America and its leaders (2) The Values Advocacy Council voter guide, a non-partisan, biblical values driven assessment of the issues and candidates we are voting on in just a few days. http://www.vacaction.org

    My reason for asking you to pray and compare the positions of candidates to the values The Bible proclaims is birthed out of a great concern for this nation and the generations to come. It is not about voting for a particular party to the right or left. It is about right and wrong. Christ followers should not support candidates and programs and measures that destroy the sacredness of marriage, family, and a defenseless, priceless, precious baby in the womb.

    Sincerely,

    Pastor Bill Buchholz

    Senior Pastor

    • mike moore

      Buchholz is correct: morally, there is only one good choice in this election and his name is Obama.

      Like most pro-life hypocritical dickheads in California, I notice he’s yet another one who has somehow resisted the impulse to speak out in favor of Prop 34, which would do away with the death penalty.

      • Jill H

        So it’s not about the sanctity of life, it’s about the grandiosity of control.

        • Diana A.

          Exactly! More’s the pity.

    • David S

      …and not a word about helping the poor, caring for the sick, or otherwise showing compassion to a world in need. I guess Jesus only cared about abortion and condemning gay folk. I think my Bible may be missing a couple of chapters.

      • Jill H

        He could’ve used his position to guide a spirit-led awareness of civic duty. Which is what I find so frustrating, given all that I have heard about Catholic social justice beliefs and seen Catholic love in action. This made me angry, that yet again, the focus is on tearing down instead of building up. Judging instead of caring.

  • Pete Erickson via Facebook

    Then I guess I’ll see him there.

  • Jill H

    The days of subjugation through outlawing literacy of the masses, the control of scripture interpretation by the clergy are over. A very long, long time ago. And for obvious reasons.

    Using subtle threats ought not work these days, and yet people fearful to retain their own power still try. This is pathetic. I truly hope that no thoughtful adherent takes this seriously.

    • mike moore

      hey, Jill, you know how snarky I can be, but this is not one of those moments …

      sincere question: can any Catholic, given the church’s current and past actions, really considered a “thoughtful” adherent?

      • Jill H

        Excellent question, such that I can wholly answer it, never having been Catholic.

        This is where I struggle, and I tread lightly as I have not walked in this particular sandal, but I know someone… someone whom I dearly love, who has affirmed to me through her actions and her activism that she has come to her faith through this denomination– and it’s not her religion of birth either.

        I cannot, in good conscience, support Catholicism for the innumerable reasons you mentioned, but I can and do support my dear friend’s choice of what brings her to, as she has put it, her best self.

        I do not claim full understanding, I only know that she has been the very first practicing Christian I have trusted with deep things since my cult escape. She has supported me through dark stuff because of her active faith, and I see how she supports progress in her church. For me, she’s as thoughtful as they get.

        • mike moore

          fair enough … don’t get it, but I’m glad for the both of you :-)

          • Jill H

            Frankly darling, I don’t always get it either. But it works.

            And about a minute earlier I see you saying a 20+ year best friend of yours is Catholic, so yes you do get it– you’re just being stubborn with me! ;)

          • mike moore

            Scarlett, I don’t always get it, either … but I love the little Catholic twerp, and no, I’m not stubborn, I just know I can trust that you’ll understand.

          • Jill H

            ;)

            Forever worshipping the ground you tread. XOXO

          • mike moore

            no worship please. drugs, alcohol, or Rollers are always welcome, but no worship, please …. xoxoxoxoxoxo

      • Diana A.

        I like Andrew Greeley. I think that if the Catholic leadership were more like Father Greeley and the Catholics in his books, Catholicism might even be workable.

  • Lorraine Seaman via Facebook

    You know, that fact that these guys think they have any kind of moral authority left after they destroyed and then abandoned children entrusted into their care just blows my mind. They need to spend a whole lot less time policing their nuns and their parishes and a whole lot more time in jail.

  • mike moore

    The Catholic Church is arguably the most intrinsically evil institution on the face of the planet and has demonstrated this over and over again, for centuries. This letter is simply one more example of the church’s hypocrisy and shamelessness.

    I’ve never understood, nor do I understand today, how any intellectually honest person can believe otherwise.

    • David S

      As an institution, perhaps. Certainly the leadership does its damnedest to marginalize people and maintain white, male, Christian privilege. As individuals, some of the most godly people I’ve ever met are Catholic. Nuns rock. No, really, there are some awesome nuns out there.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        The Catholics I know are loving, generous kind people. Some of the most beautiful and poignant services (a funeral and a wedding) took place in Catholic settings. One where I used to live was THE go to place for local Red Cross Blood drives. The fellowship hall was always packed on blood drive days, and it was quite the social occasion for many.

        It is not the average parishioner, or even the average parish, that is evil. It isn’t the church itself that is evil, but like institutions everywhere, secular or sacred, it is people found within that display what we consider evil. Sadly some gain in prominence…sucks for us, but they are always found out. YAY!

        It is those mindsets, those practices, displayed by those who champion such destructive things that we need to speak against.

        • mike moore

          I don’t understand the disconnect here …

          Without parishioners and parishes, the church dies. Conversely, the church IS it’s parishioners and parishes.

          Blood drives or not, I don’t understand giving a free pass to Catholics. If the evil of the institution were an anomaly – if we were living through a bad moment in history for the church – that would be a different story. But the Catholic church has a long bloody evil history, which its members choose to disregard.

          • Blake

            The membership of Catholics today is not as vibrant as the one all of ex-Catholics remember simply due to the number of ex-Catholics there are in America. Today’s daily number on Pew is that 10% of all Americans are ex-Catholic & that many of today’s Catholics converted into Catholicism. So lots of Catholics leave the faith and lots of Protestants join the Catholic Church and lots of Catholics move here from abroad. (I would imagine the Protestants are a lot Episcopalians running from Gay Ordination; but I’d have to check the numbers more closely).

            I think too that the Catholic Church remains an enormous institution and that the leadership understands the principal of preaching to the choir. Usually out in the ‘burbs, growing up, we always had Conservative Priests & later in life in the city we had Socially Conscious Priests. Not that their aren’t socially conscious perishes in the ‘burbs or Conservative Parishes in the city. The point being there’s lots of wiggle room within an enormous Denomination (25% of Americans (1 Billion Registered Members worldwide)) for both great good & great evil.

            Of course, leadership style matters. I left the church for good when it became apparent that the attitude at the Socially Conscious inner-city Shrine had shifted from one of selfless service to one of fear of retribution from upper leadership. This shift coincided with Ratzi’s appointment of a new Archbishop.

          • Jill H

            Putting all snark away, I’m wanting to challenge this thought just a little…

            Giving away no free excuses for horrendous behavior and apathetic complicity in the Church’s historic abuse of its people, I say that our two party system of government has its own long and bloody history. Not nearly as old as the church, but you get my drift.

            I early voted for a party that wastes too much money, ignores the needs of some (many) of its constituency, and has made many bad decisions. Why did I do that? Because I voted in the limited system we have. Just because I voted for the party that attempts to respect people’s differences and civil rights doesn’t mean I believe they always practice what they preach, or that their history is clean.

          • mike moore

            to me, the big difference is …. I don’t go to Sunday meetings of either party, I don’t tithe to them, nor do I condone any of their actions. I engage with them in order, only, to suppress the greater evil.

      • mike moore

        I know there are great Catholics. The “Nuns on the Bus” nun who spoke at the Democratic convention was amazing and one of my favorite speakers during the convention. One of my absolute best friends (20+ years) is Catholic.

        But even so, I always bite my tongue … it’s like listening to someone say, “yes, I’m a member of the KKK, but I’m not like those bigots.”

        • Jill H

          I love Sister Simone because I get that she’s trying to change things from the inside. That’s not all bad. I respect her courage and stamina.

          • mike moore

            I respect her, too … I simply can’t understand why she wants to work from the inside, when she could change the world all by herself.

          • Jill H

            I’ve obviously never been Catholic… I’ve had only a passing awareness.

            I could feel the same as you if I knew of someone I respected trying to change my old cult for the better. But then, I threw away any expectations of my old cult improving because I know their moral and ideological certitude. They claim One True Religion status, and that’s not changing. I could never make a dent on that pomposity.

            Maybe I’m slightly jealous that women of power like that are making a difference, and I’m not that brave warrior goddess I’m always trying to become.

          • mike moore

            you make a difference every day. I’m flawed, but you can trust me on this.

          • Jill H

            On this lovely, sweet note, I will go to bed. With happy thoughts.

          • mike moore

            and … while, essentially pledging her allegiance to an evil empire.

          • Jill H

            How very Star Wars of you.

          • mike moore

            Halloween inspiration!!! I bet I’d really look good with the Carrie Fisher ear-muff braids!

          • Jill H

            hotness incarnate

          • mike moore

            you should see me in a kilt, then!!! no peaking under the pleats (really, there are some horrifically (huge, of course) images that once seen, cannot be un-seen.)

          • Jill H

            We’ve all seen John in blue plaid boxers (well, sort of). Bring it.

          • Jill H

            And BTW, you should never tease a girl who loves All Things Scottish with kilt-wearing. It never turns out well.

          • mike moore

            well, you know, I think John’s boxer shorts have needed to be more fashion forward for awhile …. I’m still see him in something floral, the boy needs more daisies in his life … but I suspect, given the wife and stuff, that he will remain with the straight guy look … whereas my kilt is outdated only because my family is super old (emphasis on ancient, and not in a good way … really did have some KKK and witch-burnin’ Puritans in the mix … )

            1:30 and my dog needs her late night walk … g’nite, Jill. xo

          • mike moore

            ok, maybe not.

          • Jill H

            yes, do.

            My genius ideas don’t come cheap…or often!

          • mike moore

            genius never comes cheap … which is why I carry cash.

  • http://deep.mastersfamily.org B. John

    Along with way past time for them to lose their tax exempt status, it’s also time for the SPLC to take a hard look at the “hate group” designation. He might be dancing on the head of pin, but he’s clearly declaring that all Democrats are evil.

  • http://christianbeliefs.blogspot.com/ Jan Maxwell

    It is not illegal for churches to comment on politics or endorse candidates. That right is guaranteed under the 1st amendment. The only sanction is loss of tax exempt status, but that is for endorsing a candidate. That sanction is not enforced by the IRS. If it were invoked and the appeal reached this Supreme Court the loss of tax exempt status would almost certainly be overturned. The answer for despicable speech such as that of Bishop Ricken is more speech just like yours.

    • Blake

      Gawd I wish more people understood their Constitutional Rights. Good on ya’ Jan & well-spoken!!

      • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

        While you may be absolutely right that this example is nothing more than someone expressing themselves, I see it as a symptom.

        It is a symptom of churches in this country feeling that they have every right to influence the government. This has got to stop. Our founding fathers must be rolling in their graves.

  • Raz

    Voting Democrats leads to hell, but playing with little boy’s private parts lead to Paradise? He needs to distribute letters to all pastors to address child abuse issue not to church members regarding presidential election. This is not an election to the kingdom of heaven and he should let everyone exercise their independent right to vote for any party they want…total ignorance of highest degree

  • Martha J

    Former Catholic here. My 92 year old mom still goes to church. She and my dad raised 8 loving, good children with spiritual beliefs about helping the neediest, marching for civil rights and against wars, and being nice (as in loving). The Catholic Church of my childhood did and still does feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison. Many of the huge churches you see were built by different groups of immigrants who were all welcomed. Sadly all 8 of us could see the flaws that continue to grow and each has left that church. There are good people who stay and try to change an institution, there are people who need some “authority” to direct them, and there are some who like their prejudice supported. It is sad that a church founded on the Christ has become a place for (mostly) old, white men who fear losing power.

  • http://deep.mastersfamily.org B. John

    Most striking is what’s not on his list of “intrinsically evil” things…child molestation. Interesting.

    • http://deep.mastersfamily.org B. John

      I just realized, apparently, embryonic stem cell research is more evil than child molestation and conspiracy to cover it up.

      • mike moore

        stem cells = important

        small children = not so much

      • Jill H

        Which is exactly why these abuses of power deserve to be displayed in the light of day as John did here.

  • Maria Seager via Facebook

    because one should always take advice from a group of people who threw children under the bus of the sick needs of their brethren rather than protect the children. What did Jesus say about that? Oh, Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” might be something the Bishop should look at again.

  • Carla Serenko

    Good lord (pardon the pun).

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.jones.3348 Natalie Jones via Facebook

    EVIL AND PROUD! *twirls mustache*

  • Blake

    Some of the commentary here is indistinguishable from anti-Catholic bigotry. Please be aware that others may mistake you for a bigot.

    A good place to start not looking like a bigot is by not blowing the Child-Molestation-Cover-up-Scandal out of proportion. Yes it was huge. Yes it was terrible. Yes it was naively administrated. Yes they granted their employees a tremendous benefit of the doubt by assuming that they all to wanted to be Good Christians. But is that really an exceptional mistake for someone to make who has dedicated their life to being a Good Christian via the same institution (the Priesthood) that they’re now overseeing? (no matter the particular tenants of their particular ‘good’ Christianity that we might disagree with; it remains an understandable mistake, no?)

    Also try to keep in mind that in the USA, at least, 150 of the priests accounted for 28% of the allegations. And that only 4% of the priesthood, worldwide, are believed to have been involved in nasty acts with children (and less than half of those acts (in USA) involved anyone getting naked). So let’s drop the notion that it was widespread amongst priests.

    Finally keep in mind the company you keep in the USA when you spout blind anti-Catholic bigotry (or honest opinion that is easily mistaken for such). Anti-Catholics, in contemporary US society include the KKK and most other racist/skinhead/white supremacist groups. But the intolerance doesn’t stop there!! No you’re also sharing company with the wackiest fundies imaginable (and I’m not JUST talking about the one extended family in Kansas) & black-nationalist/reverse racist fridge elements. So next time you’re struck with a need to say something virulently anti-Catholic, please confine it to within the terms laid out above or just pick from one of the many historical examples. That way we can all leave sensationalism to the people who are trying to keep our eyeballs in close proximity to their paid advertisements.

    • Jill H

      Hi Blake, I was following along with your point about avoiding labels, but you lost me re: the understandable mistake? What was the understandable mistake? That the church horrifically abandoned their duty to protect children from predators, or that it was understandable that it was a mistake they made? Or?

      A mistake is when I lock my keys in my running car when I’m already 10 minutes late for work. It’s understandable, having done this, that I attempt to drop kick my tire and nearly break my toe.

      I can’t equate these two things. Help.

      • Blake

        Hey Jill — the mistake I was referring to was the mistake of a priest assuming that another priest wants to be a good Christian.

    • Matt

      Blake, your words sound a lot like minimizing, e.g. “…less than half those acts (in USA) involved anyone getting naked.” The nature of the acts has little bearing on the shattering of trust and the trauma for the victims. Your use of “only” when discussing number of perpetrators is also troubling. How much would it take for you to be horrified?

      I’m not saying you don’t have a point about anti-Catholic bigotry. I’m just saying, own the fact that members of the Catholic Church actively did things that had a profound impact on thousands of lives that can’t be taken back or fixed. And not just that, the Church made it worse by silencing victims, denying everything, and protecting the perpetrators. That compounds the injury and tells the victims that they are less than human, that they don’t matter.

      And if you’re going to be taken seriously, you may want to cite your sources on your percentages. A link is all that is needed.

      • Blake

        Hey Matt — that was indeed my weakest plank and I thought of leaving it out. But I put it in there to counter the assumption which I presume to see in the narrative that holds all acts & offenders equal. A certain percentage (I believe grater than 10%) of the reported incidents involved dirty-talk, for example.

        Certainly still inappropriate for a priest-child interaction & a crime (is sexy-talk aimed at kids a crime? I’m actually not sure). But not quite as awful as we seem to assume it is.

        Yes, in our present post-scandal mindset & with the knowledge we have, it certainly appears that the leadership was acting maliciously but consider the time period.

        There’s a huge incentive to trust the people you know over the accusers. Nobody really talked about Child Abuse nor understood how widespread it was in society generally back not but just 10 years ago. And people are prone to assuming things they don’t hear about aren’t happening.

        How many people have egg on their face from defending Sandusky? By all accounts his outward life was close to our ideal of a good man (until the scandal broke). There was also a huge scandal at my favorite sports franchise: the Toronto Maple Leafs, but nobody goes around insisting that the owners of the Maples Leafs are morally bankrupt.

        Priests are predisposed to trust other priests (especially if one of the priests (presumably the perpetrator) impugns the character of the accuser/child). I think Priests taking the word of Priests over accusers is neither shocking nor evidence of willful evil. The Spanish Inquisition on the other hand…

        Of course you should criticize the CC hierarchy for not taking the problem seriously enough. For not investigating further. For leaving decisions about what to do with the offenders decentralized while micromanaging other aspects of parish life.

        The point is there is plenty of legitimate criticisms against the CC; the sensationalism though is blinding still-members from seeing the legitimate criticism. They read some of our criticism; get to what looks like bigotry; and then decide that we’re all full of crapola.

        All my numbers are from the John Jay report and the wikipedia page about the scandal (which relies heavily on the report).

    • Blind Boy Belvedere

      Oh, no! My tenants just got electrocuted by my fridge elements! Good thing I have liability insurance.

      Let me take a break from mocking your English skills to point out that you’re saying one in twenty-five priests involved in pedophilia is no big deal? Holy head-in-the-sand, Batman. One in twenty-five!

      • Blake

        Hey Blind Boy — spelling is a particular weakness of mine; I never really learned how to spell & being of the spell-check educated generation I do sometimes make mistakes. Fridge for Fringe. Tenants for Tenets. Borders for Boarders. At work, for the longest time, I was using defiantly for definitely. I am embarrassed by my errors but I try not to think about them. Until I can afford to employ an editor I honestly cannot see some of my spelling errors. No matter how many times I proof-read a post.

        And yes. 3% is too high. I’m not saying that it isn’t. I’m just saying if it had been as widespread as some people seem to imply than that number should be closer to 25%.

        • Jill H

          I think we ought not argue the percentage of criminal priests and just acknowledge the thousands of victims and the hundreds of thousands of victimizations that we know about. No one gets to be revisionist on it.

    • Allie

      Blake, I’m in Memphis. Cardinal Law was here back in the 6o’s, and apparently did much of the same stuff here. But even into the 80′s and 90′s there was a pervasive culture where it was understood that the Catholic church was the place to be if you were a pedophile. Young pedophile men were deliberately choosing to become priests because they knew it was a sweet deal for a pedophile.

      I have had limited exposure to the Catholic faith. Basically I dated one Catholic boy for two years while I was in college. During those two years I was made aware of two pedophile seminary students, one pedophile worker at Boy’s town, and three priests and a bishop willing to band together in a group to threaten my friend’s family with ostracism should they go to the police after my boyfriend’s mom walked in on her 12-year-old son naked together in the kid’s bedroom with the worker from Boy’s Town. The child was also examined by a Catholic doctor who found evidence of anal tears indicating repeat penetration. Basically, the parish priest, the bishop, the junior priest from the parish, and the retired elder priest from the parish all came over to the house and threatened this family for hours if they should happen to say anything to anyone. They explained that if the family did anything, they would no longer be welcome at the church, which was the entire center of their social life, and that reporting it “would only hurt Boy’s Town.” They were very quick to act, and it was clear they were old pros at intimidating people who caught them in the act. We also found child porn in the attic of the house we were renting from one of the seminary students.

      Since then, one of the priests who was there has been accused by multiple people of molesting his altar boys. I wouldn’t be surprised if every single one of them was a pedophile. After all, a straight and sane man who tried to become a priest in that culture would quickly be disgusted by it and leave. It was a selection system to ensure pedophiles became priests.

      So, that’s just one small corner of the world. If I ran into that much perversion in that little exposure, what do you think the odds are that there’s a lot more where that came from? This was systemic, this was evil on a mass scale.

      • Blake

        Hey Allie — thanks for sharing your story. It is devastating to hear of specific examples such as that. My heart goes out to the victims of that tragedy. And yes I have heard of the movement amongst pedophile men to deliberately choose the priesthood.

        While I was unaware of the stories out of Cinci, I have heard of a similarly devastating story amongst Alaskan Natives and their priest (apparently he knowingly harbored a lay-assistant who was a virulent pedophile; & may have participated in the abuse himself).

        But I think it would be a mistake to think that the most sensationalist examples are the most common. According to the studies, collusion of the types we both described was rare.

        Consider too that not everyone who pounced on that family in your example was necessarily “in the loop” so to speak. You ID’d four perps (three priests & a bishop). Who was it that came to the house? The four perps? Or two of the perps who have preyed on the naivete of the two other priests?

        I’m not questioning your story I’m just trying to point out that chances are these pedos kept it to themselves or amongst themselves. That most people in the church were unaware of the extent of the problem & that Rome didn’t take the reports seriously.

        The Priesthood became a hotbed of pedophilia. Sure. But that doesn’t mean that the leadership or that other priests were even aware of what was happening around them.

    • John (not McCain)

      “Finally keep in mind the company you keep ”

      People who keep company in glass houses probably shouldn’t be throwing stones.

      • Blake

        Hey John-Not-Maverick –

        Indeed. I’ve said my piece. Clarified some points. And now I’m going to stop trying to convince people that their criticisms will be more effective if they try to see past the sensationalism.

  • http://vibrantbliss.wordpress.com Peter Hardy

    Let’s take a closer look at the crucial part:

    ” To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you *could* be morally ‘complicit’ with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

    He doesn’t say vote Republican or go to hell, he says that if you vote Democrat you might go to hell. But then again you might not. Catholic ethics says that one is allowed to commit an act that would normally be wrongful if and only if one does not intend to do the wrongful part of it and one can be reasonably sure that one’s so acting would lead to a better outcome. In other words, Catholic teaching says that it is moral to vote Democrat if you believe that the world will be a better place with them in power and you are supporting them in spite of, and not because of, their position on abortion etc.

    • Jill H

      I guess that subtlety was lost on me when my eyes came upon ‘these choices which are intrinsically evil’.

      The coulds, maybes, and possiblys inherent in his verbiage only served to convince me this was a veiled threat. Still not so cool.

      • mike moore

        it’s not a veiled threat, except to anyone for whom English is not their first language … and even then …

        • Jill H

          No, no. An overt threat would’ve required him to have a spine and own his words and intent. That’s why he talked in circles for a page and a half.

          • mike moore

            pardon my sexism … I think men who wear fancy dresses on a regular basis depend on the corset, not a backbone.

          • Jill H

            I knew there was a reason I adore you!

          • mike moore

            and there I thought it was my irresistibly well-tailored suits.

    • mike moore

      @ Peter

      yeah, I think that’s a load of bullshit.

  • C. G. Walden

    Glad to see that all of the things the good Bishop views as essential are at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus. NOT!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Newyorklover9 Joanna Mott via Facebook

    guess i’m going to hell?

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.beil Eugene Beil via Facebook

    so wrong

  • Frank Lowell via Facebook

    The one who should be told to go to hell is this political hack Bishop!

  • Ava Cresanta via Facebook

    Does this mean pedophiles go to heaven? In that case, straight Dem ticket for me.

  • Joris

    The Separation of Church and state from the beginning focused on separating the Christian theology from the more generic faith of Americans. We are a nation under God. I say that and believe it. This bishop along with so many others of his ilk want to impose a specifically judae0-christian theology and religion on the rest of us. No one is pro-abortion. I say that bluntly. People don’t have sex to get abortions. People don’t seek gay marriage because they want to defy God. etc. Abortion is deplorable, but whether to make it legal or illegal is a practical matter of the citizenry of our country. Legality probably saves some lives. Illegality probably involves some deaths. A theologian myself, I disagree with “gay marriage” not for any religious reasons, but for historical reasons. In re-defining marriage away from the next generation as the prime purpose of marriage and making love–real love–the basis of “marriage” we are tending to shift our whole culture. I do not think people are aware of this shift, and the religious involvement–and arrogance and meddling–muddies the more obvious issue of marriage–children.

  • Matt

    “Do what I want or go to hell.”

    Why does this sound like everything the Catholic Church has said since its inception?

  • Greg Fountain via Facebook

    Oh God… why do I still identify as Catholic?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Because you believe in what’s best of it, I would imagine.

      • Maria

        Thank you, John. That does help.

    • mike moore

      I wonder why, as well.

      • Gordon

        Can I be the Clarence Thomas to your Antonin Scalia? I’ll just follow you around and agree with everything you say.

    • Lymis

      The parallel question might help you understand your answer to the one you asked:

      Do you identify David Ricken as speaking for you as a Catholic?

      Your answer as to why or why not might go a long way in answering your question.

      Jesus identified as a Jew, but didn’t hesitate to quite vocally denounce the Jewish leaders of his time and place. Ask yourself how that worked, and you may be able to figure out why and how you are still Catholic.

      Right up until they pitched me out on my ass, I was able to consider myself Catholic because my relationship was with God, not his fan club. I saw Catholicism as an organizing metaphor, not a personal allegiance.

      • Anne

        Same thing goes for Martin Luther. He was a Catholic priest who challenged his Church and look what happened? The Reformation.

        • Jill H

          Such a great comment thread!

      • Maria

        Lymis,

        I am sorry to hear you were pitched out.

        When asked, I always say: ” I am Catholic until “they” find out about me… pro-choice/pro-life, pro gay marriage, pro-women priests… and I get myself excommunicated. ”

        And not you “need” any of the following, but…

        Seeing as excommunication has not happened yet; and seeing as, according to my oncologist, I only have months left until my pancreatic cancer wins out and so might not get excommunicated at all; and seeing as we (all Catholics) ARE the Church; and seeing as “we” includes “me”; so, therefore, I hereby officially “unpitch” you from the Church and most ardently welcome you to the church that is US.

        Not sure how much that is worth, but there you go…

        Love

        Maria.

        P.S. Which is not to say that I understand perfectly you not wanting anything to do with said church.

        • Jill H

          Maria, I only just found this… I am SO glad I searched again.

          I am sending you MORE than just hugs… sending all the love and support I’ve got. You are never alone. You are never alone. You are never alone.

          Love to you, Jill

          • Maria

            Jill,

            That’s so sweet of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (am just emerging from a rather rough week of chemo which is why I ma just now responding)

            Lots of love to you also, Maria

          • Jill H

            Maria, your strength is inspiring. You come out here to encourage and support people, and yet you also need it yourself. I wish we had the ability to take away suffering, but I can stand by you in this small way.

            Gauging by your message, you are putting one foot in front of the other every day. I think of you quite often when I come out here, and I am glad to read your messages. Please know you have an online family here with you.

  • Blind Boy Belvedere

    Okay, free speech and all, but that wasn’t very 501C of Bishop Ricken.

    Second point: granted I’m a heretic not in step with Rome, but aren’t we saved by Grace, not the Republican party? My understanding of the Bible is that just being born into this world puts my “own soul in jeopardy.”

    Third point: I resist muttering “douchebag” upon reading this not because I fear God’s wrath, but rather out of joy and gratitude that I’ve been redeemed by Jesus Christ.

    Amen.

  • otter

    I had been avoiding this piece of vomit on facebook, but when John posted it I just had to read it. This shit is happening all over the country, not just in churches, employers are doing it too. It isn’t bad enough the corporate money is like a 800 pound gorilla in the fundraising picture, now we have unbridaled coersion going on all over the place, voting machines owned by Romney’s family, incorrect voting info sent to spanish speakers, voter ID supression, polling place overcrowding and outright GOP voter registratiaon fraud.

    It’s time to get real angry about losing our democracy to a bunch of wealthy dicks.

    Pardon my french.

    • mike moore

      it’s not about wealthy dicks, trust me. 1% cannot change the world or our democracy … it takes another approx. 46%+ of our nation to concur, which they willingly do.

      • otter

        Good point. Suckers, every one of them….

      • Anne

        Sadly, I have to disagree with you, Mike. They may only be 1% of the population but they hold a far larger percentage of the power and influence. They have already changed our “democracy”. We see more and more power shifted to corporations – if we’re willing to look at it.

  • Allie

    They really need to tax these sons-of-bitches. If they’re going to act as a PAC they should not be tax-exempt. Lot of property there in some very good locations.

  • Elizabeth Cox

    Oh yeah?

    “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.” Matthew 23:4-10

    “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. ” 1 Timothy 4:1-5

    “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”” John 3:5-8

    “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

    “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13

    “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.” Acts 15:8

    “”Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”” Acts 10:47

  • karen stigers

    I don’t know who is going to heaven or hell, but as a Catholic, I deeply resent pronouncements such as this one, telling me I will go to hell, I should be denied communion, etc., if I vote a certain way. Who died and made him God, anyway? The bishop of my diocese, Robert Finn, was found guilty last month of moving a “dirty” priest around, freeing him up to continue molesting little girls. Is he under fire? No! When did Catholic bishops crawl into bed with the Republicans, I’d like to know?!

    • http://deep.mastersfamily.org BJohnM

      I have to agree. One would think, Karen, that any right-minded person who was part of the “management team,” of an organization found over and over, to have facilitated the explotation of children, would show a little humility and know when to keep quiet in their judgement of others (something the Bible commands anyways). But the unbridled arrogance of these Bishops is astonishing. They continue to rattle on while most of the rest of us pay no attention due to their own moral bankruptcy. What’s the old saying by (I think) Mark Twain…better to keep silent and let people think you stupid, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  • EsAyBe

    I was born and raised Catholic, and resided in the Green Bay Diocese in my youth. I have fond memories of many of my priests and nuns, and I am close to not only family but friends that still practice Catholicism in the diocese. For some, a Catholic life is all they have known, because it was the religion of their lineage. The church is their family. And the faith is comfortable, and often without challenge.

    Until now.

    I pray that great things come from this: that this letter awakens people from my former parish and former diocese (and Catholics across the country) to change. And while the prospect of change can be frightening, I pray the conviction on hearts of continuing to follow in silence overwhelms people to action. I pray people can understand their faith is their own and not mandated by earthly laws. And I pray that we, their extended Christian community, have the words and actions to help in any way we can.

  • http://icarusalways.blogspot.com/ daemon

    It is time to start taxing all religious institutions. Nothing based in faith should have government subsidies.

    • http://small-letters.com Mindy M.

      Amen.

    • Gordon

      Double Amen!

  • Joris

    Hans Kung has asked for a “revolution,” but I believe that the Holy Spirit has already started a new “mighty Wind” of change among the followers of Jesus. While a few verses “Thou are Peter,” “such-and-such an abomination,” and “Wives,, be subject,” etc. have over-ridden the Sermon on the Mount with their intense focus, I believe a new dawn is starting to dispel these artificial spotlights, enlightening the whole people of God. Ask the hierarchy about serving the people in nursing homes and prisons, not whether they are politicking about abortions. See who is praying and studying the Bible in small groups and humbly. Find those who emphasize loving over ritual, and you will see a new phoenix-like Church arising out of the ashes of the old one.

    • vj

      What a lovely vision of what the church could/should be :-)

  • Heather

    There are a whole lot of comments here saying negative things about Republicans and wealthy people. Please remember, friends, that Republicans and people earning in the top 1% are not some monolithic, homogenous group. I am a theologically liberal, Republican Christian. I believe in gay marriage, and I believe that it will eventually become the law of the land. I changed my mind about the morality of abortion after hearing my childrens’ heartbeats in utero, but herein lies the beauty of the democratic process! As a society, we put our heads together, and I get to vote, and you get to vote. And the states can come to different decisions about whether, and under what conditions, women can have abortions. (When I was pro-abortion-rights, my very smart friend responded to my argument of “But it’s MY body!” by pointing out that the government tells us all the time what we can and can’t do with our bodies. I can’t smoke pot, or take medications that aren’t FDA approved, etc. etc. If I don’t like it, I have to take politcal action to change the laws, because I live in a civil society.)

    Oh! That’s right. The states do not have the option of voting on whether women can have abortions. Because nine politically-unaccountable men and women on the Supreme Court say they can’t.

    • Chris

      DAMN that Constitution, it’s so pesky!

      Also, pot = having babies. Apparently.

      • Jill H

        There’s just so much here I don’t what to do with. And now I’ve lost interest.

      • mike moore

        Heather, go back to Jr High civics class. They explain our system of checks and balances, without using big words that will confuse you.

        • Heather

          That wasn’t very nice. Big words don’t confuse me. I’ve already been to law school, practiced at a top 50 law firm, and taught and published on constitutional law, federalism, and separation of powers, so going back to junior high school is not going to change my views.

          • Chris

            Heather,

            Excellent, so maybe you wouldn’t mind explaining your original comment in more detail. We make our snarky comments because your comment regarding the Supreme Court sounds rather vague and derogatory. Did we misinterpret you, or do you in fact take issue with some aspect of the SC? If the latter, which aspect(s) do you take issue with?

            I also believe that your comments in total touch on the issue of tyranny of the majority, would you mind addressing that issue?

            Thanks.

          • mike moore

            Fascinating that someone with your extensive legal background doesn’t understand the role of the SCOTUS.

            But you know what really isn’t nice? When a lawyer from a top 50 firm doesn’t understand that your or my civil rights should never be put to a vote.

            And I would never argue that SCOTUS is not without its flaws … another not-nice thing is when Antonin Scalia says, “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.” So much for sitting on the bench with an open mind to the arguments, precedents, and evidence which will be put in front of you.

            But what really isn’t nice? When a woman like yourself, who was given the choice under Roe, is prepared to put to vote and potentially deny that same choice to other women.

            And it is the absolute height of absurdity for to compare pregnancy to smoking pot or taking a non-FDA approved drugs. For you to equate pregnancies, including those by rape or incest, to a decision to get stoned for the evening is beyond wicked.

            I stand by my earlier judgment, it’s time for you to go back to the basics of American civics, and from what you write, I still believe Jr. Hi is the best place for you to start.

            Oh wait, I just realized what a waste of time all this is … like Justice Scalia, nothing is going to change your views.

          • Jill H

            Dammit! There needs be Like/Love/Adore buttons on this blog!

          • Gordon

            Republican lawyers are a scary lot. Remember John Yoo? That boob wrote the memos justifying the Bush Administration’s torture policies.

          • mike moore

            (Certain) Republican lawyers I can live with … the problem are the Liberty and Regent “lawyers” who were hired and appointed during the Bush years.

            Just imagine … being a lawyer who gives other lawyers a bad name 3:-)

          • Chris

            I agree with Jill. I was gonna give Heather the opportunity to defend her position, but Mike really hit every one of those crooked nails right on the head. Bravo, sir!

    • Allie

      No one gets to vote on whether women have abortions, not states, not anybody, because basic human rights are not a voting matter. If nine guys get together and vote to eat the tenth one, they don’t get to do that.

    • Elizabeth

      “Mr Roberts genuinely thinks continuity, stability, public approval, and a posture of deference to the legislature are crucial to the healthy functioning of the judicial branch. The members of the court have more room to move, more freedom to interpret the constitution by their independent lights, when they are not the subject of an angry, divisive public debate that loudly calls into question the independence and legitimacy of their institution. ” (The Economist, June 28)

      Many Supreme-watchers posit that Roberts made his unexpected vote to uphold Obamacare in June to protect the reputation of the Court. It’s called ‘the long game’ and ‘picking your battles’. For the Supreme Court, the near future includes potentially landmark decisions on abortion and reproductive rights, the separation of church and state, equal (‘gay’) marriage, and the scope of the death penalty and the rights of criminal defendants.

      Elected? No. Political? Hell yes.

    • Gordon

      I really have to take exception with your point of view about states voting on rights. I am extremely offended when states like California ask citizens to vote on my right to marry the consenting adult of my choice and I honestly don’t understand why anyone, but particularly a woman, would want a bunch of voters to decide what she can and cannot do with her own body.

      Personally, if I was a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy, I know exactly what I would do unless the pregnancy was the result of rape, incest or put my own life at risk. But, and this is very important, it is my right to make that choice. And, out of respect for women and their absolute right to manage their own bodies and their health, I oppose a bunch of voters taking that choice away. It’s just not right and I’m always amazed when a woman doesn’t get that.

      Imagine where we would be if we had left it up to the states to vote on civil rights for people of color? I still love my country, but I don’t trust the American electorate any farther than I can throw them. Not when it comes to my God-given rights.

      • Jill H

        And if more men, particularly those of the elite ruling class, would actually deign to put themselves in a woman’s shoes like you Gordon, we’d STOP having this supremely ignorant discussion about it and move on– to, oh I don’t know, making sure we feed, shelter, clothe, and care for the children already unwanted and suffering on this planet.

        Ah, but I’m a woman, what the hell do I know?

        • Jill H

          Gordon, BTW– that was my snark hiding my appreciation for your comment. I get uppity at times…

  • sayla1228

    Reading that article makes me ashamed to be an American Catholic, not just Catholic….Here a blog article where there are still thoughtful American Catholics, progressive or traditional/conservative. http://www.devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/2012/10/29/a-talk-with-a-partisan/#comments.

    While this writer is obviously ‘conservative’ Catholic, he is very thoughtful and really thinks through especially regarding Catholic Social Justice Teaching. Here’s another thoughtful American Catholic from the more ‘liberal side’:

    http://blueberriesforme.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/voting-democrat-is-not-a-sin/

    I am just pointing it out to give some hope that not all American Catholics, progressive and conservative, are one-dimensional, moralistic, OCD thinkers..

  • Don Rappe

    The Church is not divided so much between the Catholic and the Protestant in these matters as it is between the thoughtful and the doctrinaire. The substance of our catholic faith has always overcome the ignorance with which its enemy assails it.

  • Anonymous

    Whatever happened to, “Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser’s, and render unto God that which is God’s”?

  • Gordon

    Hello, Mom? Good news! I voted early. Bad news. I just found out I’m intrinsically evil.

    • mike moore

      “LIKE”

      • Jill H

        We intrinsically evil are gonna have one bad-ass rockin party one fine day… and the fundies will call the cops on a noise complaint.

        • mike moore

          if the fundies call the noise police, I’m calling the fashion police … have you seen those outfits?

          I’ve long adhered to the theory that having so much polyester in one’s sanctuary is akin to putting acid into the drinking water at a rock concert: irrational hallucinations and mud-slinging are the only results upon which one can rely.

  • Martha Jean-Prunier via Facebook

    oh my, there must be quite a few on that path tonight!

  • Jill H

    Well kids, quite a nice follow-up to this story. This is one of many reasons why I so appreciate politically active atheists, keeping things honest.

    http://www.religionnews.com/politics/government-and-politics/atheists-sue-irs-for-failure-to-monitor-church-politicking


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