Evaluate your Party in Light of the Faith, not the Faith in Light of your Party

Here’s how the Duopoly works and here’s why I insist the real issue surrounding the morality of voting is not “How will it affect the outcome of the election?” but “How will it affect the soul of the voter?”

When Rebecca Kiessling asks a vital question:


The loud and clear message of Romney/Ryan to her is:  Yes.  Yes you did.

Romney/Ryan then turn to the prolife movement and send out the Talking Point:  Make excuses for this or the babies get it.  Thanks, suckers!

Prolife leaders in the pocket of the GOP then turn to those who will not get on board with this program and send the loud and clear message: The problem is not with our being lapdogs and lackeys.  The problem is with people who insist on putting elementary moral principles over the needs of the Party.  They are “perfectionists”.  They are obstructionists.  They are making the Perfect the enemy of the Good.  They should shut up.  They should get on board.  The important thing is winning, even if we have to sell our souls to do it.

In case we are not clear *which* elementary moral principle we are talking about, it is this: It is always and everywhere gravely evil to deliberately kill innocent human life.  That is what “sanctity of life” means.  It’s the raison d’etre of the prolife movement.  Abandon that principle and the prolife movement ceases to exist as a coherent idea.

Up till this week, the principal appeal of Ryan on the ticket was his supposedly solid Catholic prolife convictions.  Now Ryan holds, as a matter of public policy, that innocent human life can be killed when it suits the needs of the Party.  Some people are trying to place daylight between him and Romney to maintain the fiction that he is “100% proliife”.  Sorry, no:

Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote:

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,”

Others try to point to the GOP’s alleged 100% prolife platform as a reason for ignoring this betrayal of elementary moral principle, as though R/R’s extremely clear betrayal will somehow bow to the platform.  But the platform itself is empty rhetoric.  As reader Tom Kreitzberg points out:

“Republican officials said the language in the platform was ’100% pro-life’ but stressed that the document has to remain vague and avoid specific language about abortion exceptions because different states have varying abortion regulations.” http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/21/gop-platform-committee-approves-tough-anti-abortion-stance/

So: Purposefully vague on making abortion illegal.

But if it’s anything like the last platform, there will be quite a lot in it about not spending tax dollars for abortions. Is the GOP’s opposition to abortion, or to spending tax dollars?

Whatever it is, it is not that the convictions of Catholic candidates concerning the deliberate destruction of innocent human life will be respected.  Rather, it is that Catholic prolife convictions are to be exploited for votes and brutally disregarded when they get in the way of the quest for power.

Still others argue that we have to play along, get the “prolife” candidate into office and then “hold their feet to the fire.” The “We’ll hold their feet to the fire once they are in office” line of argument is eviscerated by the spaniel-like excuse-making we are seeing right now.  If prolifers are so gutless as to not put intense heat on R/R when they are most vulnerable to political pressure, why on earth should I believe they will do anything when they have power? Prolifers rolled over and became excuse-makers for O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Miers, and Roberts, plus our Stockholm Syndrome love for unjust war, torture, and financial mismanagement, and approval of ESCR when Bush ordered to it.  Prolifers need to grow a spine and direct their fire at these pols and their perpetual betrayals, not at people who point out that innocent life cannot be killed merely because Romney says so.  Particularly since this man’s whole political career is built on a mound of dead babies, coercion of Catholic conscience, and approval for every grave moral evil approved by *both* parties.  The guy’s conversion is so fake he still holds fundraisers at the home of the guy who makes the morning after pill and his sole contribution to the prolife movement so far has been to corrupt Paul Ryan on the one point where he was unambiguously Catholic.  Prolifers *should* direct their fire at this ticket, not at those who bleat in protest over its cynical exploitation of prolife voters.  Make *them* feel the heat.

Meanwhile, over on the Dem side of the Duopoly, a Catholic African-American reader points out that just as the GOP exploits prolifers and treats them with contempt while playing them for suckers election after election, the Dems do exactly the same thing with African-Americans (and other readers note that anti-war, anti-police state Lefties aren’t feeling the love either).  Happily, some in the African-American community are likewise waking up and refusing to be played for suckers.  If enough principled people in both parties stop being played for suckers and start getting serious about punishing pols who use and discard them, it could get interesting.

Catholics managed to convert an Empire that roasted them on griddles by steadfastly refusing the pinch of incense to Caesar.  We could still do that if we put discipleship above compromise with the rulers of this world.

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

    I think you’re right that any pro-life political advocacy group that says “shut up until after the election” isn’t likely to have a loud voice after the election.

    For that matter, it may be time for me to start putting “pro-life” in quotation marks when I use it in the context of political advocacy. “Pro-life” is a morally good position. “Opposed to most abortions” is a morally evil position. If we can’t tell the difference, *that’s* when we should shut up until after the election.

    • Ted Seeber

      I think I like “pro-American unborn life” as a better term, because that’s what most non-Catholic pro-lifers are for. They don’t care about people who have been born, they certainly don’t care about the unborn children in Pakistan that Bush and Obama have been killing outright whenever a stray drone hits a pregnant mother; they’re actively for war and torture and the death penalty, not to even mention savage capitalism.

  • obpoet

    28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

    29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

    30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

    31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

    “The first,” they answered.

  • http://www.2catholicmen.blogspot.com Ben @ Two Men

    A question about voting and the sin of omission: Suppose Hitler died before the fall of Nazi Germany and there was an election for a successor. Candidate “A” wants to keep the killing of all Jews legal. Candidate “B” wants only the killing of Jews who are a product of rape/incest or any Jew threating the life of a German. Candidate B brings less evil or more good depending on how you wish to view it. Is choosing NOT to vote at all a sin of omission because “B” could possibly save many lives?

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      “Candidate B brings less evil or more good depending on how you wish to view it.”

      Why would you wish to view evil as good?

      • http://www.2catholicmen.blogspot.com Ben @ Two Men

        I would view tring to save some lives as “a good”. Evil is the absence of goodness or perfection just like darkness is the absence of light. Voting for Candidate B in the example helps to move closer to perfection just like lighting one candle brings more light, although one may still not see perfectly.

    • wineinthewater

      The sin of omission would be accepting a circumstance where you must choose between two evils.

  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    That’s right pro-lifers. Go for Lucy’s football one more time. She won’t yank it away. Not this time. Honest!

    • Jon

      I realize that your comment is intended as some light hearted humor but I suppose your statement sort of belies a potential issue — shouldn’t we all be “pro-lifers”?? Not making any personal judgment on your character as I don’t even know you, but it’s just that your statement really struck me as I read it and was actually quite convicting. Perhaps, some who have sold themselves to the GOP at the expense of other Catholic teachings deserve to be rebuked, but to sort of cede the pro-life cause to that group (and in the process distance ourselves from the underlying principles) seems to be an unwise response. I know that some have protested the rise of this seeming “Pro-lifism” and have done so for seemingly good reason, but perhaps we all need to make more of an effort to not allow the good to be hijacked by the evil and manipulated for their own purposes. Let’s reclaim the good that so naturally exists on our side (the God-fearing, Christ-loving Church) of the battle! If the pro-life movement is becoming so off-track that we can no longer associate ourselves with it, then we MUST in some form or another begin our own personal pro-life movement (e.g., praying in reparation for the scourge of abortion, volunteering at a pregnancy help center… whatever you feel called to). Hopefully, you yourself already do this and then I submit this as a clarion call to all others who read your comment.

  • Jon

    Mark, I think this piece of writing is MUCH more commendable than the other piece on Romney’s interview with Raymond Arroyo. You are an idealist (fwiw, so I am so I’m not trying to “crystal ball” you but I just recognize many of the same things in you as I see in myself), and as such I think you do not only your best work, but also the most good when you write pieces that challenge individuals to mentally engage the principles, rather than going after this or that guy because of one of his faults…which is the perfect segue into my happy apocalyptic moment of the day. You and Michael Voris apparently both agree on this particular issue that we as Catholics ought to really start thinking about our politics through the lens of the faith and not the other way around. Yay for the unitive power of Christ’s Church!! (kind of makes me think how happy everyone must’ve been amongst the disciples when they got Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collecting Roman to actually agree on something!)

  • Jon

    P.S. Though I do not regularly post comments at either site, yes I am one of those crazy schizophrenics who actually happen to like some of what Mr. Shea and Mr. Voris both bring to the table. I happen to find great hope in seeing two men with clearly opposing experiences and viewpoints both fighting zealously (though not flawlessly) in an attempt to bring forth Christ’s kingdom. Would that the worst of our problems was how to best unite the stylistic differences of men who nonetheless clearly at least want to do right by our Lord and Savior.

  • Cathy

    I have never appreciated, as a Catholic, the perfect being the enemy of the good. As far as I can tell, this is a phrase committed to by a wicked man, Voltaire, who considered his wickedness perfection. When we use this phrase in the context of voting, we actually allow the wicked to become the enemy of the good. Where have all the good men gone in public representation? I have even heard people claim that Romney/Ryan must lie to get votes in order to do the good of ending abortion. I don’t buy it and even if this were the case, then we’ve chosen dishonest men in refusal to articulating principles in regards to the right to life. I’ve had it, I think it’s about time that wise men become foolish, and simply tell the truth. I think it’s time we put faith as a priority above success.