Catholic Republican to Catholic Democrat– A 3rd Conversion

Catholic Republican to Catholic Democrat– A 3rd Conversion February 9, 2024

Today I woke up this morning and realized that my progressive political and theological shifts over the last six years were truly a third conversion experience.  The first was taking ownership of my own faith in college in 1991.  The second was becoming Catholic in 2016 out of conservative Anglican circles, and the third was becoming a political and theological progressive over the last six years.  One might think the last experience wasn’t a conversion experience, but I can tell you it was, and it was by-far the most difficult. I’ve been a Christian all of my life and was initially drawn into a life of purity which kept me more conservative over many years.  For the third conversion experience, becoming a political and theological progressive and discovering Catholic Social Teaching (rooted in the Gospel) rattled my faith like nothing else although nothing has grown me more as a person and as a Catholic/Christian.  Thankfully, I always had a serious problem with racism and disability discrimination, so the third conversion was possible and necessary.

About three years ago, I published a piece through Faith-on-View called, “Catholic Republican to Catholic Democrat, Which is More Pro-Life.”  Op-ed: Catholic Republican to Catholic Democrat, which is more pro-life? – Faith on View

Today, I will revise and update it.

“Julie, how can you be a Catholic and become a Democrat and a political and theological progressive?

It’s for the same reason 60 percent of the American Catholic Church, 76 percent of Hispanic Catholics/other Christians, and 95% percent of Black Catholics/other Christians are Democrats and never vote Republican – because I believe, especially at this point, the current “Trumpified” GOP abuses take more lives than an abortion rate which has declined steadily over the last 50 years.

I am also changed my party affiliation because I believe the right-wing of the Republican party has taken 15 to 20 Bible verses that talk about women being quiet, sexuality, and allowing women to make choices, and they have waged war on the poor and the disenfranchised who are supported and defended by 2,000 Bible verses and Catholic Social Teaching. As Pope Francis says, there are too many Christians who are obsessed with abortion and sexuality to the exclusion of other life issues.

So, let’s look at the moral examination of conscience I went through to come to this conclusion. And no, I did not obtain my information from liberal media but by watching all of this unfold over the last seven years. I had these facts checked by several mainstream experts in political science.

It’s possible to end abortion without resorting to the actions of Jan. 6 – in other words, without backing Trump and without backing the violence and the lies which accompanied the threat of our democracy?

We can achieve that same outcome without destroying the lives of the mothers in poverty who carry unborn babies; without criminalizing expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies and their doctors; without destroying lives at the border and ripping children away from their parents, and without adding razor wire to maim and kill migrants.

Can we end abortion without withholding health care for decades from vulnerable people?  We don’t have to withhold maternity and family medical leave, flippantly handle COVID in a way that results in a million American deaths or spread deadly conspiracy theories and misinformation through right-winged media.

We can see the end of abortion without destroying the environment; without increasing gun violence by dissolving reasonable gun restrictions; without increasing school shootings; without cutting reduced and free lunch programs; without harming our education system resulting in harming children; and without deliberately fighting against scientific and historical facts resulting in harm and death.

Being pro-life does not require withholding a living wage, elevating racism to dangerous levels, increasing the death penalty, or destroying the lives of the disabled, LBGTQ people, and their families. It doesn’t necessitate – in fact, it cries against — deliberately trying to euthanize transgender/gender dysphoric children.

Ending abortion does not mean wreaking the witness of the Church via Trumpism, without destroying our democracy, or demonizing anyone who is unlike most Americans and most Christians/Catholics in the country. If being pro-life – as the GOP has defined it – didn’t mean abusing people into voting for all of these evils collectively in place of fruitlessly ending abortion, then I might listen.

But the truth is, the abortion rate increased from 2018 to 2021.

See, the hard-political white right married to parts of the American white Church has proven over 50 years of power that they cannot abolish abortion without destroying and dehumanizing everyone else but their kind.

And in addition, the hard-right calls the basic Common Good of society socialism and communism. This is why I’m a Democrat now, why I attend a Hispanic Catholic Church which is more Democrat than Republican, and why I am wholistically pro-life, not just pro-birth.

Going through this deconstruction and reconstruction also prepared me to become a parent of gay kids three years ago, the best thing that has ever happened to me. This experience has allowed me to more fully love the world as God so loves the world.

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