A reader asks about whether Obama’s war on the Church is a reason to vote GOP this fall

A reader asks about whether Obama’s war on the Church is a reason to vote GOP this fall February 10, 2012

He writes:

I voted for a hopeless 3rd-party yahoo in 2008, and I was fully prepared to do so again in 2012 rather than support whichever torture apologist wins the GOP nomination. But this battle has me reconsidering. In a principle-of-double-effect sort-of way, might it be OK to elect a GOPer just to stop this assault on the Church?

I’m conflicted and would be grateful for whatever light you can shine.

Not much, I’m afraid. I’m ruminating the same question. The Administration’s acts of naked warfare on civil liberty briefly made me wonder if it might be prudent to vote GOP, but when I contemplated the fact that the GOP was, in fact, the engine that drove the passage of the NDAA, I thought, “Nah. They are as enthused about transforming American into a police state as Obama.” A GOP Prez will not do one thing to undo Obama’s “gains” in eradicating civil rights or checks on a tyrannical executive. So since both parties were still gung ho for their preferred grave intrinsic evils, I saw no particular reason to support either.

Now, however, the Administration’s gratuitous and malice-filled war on religious liberty and the Catholic Church introduces a new wrinkle to the equation. We now have what I think is a real difference between the parties. The GOP is largely indifferent to the Church when the Church disagrees with it on matters like torture and just war. It makes use of the Church when it is convenient (yakking about abortion and family values while doing very little). But it has never taken a position of naked and open hostility with a view to crushing it.

For this reason, I am considering voting GOP this fall as the prudent action, because an America ruled by a corrupt party indifferent to the Church is better than an America ruled by a corrupt party that is actively seeking to crush the Church. I haven’t made up my mind (because I’m not sold that supporting pols who advocate grave evil is something I can justify. We are, after all, talking about a field of candidates–Ron Paul doesn’t count since he will never be nominated–who aspire to be war criminals). But the launch of Obama’s war on the Church seems to me to be a potential game-changer here. He is, after all, also a bellicose warmonger eager to expand our wars of Empire, but he has also taken his war for an American hedonist crony capitalist police state empire, not merely to the Islamosphere, but to the doors of every Catholic Church in America. Give him four years to make war on the Church without hindrance and we may be very surprised at how little is left of the American Church by 2016. He means business and it is foolish to underestimate that.

So yeah: I am thinking about voting for whatever hairball the GOP barfs up, if only to keep Obama from enacting his full agenda of malice against what is, after all, the real central story here: the Church which is the saving sacrament of my people.

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  • Joseph

    Whoa… Obama done messed up big time now, ya’ll. Them’s fightin’ words. Yee haw!

  • Dr. Paul is still my choice up until the primaries are over. If he is defeated in the GOP then I would probably do the same as you, Mr. Shea.

  • Charity

    I’m at the same place you are. Undecided still, but wavering in my resolve not to vote for whatever GOP candidate is on the ballot … solely due to this issue. If Obama and Sebelius are left unchecked, we may not have many religious freedoms left in four years, and while torture/war/economic justice are all important issues. if there is no American Church left to guide us in four years, those points become of less immediate importance.

    • vickie

      Plus it seems Obama likes war and war crimes just as much as Bush did. So it makes sense to work to defeat him. If he is reelected not only do we have war, but war on behalf of Hedonistic culture.

  • Rachel K

    I think it depends on the identity of said hairball. Some of them are worse than others. I still don’t know if I could bring myself to vote for Gingrich.

    • Joseph

      Or Romney, who is a replicant of Obama.

  • Vince

    Hairball it is!

  • Aunt B

    I think you need to check your premises. Anybody is better then Obama and his Obamism. He has promoted hardcore homosexual ideals on our armed forces and our schools and Catholic institution that do not support adoptions to same sex people who want to pretend that they are married. This is why we have a war against our Church. Almost every CZAR he has appointed is a self proclaimed Communist/Socialist and anti American. He is about to insure Iran wipes out Israel. He is anti Religious Freedom and anti Constitution. Sure there are a lot of RINOs in the GOP but they are slowly being replaced. I am a Catholic and I support Santorum and or Gingrich who are both Catholics and very pro America’s. Shame on any Catholic who votes for Obama and Democrats. A vote for Obama/Obamism is un-American! Also time to fire Sister Carol Keehan for consistently undermining Church teaching. No practicing Catholic should vote for Obama.

    • Mark Shea

      Some people can’t take yes for an answer.

      Santorum and Gingrich both hold very significant swaths of Catholic teaching in contempt. They are not Catholic candidates. They are GOP candidates who use their faith, when convenient, to get Catholics to vote for them–and who ignore it when inconvenient.

      • Aunt B

        Not really trying to start a war. Maybe I need to go back and read some of your views to see where you are coming from. Have to ask: Are you saying Santorum is not a practicing catholic who does not follow his faith? And Gingrich is a not a repentent sinner who is now an active Catholic. I have to differ on your premise that they are not candidates who are Catholic. And just what part of their faith is it they hold in contempt?

        • Mark Shea

          Both dissent from the Church on Just war, positing a complete uncatholic theory of pre-emptive war that, as the Pope points out, is no where in the Catechism. Both endorse the use of torture. Santorum thinks the cold-blooded murder of civilians, guilty of no crime, in a state with whom we are not at war is “wonderful”.

          • Michael

            He called it wonderful? Or do you think that maybe he’s also wrestling with Just War Theory. These are not easy situations, and your use of the word “wonderful” is some kind of uncharitable hyperbole. If I’m wrong, post a source.

            And to state that he’s not a Catholic candidate? Well, I guess that’s why you have the disclaimer: So That No Thought of Mine, No Matter How Stupid, Should Ever Go Unpublished Again!

            • Mark Shea

              “On occasion scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.- Rick Santorum

              That’s not “wrestling with just war theory”. That’s endorsing cold-blooded murder.

              No. He’s not a Catholic candidate. He’s a GOP candidate who, when it suits him, uses his affiliation with the Catholic Church as a tool for ginning up votes. When the Church says things not amenable to political priorities, he ignores the Church. The reason you have trouble grasping that is, apparently, because you think that being prolife is the sum total of what it means to be a Catholic candidate. It’s not. It’s an essential part, but not the only part.

              • Michael

                Is he Catholic? Are you stating that he should not receive the Body & Blood of our Lord (which I believe he does daily)? Then how is he not a Catholic candidate?

                Or was Tolkien an author who, when it suited him, used his affiliation with the Catholic Church as a tool for ginning up sales?

                Are you sure he ignores the Church, even in this one example you’ve stated? War is not the ideal, but there’s a difference between that quote and endorsing cold blooded murder. Someone recently implored combox posters not to despair and said “There are counterattacks in war. Deal with it.”

                I would add, there are imperfections in politicians. They’re human. If I was a little too sure of myself, I might even add “Deal with it.” I have no vested interest here. I’m just a normal Catholic guy who doesn’t see Santorum the same way you do – a potential hairball that the GOP might barf up.

                • Mark Shea

                  Is he Catholic? Are you stating that he should not receive the Body & Blood of our Lord (which I believe he does daily)? Then how is he not a Catholic candidate?

                  Because we don’t have Catholic candidates. We have GOP, Dem, Libertarian, Green, Socialist, communist, etc. candidates. There is no Catholic party. It’s not my job to adjudicate anybody’s worthiness to receive the Eucharist. It’s my job to decide who I should vote for and why.

                  Or was Tolkien an author who, when it suited him, used his affiliation with the Catholic Church as a tool for ginning up sales?

                  Tolkien never, so far as I know, deliberately set himself in opposition to the Church on a matter of grave moral evil. Nor did he ever say, “I’m Catholic, so you should buy my book”. So your question is nonsense.

                  Are you sure he ignores the Church, even in this one example you’ve stated?

                  Yes. Cold-blooded murder of civilians is against the teaching of the Church. So is sponsoring legislation to legalize human cloning, as Santorum did. So is pre-emptive war, which he supports.

                  War is not the ideal, but there’s a difference between that quote and endorsing cold blooded murder.

                  No. There isn’t. We are not at war. Killing a civilian is not “war”. It is murder. And the fact that you are making excuses for it demonstrate the danger and the scandal he represents.

                  Someone recently implored combox posters not to despair and said “There are counterattacks in war. Deal with it.”

                  Which is an utter non sequitur here. Stop making excuses for politicians who cheer for murder.

                  I would add, there are imperfections in politicians. They’re human.

                  Cheering for murder is not an “imperfection”, it is a gross and dangerously wicked sin. Or if it is, then you might as well excuse Obama abortion zeal as an “imperfection”.

                  • Michael

                    Nor did he ever say, “I’m Catholic, so you should buy my book”.

                    And yet we can agree that he was Catholic?

                    Can I claim that Santorum is a male candidate? Or is that not allowed because we only have GOP, Dem, Libertarian, Green, Socialist, communist, etc. candidates. ?

                    I’m not cheering for murder, I don’t think I’m making excuses (but I’ll take some time and reflect on this), and I’ll do my best to prayerfully consider each vote I make.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Yes. Tolkien was Catholic. So is Santorum. But he is not a Catholic candidate. He is a GOP candidate and a Catholic of convenience, when it suits him. In the same way, Pelosi is a Dem and a Catholic when it suits her.

                  • Legalize cloning? I followed the rest of your argument, Mark, but I must have missed this one. It seems pretty out of character for Mr. Santorum to support cloning. To what are you referring?

                • Aunt B

                  Well said Michael!

                • Rachel K

                  I believe that what Mark means is that Santorum acts like he’s a Republican first and a Catholic second. I could be misinterpreting, but that’s how I read it.

              • Wade Meyer

                Here is the link to the video. http://goo.gl/ipCyD

                These are the issues every President and benificent world leader, if there is one, must be willing to deal with. Kill 1 man and save 100,000 or not. Mike Adams addresses this on Townhall.com in which a student asks him “Would you abort Hitler as a baby if you knew what he would turn out to be?”

                • Mark Shea

                  The proposition that we can do evil that good may come of it is fundamentally rejected by Catholic teaching. This was precisely the rationale given by Caiaphas to justify the murder of Jesus. In the real world, it is not possible to know that a baby will grow up to be Hitler, so killing a baby is never–ever–justifiable. The real evil here is to entertain the idea of killing innocents in hypothetical scenarios in order to soften the ground for doing it in real life. Indeed, it was precisely this sort of thinkin that was encouraged by Hitler, who propagandized Germans with fears about what Jews (“the insidious enemy within the Reich”) *might* someday do in order to justify massacring them before they did it. Killing innocent people because of what they might do someday is nothing but murder. You shall not do evil that good may come of it.

    • Joseph

      And don’t forget. Romney is Obama in disguise (ever notice how you never see them standing right next to each other?… hmmm).

    • Joseph

      “He is about to insure Iran wipes out Israel.”

      Beep. Beep. Beep. Fox News propaganda alert! Fox News propaganda alert! Beep. Beep. Beep.

      Almost immediately followed by glowing praise for Gingrich. Yep. Do they have any special drink for cleaning out your brains like they do for cleaning out your bowels?

      • Aunt B

        Oh! Oh! Looks like I disturbed a MSNBC News kinda of guy. Judging from your snarks there’s a good chance you don’t like me. But, there is an even better chance I don’t care. ツ Actually FOX News has mostly glowing praise for Romney. I personally do not want to see Romney do to America what he did to Massachusetts. Or for that matter to finish the job that Obama is doing. As for Israel, Obamabots have done everything in their power to warn Iran of Israel’s determination to defend their country. As for the special drinks crack: Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you’d had enough oxygen at birth?

        • Mark Shea

          No. He’s no fan of MSNBC. But note how easily you come to that assumption, merely because he doesn’t worship Gingrich or Santorum. It believe it or not, possible to oppose Obama *and* the GOP field of candidates. Turns out life may be more complicated for Catholics than just nodding at whatever the GOP barfs up for us to approve.

          • Aunt B

            I am not asking anyone to worship Santorum or Gingrich. All I was saying that they are both Catholic and Candidates. And I believe they are far more worthy to be president then the one we have. Further, I came to that assumption because he attacked me by saying I was listening to propaganda from FOX News and I was returning the snark. ツ As for worship that is for God.

            • Mark Shea

              It the “far more” part where you make your basic mistake. They are *barely* more worthy, and with Gingrich it’s a real question if he’s any more worthy, being the corrupt, egotistical demagogue he is. But because our political culture encourages us to deify our guy and demonize theirs, people wind up saying ridiculous things about how great their party’s guys are when they are, in fact, an assortment of plutocratic Plastic Androids with no principles, corrupt demagogic homewreckers with a sense of entitlement the size of the Hindenburg, and warmongering party tools who sell the unborn down the river when the demands of the party require it. Are they better than Obama. Barely. And voting for any one of them is likely to plunge our country into deep evils. Just not quite as deep as the evil of a country run by a state bent on the destruction of the Church. However “Vote GOP! We’ll cause the next war and depression, but at least we won’t padlock your Church” is not exactly a winning slogan, is it?

        • Joseph

          That always cracks me up. Over at Vomitus Nova they accused me of being a partisan hack (presumably for the Republican party) because I’ve nicknamed them “Vomitus Nova”. Here I reject the propaganda placed in the Fox News feeding troughs and I’m accused of being a Liberal Democrat. I’m not kidding, I’m literally laughing out loud (it’s better spelled out).

  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    Voting GOP to oppose Obama is like joining Saruman to fight Sauron.

  • Obpoet

    I once heard that Nixon lost to Kennedy by an average of one vote per precinct in the 1960 election. This election could be that close, or a landslide. Now that we see the gleam of his canine teeth, imagine what he would show in a 2nd term.

    Also consider the damage he is doing to the SCOTUS, and how the balance could shift with additional appointments. This really is shaping up to be an anyone but Obama (ABO) election. And that ABO vote will need to be unified.

    • Aunt B

      I agree with everything you say. Adding that Obama has been campaigning for over three years, collecting money, all on the taxpayers dime. Obama and his bot’s are going to pull out all the stops and we are going to see the most downright dirty campaign ever run in our time.

  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    “Obama from enacting his full agenda of malice against what is, after all, the real central story here: the Church which is the saving sacrament of my people.”

    A good friend of mine often told me: Never attribute to malice what can just as easily be explained by laziness and stupidity.

    I see no evidence that Barack Obama holds any particular malice toward the Church or anyone else. Obama is a product of his era, which spends more time listening to Screwtape than anyone else.

    Obama is wrong as he can be on this issue, and the bishops and everyone else are right to oppose him. But I just don’t see any of it as being motivated by malice.

    Keep in mind too: The President isn’t a king. 95% of what any President does, he is doing at the behest of others. Obama isn’t the real enemy here. He’s just the puppet dangling from the strings.

    • Dave

      I would have agreed with you on the malice part, but this latest attempt to seem like he is making a “compromise” smells of evil and malice to me.

  • J Hendren

    What did the Church do during the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930’s? We can probably learn a lot about what to do now by what they did then (whether good or evil). Just curious if you could give some historical background, history repeating itself and all…

    • Joseph

      They hunkered down, found a way, by God’s grace, to have the Lateran Treaty enacted establishing Vatican City as an autonomous entity, protecting it from the manipulation of the State… then tried to use their position to save as many lives as possible without stoking the wild animals waiting to eat it. It was a difficult time from what I understand. Any historians reading who’d like to comment further?

      • Jon Hendren

        Thanks for the reply Joseph. I need to research this more myself. I did not realize that this was when Vatican City became a sovereign nation. And yes to anyone who has anymore info on the history of the church during that time period. It is appreciated.

        • Aunt B

          Here is something that most people don’t know not sure if you are aware of these quotes by Albert Einstein so I am passing them on. “Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . .”Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.” –Albert Einstein, TIME magazine, Monday, Dec. 23, 1940 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html#ixzz1WuDgmcVb
          Lest anyone question the accuracy or authenticity of this quote, or the sentiment behind it, here is a letter in Einstein’s hand, confirming his own words emphatically: “Yes, I did say this about the Christian Church. It is the only social institution that could stand up to the Nazi regime.” –Albert Einstein in letter to American preacher wanting confirmation
          I wonder what Einstein would say today on the systematic destruction of religion and people of faith by our government, MSM, and the Hardcore Liberals and Atheists. Would he compare what is happening now to what happened in Nazi Germany? Maybe Michio Kaku will speak out or someone else with a brain. Until then I am going to start quoting Einstein to everyone I can think of. Looks like the Catholic Church is starting to stand up and say No!

          • Thank you so much for posting this quote. I’ve heard various things about Einstein’s opinions on things theological, but it looks like he had admiration for The Church. This is a much-needed shot in the arm right now.

  • Bryan

    Anybody who wishes to attribute this to stupidity isn’t paying attention. Pro-abortion Catholic VP Joe Biden argued against this policy and was ignored. This was no accident, comrade.

    And in the, “Gosh, when the bully smacks you in the ear, maybe he really does want to take your milk money,” vein: it seems two groups of people who I thought were physically unable to make accurate political assessments (the US bishops and Mark Shea) have perhaps come to the conclusion that the president really is dangerous. It’s never fun to loose your innocence, but if it means we never have to hear silliness about voting for third parties from Mr. Shea, perhaps it was all worth it.

    • Mark Shea

      I know I’m fat, but I don’t think I’m a group of people yet.

      • Even Worse Catholic (Marion)

        You don’t qualify as a group of persons because of your girth, but because of the preponderance of your stature and influence in Catholic circles and beyond them.

      • Bryan

        Thinking mathematically again. Always best not to do that with writers.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    If one thing will keep me from voting GOP in this election, it will be operatives like Bryan who see this as an opportunity to scare us back into the party of Moloch.

    Don’t be your own worst enemies.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    That should be mammon!

    Do droids side with Moloch? My phone autocorrected one to the other!

    • Bryan

      Yes, Hez., we need to keep the parties straight. Republicans are the party of mammon, Democrats are the party of Molech. And, of course, the party of Henry VIII, also.

      But, by all means, don’t let that tempt you into voting for one party or another. I’m sure that a lame duck President Obama will be very reasonable about this sort of thing. Nothing to worry about here.

    • Wade Meyer

      What is mammon? Has that got to do with the material world and needing a job to earn money and that’s bad? Or is mammon like being too greedy and taking advantage of little old ladies and their pensions while holding a job?
      Sorry for the probably dumb question but I gotta start somewhere!

      • Mark Shea

        Mammon is the Aramaic word for worldly wealth and, in particular, the hungry pursuit of it to the exclusion of the things of God. That’s why Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and Mammon.” He doesn’t mean “money is evil”. He means “The *love* of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (as St. Paul says).

  • Micaela Swift

    this current president’s thinking was clear from the beginning. His hatred for the church, religious freedom, the very constitution. People are/were so deceived! better to have any GOP that at least we can trust on this foundational aspect….an aspect that if denied is a mere stepping stone to Communist China.

    • Marion (Mael Muire)

      Amen, Micaela.

      Mao-Tse Obama and his ilk won’t stop until the Church is shut down, and the American Constitution is shredded.

  • FdS

    Thanks, Mark, that was very helpful!

  • Rosemarie


    If you do vote GOP this year, Mark, may I welcome you to the ranks of us nose-holders who have been reluctantly and regrettingly pulling the lever for hairballs for longer than we wish to remember, all the while praying they’d finally send us a decent candidate for a change. Prayers that, for whatever reason, have so far gone unanswered. Maybe we should just pray that Santorum does a flip-flop on his objectionable stances, since his campaign may be gaining steam now.

    • Wade Meyer

      I am interested in knowing more about Rick Santorum. You know something I don’t know. What are his objectionable stances?

      • Rosemarie


        See Mark Shea’s response above to Aunt B, dated “February 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm.” He briefly mentions some things he finds objectionable about Santorum, such as support for torture.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    No, Bryan, you seem confused. No one here thinks there’s no problem here.

    I’m just not going to be jumping into bed with a violent pimp just because a murderous nihilist is on my tail.

    You are here counseling support for one evil out of fear of another. You don’t care about me nearly as much as capital gains rates,and so you don’t offer quality counsel.

    What does your party have secretly in store for us if we run crying to you because some jug-eared dem is threatening us?

    Nah, unless your party changes, I’ll take my chances with the current tyrant.

    • Bryan

      “I’m just not going to be jumping into bed with a violent pimp just because a murderous nihilist is on my tail.”

      Really? I think that’s odd: I think most people would rather get pimp-slapped than murdered. But it’s all good; just keep waitin’ for Mr. Right to come around. Such a candidate could not ever be elected here, but we stopped making rational arguments a while ago, looks like.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Well, you think odd thoughts, my friend. Not much else to tell you.

  • Okay, I’m kind of hijacking the combox here…I’m confused. I keep hearing from people inclined to favor the GOP establishment that Ron Paul is unelectable. Yet, whereever I go, I find people very interested and open to him.

    Just to name a couple examples from the last few days:
    1) My black brother-in-law, who’s more or less in the tank for Obama, but is also open minded, posted on Facebook how the more he finds out about Ron Paul, the more he likes him.
    2) My naturopath today said the only candidate in the election on either side that’s worth considering voting for is Ron Paul, though she did concede, as I do, that, in the end, she’d vote for a septic tank over Obama.

    Even those who are not in favor of Paul that I’ve talked to recently, it is usually because they think he is unelectable, they otherwise like him. Those who truly don’t like him think that his foreign policy is naive. (I guess the soldiers who give Ron Paul twice as much money as all the rest of the candidates combined are naive as well.)

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that could probably beat Obama in the youth vote, or at least fight him to a draw. People all over the place are coming to the conclusion that we need something besides the normal hum-drum politics as usual. Are we so sure that he’s unelectable?

    • Rosemarie


      If it weren’t for questions about racist and anti-Semitic statements in his newsletter, he would be the best candidate. Even if that weren’t dogging him, though, I fear he’s still not electable simply because the GOP establishment doesn’t want him. In my worst moments, I think that they’ve basically anointed Romney, will accept no other and are somehow manipulating things behind the scenes to bring about this fait accompli. Thus we’ve seen each of his opponents rise and fall in succession: Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and now Gingrich is in decline. It’s been some kind of soap opera, almost as though it were scripted.

      • Mark Shea

        Even with the question, he’s still the best. Crap written 20 years ago, by somebody else, which Paul now rejects, and which was there because of politicking and trying to forge what alliance he could with the kooky fringe people who tended to resonate with his message is not good, but small beer compared to the world-historical evils the rest of the field is eager to unleash as soon as they get to command the military and screw up the economy more by doing business as usual with our crony capitalist ruling class.

        • Rosemarie


          Even so, the articles would remain a strike against him in many voter’s minds. The same way numerous people today still believe that the Holy Father is a Nazi, despite that nonsense being soundly debunked years ago. Some people aren’t paying attention or are too prejudiced against Catholicism and will believe whatever they want to believe, the facts be damned. The same goes for politics.

          Run Paul against Obama and too many voters will see it as a choice between the racist and the black man. Racism, whether real or perceived, is an unforgivable sin in our modern secular culture, and once you’re tarred with that it’s hard to remove.

          • Franciscan

            I think it’s safe to say that this is one angle that the Obama campaign would exploit. But I think the question is moot. I don’t believe Paul has any real chance to win the GOP nomination. I would vote for him over Obama in a heart beat, but I think the choice is going to be either Romney/Obama or Santorum/Obama (unless something interesting like no candidate being able to get the required number of delegates occurs. Then things could get very interesting).

            And in either case, I’ll hold my nose and vote for the very imperfect candidate with the “R” in front of his name over Obama rather than effectively sitting this one out by voting for an irrelevant third party candidate who has no chance at all to win.

            I’m heartened to see that Mark and some others are perceiving enough justification to do likewise now.

      • Rachel K

        We can still fight the party’s anointed one, though. Remember in 2008 when they tried to stuff Giuliani down our throats? Say what you will about McCain, but he was a far cry better than Rudy.

      • Thomas R

        “In my worst moments, I think that they’ve basically anointed Romney, will accept no other and are somehow manipulating things behind the scenes to bring about this fait accompli.”

        Although not a Ron Paul supporter I think that’s basically what they’re, but I don’t think they’re being particularly secretive or subtle about trying to manipulate things so he’ll be the nominee. That’s what turned me off from Romney more than before. At this point I’m not sure I can vote for a guy who at least looks like some establishment-GOP representative forced on an unwilling electorate. It’s like a vote for returning to the Gilded Age.

      • Chris

        Wow, that whole newsletter thing really kills me.

        Paul is “racist & an anti-Semite” because of newsletters that were ghostwritten twenty years ago that he has since apologized for & disavowed….

        I’m sorry Dr. Paul, you just might not be sincere when you say “I apologize for not paying close enough attention to keep a newsletter with my name on it from making hateful, hurtful, & wrong statements.”

        Personally I think the only way Dr. Paul will be able to rectify the eternal butthurt evoked by those newsletters is to invent a time machine, and go back to 1992 to collect & burn all of the newsletters, thus preventing them from ever going out, preventing this whole farce of racial anguish, and preventing him from having to invent a time machine to…

        Uh, oh.Waitaminnut.

    • Dave K

      I’ve come to the conclusion that voting for unelectable candidates is the ONLY patriotic thing to do. Voting for those whom we are told are electable is clearly ruining this country.

      • Dave

        Need a “Like” button for this!

      • Lloyd Petre

        Yup. Your strength will be the strength of none but your hands will be clean.

        • Mark Shea

          You say that like it’s a bad thing. Eschewing power for the sake of holiness and love is exactly what Jesus did. And lots of conservative Catholics express exactly your sneering contempt for that choice. Which does, indeed, explain a lot about why the Church and the country is in such dire straits right now.

          • Worstest Catholic (Mike)

            OTOH, if Christians got incensed enough to vote as a bloc for anyone not a lame duck, we might have some influence on the electee.

            My optimism reminds me of the little boy digging in the pile of horse manure. “I just know there’s a pony in here somewhwere!”

    • Joseph

      The only issue I have with him is he adheres to Ayn Rand doctrine which, to me, it no better than what the serpent in the garden offered: “you are numero uno, the world is your oyster” (that’s more of a sarcastic summary, but close enough).

      But, I honestly think he’s still the best out of a bad lot despite buying into Rand.

  • antigon

    Mr. Shea:

    In addition to the intrinsic difficulties you have rightly & regularly addressed, you also allude to another serious problem with a GOP victory this fall (as always, PE – Paul excepted): that once in office the elected GOPer would at best but change things at the margins, while keeping the structure of government abuse intact – until the Evil Party’s next chance to expand such abuse.

    That neither Obama nor the GOPers (PE) have the moxie or means to dismantle our unnecessary & increasingly onerous (for the rest of us) Empire also means they’ll be unable even to confront, much less solve, the dangerous financial & other grave domestic dissolution facing us. Thus, whoever is next elected will provoke widespread opposition & overall repudiation in the course of his presidency – which, after a brief patriotic bump, would only intensify if a self-destructive war against Iran is launched.

    The grim & dangerous circumstance we face may in consequence be that our most hopeful option (PE) would be the current president’s re-election. The assault on common decency, on the Faith, the institutionalization of these things & more, will be severe if that happens; but there will also be a great resistance to it, as there has been, & still more as matters grow worse no matter what he does.

    But the resistance will also be great if a GOPer is elected (in this case especially Paul, but since the changes he’d effect would be real the political situation would be entirely different), save that then opposition would come only from those who would make things worse, as they will, when in ’16 they sweep back to control of the abusive structures the GOPer had kept warm for them, & will have indeed likely augmented.

    If instead Obama wins, & we can survive it (no small if, under any of them), you at least have some small but realistic hope the GOP will in ’16 nominate a candidate who can break this inevitability by challenging the structures that make it so. An opponent of NDAA & Empire for example, & by that I of course mean the junior Senator from the great state that gave us Henry Clay & Daniel Boone (tho it is perhaps more accurate to say it is Boone who gave us Kentucky).

    • Mark Shea

      I think this is too much second guessing. Settling for Obama to make all out war on the Church (because you know mandating abortion, euthanasia, same sex marriage, and the rest of the Enlightened project is next. Hell, he even made a crack at trying to regulate the sacrament of Holy Orders). Letting him make war on the Church for four years on the extremely tenuous hope that the GOP will nominate somebody not crazy (and Rand Paul is not exactly the candidate for that) is far too long a game, I think. No. The war on the Church must be stopped now and with enough of a bloody nose for the left that it is not attempted again for a long time.

  • This post strikes me as rhetorically overheated — as does most of Mark’s commentary on the HHS ruling. As a Catholic, I am fully prepared to pull support for Obama this fall over the decision (assuming he doesn’t course correct, as it appears he will). Moreover, I emphatically do NOT think Obama struck the proper balance between women’s health and religious liberties. (As a Catholic, I don’t accept the notion that contraception is essential to women’s health and therefore the only “balance” to be struck here is between rival political interests.)

    With that said, Mark seems unwilling to consider the moral logic — flawed though it may be — behind the HHS ruling and therefore fails to understand, let alone refute, it. As with the abortion debate, in which each side rejects the framework of the other (hence “choice” vs “life), so too in this debate do the participants inhabit radically opposed philosophical and rhetorical worlds. Mark imagines that the Obama administration harbors malevolence and ill will toward the Church, but in fact the administration does not frame the issue in religious terms, but instead as a matter of women’s health. This is because the assumptions the administration makes about contraception are radically at odds with the assumptions the Church makes.

    My view is that we need to focus less on tolerance and more on truth. After all, the Church does not take its opposition to contraception to be rooted in theology unique to Catholics, but to be rooted in natural law. The Church needs to defend the reasonableness of its position, not simply take the libertarian, “no one has the right to tell us what to do” position. After all, even religious liberty ought to be placed within proper limits (how would we Catholics feel about Mormons claiming a “right” to practice polygamy?). The question is where to draw the line.

    More commentary here: http://innocentsmithjournal.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/the-hhs-ruling-debate-as-a-clash-of-values/

    • Mark Shea

      I’m perfectly aware of how Obama frames the debate. However, I don’t see why it is necessary for him to frame it in a religous way in order to harbor malice toward the Church. This gratuitous and unnecessary attack on the Church is just that: an attack. He is an enemy of the faith and must be stopped.

      • Malice implies motives. What evidence do we have as to Obama’s motives?

        • Mark Shea

          The motive, judging from the behavior, is to crush Catholic conscience and, if possible, the financial infrastructure of the Church and the Catholic health care system. That is, after all, what will occur if the Church fails to comply. There’s no good reason for doing this *except* malice.

          • See my initial comment. Malice would be the only possible motive for someone operating from within our Catholic framework. My point is that Obama is not.

            A Catholic who accuses Obama of malice based on the HHS ruling alone is no different from a feminist who accuses the Catholic Church of wishing to oppress women based on its opposition to contraception alone. Within a feminist framework, the Church HAS to be misogynistic. And yet it is not. But in order to realize this, a feminist would have to not only understand that we frame the issue in different terms, but to understand WHY we frame the issue in the terms we do.

            I think we need to stop crying foul play and stop vilifying the other side. Only then can we have the civilized debate this country so desperately needs.

            • Chris

              Incorrect analogy.

              Oppress: To burden with cruel or unjust impositions of restraints; to press upon or against, to crush.

              Feminists who accuse the Church of maliciousness due to “oppressing women” is incorrect because first, the stances that they use to claim such oppression are not “cruel or unjust impositions or restraints”. While the doctrines that they claim are “oppressive” are not understood, or even known, they are no more “oppressive” than gravity.

              However, accusing the Obama administration of malicious intent towards the Catholic Church is based on the fact of Obamas acts ARE attempted oppression of the Church, and serve absolutely no purpose but to force the Church into rejecting its understanding of God’s commands, either by doing what he wants, or by not doing what God wants.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    To be clear, I don’t mean “don’t vote GOP “. I just mean ignore the Bryans of the world. Or rather, I just mean they might reconsider their approach, because it sounds just like the old tired refrain. You know, “vote for us, we’re nominally opposed to some evils!”

    And that makes me suspect they just wish they could figure out how to squeeze an extra nickle outta grandma over it.

  • Wade Meyer

    Mr. Shea it seems really clear cut to me on who to vote for. Not sure why wrote “whatever hair ball the GOP throws up”. Rick Santorum appears to have values and world view that more closely are aligned with the values of The Pope than Barack Obama. Isn’t Santorum Catholic? Also when your readers think about who to vote for as Catholics they should remember that the fellow hanging on their cross is a Jew wasn’t he? Barack Obama has all but signed off on the extermination of Jews by Muslims. I don’t know if that means anything to Catholics that he has betrayed the people of Jesus over and over; more closely resembling an ancient Roman Emporer than a friend of Catholics.

  • Joseph

    “Rick Santorum appears to have values and world view that more closely are aligned with the values of The Pope than Barack Obama.”

    Well, at this point it doesn’t appear to be that difficult for anyone to be more closely aligned with the values of the Pope than Barack Obama. I don’t like comparisons like that because it implies that Rick Santorum is somehow more virtuous. If you’re out of line with one major doctrine of the Catholic Church, you’re in the same boat as someone who’s out of line with all of them.

    “Isn’t Santorum Catholic?”

    Isn’t Kathleen Sabelius? Isn’t Nancy Pelosi? Biden? Etc.? Being Catholic doesn’t automatically make you a saint. The Church doesn’t teach that as soon as you receive the Sacrament of Baptism you’re automatically going to heaven… aka. a saint. You still have this little thing to work out called ‘the rest of your life’.

    “Barack Obama has all but signed off on the extermination of Jews by Muslims.”

    Huh? Wha? Fox News/Rush “Pumpkin Head” Limbaugh/Sean “Ankle Biter” Hannity alert! This is propaganda, friend.

    That said, don’t think for a second I’m an Obama supporter. I’m just trying to get your bearings straight. It may be that Santorum is a better candidate… but, if so, only by a microbe invisible to the human eye. None of the current candidates are worth a damn, in my opinion. I still don’t know what I’m going to do in November (I just know that there is no way in hell I’d vote for Obama).

  • Ellen

    That’s at’s the only reason I vote GOP. I don’t think they care a whit about us in the sense of respecting our positions on faith and morals, but at least they leave us alone unlike The Won. He has GOT to be defeated.

  • Thomas R

    “For this reason, I am considering voting GOP this fall as the prudent action”

    I think my jaw literally dropped.

    Curiously though I’m not certain I’ll vote for the GOP now. I still have this sense it may well be Romney and I just can’t seemed to get hepped up for a guy who seems to just be what rich people demand we like. And who I don’t trust. I’m lucky to be in a state where it’s virtually impossible Obama will win.

    That being said I am willing to do a “negative endorsement.” Kind of a “I don’t care if you vote Republican, just don’t vote Obama. Vote for the Socialists over him even.” (By Socialists I don’t mean whatever remaining Communist Party exists. I do remember once the Socialists ran this odd old guy who was like “I’m Pro-Life, but my Party isn’t” which still freaked some of his Party members. I wish I can remember that guy, he maybe seemed a little doddy but not a bad guy.)

  • MattyD

    Hi Mark, I *always* love your work, but can you help me understand why you perceive some kind of all-out war on the RCC from Obama? Yes, I understand the contraception rule is unacceptable, but is it really evidence of a war? Mightn’t it just be a ham-handed overreach in an attempt to give the poor more access to mainstream medical practices? Don’t many states already have that contraceptive requirement (at least 20, I think)? Didn’t Bush back a similar law (sorry can’t remember citation)? Aren’t Obama’s descriptions of his community work in partnership with the church (as a recent college grad) somewhat credible? Help me, I’m just not seeing the sinister machinations you are.

    • Thomas R

      This is also part of a pattern with him. The USCCB had some program against human-trafficking and, on merits, I believe it was selected for some grant. However the Catholic program didn’t offer abortion or contraceptive services so the Administration stepped in to nix it getting anything.

      I don’t know if he precisely thinks of himself as an enemy of Catholics, I might disagree with most there, but “abortion-rights/contraception” is very important to him and Catholicism is in the way. If something else was as “in the way” he might go after that as much.

      Henry VIII actually liked a great deal about Catholicism, I believe he was even named a Defender of the Faith once, but when certain needs he had (get a new wife, get more land/assets to pay creditors) conflicted his needs came first. Obama feels a strong need to support certain kinds of feminist-ideology and the women voters who agree with it. That need/ideology makes Catholicism opposed to him and him opposed to Catholicism.

  • MattyD

    Apologies, Mark, I see now that my point was (better) raised by Innocent Smith. Still, Mark, I think your response to Innocent Smith is uncharacteristically weak. Or, to be more frank, he respectfully tore you to shreds. If you have evidence of malice from Obama, and of a scheme for financial destruction of a church he once worked in partnership with (as a young man) I think probity requires it.

    • Dave

      At first, I thought it was just an overreach by a guy who is only listening to his own base, but after this latest “compromise” which actually makes matters worse, or at the best, no better, while insulting our intelligence with a shell game in trying to win the PR battle and divide Catholics in the process, I can only explain that by malice.

      • MattyD

        Forgive me, Dave, but it sounds to me like you replaced your first assumption with a new assumption and backed it up with an assumption. Honestly, if we’re going to make the claim that someone is scheming to “destroy” a church, might we actually need the following three things: 1) evidence of 2) intent to 3) destroy a church?

        • Well, when someone offers a “compromise” that is no better than the original plan, but tries to spin it so that it seems better, it’s hard to figure how he could be working from a position of goodwill.

          At best, he simply doesn’t care about religious liberty and thinks that Catholics are stupid enough to fall for the compromise.

          • MattyD

            But, Dave, respectfully, it sounds like your argument is “his changes don’t go as far as I want, therefore he is malicious.” Help me see how that’s not loony. According to today’s NYT, 1) when Obama called Arch Dolan with the revision, Dolan called it “a first step in the right direction.” And, 2) The original rule came about from hardline secular advisers outflanking Biden, Sister Keehan and other Catholic-sympathetic advisers, and it has been hotly debated for months. To me, that bears zero resemblance to a sinister war against the RCC from Obama. But I’m open to any evidence you or Mark have.

      • Thomas R

        I’ve talked to the people on the other side more and I don’t know if it’s malice. For some it is, but some of them I think sincerely believe contraception is so obviously in the “common good” that there is no longer any right to refuse supporting it. That doing so is like rejecting vaccination, granted people do refuse vaccination on religious grounds but I’ll get to that, or allowing people to sacrifice children to the gods.

        And I’d say other groups go against what, to them, is obviously the common good should also be refused. So that there are groups that don’t get vaccinated should also be forbidden. One psychologists indicated that from the perspective of Progressive-Morals Liberty, Equality, and Social-Welfare are key. Although the mandate goes against the first, they see it as outright necessary for the other two. So what stands in its way must be curtailed. It’s not Catholicism per-se, it’s anything that they feel keeps the State from creating what they feel is a “Healthy Society” “free” from the authority of religious groups. (And Catholicism being hierarchical just makes it “worse.” If we had enough Tibetan Buddhists their love of them would likely decline)

  • Dave

    Matty D,
    Obviously, Dolan wanted to presume the President’s good will, and so made a positive but non-committal statement. Later on, Dolan and the USCCB were not nearly so positive.

    As I have said, when the original rule came out, I did not think that the President had any bad intentions, just that he had the usual left-wing thinking that being able to kill your offspring was important enough to override religious freedom.

    So, my complaint is not that the “changes didn’t go as far as I wanted”, it’s that they didn’t go ANYWHERE, but yet he tried to make it seem like there was a change. C’mon, it’s a shell game that anyone with an IQ above 80 can see through. As Mark said, he attempted a “head fake.” If he had just said, “sorry, there is no compromise on this” I could have respected it.

    • MattyD

      Dave, really, you think the changes “don’t go anywhere?” I’m not a lawyer, but here’s my understanding. 1) Original proposal: with exception of houses of worship (narrowly defined), all employers must pay for contraception. (Currently the law in 20+ states — per multiple court cases — and grudgingly followed by many Catholic organizations). But then — after Obama’s unilateral scheme to destroy the RCC is discovered — he reengages with Catholic advisors Sister Keehan, Biden and others to sketch a proposal where 2) Catholic institutions (more broadly defined) do NOT have to pay for contraception, nor do they have to refer employees elsewhere to someone who does, but that a private secular company must contact that employee with that option. And according to Dave, going from “have to provide” to “do not have to provide” is no change at all, and proof of malice. And according to Mark Shea, this is evidence of a plot to destroy the Catholic Church. Apologies, I’m not seeing the evidence or the logic.

      • Dave

        Matty D,
        Please tell me you can see through the shell game Obama has set up. The USCCB obviously did, as shown by this excerpt from their response:

        “And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer’s plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.”

        Yes, there was a semantic change, but either way, the insurance coverage as a whole, and for individual health conditions (and non-health conditions in the case of contraception and abortion), is provided to the employee as a benefit because of their employment.

        You can SAY that the coverage of THIS condition is provided by the insurance company while the coverage of THAT one is provided by the employer, but it’s just words, with no real difference.

        • MattyD

          Dave, thank you for the USCCB citation, it’s helpful. Yes, I see your concern about the possible direct financing from employers (assuming the bishop’s claim is correct). Does this warrant continued lobbying and negotiations? Sure. Is this evidence of Obama’s malice and/or his war to financially destroy the RCC? That’s just silly. And I harp on this because if we Catholics can’t tell the difference between, say, an “imperfect development in an ongoing pluralistic discussion” vs. “a war to destroy us”, then maybe we *should* be marginalized from the democratic process.

          • Dave

            Well, I will concede that there is no absolute proof that he is acting with malice. It is a reasonable inference IMO, but your mileage obviously varies. Anyway, Mark may have different reasons entirely for thinking Obama is acting with malice.

          • RLM

            Well, even if Dave is willing to concede that there is no “absolute proof,” it doesn’t prove your point, MattyD. And, in any case, who says “absolute proof” the right standard of evidence in this context? *Absolute proof isn’t even required in the hard sciences, but, don’t worry, I won’t get into epistemology here!) All one has to say is that Obama and other Democrats’ actions make it much more likely than not that they are acting out of malice. This standard of proof is reasonable and ought to be sufficient. For instance, civil courts operate on the “preponderance of evidence” standard of proof, which is an even lower standard than the one I am employing here.
            In addition, if you really don’t think that our leftist elites are not acting out of malice, then you must not know any members of said elite personally. The anti-Catholicism and anti-conservatism strain in the academic and elite left of our country is vehement. I know plenty of them, since I was educated by an elite left-wing institution at both the undergrad and the Ph.D. level. Believe me when I say that many of them absolutely are maliciously anti-Catholic and anti-conservative.
            In addition, if there is any doubt in your mind that the left in general doesn’t harbour a deep-seated hatred for the Church and her teachings, please go and read the comments under any given NYTimes or WaPo op-ed regarding the recent contraception conflict between the bishops and the administration. Or, better yet, read the articles on HuffPo about Paul’s Pantry turning down Planned Parenthood’s donation of food. Once you read those comments, there will be no doubt left in your mind.

  • Advocate of Elfland

    @Mark Shea

    In my opinion, I think there is something quite fishy. The repub party is only going to win as long as their opponent is unsavory and the bad guy for the ripe moment and opportunity for the GOP name to linger from the election. As long as the economy is bad, the GOP will win. When your religious liberty is attacked, the GOP is definately your party.

    I see a car-sales like approach and very much the same way alarm companies work. If you got crooks, the alarms companies must be paid for to take care of the problem. What you have is a default opportunity for the party to win when it’s bad enough and the right moment to persuade the people to take them as the appropriate alternative.

    But, at least, in the end, you will get a new car. At least in the end, you will have a system to inform you when your house is broken into. Did you really need a new car? Probably and most likely not. Do you really need an alarm system for the house? It may not stop a crook. But, it will help deter loss of property. As long as someone cannot remain home and they must constantly work, he or she will need a new car and will need an alarm system.

    I paraphrase and poorly quote James Cagney from the Gallant Hours, “Don’t ask what a man thinks, but what decision he makes.”

    I hope who ever wins will have decisions and makes them. I really hope the direction turns everything around for the good, overall for everyone. Hopefully the winning candidate doesn’t compromise values and the well being of any individual. And hopefully there will be a decent and uncompromisable society that will prevent and see to no more endangerment to both liberty, life, and the pursuit of, what is truly, happiness.

  • brian

    I’ve not been enthusiastic about the GOP field this year and concur that given the track record of the past decade that we’d have anything serious in the way of a champion for our causes. That being said, the kerfuffles of the last number of weeks tells me that I need to go GOP even if it’s nothing more than a blocking action at this point. Obama The Sequel will be Obama Unbridled.

  • Andrew

    Mr. Shea, can you please elaborate on this comment you made above?

    “So is sponsoring legislation to legalize human cloning, as Santorum did.”

    I find myself in what appears to be a similar situation to yourself: finding Paul by far the best option, and debating what to do when it ends up being Santorum or Romney vs. Obama. I am critical of Santorum on several things- Specter, No Child Left Behind, Bush’s Drug benefit, Iraq, Iran, the Patriot Act, and indefinite detention of US citizens without charge just to name a few.

    I’ve never heard his named mentioned with Cloning, except to say he was against it though. Can you direct me to a source for the legislation he sponsored in favor of it?

    Thank you.

    It is amazing how bad of shape our government is in. A simply standard of “I’d like to vote for someone who is not in favor of murdering anyone” makes you part of the kook fringe.

    If “Conservative” now means being pro-war, pro-police state, and pro-more spending, as it did under Bush and would under Romney or Santorum, the question must be asked what exactly are they conserving? Certainly not lives or liberty or property.


    • Michael

      The best you’ll find is by reading the comments here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/01/gotta-love-simcha-fisher.html

      Just search the page for “cloning” and it will take you right to the comments you need. You’ll notice that as soon as there starts to be some clarification Mark Shea goes silent. I would give some benefit of doubt and think that it was just a moment of lunacy then, but know that he has recycled it I can’t help but think it’s purposefully deceptive.

      • Mark Shea

        Instead of calling me dishonest, why not just use a little effort and try Google. You may apologize or leave now.

        • Michael

          Okay, I’m sorry for saying I think you’re being purposefully deceptive. You obviously believe this and will continue to be guilty of no dishonesty in this matter. No matter what it looks like to me. With the possible exception for self honesty. But I do truly believe that you believe what you say, and am sorry that I wrote that the thought of it being otherwise (not the reality, just the thought of it) occured to me.

          Here’s the bill: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-109s2754es/pdf/BILLS-109s2754es.pdf

          Note that the bill itself states:
          SEC. 2. PURPOSES.
          It is the purpose of this Act to—
          (1) intensify research that may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions; and
          (2) promote the derivation of pluripotent stem cell lines, including from postnatal sources, without creating human embryos for research purposes or discarding, destroying, or knowingly harming a human embryo or fetus.

          Will there be an apology for Santorum at some point? Clearly I’m pushing my luck, since, you know, politicians are always so dishonest in the words they use.

          • Chris

            Don’t hold your breath.

            The Title & “PURPOSES” of any bill are irrelevant garbage.

            To be charitable, I suspect that Santorum, like most politicians (and people) didn’t bother to actually read the bill, just the title, purpose, & co-sponsor list, then voted on it.

            The American Life League which actually DID read & think about the bill, noted that while “protecting babies”, the bill would allow for a “technique that would actually create and then kill human embryos” – via a variation on a cloning technique, a technique which relies on reducing women to “plots” that are to be used to produce biogenetic material (eggs) for such cloning.

        • Andrew

          Thank you for the info.

          I’ve recently come to the sobering conclusion that I have what appears to be an impossibly high standard for Presidential candidates. Given the oath one takes to uphold the Constituion, expecting them to actually believe in ALL the ammendments might seem appropriate, but no, I won’t even hold out for that extra high standard. All I want is:

          Someone who isn’t in favor of murdering anyone.

          That’s it. And that simple standard places me on “the kook fringe” of American politics. The audio of Santorum saying how wonderful murdering scientists would be is blood chilling. If a foreign nation was found to have supported the assasination of American scientists (or 3rd party nationals working in the US), we would…..GO TO WAR.

          I am not about to defend Iran as some sort of model country, but the beating of warm drums by those so eager to destroy them should consider a few things:

          1. The US helped overthrow the legitimate government of Iran.
          2. After doing so, the US helped install a brutal dictator in Iran.
          3. When the dictator was removed, he sought and received refuge in the US.
          4. The US supported Iran’s enemy in an 8 year war, Iraq.
          5. The US shot down a CIVILIAN Iranian Airliner killing all 300 people on board.
          6. The US has invaded 2 of Iran’s neighboring countries. Both of whom used to be American allies, which might make one pause about the long term benefits of being a US ally.

          Again, Iran is far from perfect. But if the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t be trying to build nukes…we’d be dropping them.


  • Andrew

    “Obama The Sequel will be Obama Unbridled.”

    Quite true, but the question must be asked, is voting for a GOP candidate who also favors grave evils, the equivalent of telling a promiscuous teenager to get on the pill so they won’t have a surgical abortion.

    Mr. Shea is correct- you can not commit evil that good may come of it. Is it better to be true to the Faith and stand against whatever persecution comes or to accomodate and compromise to the point where Catholics stand for so little, that the state sees no need to persecute them anyway?


    • Ralph

      We can be pretty sure that Obama will try to attack the Church again, but I don’t think we need to be afraid that the Church will be weakened by his attacks. The Church almost always grows stronger from external persecution.

      That’s not a reason to aid and abet the persecutors, but neither do we need to vote for people who promote grave evil just because Obama will attack the Church again.

  • MarkJ

    The unofficial motto of the Obama Campaign:

    “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”

    Mr. Shea, the above is reason enough to vote GOP this year. Capisce, paisan?

  • Majorajam

    Let me see if I have this straight- forcing insurance companies to cover contraception is tantamount to war on Catholicism…. Really?

    I respect the ‘aspiring war criminal’ argument even though I’m not a pacifist by any stretch, nor has the Church ever shown itself to be, (nor were the Israelites when forced to choose between passifism and extinction), but it’s a noble principle all the same.

    I am, however, very curious though why Mr. Shea sees giving poor women access to contraception as evil. Does no one else see that there is a very Christian notion of compassion for women at issue here? Married women perhaps that struggle to make ends meet and can’t afford more children. Surely it isn’t that black and white.

    PS What is most risible are the comments that say, “no good Catholic could vote for X’, because it opens faith to politics in a way that can be, and has been, greusomely manipulated. It’s bad for both realms. Moreover, of course our faith dictates that we will be judged by our behavior on this earth, to include voting, but statements such as that betrays the arrogance of a person believing that theirs represents God’s will. Which is a grave sin.

    • Yes, amazingly enough, some Catholics actually BELIEVE the teachings of the Catholic Church. Jesus said that He’d found a Church and that He would protect said Church’s teaching from error. Some of us actually believe Jesus. Strange and amazing, I know.

      • Majorajam

        Wow. If anyone believes that the Catholic Church has never been in error, than there’s not much that can be done for that person. Indeed, I would probably use the word strange and amazing to describe that point of view.

        The scripture is not yours to interpret friend, nor would I guess that is your forte. Catholics have inherited centuries of profound theological scholarship and tradition, all of it intending to reveal the meaning and significance of God’s word. What you’ve got there looks evangelical to me.

        None of which answers my question, and you’re not Mark. So thanks but no thanks.

        • Mark Shea

          FWIW, belief in infallibility is not the same as believing the Church has never been in error.

          Go here for more info.

    • Barbara

      Majorajam …
      Pplleeease! You write too well for me to think you are dumb enough to believe this issue is about contraception availability to women! They can get contraception advice and medication at any corner tax payer funded clinic, especially at Planned Parenthood for FREE! This is about government intruding on religious freedom, our first amendment rights. If we let the nose of the camel into the tent, by allowing the State to demand people of faith deny their religious teachings over a dictate from Obama – WHAT NEXT? Our forefathers understood the danger of that … and we all better wake up to that reality before it is too late to do so.

  • antigon

    Mr. Shea:

    Went to the 2001 piece on infallibility &, if I may tempt your vanity, found it both moving & profound.

  • Barbara

    I’m not Catholic, but am a strong Christian who has sent my children to Catholic schools. I am a bit taken back by many of the comments on this page. How can a person of faith vote for a Democrat candidate, when their very platform supports both abortion on demand and homosexual marriages, while the GOP’s platform is against both? If that isn’t bad enough, Democrats are now covertly setting up the stage to eliminate the church from any and all perks, such as tax breaks and eliminating our donations to charities & churches from being tax deductible. Mayor Bloomberg recently evicted over 60 Christian churches, by denying them the right to rent public facilities. What part of the Democrats’ “war with the Church” don’t you understand?