As the U.S. election nears it feels like the tax-exempt institutions (i.e. churches) start to tighten their grip on the oars of the congregation boat, steering via overt politicking of their own. Through careful use of language, the Church gingerly ties up how a person should think in a neat little package, avoiding certain watchwords so as not to violate their tax-exempt status. When I was a Catholic, during election season, I can recall leaving the church and being handed a little booklet called How To Vote Catholic. I remember being appalled. I still am.
This booklet can be found here: http://www.catholicity.com/vote/
If you look under the topic of Religious Liberty the following quote is made:
States that enforce secularism in social services and education are violating religious liberty.
Pardon me, but I believe the opposite to be true. A state that enforces secularism (lack of religious preference) in public services such as education are actually protecting and preserving EVERY person's right to freedom of religion, which should be practiced on the private front, not the public front. You cannot teach Creationism in a public school as it alienates all other religions except Christianism. Yes, I said Christianism. Next to religious freedom, the separation of Church and State is one of the greatest gifts this country was given. This bullet point ridiculously and immediately follows another quote under Religious Liberty in this little militant booklet:
"This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that . . . no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits" (Dignitatis Humanae, 2).
Wait a minute. Doesn't one statement directly contradict the other?
The Death Penalty: The Church teaches that the death penalty is acceptable in principle but should be avoided in practice.
How exactly do you teach that the death penalty is acceptable in principle? In the same vein of logic, doesn't the Church teach that if a man lusts for a woman in his heart he has already committed adultery?
Abortion: Abortion is the dominant political issue. Being pro-abortion disqualifies a candidate from a Catholic vote.
This is the wedge that the church uses to swing otherwise smart people to vote GOP. By stating that abortion is the dominant issue, the Church might as well admit that life loses value once outside the womb. This is obvious in their principle acceptance of The Death Penalty as well as a vague and hypocritical stance on War:
Just war is waged within defined moral boundaries in regard to its targets, goals, and outcomes.
The first two words are an oxymoron. There is no such thing. There is never an exhaust in peaceful approaches. Honesty, is that how you view God? That he would give up in His peaceful approaches to getting people to love Him, throw up his hands and declare war. I don't think so.
If I were able to talk to any Catholic, Christian, Non-Christian, etc. who is unsure of who to vote for this election year I would simply say to them: What does your heart tell you to do? What is right in your own independent educated adult mind? Are you too institutionalized to know - or do you feel guilt for wanting to vote one way, but because The Church tells you to differently you feel weird about it?
Listen, God is bigger than the Church (which is technically just a bunch of people). And God takes precedence as the one who created you. You are not a Frankenstein monster the Vatican sewed together. You don't have to answer to anyone but God. You are God's before you are the Church's. He instilled in you a mind to think and a right to decide for yourself. That is the beauty of being free. With His love comes freedom. When you are at the polls do you feel a disagreeable Church pointing a gun at your temple? I hope not. I hope you will free yourself from those guilt-laden bureaucratic shackles.
Good luck, Voter, think for yourself and may God be with you.