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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catholic Bishop Asks Congregation to Not Vote for Obama

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has written a letter to the IRS requesting an investigation of Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, NJ, who wrote a letter asking his congregation not to vote for Barack Obama, whom the Bishop compared to King Herod:

The day her daughter Salome delighted Herod with her seductive dance, Herodias had her make Herod promise to kill John the Baptist. ...  With the stroke of the soldier’s sword, John dies and so does freedom. Freedom is based on the truth of the human person as created by God and protected by his law. When a ruler can decide against God’s law, true freedom is sentenced to death.

Recently, a politician made a promise. Politicians usually do. If this politician fulfills his promise, not only will many of our freedoms as Americans be taken from us, but the innocent and vulnerable will spill their blood. ...

In 2002, as an Illinois legislator, the present democratic candidate voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act. This law was meant to protect a baby that survived a late-term abortion. When the same legislation came up in the Judiciary Committee on which he served, he held to his opposition. First, he voted “present.” Next, he voted “no.”

Along with 108 members of Congress, the present democratic candidate for President continues his strong support for the Freedom of Choice Act. In aspeech before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, he made the promise that the first thing he would do as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. What a choice for a new President!

At the time when Herod murdered John the Baptist because of his promise, Rome practiced the principle "one man, one vote." Whoever the emperor in Rome placed in authority over a subject people, ruled. Today we live in a democracy. We choose our leaders who make our laws. Every vote counts. Today, either we choose to respect and protect life, especially the life of the child in the womb of the mother or we sanction the loss of our most basic freedoms. At this point, we are still free to choose!

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So we can't vote for McCain either because his opposition to the Pope's views on Iraq being an unjust war? Who's left to vote for?

Posted by: what happened to Catholicism | Oct 26, 2008 9:27:50 PM

Because abortion is always a per se wrong, McCain and the Iraq war are not analogous to Obama and abortion. The decision to go to war is a prudential judgment entrusted to civil leaders, and the Pope's individual judgment on the matter is entitled to respect, but not allegiance. On the other hand, abortion - the intentional killing of an individual human person in the womb - is always and everywhere a moral wrong. McCain's pro-Iraq war decision shows, at most, flawed judgment on a prudential matter, but Obama's consistent choices to deny basic rights to unborn persons are wholly antithetical to basic Catholic teaching. The comparison is simply inapt.

Posted by: Thomist | Oct 28, 2008 10:09:31 AM

Regardless of the debate on abortion, Thomist, the IRS should indeed investigate Bishop Serratelli (my own Bishop, truth be told.) Comparing the obliquely referenced "democratic candidate" to the murderer of John the Baptist (and son of the would-be assassin of Jesus, although many might believe that they were one and the same) was clearly aimed at undercutting Obama's support among congregants and is a violation of the rules regarding religious tax-exemption.

Posted by: Chris | Oct 30, 2008 8:55:32 PM