Thursday, October 23, 2008

When Do Clergy Cross the Line?

This week's question for the Dallas Morning News' Texas Faith panel of clergy is a challenging one:

"The Catholic bishops in Dallas and Fort Worth co-wrote a letter read from church pulpits this month. The letter said: "To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or "abortion rights" when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil - and, therefore, morally impermissible." Some local Catholics took that as a de facto endorsement of John McCain, given the positions that he and Barack Obama take on abortion.

"Here's the question: Were the bishops offering appropriate moral guidance based on Catholic dogma? Or did they cross a line either from a theological or constitutional perspective? Should clergy offer such specific guidance on issues of political importance that clearly benefit a particular candidate or political party?"

You can read the answers and replies here.

I invite your replies here or at the DMN site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The interplay in the U.S. between the Bible and the Constitution is not accidental, since it was breathed into the instruments of our government by men to make sure the state could not dictate to the religious, or non-religious alike. Many of the most influential in that day had themselves fled from such tyranny.

So separation of state and church in America exists: the state does not dictate to the church -- nor does the chruch dictate to the state. Do we sometimes get confused about this -- seems so.

Now since moral authority rests with the church, and to some extent the state, in that the state possesses our forefathers' infusion of religious appelations into it's makeup, appealing to the moral positions of political candidates is a matter of timing and the candidates' own selection of moral positions in order to better appeal to the sentiments of the electorate.

In short, since the church has no de facto role in the state and if it is not reminding it's flock of the perils of evil thought and behavior, what good is the church? What is left?

Abortion on command cannot be condoned, and yet our government has in effect done that by introducing, for the benefit of those who choose abortion, the window called up to "viability,"
defined as "viablity outside the womb."

That is, the claim of murder cannot stand until the magic moment of "viability" is reached and the child is aborted rather than brought to term. But the argument that a fetus is not viable, and therefore if aborted somehow escapes death or murder, is specious on its face.

What for example should we call it when a fetus, say one minute old or 259,200 minutes old, is dispatched from its mother's womb and perishes in route or is left wriggling and writhing to death after being deposited in a bucket?

How does this differ in terms of the meaning and definition of life?
Viablity in the womb vs viability outside the womb -- location, location, location!

Does the "The Catholic Church" have a dogma on abortion so different from that of other recognized Christian churches that we need to bother to debate whether they favor one candidate over another? What church does not in the purest sense agree that abortion on convenience is morally wrong?

Speak the biblical truth each Sunday and we'd avoid the coincidental connection to candidates every two or four years. Are flocks that stupid?

Understand that once sperm and egg unite, that union is new, multi-celled, DNAd life. End that life on purpose, and without due process of all we can resonably process, before it's time, and you've got murder.

Science, state ideology and theology all merge here in agreement and folks whose paygrade preclude this kind of balanced reasoning are not ready for prime time at the White House.

And just in case it matters, the issue over abortion is as old as civilization and should never have become a plaything in matters of U.S. political party platforms in the first place.

The bishops would be within their rights to ask, "You talkin to me?"