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Old 11-14-2008, 08:30 AM   #1
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MERGED: A Threat to Democracy? / Catholics Voting for Obama

Priest: No communion for Obama voters - Faith

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Priest: No communion for Obama voters
Priest says it's because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion
The Associated Press
updated 6:45 p.m. ET, Thurs., Nov. 13, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

"Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president," Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.

"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

Risking their immortal soul
During the 2008 presidential campaign, many bishops spoke out on abortion more boldly than four years earlier, telling Catholic politicians and voters that the issue should be the most important consideration in setting policy and deciding which candidate to back. A few church leaders said parishioners risked their immortal soul by voting for candidates who support abortion rights.

But bishops differ on whether Catholic lawmakers — and voters — should refrain from receiving Communion if they diverge from church teaching on abortion. Each bishop sets policy in his own diocese. In their annual fall meeting, the nation's Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights.

According to national exit polls, 54 percent of Catholics chose Obama, who is Protestant. In South Carolina, which McCain carried, voters in Greenville County — traditionally seen as among the state's most conservative areas — went 61 percent for the Republican, and 37 percent for Obama.

"It was not an attempt to make a partisan point," Newman said in a telephone interview Thursday. "In fact, in this election, for the sake of argument, if the Republican candidate had been pro-abortion, and the Democratic candidate had been pro-life, everything that I wrote would have been exactly the same."

Conservative Catholics criticized Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004 for supporting abortion rights, with a few Catholic bishops saying Kerry should refrain from receiving Holy Communion because his views were contrary to church teachings.

Some say move is too extreme
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said she had not heard of other churches taking this position in reaction to Obama's win. A Boston-based group that supports Catholic Democrats questioned the move, saying it was too extreme.

"Father Newman is off-base," said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. "He is acting beyond the authority of a parish priest to say what he did. ... Unfortunately, he is doing so in a manner that will be of great cost to those parishioners who did vote for Sens. Obama and Biden. There will be a spiritual cost to them for his words."

A man who has attended St. Mary's for 18 years said he welcomed Newman's message and anticipated it would inspire further discussion at the church.

"I don't understand anyone who would call themselves a Christian, let alone a Catholic, and could vote for someone who's a pro-abortion candidate," said Ted Kelly, 64, who volunteers his time as lector for the church. "You're talking about the murder of innocent beings."
I bring this up for a couple of historical reasons:

1) There's a particularly notable example, in the 19th century I believe, of there being a popular Italian political party being drained of complete support after the Vatican told faithful Catholics to vote for another party.

2) Fears of the Catholic Church ordering its followers to vote the way they wanted, rather than thinking for themselves, stoked anti-Catholic sentiment in the U.S. for nearly 200 years until JFK was finally able to convince voters that he would act independently and in the best interest of the U.S., not the Vatican.

Regardless, I would question whether this has become a much wider problem that affects most of American Christianity today, not just a re-emerging concern within Catholicism. There was once a lament that Iraqis only voted, according to their own tribal identity and only for the parties that their religious leaders approved. Are we not heading down a similarly dangerous path, and what will that mean for democracy?
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:10 AM   #2
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I don't think that it is a threat to democracy per se, religious interference in the state threatens liberties far more than democracy. People should be allowed to elect their leaders and repudiate certain policies, I detest the fact that personal freedoms are always on the defensive from those forces, some principles should be out of bounds but the religious seem intent on sticking their malignant agenda into other peoples lives.

I am beginning to feel that an individual must carve out as much space for individual expression and experience as they possibly can to push the limits of unwarranted interference from any government, since interference is the nature of government (especially on matters of personal morality due to democratic forces) and I feel that the only solution seems to be minimal statism.

It would be fine for Catholics to vote the church line provided their elected politicians couldn't touch abortion and blasphemy rights, if they were incapable of delivering illiberal change people could live their lives in a fashion that doesn't harm others without fear of force from the state. But unfortunately even in democratic societies one must be a private criminal to live their lives the way they want to.
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:48 AM   #3
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one very basic thing that i don't understand is how democrats are constantly demonised for being pro-choice.
i'm not sure if a lot of these people realised, but the republicans have had 8 years in power to do something about it and they haven't.
abortions have, and will continue to take place.
maybe cheney/palin in 2012 will change that?
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:55 AM   #4
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I think refusing communion over such things as supporting abortion, remarrying after a divorce and so forth is ridiculous. Since we are all sinners, shouldn't everyone be denied communion?
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:02 AM   #5
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Catholics voting for Obama

Priest: No communion for Obama voters - Faith

I've had this issue come up before with me and I struggle with it. I'm pro choice, pro gay rights, pro birth control and probably a few more things that the Catholic Church teaches differently.

I converted to Catholicism at 25 years old and struggled with this prior to making that final step. I rationalized it by saying to myself that my motives are pure:

My pro-choice stand is ok because I'm thinking of the mothers who struggle with this decision, of the babies / children in orphanages and foster homes looking for permanent families, of the rape/incest victims;

My pro gay rights stand is ok because I'm thinking of love and acceptance and tolerance - why deny love to two people regardless of orientation? The world is such a trying place and there is goodness in love and Jesus teaches acceptance and tolerance.

My pro birth control stand is ok because I'm thinking of overpopulation of the world and that physical intimacy is an important part of a healthy relationship. Healthy, strong loving marriages are integral to the church and family but 17 kids in a family is too many and other countries could sure do with some population control without having to resort to mandating 1 child families or boys only rules.

So I've gone on with this belief and then rationalized it further by saying that really my relationship is with God and the Church is merely the conduit for that relationship. And then I question why I'm in the Catholic church and not in another religion, if I'm only "using" the church. Then I met the most wonderful priest and I discussed this with him - because at the time, the Bishop of Sacramento publicly chastised our governor (Gray Davis) for being pro choice and saying that he shouldn't take communion. So then I wondered if I should. And my priest said, "At the last supper, Jesus said 'Take this ALL of you'. He didn't say take this those of you who have never been divorced, believe in a woman's right to choose, use birth control, etc. He said 'Take this ALL of you'. And I LOVED that and was so thankful to my priest for that and felt so much better.

Then comes this article that I read today and I realize that this is extreme, but it keeps popping up. I joined a facebook group during the election called Catholics for Obama United and also visited a website online called Roman Catholics for Obama and I think I'm ok with my beliefs and my position in the church. However, I can't help but question if I'm just rationalizing all this to make myself feel better.

Is anyone else in this same boat?
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoomerang96 View Post
one very basic thing that i don't understand is how democrats are constantly demonised for being pro-choice.
i'm not sure if a lot of these people realised, but the republicans have had 8 years in power to do something about it and they haven't.
abortions have, and will continue to take place.
maybe cheney/palin in 2012 will change that?


because if they didn't have abortion to demagogue, then the conservative "values voters" would suddenly realize that Republicans don't give a shit about poor people and they'd stop voting for them.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:09 PM   #7
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If people don't believe in the values of the church they should just leave. That's what most people do. Religion is a club.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:24 PM   #8
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Yes, me.

I used to be very religious, specifically after I went through my confirmation. I went to church weekly, even attend youth group meetings. Then Terri Schiavo came along and the new priest began to talk about those "evil people who wanted her to die" (I'm paraphrasing, but he literally meant it just like that) and I decided that I wasn't really "worthy" of communion, so I stopped taking it. I still don't take it, but I've come to realize that it's not me that isn't worthy of it, it's those priests and fellow parishioners who don't realize that people within their own faith can see things as secular that aren't worthy of me being part of their organization. (That's the way I rationalize it, anyway )

I still don't think that Terri Schiavo was an appropriate homily for the church, not even if it had been happening right next door. It wasn't a religious conversation, but a political one.
The times I've been back after that lag I've often heard the prayer for politicians and such, which I consider to be fine as long as the politicians aren't named. And I can't really say if there was any election talk at church because I clearly avoided church during the election season.

I wish more priests were like your priest and realize that political ideas belong outside of church doors, and it doesn't make you any more or less closer to God based on those ideas.

If it makes you feel any better, my mom is a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, Obama voting Republican (who wants to change parties no less!) who still goes to church weekly and has fellow parishioner friends who feel exactly the opposite. Things must have changed or she just must not pay to much attention as to the way priests address the crowds during the homily. I hope it's the former and my own church has progressed, but it's really too late for me to go back to religion. Doesn't stop me from being spiritual.

I feel your pain!
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:34 PM   #9
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I suppose i'm only nominally a Catholic these days, don't agree with the Church on many issues, not even sure if I believe in God anymore....I still oddly feel Catholic though, it seems a much more cultural thing with me now rather than a religious belief, I still like mass even though I haven't been in ages, and I still like the Church no matter how much I disagree with it.

It's a bit of a conundrum this Catholic business
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:39 PM   #10
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It's a bit of a conundrum this Catholic business
Agree! I still put down Catholic on whatever form asks me what my religion is, and I still flock to threads marked as Catholic even though I'm not a practicing one.
As I heard one priest say on Easter Sunday, "I'll see 10% of you next week, everyone else, until Christmas!"
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:44 PM   #11
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Maybe it's a Catholic gene

I can't help but think that i'll probably get married in a church and i'll get my kids baptised...even though I don't really believe anymore. As I said it's more a cultural aspect to me now than anything else.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:55 PM   #12
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is that your way of getting all "u2" on us, purpleoscar?
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u2gek View Post
Priest: No communion for Obama voters - Faith

I've had this issue come up before with me and I struggle with it. I'm pro choice, pro gay rights, pro birth control and probably a few more things that the Catholic Church teaches differently.

I converted to Catholicism at 25 years old and struggled with this prior to making that final step. I rationalized it by saying to myself that my motives are pure:

My pro-choice stand is ok because I'm thinking of the mothers who struggle with this decision, of the babies / children in orphanages and foster homes looking for permanent families, of the rape/incest victims;

My pro gay rights stand is ok because I'm thinking of love and acceptance and tolerance - why deny love to two people regardless of orientation? The world is such a trying place and there is goodness in love and Jesus teaches acceptance and tolerance.
I was born Catholic, had communion, was confirmed, went to a Catholic public school, etc. Yet my views are exactly what yours are U2gek. I am not very religious, although I believe in intelligent design, and I reconcile my views with religion by thinking that Jesus espoused love, acceptance and tolerance for all.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Zoomerang96 View Post
is that your way of getting all "u2" on us, purpleoscar?


indeed, everything you know actually IS wrong.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:00 PM   #15
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^Just out of interest BoMac why do you believe in intelligent design? The Catholic Church doesn't teach intelligent design and is fully behind evolution...just curious.
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