Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No Good Catholics in American Politics

Is there a single prominent politician in America who supports all of the Catholic Church's major political goals? I can't think of one.

Most Democrats are pro-Choice, and almost all of them think health insurers should pay for contraception.

Most Republicans support interrogation tactics the Pope defines as torture, and the Church doesn't think much of their budgetary priorities, either. This has been in the news this week because the Catholic Bishops sent a "blistering" letter to the House of Representatives after they approved Paul Ryan's budget last year. This is one point on which the conservative bishops and the more liberal nuns agree; members of both groups signed a letter denouncing Ryan's budget as following Ayn Rand more than Jesus Christ.

The leaders of both parties are too militaristic, and too willing to go to war, for the Church's taste.

Which raises the question for me of what role religious faith has in shaping people's political views. Based on this evidence, it seems to be minimal. All of the major religions are so flexible on political matters that believers can always stretch them to include their own political aims. The all teach many things, and believers of any political stripe can find something to embrace in them. And if their church really cannot encompass their politics, instead of changing politically they leave their old church and set up a new one, as violent white supremacists have done.

The formation of political beliefs we hold so passionately remains one of the great mysteries of our time, and so far as I can see the process is only tangentially related to formal religious doctrine.

1 comment:

leif said...

sounds like these traditional clans of thought-leadership are no longer useful even as strawmen for a given ethical stance. we use organizations as if they had a consistent message, and it's utterly clear that most opinions in the political realm are concerned only with preservation and expansion of hegemony, and moral or ethical messages are simply means to keep the donations flowing in.