My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


I Was Going To Lay Off This, But. . .

I've posted at some length in recent weeks about the difficulties "Catholic" politicians are having reconciling their Faith and their politics--particularly where the abortion issue is concerned. I had more thoughts on this over the weekend, but decided to lay off the issue.

Then I heard the tape on Hugh's show of Nancy Pilosi speaking to the March to Save Women's Lifestyles over the weekend. While I have not been able to unearth print media coverage of her speech, I believe I heard her say: "I am a mother of five; a grandmother of five; and a devout Roman Catholic.. ." before she went on to laud the virtues of being able to end an inconvenient child before birth. This, just days after the Vatican actually went on record saying priests should deny communion to politicians who take pro-abortion positions in public life.

Strangely, this isn't the most offensive piece of rhetoric from the event last weekend. That distinction goes to Gloria Steinem, who, according to the CNN article accused Bush of squandering international good will and taking positions so socially conservative that he seems -- according to Steinem -- to be in league with the likes of Muslim extremists or the Vatican.

Now, last time I looked, equating the Taliban to the Vatican was, well, a bit over the top. Of course, this little piece never made the evening news, and as far as I can tell not a single one of these "devout Roman Catholic" politicians has demanded that Steinem retract the statement and apologize for this. And I'm not holding my breath that they will.

Because, of course, in the public life of these people politics is the end-all, be-all, easily trumping such trivialities as their Faith. So I suppose it should come as no surprise that these people feel comfortable ignoring their Church's teachings--those are, at best, a secondary concern in their lives.

What originally got me going on this was the idea that a Christian who does not advocate Christian positions in public life is, at best, a weak Christian. I realize I'm dancing close to a knife's edge of judgementalism here, but bear me out. I'm not talking about advocating the agenda of the Moral Majority or of Focus on the Family or the Catholic Church--I'm talking about using your Faith and your belief in efficacy of Christian teachings as a guide for the public decisions that you make. The inheritance of the believer is a responsibility and a Hope that their belief will guide their actions to lead them to glorify God in their daily life and bring others to God's Glory. Faith is not an attribute that can be removed when you walk into the Senate chambers like an overcoat--it is either a central part of your makeup or it isn't.

Again, though, I'm not here to sit in judgement over others--God's given me quite a list of responsibilities, and that is not one of them. However, when politicians invoke their "Faith" as a way of innoculating themselves from criticism, I do have a right to call them on it, when they give nothing more than lip service to their Faith.

So when Nancy Pilosi proclaims her Catholicism at a pro-abortion rally that features a comparison of the Vatican to the Taliban, I think people ought to ask a few pointed questions. And I'll start: Ms. Pilosi, given the Church's unambiguous stance towards pro-abortion politicians and your unwillingness to confront anti-Catholic bigotry, will you cease identifying yourself as a Roman Catholic before audiences who may be better disposed to hear your message if they think they share Catholicism with you?

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