Lurker-taking a big risk posting this!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Lurker-taking a big risk posting this!!!
25
Mon, 05-10-2004 - 5:51pm
Hi everyone,

I've been a lurker on and off for a long time on this board, though I've never posted I don't think. I decided to come out of lurkdom today and post because lately I have been feeling very much troubled over some things. I know maybe these things have been touched on before, and I apologize if I'm rehashing old items, but I don't know where else to discuss all this in a safe and anonymous (well, sort of) environment.

First, let me introduce myself: I am a SAHM to 2 boys ages 5 and 2 1/2, and identical twin baby girls who are almost 8 months (born 9-10-03). My name is Sofia. My DH and I are both devout Catholics, who practice our faith and have a deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ. My DH is a physician in Emergency Medicine. We live on the East Coast. Nice to officially meet everyone!!! :)

Now, I lay my head on the chopping block as I pose my questions to the group, aware that I may be *slammed* for my outlook and concerns. I apologize in advance for offending anyone. That is not my intent.

Here goes:

Lately, with all that is in the news about Catholic politicians being pro-choice in their votes, it seems to me that the Church is leading its people to vote for Bush in the upcoming election. First, let me say that I am completely and absolutely pro-life. I think that abortion is murder. It is one of the great tragedies of this nation. And I do not respect John Kerry for voting pro-choice on issues when he is a Catholic. I believe his faith needs to influence every aspect of his life.

That being said, I will now open my can of worms and lay my head on the guillotine: It is my personal opinion (and just that and no more) that President Bush's policies and decisions--WITH THE EXCEPTION OF HIS PRO-LIFE STANCE--are absolutely opposed to so much of what is central to our faith as Catholics. For example: 1. He is pro-death penalty. The Church has spoken out about the death penalty as much as it has abortion! Where is the Church with that concerning Bush? (And I realize that Kerry may also be pro-Death Penalty. But it is my fear that the Bush Administration is more so. I know they are the first administration to put a federal prisoner to death under their watch in decades--Timothy McVeigh; and I saw a newsclip many months ago about Bush as governor of Texas making fun of a woman on death row in that state the night before she was sentenced to die. I know many prisoners were put to death under his governorship in Texas).

2. He is pro gun and against gun control. It is the democrats again who are much more pro gun control. I cannot--in the deepest part of my faith where my relationship with Christ is--believe that were He here in the flesh today He would be opposed to gun control.

3. The environment: the Bush Administration has single-handedly set a course for the destruction of the environment. They are pro-industry and big business, and their policies have lifted corporate restrictions which have allowed mercury and sewage in water supplies, increased pollution, increased global warming, allowed the gunning down of wolves by airplane in the Alaskan wilderness, logging, and a push for oil drilling in wild places, etc. This is directly against statements about the sacredness of the environment that Pope John Paul 2 has made. And it is an urgent matter. It is hard for me to see God's beautiful creation harmed in any way by man.

4. The war in Iraq: I am afraid that Bush lied about the WMDs, and even if he didn't directly *lie*, it appears to me that we had not nearly sufficient reason to attack Iraq in a pre-emptive strike; which, in my mind, would be rarely justified anyway. Iraq was not, as Bush claimed, an "imminent threat." There was not about to be any mushroom cloud. It appears we were after oil and power in that region, and that's why hundreds of American lives and thousands of Iraqi lives--including civilians/children--have been lost. Because of our greed? Because of a personal vendetta against Saddam? Saddam was no doubt a despicable dictator, but there are many of those. Look at North Korea. Look at Cuba. It was not about that. There was more to this war than that. Why did we go to war? I can't in my heart believe that Jesus would condone our action. He forgave those who were nailing Him to the Cross! And, also important for us Catholics: John Paul 2 spoke out *strongly* against the war before it happened. He even sent emmissaries to the White House to try and talk Bush out of it. Why do we ignore that when we consider voting for Bush because Kerry is Catholic and pro-choice? And can't we see that the Arab world hates us even more now that we've dessimated Iraq? So how are we safer from terrorism? And doesn't that go against God, also?

5. The Patriot Act: To me, you can't make legislation based on fear and be in line with what God wants. It seems to me that the Patriot Act has reduced our civil liberties. Our civil liberties are our freedom. Our freedom comes from God. He gave this nation our freedom. In my mind, an administration that attacks that is a dangerous one.

6. My Catholic faith leads me to Social Justice in all circumstances. It seems to me that the democratic party is the one that is more for the underprivileged. It seems to me that in regards to social justice, it is more in-line with the teachings of Christ than the republican party, which seems to me to cut programs which help the poor in favor of wealth and corporations. I know Jesus said, "In as much as you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me." I can't believe God wants us to vote in the direction of huge tax breaks for the rich and wealthy corporations, while the "little guy" gets little. It is against what I see as examples in the Saints, like Mother Teresa.

So, now that I've probably angered and inflamed 95% of you, I would love to see how you justify your votes for Bush in light of his anti-Catholic policies that I listed above. And what is the right answer? Should we be one-issue voters and focus only on abortion? Then what about the death penalty? The environment? The poor and underpriviledged? What about this war in Iraq and the suffering it's caused? Is that what Jesus would want?

What do we do? Just not vote?

I just don't understand the Church on all this lately, and even Catholics that are so right-wing. I know in myself that I lean towards Kerry, even though I am pro-life and have no respect for him on this issue. I guess I feel the alternative is so dangerous and so morally-tainted, and really so against Who I know My Lord to be.

Sorry if I've offended anyone. Trust me, the abortion thing is a hard one for me to swallow. I'm not condoning it or endorsing it in any way. I guess I just wish we could have a democratic candidate who was pro-life in his votes/policies. But I guess they're just too scared of losing the liberal/feminist vote. And that's cowardice in itself. They should have more trust in God.

God bless all of you,

Sofia




Photobucket

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 05-10-2004 - 8:37pm
The first thing to do is rank the issues. #1 in my book is protection of innocent human life. #2 (and not very far behind #1) is the death penality issue. Understanding that the Church does not say that the death penality is immoral but that it's use in most nations is unnecessary and carries a high risk of killing the innocent unintentionally. You will have to rank the others. I'm not saying that they are not inportant, just that some are more important then others. Another question to ask is; How do we personally work at correcting these issues? What do we do to protect the innocent, the enviroment, to help the poor? It is not all the responsibility of government.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2004
Mon, 05-10-2004 - 9:23pm
No offense taken here, my family has been Catholic and has voted Democratic since forever. You are entitled to your opinion. Beth.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
Mon, 05-10-2004 - 9:25pm
Welcome to our humble little board. It is clear that you have given this a lot of thought.

For me abortion trumps everything else. It is the murder of innocents. Period.

The death penalty is not necessarily immoral. Though it probably should be used a whole lot less in the United States. The state has an obligation to protect the innocent folks from those who prey on them. But for the most part, this can be accomplished by keeping them in prison for life.

I'd never thought of gun control as a religious issue. Or even a moral issue. But isn't the right to own guns one of our civil liberties? A population without weapons would seem the first step in allowing those that would do us harm to take over. I don't think gun control solves much except to take them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. A criminal who wants a gun will ALWAYS be able to get one. Drugs are illegal, too (as well they should be), but there are still people who use them.

I don't think Bush can single-handedly ruin the environment. I think it is a fine line to walk, though. People are more important than wolves. And oil that can be gotten from our own country keeps people warm and lessens our dependence on Arab countries. Trees grow back. I am always a little wary of the environmenal people and their "claims". Heaven forbid someone make a coat out of rabbit fur, but go ahead and kill an unborn baby. Sometimes their priorities are a little skewed.

I imagine that only time will tell on the war in Iraq. I still believe that he had WMD. But WMD do not have to be some big huge missile thing. WMD could fit in a very small bottle if the right bacteria or virus was involved. JMHO.

I remember the days after 9-11. I remember being very glad that it was George Bush in the White House. I remember thinking that terrorism needed to be wiped off the face of the earth so that we would never have another 9-11. And I remember thinking of my stepson who was in the army. That THIS was a cause worth dying for. He called me from Qatar yesterday to wish me a happy mother's day.

One analogy is to think of iraq as the playground bully. Then finally someone knocks the stuffing out of him. He might be pissed, and some of his friends might be angry, but it's a good while before someone else goes looking for a fight. Seems like when other presidents were in office and we were attacked (the cole, the 1st WTC bombing, the African embassies) all we did was say "stop it!". If you've been on a middle school playground, that strategy doesn't usually work for long. And no, I don't usually condone violence to solve problems, but sometimes when you've got irrational people, you've got to do what you've got to do to protect yourself.

I sometimes think George W. has succeeded too well. It has been nearly 3 years since our country was attacked. People forget. Or think it's no longer a threat.

The Patriot Act. I want the government out of my affairs as much as the next person. However, if there are some things that can make us safer without too much trauma, I'm all for it. I think it's stupid that I have to SHOW my SS card to open another account at a bank I've had an account at for years. But whatever. I think it's a pain that I have to lock my car at night, but if I don't want some moron to steal something out of it, then I probably should. I think some of the Patriot act is common sense. I think it's one of those balancing acts. Common sense to protect our safety vs too much government in our lives.

I used to think the Democratic party was the social justice party, but I don't think that way anymore. This is one area where churches are WAY more efficient than the government. I think corporations also help the poor - by employing thousands of them. From the folks that empty the trash to those that answer the phones to those that spray the paint on the vehicles on the assembly line. When you stick it to the corporations, they have to make cuts somewhere, and one of the first places they cut is to get rid of a few of the custodians or the receptionists or let 2 guys on the assembly line do the work of 3. And many of the "businesses" are mom and pop places that employ just a few people. But the taxes on these people can be so overwhelming that many can not make it. I really don't think that the democratic party has the best interests of the poor in mind. I think their motivation is to keep them dependent, thus insuring that voter base. THey don't really want them to take care of themselves. They don't give them enough to get ahead. Just enough to keep them coming back month after month.

So, I guess, that in a nutshell is why I can vote for Bush and still sleep at night and go to church on Sundays. Even though as a teacher, I have some issues with his NCLB act.

My 2 cents or so.

Karen

 


PJPIIadoration.jpg picture by Kimberly_sahm

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 05-10-2004 - 10:12pm
Sofia:

I agree with a lot of your points about how Bush is by no means a great choice for those concerned with social justice and other issues important to us as Catholics. I do believe, however, that abortion is such a great evil that it can not be put on par with other issues. I just read a good article on that; I'll try to find it online and post it here.

I also think there are some points you raise that can't be divided as black and white as you'd like. For example, cutting federal programs -- IF such programs could be better handled closer to the source (state/county or local level) isn't a matter of turning your back on the underprivileged. In some cases, I think cuts have been made that are exactly that (turning our backs on the underprivileged), so I know what you mean. But I think reasonable people can disagree on how to best handle those concerns. Likewise, gun control. I am for it, but I understand those who are concerned with too many limitations and don't think their decisions are against their faith.

At any rate, I won't vote for Kerry because of his pro-abortion stance. I won't vote for Bush because many of his policies/approach make my stomach turn. I think sometimes abstaining is the only option. Sadly, for me, this is one of those times. I wish there was a "no confidence" option on the ballot so we could send a message about how dissatisfied we are with our choices.

Polly

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 05-11-2004 - 2:11am
"it seems to me that the Church is leading its people to vote for Bush in the upcoming election"

**Actually the Church doesn't tell anyone who to vote for, but gives principles we must use in deciding who to vote for.


"Should we be one-issue voters and focus only on abortion?"

**Abortion, in ALL cases, is an *objective* evil because it is the *deliberate* killing of an *innocent* human life. Your other examples do not meet that criteria.

**A canidate's position on abortion is a DISQUALIFYING issue, not "single issue" voting. You have to eliminate all canidates who back objectively moral evil *first*, then you can prioritize your remaining issues (ones in which your conscience speaks to you on, i.e gun control, the environment, etc.) and decide which of the remaining canidates fall closest to your principles. Sometimes this means voting for a canidate that may not have been your first choice, or perhaps a third party, or maybe not casting a vote at all.

I hope this helps.


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 05-11-2004 - 9:21am
Welcome, Sofia. And I may be Catholic, but I can still sing out, "Amen, Sister!" While you put your head on the chopping block, mind if I lay mine right there with you?

I agree with you 100%. I do not consider "innocent lives" to be only unborn babies. I consider "innocent lives" to also include Iraqis who did nothing to us, pregnant teenage girls in a culture that desecrates *their* value as well as their unborn children's, families and friends of people on death row, the millions of people living in unhealthy, polluted environments in our own country, and the wildlife and foliage destroyed in endless pursuit of material wealth and possessions.

One person alone doesn't plot the course of an entire country. . . but they sure do influence it with the people they choose for Cabinet members and Supreme Court judges, and the people for whom they exert personal pressure and influence. And if one person decides, as Commander-in-Chief, that we will ignore international codes of law by excusing ourselves from the judgment of the United Nations and completely ignoring the rules of the Geneva Convention, then I'd say one person makes a HUGE difference.

I am not a single issue voter. I am against abortion. I am against a lot of depraved indifference to human life, which I have seen from George Bush. I will be voting for John Kerry.

Kelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Tue, 05-11-2004 - 9:37am
No real time to post right now, but I will respond to your points in individual posts throughout the next couple of days, mostly because it would be too long to respond to each issue in one post, no one would read it, and each issue, should and must stand by itself to be considered on it's own merits.

Just one point though about the War in Iraq, or any war the US is involved in, the President CAN NOT declare war. Only congress has the power to declare war. Blaming the war in Iraq entirely on one person is scapegoating, oversimplifying and wrong. Also, the Catholic Church allows for war so unlike abortion it is not *objectively* evil, even when the Pope speaks out against an individual war and then still unless he is speaking ex cathedra it is *only* his opinion. Also, whether or not we should have invaded Iraq is an entirely separate issue from the issue of prisoner abuse. The issue of prisoner abuse MUST be looked at in terms of the fact that we are already there and we should minimize damage to both sides for as long as we *are* there. In terms of the buck stopping with the Commander in Chief, I agree, but it could have been just about any president and there still would have been abuses and war crimes. How do I know? Because there have been abuses and war crimes even from the most just nations in EVERY war under EVERY leader since time eternal. That is not to excuse the acts but simply to point out that this could have just as easily occurred under a Democratic President as a Republican.

I will post more tonight specifically addressing the issue of conservative vs. liberal economics, charity and who gives what and why.

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jeff

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 05-11-2004 - 10:17am
"I guess I just wish we could have a democratic candidate who was pro-life in his votes/policies. But I guess they're just too scared of losing the liberal/feminist vote. And that's cowardice in itself. "

I forgot to mention this when I posted last night:

While I unfortunately disagree with you politically and disagree with the religious rationale for your positions, I do *truly* sympathize with you.

A conservative/Republican can be either pro or anti abortion and still have viable canidates to vote for....canidates that succeed in winning major seats both at the state and federal level.

Obviously pro-abortion liberals/Democrats have viable canidates, but what about the pro-life Democrat?? Beyond the very notable exceptions, the Democratic party doesn't allow that kind of plurality on this issue.

Many big-name Democratic politicians (Gore, Kerry, Gebhardt to name a few off the top of my head) were in their early years vocally pro-life and voted that way. However in order to receive money and support from their party, they switched postions in order to avoid political suicide.

Anyway you're a (wo)man without a home and that's not an easy place to be! The fact that you aren't trying to rationalize abortion in order to make it "OK" to vote for John Kerry is great.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-11-2004 - 9:50pm
Thank you for responding to me. I totally and wholeheartedly agree with you about abortion. It is murder. Period. End. No debate.

As far as the other issues are concerned, that might be where you and I see things somewhat differently. I believe one is either pro-life or not all the way down the line. That includes the death penalty, and other issues. It is my understanding that the Church is against the death penalty across the board also. DH's cousin is a priest, and he has given me that impression. He has told me that not one death occurs by Capital Punishment in this country where the bishop of that diocese does not make an appeal for life. It is not for us, in my opinion, to judge whether or not other lives besides aborted babies are innocent. "Judgement is mine, saith the Lord." "Let one who is without sin cast the first stone," "Love your neighbor as yourself," "forgive those who hurt you seventy times seven," etc. The words of Christ are so pro-life, so pro-forgiveness, so full of love, how can we rank these things in order of importance? They are all important in His eyes, IMHO. Christ Himself was a victim of Capital Punishment. What does that say about the issue? That God Himself redeemed the evil of it with His actions, therefore it must be evil. At least from what I can see.We can never know for sure whether or not a person is innocent. We can't go into their hearts where the Holy Trinity dwells and know what work of redemption is being done there. That is not our place as fellow human beings. So although I agree with you about abortion, I have a hard time ranking other major pro-life issues "second, third, fourth," etc. And a BIGGIE for me, as I said, is this war in Iraq. I feel so deeply in my heart that it is against the Will of God, that it causes me to despair daily.

I also realize that it is not just up to government to determine these things, but isn't it up to us as voters to try our utmost to bring about these things with our votes? Isn't that one way of carrying out Christ's command, "Doing it unto the least of these, you do it unto Me"?

Thank you for listening to me and taking the time to answer.

Sofia




Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-11-2004 - 11:45pm
I do agree with you in this nation there is no need for Capital Punishment. It is all the more urgent to put a stop on it's use after seeing the number of innocent found on Death Row. I do believe that a society does have a right to review evidence and determine to the best of it's ability (by judge or jury) the guilt or innocence of a person charged with a crime and establish the punishment. The possibility of true Life in prison no longer requires death as a punishment and protection.

Pages