The Catholic Church and its Hypocritical Approach to Politics

    By TheDogFather | 27 November 2017
    Daily Kos

    (CNS photo / Bob Roller)

    On any given Sunday you can probably find a good number of hypocrites sitting in the pews at a Catholic Mass.

    You can add the church itself to that list while you’re at it.

    It seems the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops isn’t happy with the tax plan passed by the House of Representatives (The Senate has yet to vote on its plan). The group has sent a letter detailing its issues to the House.

    The letter is fantastic. I’d encourage everyone to read it here.

    It characterizes the House plan as “unacceptable.” Here are a few highlights:

    “As written, this proposal appears to be the first federal income tax modification in American history that will raise income taxes on the working poor while simultaneously providing a large tax cut to the wealthy.”

    “Those who stand to benefit the most from proposed tax policies ought to be the ones to bear most of the risk associated with them, rather than those who are struggling and in need.”

    “This tax plan, by design, will result in a nearly $1.5 trillion deficit over ten years. Even with the potential benefits of economic growth from individual and corporate tax cuts—which cannot be guaranteed—the poor should not be the ones to finance these changes.”

    *Repeal of the AMT (alternate minimum tax) and estate tax alone comprise a good portion of the deficit that is built into the plan. Rather than exploring even modest reductions to these dramatic cuts for the wealthiest, the bill raises taxes on the vulnerable and creates a strong incentive to cut the social safety net.”

    “Because tax policy is far-reaching, Congress must provide ample time for Americans to discuss the complexities of these reforms and fully understand their effects. The current timetable does not provide adequate time for that discussion.”

    It’s an epic takedown, and not the first time the USCCB has gone after the Republican Party’s economic plans. In 2012 it criticized the House’s proposed budget.

    And while another strong voice against the GOP con job of a budget is welcome, it should be noted that none of the distinct dangers of having Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress seemed to be an issue last year when the Church was issuing its standard vote Republican message.

    The Church can say it didn’t specifically encourage votes for the GOP, but its positions and actions certainly made that case, especially its signature issue of abortion. As someone raised in the Church, I’ve sat through enough sermons to know it has no interest in balancing its message to discuss the pros and cons of both partys’ positions.

    Look, I understand the Catholics’ position on abortion. I also understand it’s lying when they say anyone not pro-life is pro-abortion. The correct term is pro-choice. There’s a difference.

    Pro-choice isn’t pro-abortion. It’s just the belief that a woman should have the right to make decisions about her own body and reproductive system.

    The Catholic Church has several areas where it’s in lockstep with the Republican Party:

    *Abortion.

    *Its hatred of gays and lesbians, including calls for “religious freedom” legislation that would allow legalized discrimination against the LGBT community.

    *Increased spending in school choice vouchers that would allow more parents of public school students to afford to send their children to Catholic schools.

    *Elimination of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (such as churches) from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

    Of course, the Church is already in the political game. I don’t know if this still happens, but it wasn’t long ago that every Sunday before an election, parishioners would return to their cars after Mass to find fliers urging them to vote for the pro-life candidates, most of whom were Republicans.

    I don’t have a problem with the Catholic Church expressing positions on these and other subjects. And I respect the right of anyone to factor in their religious beliefs in deciding who to vote for.

    But when it comes to elected officials, the stakes are too high to bet on a one-trick pony. Anyone not looking at a candidate in his or her totality, and instead using the narrower lens insisted on by the Church, is making a big mistake.

    The bishops are hypocrites to question things now that they knew were baked into the cake with the Republicans when they backed so many of them in past elections. If they really cared about the poor they would have included this in their messages and fliers.

    If they were honest they’d admit they’re willing to trade reaching their goals for a federal government operating on a pro-rich, anti-poor, anti-LGBT, racist, anti-immigrant, anti-environment agenda.

    Why is anyone surprised that the GOP has tried to knock tens of millions of people off healthcare, is looking to cut social safety net programs to help finance tax cuts for the rich, has no interest in making our public schools better, is ignoring the very real danger of climate change, and is blindly supporting a corrupt and incompetent president as he tries to destroy the free press, shows contempt for the rule of law, admits to sexual assault, and backs a pedophile running for Congress?

    The Republicans are who we always have known them to be. It’s impossible to believe the Church didn’t know this too. Maybe this is its pact with the Devil.

    Our country has been moving in a dangerous divided direction, in large part because of the politicians the Church has supported. Our Church leaders need to be bigger than this and better than this, but I’m not counting on that happening.

    We’re all responsible for how we vote, but a powerful body like the Church has done us no favors. It will be up to us to make independent decisions on where we want this country going, ignoring the pro-Right voice of the Church if need be.

    The Church could help here if it were so disposed. We need the strong voice you’ll read in the letter to the House, but not after the fact. All we can ask is that the Church be honest with us and lay out the complete picture.

    It’s the only way it can claim to be a moral leader in our country and the world.

    Otherwise, it’s closer to being a cult.

    Battle over birth control

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