“I’ve been uncomfortable speaking out against racism because it sounds like something a liberal would say.”
“I’m struggling to reconcile my pro-life beliefs with ‘conservative’ policies that that deny the dignity of immigrants and the poor.”
“I’m politically homeless because I think that the lives of unborn babies and black and brown people should be protected.”
“I love the beauty of traditional liturgy but my fellow parishioners have been posting racist memes that deny the dignity of my black children. How has this evil been twisted up into ‘orthodox’ Catholic culture?”
These are the sorts of messages filling my inbox right now.
In Catholic culture, we’ve created a terrible dichotomy that aligns with American politics but contradicts the Gospel. We’ve set things up so that you can care about 1) Abortion OR 2) Racial Inequality. Hypocritical ideologies that honor the dignity of only some lives are grasped onto and defended. They become false gospels.
This is why a Catholic who stands up for racial equality is dismissed by conservative Catholics as a“Social Justice Warrior LeftCath” and why some conservative Catholics are eager to point out the systemic racism in the abortion industry, highlighting Margaret Sanger’s eugenicism and the targeting of people of color, but mock other examples of systemic racism, such as our criminal justice system, as “PC nonsense.” March for Life attendees are lauded as brave heroes while peaceful protestors marching for justice for victims of public lynchings can be brutalized by the police without an outcry from conservatives.
This is a mess. Neither American “left” nor “right” political ideology fits into the Gospel. If we are to be truly pro-life, our beliefs must be informed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When we look at everything through the lens of “liberal” vs. “conservative” or “Democrat” vs. “GOP”, we are viewing the world through one of two false gospels. If fighting racism is something a liberal would care about, then conservative Catholics will mock even these just efforts because it doesn’t fit into their political narrative. While rightly pointing out the human rights violations against immigrants and racial minorities, the left will continue to ignore the genocide of the unborn in our country. Both sides will make every effort to manipulate Catholics into voting for them.
Since I attended my first protest against abortion as a small child, almost three decades ago, I remember hearing about how if every Christian just voted Republican, we can overturn Roe v. Wade. All we needed was a majority of supreme court justices. Spoiler: We have the majority. It still hasn’t happened. The GOP knows that they can hold the anti-abortion vote hostage by dangling that carrot a few more decades. Pro-life friends, we’ve been had.
If you feel a pull on your conscience regarding racial injustice and destruction of the environment and human rights violations against immigrants, but feel like you can’t speak out about those because they’re issues liberals care about–please, stop and reflect. There is only one Gospel.
Friends, Catholics must reject the false gospels offered in our American political system. Our consciences must be formed by the Cross. The Church has never fit into the American political dichotomy. Let’s stop kidding ourselves that it does.
Bishop Robert Barron said it well in an interview in 2017.
“Call it left-right, liberal-conservative, or, as we see it in the Catholic context often, this: Are you more on the life issues or more on the justice issues? And it’s just a false dichotomy, and it’s not in the great saints, it’s not in the teaching of the church, it’s not in Vatican II, but it’s a divide that happened in the wake of the council. And I think it’s really regrettable.
What we have to do is go back to Christ. You return to Christ, and what you find there is this integrated view of life. And you see, of course, this profound concern for the inherent dignity of every individual person and the respect for life from conception to natural death clearly on display. At the same time, you see a clear passion for justice, from the Hebrew prophets all the way up to Jesus and then through the great tradition. So, to my mind, it’s just glaringly obvious: These two things have to be central to the church’s preoccupation.”
Reject these divisions, friends! If we want justice and peace in our land, we must be look beyond this false dichotomy toward Jesus.
I’m not always going to agree with everything someone who identifies as “pro-life” is going to say or do. I’m not always going to agree with everything someone who identifies with Black Lives Matter is going to say or do. But I will still speak up for the rights of unborn babies and I will still affirm that Black lives matter. Both of these issues regarding the dignity of human life require a personal conversion of heart but also action. If someone is pro-life, that doesn’t just mean she would not personally have an abortion. If someone is against racism, that doesn’t just mean she would not personally discriminate against a person of color. It means praying and taking action for a world in which unborn babies are safe and a world in which POC can be free from racial injustice.
So please don’t take this critique of American political parties to mean that we should be paralyzed or make excuses for not being active politically. The problems in our system should make us more motivated to action. There is work to be done.
I love this comment on this video from my friend Brandon Vogt:
“For Christians, Christ sets the agenda for social policy, not politicians and media commentators. This seems blatantly obvious to me but, like you, I’ve been surprised how few Catholics are comfortable admitting that the correct moral categories are “right and wrong,” in light of the Gospel, and not “left and right.” On any question or issue, I care about being on the side of justice, whether that puts me in league with conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, or whoever. Who cares? These are questions of morality, not tribalism….None of the people our tradition holds with highest esteem can be so easily labeled. Then why expect us to be?””
His excellent book Saints and Social Justice looks to the saints who cannot be shoved into labels consistent with our political dichotomy.
How do we become saints in the modern world? We look to Jesus Christ. We look to the saints who modeled his love in the world. We stop listening to false gospels that divide the Church. We refuse to betray the Gospel for a political narrative.
The past few weeks have been very convicting to me, especially as I have listened to the experiences of Black Catholics. THow have I failed my Black brothers and sisters? How have I contributed to their exclusion? How have I failed to reach out and support them? How have I failed to stand up for them?
The Church should be at the forefront of the fight for the dignity of every human being. I have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work to do. Let’s do it together.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7
As a Protestant (who’s been kinda falling in love w/ the Catholic Church, but that’s beside the point), I have been having all these same thoughts. It’s been so hard for me to process if and where I even fit into politics, and it sickens me to see believers choosing sides based on left/right and turning soul issues into political ones. We’re supposed to be a total counter culture filled with the thriving life of the Spirit. I pray we can become that.
That’s never besides the point! Come home! ❤️
Please follow your own journey and believe in the truth. You don’t need to fit in anywhere politically. Just follow the Holy Spirit’s nudge. The truth is the truth. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Have you read Rome Sweet Rome by the Hahn’s?
Niki Montecillo says
Great post! By the way, we met at the Raspberry Cordial event last November (doesn’t that feel forever ago?!). My friend and I came up to you after the last talk (live podcast) to share some thoughts.
Just curious, have you heard of the Solidarity Party? It’s a third party that is in line with all of our values. Perhaps if we get the word out, we can see a change over the next generations…
In any case, I completely agree that if we truly live as followers of Christ – through good deeds of charity, understanding, fellowship, prayer, and fasting – it will have so much more of an effect than this political divide could muster.
And yes! Christy and I actually just recorded an episode with Amar Patel, the VP candidate for the ASP: https://fountainsofcarrots.com/foc-135-a-political-way-forward-for-christians-with-amar-patel/
Amar Patel says
You will have to forgive Haley for that error in judgment. LOL!
Wait, do people have a sense of humor in comments here, or is it rancorous like everywhere else?
It depends on the topic, I think, lol. It’s usually pretty free of rancor over here but with this piece I’ve had to unapprove a few comments for personal attacks or derogatory language towards POC.
Amen, AMEN!! Exactly. Thank you! Is it too late for this presidential election? What can we do? This is where I’m stumped. We pray for conversions of heart & for increases in wisdom, humility, & prudence for all government officials. What else can we do? That’s partly rhetorical, but keep hoping for a clear answer… just like every 4 years…
Sorry, but no. Racial inequalities do not give people permission to destroy livelihoods, businesses, and entire communities. Our bishop encouraged parishioners to take a knee. I kneel for no one but Christ.
Yes, there are some bad police officers, but the entire BLM movement is not even a non profit. All funds are literally going to Joe Biden and other democratic endeavors.
Should people treat each other with dignity and respect? Absolutely! Should we follow the teachings of Jesus? Yes! Why are white people suddenly so terribly racist? Do you think there’s perhaps an agenda behind it all? I sure do.
Humility is in keeping with our walk with Christ. I believe we must separate the Catch-phrase of black lives matter from any mention of Catholics here demanding funding of an organization who started from this clever hashtag. The ire for being called a racist—or all white people—as you suggest—perhaps also is based in an overly generalized perception of protests. I try to consider the perspective. Find the common ground. I encourage people to consider these things before defending their drawn lines. What do know is Jesus first, brother loved as self second. And then I stand squarely free from defending my own skin color. It’s your character in Christ that matters. He is our hope and our peace.
Agreed! 100%!! If BLM were truly authentically for eradicating all forms of institutional racism, they would be burning and looting all Planned Parenthood’s and calling out the self proclaimed eugenicist founder, Margaret Sanger, whose mission was to “eradicate the negroes” (sic).
It’s not an “either/or” issue. For Catholics it’s always “both/and”. We protect both babies and racial inequality. Just because someone doesn’t support a “movement” like BLM, does not instantly make them a racist. What exactly has BLM actually done to help racism? Was MLK Jr. a failure?
This cancel culture is a part of the culture of death that JPII warned of.
I think it would be helpful to have a third party like the Solidarity Party, because it’s true, the Republican Party only mostly lines up with our values, but not completely, but what exactly is the Republican Party doing that’s promoting racism??? No matter what, the Democrats are still defending the heinous murder of innocent life and now violent looting and vandalism against others’ property. That’s not ok.
But I agree, we should never be so tied to any political party, we are always Catholic first!!
Are you married? Did you get on one knee to propose? Do you know it is proper to genuflect on the left knee before a bishop? Learn the history of it. The left knee is the one reserved for God. The right knee is just a sign of respect.
BLM did not destroy the police dept in Minneapolis or responsible for the looting. Six , count em, 6 white young people from outside the area have been arrested and charged. Time to face facts. This is also the case in other cities (Madison WI) being one of them. Whether the motive was to make BLM look bad, just plain trouble making or opportunists, who knows? Let’s not judge until the facts come out.
This is beautiful, Haley! Thank you for writing this.
Tabitha Acosta says
This. Is. Truth. Facts. Thank you 🙏 I am so encouraged by the dialogue that is occurring now beyond the left/right, liberal/conservative, democrat/republican dichotomies that are pervasive in the current Catholic content arena. I am a mom of three, Catholic, military-spouse, anti-racist, and advocate for rational discussion about women’s healthcare including birth control options, with two beautiful children who identify as LGBTQ 🏳️🌈 (who God and I love and will fiercely protect until my dying breath) but have felt like the Church (and most Catholic social media platforms)was not a safe place for expressing my views. The current Black Lives Matter Movement has lit a fire under me to be a vocal advocate for all lives even when I feel anxious about other people’s responses because that is what is required of Catholics and it is what Jesus would do. In the past I have been unsure/uncomfortable identifying myself as pro-life because I felt the movement focused only on one stage of life. I was bitter and resentful for the narrow view. The current state of the world and the necessity of protecting all people especially the most vulnerable including Black lives affected by systemic racism has made me think very hard about my own limited view of the pro-life movement. If I expect the pro-life movement to include all life issues/stages then I also need to be committed to the same requirement. Peace.
I think the false narrative here is that republicans are inherently racist because of their political ideation. That is false. Opposing illegal immigration is not racist. Republicans are not stopping anyone from discussing immigration reform. I totally oppose the violent protests and anarchy shown in the past few months but that doesn’t make me a racist. That makes me pro law and order. And I am totally in support of justice in criminal cases where errant police officers commit crimes. I find that most people who oppose the Republican Party do so actually in its support of capitalism. It is more challenging than a nanny state, but also unquestionably more free.
Too much to respond to. Let me at least give you some food for thought concerning your comment on Capitalism and the Republican party. Officially the Republican party is the party of Trump. By HIS statements Trump believes in a command economy NOT not capitalism or the free market system. He believes in tariffs. He wants to make deals. He wants to decide where factories go. His thinking is more in line with Putin and Premier Xi.
That may be how you see it, but the other side is pushing for a new world order and socialism, which has never worked. Don’t say Sweden works, because they’re not true socialists. But our religious liberties are on the line in this election and we will fall into socialism and lose freedoms if the democrats win.
I think your first sentence actually kind of drives home Haley’s point– you are saying you vote Republican, but you don’t think all Republicans are racist. I don’t vote one party line, but have definitely voted Democrat before and have been definitely referred to as a “baby killer” to my face by more than one pro-life Catholic, and I consider myself pro life as well. I think her whole point is that neither party lives up to Jesus standards, and the very divisive soundbites (that you would be racist and I would be a baby killer) are hindering us from discussion and finding candidates who may more fully lead.
Jen Lehmann says
Thank you for this, Haley!! I’m a Lutheran pastor’s wife, and have struggled with this false dichotomy for so many years. Your post brought me to tears, as did your Podcast episode with Amar Patel. Finally someone is speaking the truth. Finally I won’t be forced to vote for someone who makes my stomach hurt.
I am in full agreement on this – these issues are not mutually exclusive. Thank you, Haley, for putting into words what is in the hearts if so many Catholics across the nation right now.
Thank you Haley for posting this. I appreciate you so much for putting your heart out there and lending your voice to express some of what I feel as a hispanic catholic mother and wife who has struggled so much especially with presidential and state elections and now coming up with this one in 2020. I have voted ‘party’ lines in the past (always with difficulty and anxiety) but am no longer able to do so with a clear conscience especially after the way the migrant children were treated and now with BLM movement. I am not as good with words as you are, another reason why I enjoy reading your blogs, email newsletters.
I love this post and this is something I have also been feeling in my own life. Thank you for putting words to what I fee many of us are feeling and experiencing.
Thank you for writing this post – it was incredibly thought-provoking. As someone who leans more politically right, it is not that I disagree that there is a difference in outcomes between people of color and people who are white. This is a problem and needs to be addressed. The issue arises with identifying what the source of this problem is.
The problem is not racism (discriminating against people because of the color of their skin) but rather other issues, one of the most important of which is poverty. Saying that African Americans are in prison in greater proportions than they should be because of systemic racism, ignores the fact that the people are in jail because of a choice they made. I think that it degrades their dignity to take away their free will in claiming that every is caused by racism.
I agree that we need to address the problems that lead to poor outcomes for some in our country, particularly people of color, but identifying the wrong problem will lead to the wrong solution.
Here’s one (of many) examples of inequality in the criminal justice system. Black men serve much longer sentences than white men for the exact same crime: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/16/black-men-sentenced-to-more-time-for-committing-the-exact-same-crime-as-a-white-person-study-finds/
Thank you for that article – it is certainly something I will continue to consider. To my point above, however, there still could be confounding reasons for the disparity. People who are poorer are more likely to use public defenders who sometimes have worse outcomes https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/17/poor-rely-public-defenders-too-overworked
This article makes even clearer the connection between poverty, race and worse judicial outcomes https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_738305
While the study you cited was quite compelling, it did not take into account the role that the strength of defense (related to poverty) might have played.
Alice, think about what you are saying here, and your original comment about personal choices leading to bad outcomes, and ask, is there something wrong here? Some injustice that we might be perhaps obligated to challenge? Rather than continuing to rationalize?
My point was never that there are not problems (because there certainly are) but rather that as a country we have become fixated on the wrong problem. Poverty combined with a corrput education system leads to those who start with lowers skills, often from impoverished backgrounds, not making the same kinds of educational gains as other children (https://www.readingrockets.org/articles/researchbytopic/4862).
The problem here is lack of language skills and the background knowledge necessary to learn given current instruction models. Potential solutions would be to find more effective early literacy interventions or switching to a knowledge-based curriculum (see the Core Knowledge Foundation). If identify racism as the problem, what would be the solution? Privilege training for teachers?
In this discussion overall it is admirable to recognize a wide range of issues that we should be concerned about as Catholics. We must be careful, though, to identify the correct problem so that we can see real gains for our brothers and sisters of all colors.
I just switched from criminal justice to education because I know that area better, not to confuse the subject. I just meant it to illustrate the overall point as another example with which I am more familiar.
Jen Lehmann says
Have you looked into the numbers of learning disabled prisoners, or the connections between poverty and crime? Assuming that everything can be said in a single blog post is oversimplifying it, but there have been books and articles written about the complicated connections between being black and being in prison that you may find equally thought-provoking. The School to Prison Pipeline by Cathy Y. Kim is a place to start.
You say poverty is the problem, not racism. Let’s dig into that poverty. How do most people amass wealth? Home ownership. Racist policies throughout our history decreased the likelihood of black people buying homes. Names that sound black are less likely to get calls for job interviews. Natural black hair is considered “unprofessional” in most work places. Black employees are often paid less than comparable white positions. How do most people “work” their way out of poverty? Education. How old were you when you had your first black teacher? (I’m 42 with master level classes, have lived in a predominately black neighborhood while in elementary school, and I’ve STILL never had a black teacher.) Do you know that black students who have had black teachers traditionally have higher outcomes? How are schools funded? Property taxes. White flight lowered the property values of what were solid middle class urban neighborhoods, reducing funds available for schools. White people have had an almost 400 year head start toward wealth building in the United States. So when you blame poverty for the “choices” black people make that leads to the disparity of outcomes, I’m gonna push back and say I think the poverty is a byproduct of racism.
Thank you, Haley. I’m tired of constantly hearing that the GOP is the party of Catholicism because it has a pro-life platform. I see how much of a priority life is when the GOP controlled the executive, both legislative houses, and the judiciary in Trump’s early years… And they took that political power to pass tax reform instead. I’ve gotten cynical. I used to be active in the pro-life life movement, but I’ve come to realize that abortion is far too powerful as a wedge issue to motivate voters for either side to want meaningful change. I’m tired of people conflating party platforms with our faith. I appreciate your voice on this issue.
As a daughter of Cuban parents, who had to leave everything behind and come begin their lives again in the US it is very hard for me to swallow some of the very liberal…almost communist views of the left. I find it difficult to see a lot of what happened in Cuba before Fidel took over in his revolution happening in our own streets.
I agree that this has hurt my soul and has made me think and pray about where I stand…and at the same time I don’t think it’s very easy to distinguish which “side” to vote for. We must protect the nuclear family as this is the foundation of our society and it is being destroyed right before our eyes. We must pray, educate ourselves, get involved…protect. ❤️🙏 and maybe we all need to be open to listening and having some compassion…but that doesn’t mean compromising our core beliefs. We must continue to protect those as well.
This is a beautifully written article, and I absolutely agree with the concept that Catholics can acknowledge and fight for black lives and unborn lives hand in hand. Police brutality is a real issue, so are the serious flaws in the criminal justice system, and racism still has deep ugly roots in America. BUT, on the other hand, your article entirely glossed over the immense violence against INNOCENT lives in the protests/riots. When black police officers are shot and and we are silent, black small business owners have their livelihoods destroyed, beatings and violence carried out against innocent people regardless of race or age, that is unacceptable. As Catholics, we also can and should loudly decry that kind of violence. That is the one thing I think your article is missing, and I think it is because of THIS, the violence against other innocent humans, that has kept many Catholics and conservatives silent on this issue, at least recently. They support BLM, but they do not want to condone the violence. You also seem to accept the false ideology that the Republican Party is racist, whereas the Democratic Party is not. That’s entirely false. And furthermore, the high violent crime and poverty rates in black communities are not just due to racism. There is much more work to be done to lift up communities whose culture is embedded with gang violence and poverty than just protesting against racism. It’s a very deep and complicated issue, and while racism is real, if we pretend it’s the only challenge facing some black communities we will be fooling ourselves and also preventing any real change going forward. Finally, I don’t think this is really a ‘the left cares about social, while the right only cares about babies’ issue. I don’t think all Catholics fall into one of two camps like you said, either supporting black lives or the end to abortion. Most all that I know are very much in favor of both. But the reality is, when it comes time to vote, most of us have to pick the lesser of two evils on many issues. I know many good conservatives who are also in favor of softer immigration laws and criminal justice reform. Over time, I think the Republican Party is evolving to reflect that, while also hanging on to its value for human life and dignity. Anyways, thanks for the reminder that God is well outside of politics. Amen!
The scale of police violence against largely peaceful protesters has dwarfed violence by protesters against innocent bystanders. So I’m not sure what specific case causes you to write off the whole BLM movement as violent.
I also worry about this notion that there is “more work to be done to lift up communities whose culture is embedded with gang violence and poverty ” Sure, people should fight gang violence and poverty wherever they find it, of course! But Black people are saying there is a problem with how they are treated by law enforcement and the criminal justice systems. These problems are so well-documented and so egregious at this point it is hard to imagine how anyone can write them off. Other problems some Black people may face do not absolve us of our responsibility to fix the nearly universal problems they brought to us. Often, when people bring up violence and poverty in the Black community, they’re using it as an excuse to put off action or support. As if these “problems” have to be solved in lieu of or before racism and police brutality, or as if White people have no obligation to stop supporting racist systems until Black people magically fix all the problems in their communities. In this case, there is a documented disparity in how officers treat White vs. Black people. There is a documented disparity in prison sentences for identical crimes for Black vs. White people. There is a documented disparity in how many wrongly convicted are Black. There is a documented disparity in how often police officer use weapons against unarmed Blacks. I don’t think any Black people are saying that they love poverty and don’t want to fix it!! What Black people are saying is “get rid of the racism please and then we would LOVE to see what happens when that rigged system is no longer working against us.”
Also, being pro-life and embracing a Catholic vision of the family should mean recognizing how absolutely awful the prison-industrial system is for family formation and Black babies. One-third of Black men has spent time in prison. Having a two-parent household is impossible when the father is incarcerated. Many, many of those men are spending years away from their families for crimes that White people have written off as youthful follies and get away with unscathed.
So what do you think of the criminal justice reform that the Trump admin passed? The first step act? Also, the black community is responsible for over 50% of violent crimes, so they shouldn’t be held accountable just because then more black people are in prison? We have to get to the root of the problem, and in most of these high crime areas, democrats are in control of the local government, which controls the police policies. In many cases, the unions offer too much protection. Democrats are in favor of the unions, Republicans not so much.
Are black individuals responsible for 50% of violet crimes or are they more likely to be charged and convicted? It’s very important to look at how racism impacts ALL aspects of policing.
Hi Ann. I think the First Step is a good “first step” so to speak, but not enough. Also, I don’t think Black people are guilty of 50% of all violent crime. I’m not sure what the true percentage is, but the Innocence Project has found that Blacks are seven times likelier to be wrongly convicted than Whites. (and these are just looking at death row inmates, who automatically have the best legal representation to uncover these problems. There’s no reason to think the underlying rate is dramatically different for other crimes, where people are not entitled to good lawyers to help them get justice.) The remainder can be well explained by poverty — and prison is one of the huge drivers of poverty. Prison is also a factory for becoming a criminal. People who may have originally been locked up for a petty, nonviolent or drug offense quickly learn to become more violent after a stint in prison. I’m not proposing to let murderers go free. But I think a lot of the things police currently do: traffic stops for “suspicious behavior,” search without warrants for drugs, civil forfeiture, undercover drug busts, etc., are not needed.
Also, I currently live in a heavily Democratic area (in surveys, more people say they believe lizards secretly run the planet than voted for Trump in the last election.) Crime here is much lower than in the heavily Republican area where I grew up. Data does not actually support your assertion that Democratic areas are the ones with higher crime when you account for density. Republican areas tend to be more rural, with lower population density, and obviously less people = less crime. However, there is no statistical difference in crime rates in cities with a Democrat vs. A Republican as mayor.
Then how can we explain that the protests that turned violent, where police were not allowed to enforce the law, were all in democrat led cities? I see your point about population density and it’s definitely a valid point, but it doesn’t account for all of it. Here is a good overview.
OF the 50 most-populous cities, 35, or more than 2/3, have a Democrat as mayor. Of the 100-most populous cities, 2/3s are democrats again. So by chance alone one would expect that the most violent cities would be mostly led by Democrats, because Democrats lead most cities. So, that is less revealing than you think — it is not a statistically significant correlation.
Michelle Taylor says
It does my heart good to see more Catholics engaging in this discussion of how the two party system has narrowed the lens in which we view the world around us. It makes me more determined to root myself as a disciple of Jesus and lead by example in my life.
Haley, thanks for this post. I have felt so torn as American politics does not reflect a consistent and fluent policy respecting the dignity of human life on either side. It feels like there is no way to truly vote your conscience consistency with either party and feel like your vote counts ( as I fee voting for a third party doesn’t do much since they never get close to winning an election), however it feels wrong on so many levels to vote any other way. Thanks for highlighting the issue.
There is so much good in this article, and I applaud the title, Haley. Politicians have failed us all, and you are absolutely correct that Republicans have done nothing, with majority rules, to stop abortion. Christians must recognize that both parties are failing because we have rejected Christ in every facet of modern society. I would caution, however, against falling for the current, strategically-planned movement that poses as racial justice for all. While we, as Christians, should stand against injustice always, we should not be so quick to jump on a bandwagon that is insidiously attempting to erase all evidence of Western civilization here in America.
CJ Wolfe says
Your article expresses very well what many of my friends have been saying. But I find this message to be self-indulgent and imprudent. Here is the weakest part of what you say:
“I remember hearing about how if every Christian just voted Republican, we can overturn Roe v. Wade. All we needed was a majority of supreme court justices. Spoiler: We have the majority. It still hasn’t happened.”
If these were your assumptions, you had unreasonable expectations given the facts about hour our Constitutional system works. One Republican Presidency is of course not enough to overturn the reams of bad precedents and laws, or replace the army of Democratic-appointed judges and career bureaucrats.
While it may feel good to express what you do here, it doesn’t help the problem, but contributes to the fatalism and quiescence that plague our country. This is my criticism of Josh Hawley’s similar recent comments:
Thank you for this. A number of people I know have been saying this sort of thing for a long time. Have you heard of the American Solidarity Party? Their platform is based on Catholic social teaching and really speaks to my heart. They haven’t been able to gain much traction, but they at least give me someone I can vote for in good conscience. Thanks again and God bless.
Katie M says
This is exactly what I needed to hear this morning – thank you so much, Haley, for sharing this regardless of the potential blowback. It feels so hard to be striving to follow the gospels and be fully “Catholic” amidst all of the politicization of our faith and morals. It’s been making me angry and hurt for a long time. Hopefully we can all pull our heads out of the sand and focus on following Jesus instead of a particular political ideology.
Kate S. says
Thank you, Haley! This is so incredibly important and I struggle when it appears so hard for people to understand this. Woe to us for choosing a worldly-delineated identity and ego over morality. Thank you, again. May God bless and keep you.
Similar to another comment, I feel like this article leans towards believing that the GOP has done nothing for the black community. Nothing could be further from the truth. Criminal justice reform (first step act), lowest black unemployment in history (before the virus), rising wages, opportunity zones, more minority owned businesses. I feel your frustration about the abortion dangling carrot, but in a way the democrats have dangled promises of improving black lives, and failed many times in these democrat-led cities with high crime. It’s not as if the Trump admin has done nothing in the fight against abortion and other social issues important to Catholics. Here is a review worth reading:
I agree with the author’s general point that the Catholic faith belongs to no political party, and that there are sometimes constraints when faith pushes us one way but our political party pushes us in another way. With that said, there is an 800-lb. gorilla in the room that she did not address, which is the false god of leftism which often uses progressive political issues as pretext for other, Anti-Christian objectives. For example, all Catholics should oppose racism for the moral evil that it is. Does this mean that Catholics should work to promote Black Lives Matter? No, not at all; if you read about the aims of BLM, you’ll find several objectives actually promote, directly or indirectly, a variety of positions which are unrelated to racism, or at worst contrary to the faith.
To put this more plainly, leftist causes are often ultimately rooted in evil objectives, even if the underlying issues are not evil, and are sometimes even good. A Catholic might therefore be duped by the left if not careful.
Lindsay Short says
Thank you for writing this thoughtful, conscience-examining piece. Amidst the endless words and articles filling up my newsfeed lately, this is the best I’ve read.
There is one aspect I’d appreciate your thoughts on: what are we to do come November? Although we may care deeply for the dignity of both the unborn and also people suffering under the tyranny of racism, we’re safe to assume the two major parties will separate these issues. As much as we may try our very best to follow Christ and all of His teachings, whatever party we support will likely champion some of His teachings and ignore (if not obliterate) the others.
At the end of the day, when all of our praying, reflecting, and discussing is done, we will have to cast one vote that may (imperfectly) support some of our Christian values but betray others. How can we do this? I’m not asking you to tell us who to vote for (thank God the Church herself won’t do that!), but I’m asking you how you suggest we reconcile this dilemma.
Andrew Couch says
Democrats, blah blah blah. Republicans blah blah, blah. Capitalism. Blah blah blah. Sysyemic racism. Blah blah,
God says you are your brothers keeper. Start there. Don’t make excuses for standing around and watching a house burn. Some people are firefighters; some people pass buckets; some people pump water. Pick a job and do your best.
I think that’s Haley’s point.
One issue not addressed in the article and previous comments is the targeted division of peoples by the media. I believe the idolatry of the media’s voice is the single biggest problem we face. We get motivated by the thrill of the fight found on cable tv shows and from social media celebrities rather than our faith and the injustices themselves. We need to engage people in conversations not born from what we heard on cable news but from our beliefs from our catechism and Catholic social teaching. Here is an example where a rich topic is simplified by the media and actual constructive solutions are never achieved. (Background – over 14 years ago I worked in a not for profit that provided legal assistance and housing to refugees). When the media says “immigration” – are you for it or against it – people get very emotional. However the media brings the issue down to one single point – you are either “for” helping poor and starving women and children or you are “against” helping poor and starving women children. The media isn’t listening. Immigration – legal and illegal – is ver complex but apparently no one has the time to listen, learn, and resolve. We are too pre-occupied with signaling which “side” we are on. It sickens me that the media uses the “for” and “against” as an emotional manipulation tool so that these issues are never truly addressed. They are election fodder and then the issue is forgotten. The American people are the best when it comes to helping others. We want to help others fleeing violence and poverty. And in true “both/and” form – at the same time, I think Americans also worry about jobs being taken away from Americans – even low wage jobs. We have plenty of poor people in America too. So if you want to talk about “systemic” – where is the discussion about the corporate mechanisms that keep hiring illegal immigrants at “slave” wages. Why do we allow a “slave” subculture to exist where we think – well as long as those poor illegal immigrants are in our country – we can use them for cheap labor. It bothers me greatly how we “use” people for political points to make ourselves feel better. I can tell you from experience and deep down you must know this too – that poor women and children here illegally are often found sleeping on the floors of restaurants or held in some other form of bondage for sex or other purposes. Where are we as Catholics in addressing these “systems” perpetuating modern day slavery of peoples? We like to get caught up in the sport of aligning ourself with an issue during an election cycle only to move on to the football, soccer, or other sporting event on tv. Let’s gets serious about all human beings and the unjust behavior of these corporate systems, the porn industry, the drug industry, etc. Let’s talk about injustice from what our faith teaches us and not based on what a particular politician said on a tv show. Let’s also communicate to others what our faith teaches us and not what we heard on tv.
P.S. – as Catholics we need to stop dividing ourselves into “liberal” Catholics and “conservative” Catholics. What does that even mean and why do we let people divide us like that…
STACY HUEGERICH says
Haley, Thank you so much for this thoughful post. I read it earlier this summer and found some hope in knowing others share these thoughts with myself and my family. And today, I am finding myself wanting a Catholic Black lives matter sign in my yard. I thought to myself, maybe Haley has one 🙂 I love the one that is so colorful and want some version of it that doesn’t allude to agreeing with abortion, but I appreciate so much the rest of it. Maybe you know the one, it starts “In this house we belive black lives matter, women’s rights are human’s rights, no human is illegal…” Any ideas?:) Hope you are well with the start of the school year!!!