Michele Bachmann Should Not 'Get a Pass' on Past Membership in Anti-Catholic Church
people of other faiths, and all people of good will. It participates in one of the oldest forms of Anti-Catholicism in America's history. It calls back to mind anti-Catholic groups such as the old "Know Nothings" in our Nation's past who drew caricatures of the Pope with horns.
Further consider this; it appears that Michele Bachmann belonged to that Church group while Blessed John Paul II served the Church and the world. Apparently even into the tenure of our current Pope, Benedict XVI. Even this ecumenically motivated Catholic finds that very, very disturbing!
Unfortunately, some of my colleagues in the world of Catholic media, journalism and the Press have attributed the positions of this Church and Bachmanns past membership to just "being a Protestant." As someone who has worked ecumenically for decades I reject that dismissal. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod does not represent many Protestants. It is an Anti-Catholic body.
I have worked with, prayed with and collaborated with MANY Protestant Christians, for over three decades, who would NEVER call the successor of Peter the Antichrist. The colleagues to which I refer go further, they seemingly accept the notion that if Protestant Christians felt otherwise they would no longer be Protestant. That is not only overly simplistic, it fails to recognize the substantial issues which divide the broken Body of Christ.
Some of the other articles I have read addressing this piece by Joshua Green attempt to dismiss it by pointing to the authors purported political leanings. So, let me speak to that for a moment. I have political leanings. I like Michele Bachmann's positions on the issues which matter most to this Catholic voter. She is pro-Life and defends marriage and the family and society founded upon it.
I appreciate her pledge to reign in the ever expanding size of the Federal government, which I fear threatens the principle of subsidiarity. Finally, I had been impressed with her intelligence, her oratorical skills, her background and her presence. All of this made her my second favorite possible candidate, until now. My first choice is obvious to anyone who reads my ongoing political commentary.
However, her political and policy positions were not the point of Joshua Green's article and focusing upon them may be a form of deflection. Green raised the issue of Michele Bachmann's long standing identification with a Church body which is clearly Anti-Catholic.
One question is of special concern to me. Will she get a pass? During the last election, a very serious question was raised by people who did not support the candidacy of now President Barack Obama and questioned his membership in a Church body which espoused Anti-Americanism. Some still bring it up.
Will some of those same people ask this candidate, whom they seem to agree with on issues, about her affiliation with a Church which espoused Anti-Catholicism? For example, how will Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly, just to name two high profile media personalities, handle this disturbing fact out of Michele Bachmann's very recent past? I hope the answer is "straight on".
In his article, Joshua Green noted "the statement alarmed prominent Catholics" and gave one example, my friend Bill Donohue. "Clearly, that is anti-Catholic," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a national organization devoted to protecting Catholic civil rights. "This kind of hatred is reminiscent of Bob Jones. I believe [Bachmann] has in the past condemned anti-Catholicism. But there's no question -- all you have to do is read it -- that they clearly have anti-Catholic statements up there."
Green continues, "Donohue said he would refrain from making any judgments until he heard from Bachmann, who he said must address the matter promptly. "We never went after Obama for sitting there for 20 years listening to Rev. 'Goddam America' Wright. I don't want to give him a pass, but I saw no bigotry on Obama's part.
"Similarly, I have see(n) none on Bachmann's part. But it's clear that the [synod]'s teachings are noxious and it's important for her to speak to the issue. Obama had to answer for Wright, McCain had to answer for [the Rev. John] Hagee, and this is something that Bachmann has to answer for."
During the last Presidential campaign I commended Bill for his willingness to call Pastor Hagee out for his past Anti-Catholic statements. I also commended him later for his meeting with the Pastor which led to healing and reconciliation. I believe he will be just as dogged in this campaign.
Michele Bachmann should not 'get a pass' on past membership in an Anti-Catholic Church body. It matters deeply to many people, including me. I urge her to respond - quickly, clearly and without any hesitation or obfuscation. Like Bill Donohue, I want to presume that Michele Bachmann, as she said in the past, is not anti-Catholic. Her response to this article is an opportunity for her to, as Bill said, answer for her membership in that Anti-Catholic Church body.
I have said in many articles that I consider this the most important election of my lifetime, for many reasons. I will never support anyone who is Anti-Catholic, period. I will also continue to ask the questions which should be asked of any candidate. This is serious business and we should deal with it appropriately.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Michele Bachmann, Joshua Green, Atlantic Monthly, Lutheran, Anti-Catholic, campaign 2012, Salem Lutheran Church, Keith Fournier
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