Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Dr. Frederick Liewehr

10/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It is a true landmark in the sordid history of political advertising for its epic lack of taste and insensitivity

A man's character is the sum of his actions over time, so you intrinsically know a person of good character when you encounter one. Who could have had any doubt about Bl. Mother Theresa's character? One can "smell" good character, or perhaps I should say, one can smell bad character.

Highlights

By Dr. Frederick Liewehr

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: character, moral character, Barack Obama, Lena Dunham, campaign 2012, relativism, Dr. Frederick Liewehr


RICHMOND, VA (Catholic Online) - On Thursday, October 25, 2012, the Obama campaign released a startling video "starring" a 26-year old tattooed actress named Lena Dunham (who ironically has the same last name as Obama's mother), which attempts to convince young women who are first-time voters that they should vote for Obama through the use of an obscene metaphor that likens that experience to losing their virginity. It is a true landmark in the sordid history of political advertising for its epic lack of taste and insensitivity to the fact that not everyone in this country agrees with the hedonistic and profane agenda of the far Left or believes that they and their children should be assaulted by indecent, suggestive "soft" pornography masquerading as political advertisements.

The approval of this ad by the President, aside from demonstrating a wholesale lack of taste and judgment, would appear to reflect significantly upon his character. The episode harkens back to the Clinton scandal, where Clinton claimed that his conduct with Monica Lewinsky did not constitute "sexual relations" as defined in the Deposition Exhibit 1, a semantic ploy similar to his famous, "That depends upon what your definition of "is" is." Despite the infamous stained dress and testimonies, he was acquitted of perjury in a politically motivated action by the Senate (every single Democrat voted to acquit), though later was held in civil contempt of court, fined $90,000 for giving false testimony, and  had his law license suspended both in Arkansas and by the Supreme Court.

This egregious behavior, however, was excused by his supporters because the economy at the time was doing well (though I do not remember Clinton "blaming" that on his inheritance from a Bush, as Obama continues to do), and "It's the economy, stupid" was their rallying cry. Those who objected, as Rush Limbaugh did, "Character matters; leadership descends from character ", were paid little mind. Unfortunately, Clinton's acquittal by the Senate was taken by the American people in general as a sanction of his actions rather than as a partisan and illegitimate decision.

So what is character anyway? There is a philosophical discussion in the Catholic Encyclopedia here  for those who wish to explore the subject in greater detail, but the short answer is, character is the "expression of the personality of a human being . that . reveals itself in his conduct." The behavior of any human being is the result of a complex interaction of factors, some of which he was born with and some of which were acquired, the nature-nurture duality, that have impacted him from birth until the present. Taken together these behaviors constitute his character, or at least the visible manifestation of it.

Man has free will, a gift from God, and the "freedom   is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude". (CCC 1731) However, this freedom is not always used as a force for growth and maturity. "Man's freedom is limited and fallible. In fact, man failed. He freely sinned. By refusing God's plan of love, he deceived himself and became a slave to sin. This first alienation engendered a multitude of others. From its outset, human history attests the wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the abuse of freedom." (CCC 1739). Man's will is simply the faculty of choice, and thus the correct use of his freedom.

Character, in turn, has been defined as "a completely fashioned will", or "natural temperament completely fashioned by the will."  As a person grows and matures, the faculty of reason is awakened. He begins to reflect on his choices and the outcomes of those choices, and by the deliberate choice against evil impulses he gradually develops self control. It is by exercising this self control that he develops moral character, which is the sum total of all those acts of self control.

It is a sad fact that in our "post Christian" society, self control is rarely touted as a virtue. In fact, lack of self control is the reason that the Alan Guttmacher Institute says we continue to murder over a million of our children annually. It is the reason why more than 1/3 of the births in this country, and more than half of those to women under the age of 30, are out of wedlock. For those who are concerned by these figures, the President and the Democratic Party suggests contraception, which they intend to force employers who do not agree with their approach, such as Catholic institutions, to pay for. Of course, they also intend to continue legalized abortion and to subsidize Planned Parenthood with tax dollars to provide it. Nowhere in their platform is the subject of "self control" mentioned.

What is wrong with this picture? It is a matter of moral relativity, the "I'm OK, you're OK" syndrome. Politicians are loathe to tell voters that anything they do is wrong, no matter what the obvious consequences are, because they are afraid of losing their votes. Besides that, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The only reward of virtue is virtue", and that is not enough to get them elected. Of course, in the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord said, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God", but that is not going to get anyone elected, either.

Benjamin Rush, who was one of the Founding Fathers and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, warned that "The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty". We are seeing very ominous signs in our country, such as the trampling of our religious liberties, the tendency of the Administration to employ obfuscation and falsehoods to cover up its questionable activities, and its use of the vast power of the Federal government to control every aspect of American life, from redefining marriage to micromanaging the amount of water your toilet uses to flush.

Defining "character" is similar to what G.K Chesterton said about virtue: "Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell." In other words, character is something more than simply not being caught in deliberate criminal activities, or being able to claim lack of guilt through the use of semantic tricks. A man's character is the sum of his actions over time, so you intrinsically know a person of good character when you encounter one. Who could have had any doubt about Bl. Mother Theresa's character? One can "smell" good character, or perhaps I should say, one can smell bad character. Watch the video, and see what kind of metaphorical odor you perceive.

Dwight Moody, the founder of Moody Bible Institute, once said that, "Character is what you are in the dark." Perhaps this is something impressionable viewers of Ms Dunham' ad should ponder before they vote.

----------

Dr. Frederick Liewehr is an endodontist who teaches and works in private practice. He converted from Protestantism to Catholicism in 1983, having been drawn ineluctably to Christ's Church by the light of Truth. He is a member of St. Benedict parish in Richmond, a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a Cooperator of Opus Dei.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Politics & Policy

TIME TO GET TOUGH! Donald Trump laid it all on the line in his 2011 book Watch

Image of Billionaire and GOP Presidential hopeful Donald Trump landed in hot water with comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico about a month ago. It should not have come as a major surprise to anyone who read Trump's 2011 bestseller book

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Billionaire and GOP Presidential hopeful Donald Trump landed in hot water with comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico about a month ago. It should not have come as a major surprise to anyone who read Trump's 2011 bestseller book "Time to Get Tough." In ... continue reading


Is Texas' plan to keep all its gold within the state a step towards secession? Watch

Image of A four-member task force within the Texas comptroller's office has sent an official to a precious metals conference to study up.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fiercely independent, the State of Texas has decided to keep all of its gold within state borders. This translates to 5,600 gold bars worth $650 million in the Lone Star state. The decision is drawing kudos from right-wing conservative in Texas, as well as ... continue reading


THE DEVIL HAS SPOKEN - Satanic Temple declares removal of Ten Commandments at Oklahoma capitol a victory Watch

Image of A six-foot-tall granite monument of the Ten Commandments will be removed from the Oklahoma capitol in Oklahoma City. It was ruled that the monument violates the state's constitutional ban against the use of public funds or property to benefit a religion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a deeply controversial decision - that has satisfied both a local satanic group and Baptist minister. A six-foot-tall granite monument of the Ten Commandments will be removed from the Oklahoma capitol in Oklahoma City. It was ruled that the monument ... continue reading


'Whipping post:' Donald Trump sticks to his guns on comments on illegals Watch

Image of Terrorists, Donald Trump warns, will eventually come in through the nation's shared border with Mexico, as

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Billionaire and presidential hopeful Donald Trump is being called a racist and a bigot, to no avail. Trump is not backing down on his comments when he said that the nation of Mexico sends "people that have lots of problems, they're bringing drugs, they're ... continue reading


SCOTUS PROTECTS - Religious institutions in Pennsylvania protected from HHS mandate Watch

Image of The Pennsylvania-based religious groups are among hundreds of plaintiffs challenging the federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to offer coverage of sterilization, contraception, and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order protecting a group of Pennsylvania religious institutions from being required by the federal contraception mandate to violate their faith. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Doesn't our government have something better to do ... continue reading


DUMP TRUMP? NO WAY. Some brave Hispanic leaders call billionaire 'terrific' and 'brash' Watch

Image of Other presidential contenders have disregarded Trump's comments. It's seen as a setback for many Republicans, who wish to court the widely growing Hispanic population.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Multi-billionaire, Republican candidate for President has always been known for his outspokenness. In a speech to announce that he was throwing his hat into the ring, Trump said Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. ... continue reading


Obama declared 'amateur' and 'Marxist' by Center for Disease Control (CDC) official Watch

Image of Countless Central Americans, piling through the U.S. southern Border States along the border with Mexico has brought an influx of unvaccinated people with diseases that have since been eradicated in the U.S.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States President Barack Obama's unchecked influx of unvaccinated child immigrants across the U.S. - Mexico border has an official with the centers for Disease Control denouncing him as a "Marxist" and "amateur." An email from the official called him the ... continue reading


Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks out on Obama's gay pride light show and the legalization of gay marriage Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In celebration of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, President Obama lit up the White House with rainbow colors, which garnered a response from Republican, former Arkansas governor and now presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Huckabee was noted as saying that ... continue reading


Supreme Court 'unwrote laws of nature' GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saying that the Supreme Court tried to "unwrite the laws of nature and the laws of nature's God" when it legalized gay marriage across the nation last week, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also pointed out the fact that President Barack Obama himself ... continue reading


'They will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won't stand behind people that tell it like it is': Donald Trump fired from NBC for controversial immigrant statements Watch

Image of Donald Trump retired from The Apprentice after announcing his presidential bid.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

NBC has made the decision to cut ties with Donald Trump, over his political view and controversial statements regarding immigration made during his presidential announcement. Donald Trump and NBC have had a relationship, including Trump's produced Miss USA and Miss ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 32:23-33
23 That same night he got up and, taking his two ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 2-3, 6-7, 8, 15
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:32-38
32 They had only just left when suddenly a man was ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 7th, 2015 Image

Bl. Ralph Milner
July 7: English martyr. He was born at Stocksteads, Hampshire, and was a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter