Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Dr. Frederick Liewehr

10/27/2012 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Of nearly 38,000 immigrant children in the U.S. - only 280 deported Watch

Image of Federal officials expect another huge surge of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to begin shortly after the temperatures go down.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a surprising bit of news, the Obama administration has quietly released a huge majority of the illegal immigrant children who poured over the U.S. Mexico border earlier this year. Furthermore, they're making their homes in very well-to-do American ... continue reading


Classic Cloward-Piven: Here's the simple reason why Obama is breaking the immigration system in the USA Watch

Image of Obama's Cloward-Piven strategy is showing.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

You can't fix something unless you break it first. This appears to be what Obama has done to the U.S. immigration system. Political analysts now expect that Obama will use the current immigration crisis to overhaul the system into something he likes. But more ... continue reading


Stopping at nothing, Davos Man, Warren Buffett, donates staggering $1.2 billion to promote abortion Watch

Image of Obama awarding Buffett the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Warren Buffett has given $1.2 billion to fund abortion advocacy and "research." This startling conclusion comes from the New York Times, which is reporting that he donates hundreds of millions of dollars at a time to a foundation named after his late wife, Susan ... continue reading


Get ready America: Obama set to bypass Senate on international treaty Watch

Image of President Obama and his administration are getting ready to present a climate change treaty to the U.N. and are willing to ignore a Constitutionally required Senate approval to do so.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama is working to create a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut fossil fuel emissions; however, he is seeking to do this without ratification from Congress. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This agreement is ... continue reading


That was one costly Web site! In fact the most expensive in Internet history. The Cost of Healthcare.gov estimated $1.7 Billion Watch

Image of The 60 contracts related to the development and operation of the Federal Marketplace started between January 2009 and January 2014. The contracts ranged from health benefit data collection and consumer research, to cloud computing and Web site development.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

That's one might expensive Web site! It's estimated that the Healthcare. Gove Web site, intended to facilitate health care reform, or "Obamacare," has cost U.S. Taxpayers about $1.7 BILLION dollars. That's not even the half of it, as the U.S. government is ... continue reading


Obama administration announces new HHS mandate rules Watch

Image of Sylvia Burwell, HHS secretary, said that the new rules will ensure access to free contraception,

By CNA/EWTN News

The Department of Health and Human Services issued on Friday new rules regarding its contraception mandate, after the Supreme Court ruled against its application to certain companies this summer. (CNA/EWTN News) - The rules create a new way for non-profit groups to ... continue reading


BEEN THERE: Attorney General Eric Holder shares personal experiences while in Ferguson Watch

Image of Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, right, following his meeting with students at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Ferguson, Missouri to investigate the officer-involved shooting of teenager Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder shared personal stories of his own encounters with racial discrimination. "I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a ... continue reading


One percent? Try the MORE THAN A THIRD in U.S. who rely on Welfare Watch

Image of Back in the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Back in the "Occupy Wall Street" days, protestors rallied around the concept of the United States' "One Percent," which referred to the people with power in the U.S. government. On the other side of the coin, more than ONE THIRD of all U.S. households are now ... continue reading


SMILE FOR THE CAMERA! Texas Governor Rick Perry cheerfully turns himself in Watch

Image of Under duress, Texas Governor Rick Perry maintained an upbeat and positive attitude. Arriving at the Travis County courthouse in Austin for booking and fingerprinting, Perry gave a warm smile for his mug shot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under duress, Texas Governor Rick Perry maintained an upbeat and positive attitude. Arriving at the Travis County courthouse in Austin for booking and fingerprinting, Perry gave a warm smile for his mug shot. He's charged with felony corruption charges ... continue reading


HIDDEN FROM VIEW: President Obama renders decision largely in private, despite claims of transparency Watch

Image of Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors. Unilateral action on such issues as immigration, gay rights and tax policy has ... 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, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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