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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

'The whole Bible is incredible': Donald trump ridiculed for not naming favorite Bible verse Watch

Image of Donald Trump claims the Bible is his favorite book.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During an interview with Bloomberg's Mark Halerin and John Heilemann, presidential candidate, Donald Trump was asked to name his favorite Bible verse but refused to name one. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Seven minutes into the interview, Halerin told Trump, "You ... continue reading


EVERY 93 SECONDS: Foreign children born on U.S. soil Watch

Image of Children of immigrants born on United States soil appear to be wearing out their welcome, according to recent polls.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Children of immigrants born on United States soil appear to be wearing out their welcome, according to recent polls. It is estimated that a child of illegal immigrants is born every 93 seconds in the U.S. According to a 2011 Rasmussen Poll, only 28 percent of likely ... continue reading


Univision anchor Jorge Ramos EJECTED from Donald Trump press conference Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Go back to Univision," GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump told Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos at an Iowa press conference. Well regarded by his peers, there was no gravitas afforded Ramos at the event, as a security guard escorted him away. The occasion ... continue reading


The do-nothing Boehner is not only stupid, he's pro-Planned Parenthood - revealed by his incestuous political relationship with an abortion-affiliated adviser Watch

Image of Boehner makes a lot of money off Obamacare and other investments in the medical industry, thanks to his privileged position in Congress.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Charlotte Ivancic, Health Policy Advisor to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), is leaving his office to work for a lobbying firm. Ivancic is the older sister of Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress. Dyer was caught discussing the sale of aborted children on video by the ... continue reading


When it comes to illegal immigration, EVERYBODY WINS! Except you, of course you lose Watch

Image of Attitude is everything.

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans tend to agree we need some kind of immigration reform, but they can't agree on how bad the problem is, or even what that reform should look like. Here is a story that will shock you into thinking harder about the problem. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


It has happened before: President Bill Clinton PARDONED former CIA Director for home computer Classified Document mess Watch

Image of In truth, Hillary Clinton's current controversy over keeping sensitive, classified information on home computers had its basis in which her husband, former president Bill Clinton pardoned former CIA director John Deutch . who likewise kept classified material on unsecured, private computers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In truth, Hillary Clinton's current controversy over keeping sensitive, classified information on home computers had its basis in which her husband, former president Bill Clinton pardoned former CIA director John Deutch who likewise kept classified material on ... continue reading


Federal judge states Hillary Clinton's private emails violated policy Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"We wouldn't be here today if this employee had followed government policy," U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, in reference to Hillary Clinton's recent email fracas, said. Controversy continues to swell over Clinton's email. Some argue that she violated government ... continue reading


POLL: Majority of Republican voters think Donald Trump is a likely presidential candidate Watch

Image of According to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll, 57 percent of all registered Republican voters say Donald Trump will likely be on the presidential ticket next year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said many outrageous things that have deftly expressed the American public's dissatisfaction with domestic policy. There are still many people who think it is all grandstanding on Trump's part, but according to a ... continue reading


'I'd say 'ISIS wants to get you'': Presidential candidate Donald Trump says he will warn Pope Francis that ISIS is out to get him Watch

Image of Donald Trump says

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in his typical style made quite a few jaws drop in an interview on CNN this week. Reporter Chris Cuomo asked the billionaire what he would say to Pope Francis come his visit to the U.S. in September. In a roundabout way, ... continue reading


NEW EMAIL SCANDAL: Thousands of emails State Department said didn't exist 'magically' appear Watch

Image of The State Department has turned up a massive cache of Reines' emails. Philippe Reines rose to the rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State while Clinton was at the helm.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has yet another email scandal in the wings. Gossip Web site Gawker requested emails from Clinton's previous media handler Philippe Reines under the Freedom of Information Act in 2013. The State Department said that they ... 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 Thessalonians 4:1-8
1 Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1, 2, 5-6, 10, 11-12
1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13
1 'Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 28th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Hippo
August 28: St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his ... 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