GUEST EDITORIAL: The Assault on Religious Liberty and What You Can Do - Vote With An Informed Catholic Conscience
one Pastor Yuille who is the pastor of The Bible Church located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Patror Yuille is the National Director of the National Black Pro-Life Congress, the former Chairman of the Michigan Black Republican Council of Southern Michigan, and the host of Joshua's Trail, a Christian radio talk show.
According to the brief filed by the AFLC, "Pastor Yuille believes, professes, and advises that abortion and gay marriage are gravely immoral and contrary to God's Word. Consequently, pursuant to his sincerely held Christian beliefs, Pastor Yuille believes, professes, and advises that it is a grave sin for a politician to support abortion and gay marriage and that it is a grave sin for Christian to knowingly vote for a politician that publicly supports abortion and gay marriage"."Pastor Yuille believes, professes, and advises that when a Christian knowingly votes for a politician who publicly supports abortion and gay marriage, the voter becomes a partner in the sin and his or her soul is in danger of eternal damnation. As a result, the voter is separating himself or herself from the body of Christ." How different is that from the Catholic point of view?
In the USCCB's guide for voters we read, "A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. " More succinctly, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's "Doctrinal Note On some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life, 2002" states: "[A] well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals" (n.4). Thus the faithful cannot vote for "programs or individuals" advocating abortion, euthanasia, contraception, homosexual unions, and so forth. Catholics are told that their voting must be guided by their consciences, but consciences must be formed, and that is part of the pastoral responsibility of the Church. It would appear that the government now wants the Church to abdicate that responsibility as well.
Countless other attacks on Christian values are being waged daily, and "hate crimes" legislation that would categorize any speech or writing that opposes the social agenda of the far left is another salient example. The exact definition of a "hate crime" varies from state to state, but is based, at least in part, on the defendant's belief regarding a particular status of the victim. In other words, the crime is your thought. The absurdity of this should be obvious on the surface, due to the impossibility of determining what the thoughts of the accused are or were, and to the incredible notion that people should be punished for their thoughts. In general, laws have always proscribed behaviors, and punished criminals for committing "crimes", which are in effect those proscribed behaviors. Only in novels such as 1984 do we find thought control and punishment for deviating from the party line - at least until now.
Sadly, we live in an increasingly post-Christian society. The American Religious Identity Survey shows that Americans who identified themselves as Christians declined from 86% to 76% between 1990 and 2008, and that all denominations were declining. The survey summarized the results by saying, "The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not come from other religions but rather from a rejection of all forms of organized religion." A more recent Pew survey found that in the last five years, adults indicating no religious affiliation have increased from just over 15% to just under 20%, which includes more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%). Indeed, the ARIS survey indicated that the fastest growing "religion" in the US is witchcraft.
What should our response as Christians be to these developments? As responsible citizens in a still free society, we have a profound responsibility to VOTE. We do not have to sit idly by and watch a very dedicated but still small number of radical leftists "fundamentally transform" America into an atheistic, secularist society. We must first weed out the candidates who are disqualified. The question, "I do not agree with your pro-choice position, but how do you stand on health care" is specious. If the candidate supports policies that contradict faith and morals, he is unacceptable. If he says he personally supports the right to life but votes for pro-choice legislation he is being duplicitous and cannot have it both ways. Politicians are known by their actions, not their words. That is not to say that one cannot have a conversion, and change his ways. Fortunately the Holy Spirit can work in any and all of us, and we are called to sincere repentance and amendment of our ways. However, absent a genuine change in heart and actions to support it, a rationale for continuing evil policies is unacceptable.
Parties are important as well. The idea of a politician belonging to a party whose platform contains intrinsically evil components being a good choice is also untenable. If he is opposed to the party platform, why is he running as a member of that party? Consider the consequences if the party whose platform he ostensibly rejects comes to power.Above all, get out and vote on Tuesday. This election is probably the most important of our lives. For perhaps the first time in history we have a clear moral choice between the candidates and their parties. The changes in America are already taking place, and will go unfettered if they are not stopped on Tuesday. Think long and hard about the "Brave New World" that we are witnessing every day, and realize that this is the last chance you will have to determine its direction.
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.
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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: Catholic Vote, Dr. Frederick Liewehr, Catholic conscience, Romney, Ryan, Obama, Biden, HHS Mandate, Religious Liberty, Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage, Campaign 2012
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