Should America Elect a Polytheist Who Claims to Be Christian?

by Jimmy Akin

in Abortion, Apologetics, Current Affairs, Mormonism, Other Religions

Mormon-bookI’m well known for holding the position that abortion is the black hole political issue of our time. Given the number of people it kills every year, it outmasses virtually every other issue in play.

But it’s possible that other, equally important issues can arise.

One of those, for me, is the core doctrine of the Christian faith: the nature of God.

Don’t want to take my word for that? How about the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s:

Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names,55 for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”.56 The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin” [CCC 233-234].

How might this doctrine become a political issue?

In various races, we might be asked to vote for candidates who are Mormon.

While they may be very nice people and may even share many values with Christians, Mormons are not Christians. They do not have valid baptism because they are polytheists. That is, they believe in multiple gods. This so affects their understanding of the baptismal formula that it renders their administration of baptism invalid and prevents them from becoming Christians when they attempt to administer the sacrament.

Unlike other polytheists (e.g., Hindus, Shintoists), Mormons claim to be Christian.

Casting a vote for a Mormon candidate thus means casting one’s vote for a polytheist who present himself to the world as a Christian.

I can see situations in which that might be a morally legitimate option. For example, if one lived in Utah, where the only viable candidates in many races are Mormon, it could be morally legitimate to vote for a pro-life Mormon over a pro-abortion Mormon.

But matters seem different when we are talking about national races, such as the presidency.

To elect a Mormon to the American presidency would, to my mind, be a disaster.

It would not only spur Mormon recruitment efforts in numerous ways, it would mainstreamize the religion in a way that would deeply confuse the American public about the central doctrine of the Christian faith. It would give the public the idea that Mormons are Christian (an all-too-frequent misunderstanding as it is) and that polytheism is somehow compatible with Christianity.

In other words, it would deal a huge blow to the American public’s already shaky understanding of what Christianity is.

That means it would massively compromise a fundamental value on the scale of the abortion issue.

Faced with the choice of voting for a pro-life polytheist-claiming-to-be-Christian or a pro-abortion whatever, I might well choose to simply sit out that race and refrain from voting for either candidate, because voting either way would mean doing massive damage to America.

Note that I’m not in principle opposed to voting for polytheists. I could see, for example, voting for a pro-life Hindu over a pro-abortion monotheist. But a Hindu does not claim to be a Christian and thus does not risk confusing people about the core doctrine of Christianity the way Mormonism does.

I am also aware that the U.S. Constitution says that there shall not be religious tests for public office. Specifically, Article VI:3 of the document says:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

This has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

What the passage means is that the government cannot bar a candidate for running from office based on his religion. I’m not proposing that it do so. It in no way means that the voters must disregard a candidate’s religion when deciding how to cast their votes. Voters are free to decide how they will vote based on any criteria they like, and they can and at times should take the religious beliefs of a candidate into account.

When a candidate’s election (or even nomination) would do grave damage to the American public’s understanding of what Christianity is, a value so important is in play that I personally don’t see how I could vote for such a person.

What do you think?

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{ 47 comments }

Jack August 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I see where you’re coming from but we abandoned the Confessional State a long time ago, and it’s hard to imagine anything more American than Mormonism. In fact, it abandoned–made a one eighty on–one of its core tenants just to get Utah statehood.
I see wrapping myself in the American flag and turning up my nose at a mormon candidate akin to the Protestants who oppose gay marriage. Heck, 500 years ago, you folks put it under the state and said it wasn’t a sacrament. It was only a matter of time.
To me, it was far more damaging for the Church in the US when Kennedy was elected and claimed his faith would be subordinated..
The problem isn’t Mormons who want to be president nor sodomites who want to play house. The problem is the USA.
Yes, ABORTION is the biggest political issue of our time. It would still be the biggest even if Holocaust deniers were vying for office.

BillyHW August 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Mainstreamize?

Jimmy Akin August 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

It’s a perfectly cromulent word!

Tomas August 5, 2011 at 7:03 am

Jimmy:
What was the name of that TV preacher you used to follow? He’s dead now but used to put on these linguistic presentations and disect sentences on stage with a band. Red hair, freckles, beard and cheroot. Dead now.
Was he a Christian?

JohnD August 5, 2011 at 8:35 am

I also have a problem with how Mormons, like atheists, don’t believe in the perfect almighty God that cannot not be, but rather believe in small “g” gods that they think they could become.
How this affects one’s world view is frightening.

RC August 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Electing materialists who claim to be Christian is already producing confusion about what Christianity is, too. So how much worse can it be with Mormonism? Besides, a “Mormon moment” would create a teaching opportunity.

DeeDee! August 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Well, there’ll be no dilemma on my part since Romney isn’t pro-life(He says he is, but he’s not) So I definitely won’t be voting for him in any case. But I see what you mean, and he’s now the favorite among the Republican party and has a chance to become the nominee…
Mormons are good people, but it’s not a true, historic Christian Church when you look at their doctrine of the Trinity, attonement, ect.

David Elton August 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Romney is a solid guy and vastly preferable to the incumbent. And I believe he understands that “the business of America is business,” to quote another president.

V. Double August 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Romney is running for president – not Bishop. Mitt’s father was govenor of Michigan many years ago. When he wanted to run for president, he was told that he could not because he was born in Mexico. True – but born in mexico because Mormons were persecuted and run out of town after town and his family finally took refuge in Mexico. Yet, a child of illegal immigrants born into this country can be president! Not fair.
However, DeeDee’s statement about Romney not being truely pro-life is right on.
V. Double

Don August 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

V. Double:
That’s not all true there.
1. Romney’s family went to Mexico because the continued to practice polygamy after the so called mainstream church put an end to it with a revelation (prompted by a desire for Utah statehood)
2. An anchor baby born to illegal immigrants would automatically be a U.S. citizen but wouldn’t be a Natural Born Citizen and thus could not run for president.

D Paul August 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

We have a mighty clash here between Obama and Romney. Obama is a socialist and Romney is a capitalist. The Church is buying into the connections between social justice and a “mild” form of Communism. Abortion appears to be irrelevant.

Barbara August 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm

grr…it’s “tenets” not “tenants”. Mormonism is a religion with codes of conduct, not a house with renters.

Laurie August 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

What was the name of that preacher? I think he was out of LA

SteveV August 6, 2011 at 10:01 am
Uncle Joe August 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

D Paul
President Obama is NOT a socialist (or a Muslim or even a Kenyan). Unless you are using ‘socialist’ as a term of abuse for someone not as right-wing as yourself.
By European standards, President Obama would be described as “Center-Right”. On the British scale, he would be towards the left of the Conservative Party.
“The Church is buying into the connections between social justice and a “mild” form of Communism”
We should not be surprised.

In many respects, democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine and has in any case made a remarkable contribution to the formation of a social consciousness.

Benedict XVI, Europe and its Discontents (worth reading in full). Although this is not a magisterial document, it is by a leading scholar of Catholicism whose comments on Catholic social doctrine cannot be lightly dismissed.
We are all called to full conversion, including political conversion, even if it is uncomfortable and painful. We should purify our political values to meet the standards of the gospel, rather than assume that my own political values or those of the Republican Party, Democratic Party or ‘American Exceptionalism’ are the same as those of Our Lord.

Jeb Protestant August 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

While I’m not a fan of Mormonism, I’d vote for Romney.
There is a lot of “dumbing down” of Christianity, but for all I know most Mormons are functional monotheists.
I have a much bigger problem with the obliteration of Christianity via ecumenicalism, for example the claim that Allah is God or that Muhammadanism is an “Abrahamic faith” and such nonsense.
-JP

Bill912 August 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm

“President Obama is NOT a socialist…”
Assuming that is true, if he were a socialist, how would his policies be any different than they are?

uncle Joe August 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Bill912, you cleverly shift the burden of proof. You could also ask “If he were a Muslim/Kenyan/homosexual/Antichrist/Chinese, how would his policies be any different than they are?”
But to answer your question. If President Obama were a socialist he might have nationalized profitable (rather than failing) industries like oil, introduced tax rates of 70% for the richest, created a single-payer health system.
President Bush nationalized AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the TSA, created the Troubled Asset Relief Program and gave federal support to General Motors and Chrysler. Does this make Bush a socialist or a pragmatist in a crisis?
President Obama does not describe himself as a socialist. Those who describe themselves socialists do not consider him to be one
Obama’s No Socialist. I Should Know,
Is Obama a Socialist? Not if You Ask One
Pope Benedict is probably a christian socialist though.

Bill912 August 7, 2011 at 3:41 am

You’re right: He DID nationalize some industries. I wonder which are next?

Rosemarie August 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm

+J.M.J+
We’ve already elected presidents who denied the Trinity. Some have been Deists, Freemasons, Unitarians, or just of no particular organized religion. So he wouldn’t be the first non-Christian president.

Rosemarie August 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

+J.M.J+
FYI (drawn from various websites):
Deists: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Tyler, and Abraham Lincoln (probably)
Unitarians: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, and William Howard Taft.
Freemasons: George Washington; James Monroe; Andrew Jackson; James Polk; James Buchanan; Andrew Johnson; James Garfield; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; William Howard Taft; Warren Harding; Franklin Roosevelt; Harry Truman; and Gerald Ford
Quakers: Herbert Hoover, Richard M. Nixon (Quakers aren’t typically baptized, so they may not strictly qualify as Christians)

Michele August 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Loved the comment by Uncle Joe! Thank you.
The “social doctrines” of the Church is NOT the same thing as “socialism”. The social doctrines started with the Beatitudes and the Jesus parables and the writings of Saint Paul and the Fathers… all the way down to recent encyclicals. It is a great treasure trove of social wisdom which, slowly by slowly, worked as a leaven whithin nations, investing the culture and the social fabric with “Christian” values, such as the common good – and charity and not abusing or ignoring the poor.
It is not “socialism” as socialism is understood in socialist political parties or in communism (or currently in Cuba or North Korea or China). To make a collusion of the two terms (social doctrines and socialism) as it seems to be happening right now in some conservative circles is just plain weird.

Jeb Protestant August 8, 2011 at 3:54 am

Rosemarie,
But most of the presidents you reference belonged to orthodox churches at least at one time. And for example Truman may have been a Freemason but he was also a baptist. Most free masons look upon their membership in the masons as being part of a club which is Christianity. (I don’t think it is.)
Your list is skewed by the Freemasons and Quakers.

Rosemarie August 8, 2011 at 10:21 am

+J.M.J+
My basic point is, it’s not as though every president we’ve had all along has been an orthodox Christian. Many haven’t even been Christian at all. So why get so worried about a Mormon president?
I’m not saying that we should (or that I would) vote for Romney; I’d much rather vote for someone better. Right now, I’m hoping against hope that he won’t be the Republican candidate. Yet I still don’t see why the notion of a heretical or non-Christian president should be so terrifying when it wouldn’t be the first time.

Michael August 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Coming from the UK this is all very unfamiliar. We live in a multi-cultural society and so most of us accept our politicians will represent different parts of that society. The main talent I look for in a leader is someone who can pull all those strands together for common good, and someone who will maintain freedom for all of us to practice our faith.

Caleb August 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Dear Steve,
Your comments about Obama being towards the left of the Conservative Party in England needs some clarification:
First we are in America not Europe therefore the comparison is render inadequate. To measure Obama against a European stick is the same as stating that Raul Castro is to the right of Fidel Castro, (because he is allowing some entrepreneurship among Cubans), which is true but that does not negate the fact that he remains a communist and a totalitarian.
Second objectively speaking he promulgates leftist and socialist ideology. Not only his rhetoric is pregnant with class warfare allegories but his policies are to the far left of mainstream America (i.e. Obamacare and the hideous amount of regulations).
Third the size of federal has demonstratively increase since he took office (dwarfing the increase during the Bush Administration, which by way of analogy was to the left of the Kennedy administration).
C

SeanW August 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Hi Caleb
If Obama was “far left of mainstream America (i.e. Obamacare” how come he got elected on a platform which majored on health care reform? I suppose it depends on who you think is ‘mainstream’. I’d say winning an election is evidence of being ‘mainstream’.
There is so much splenetic Tea Party hatred directed against the legitimacy of a democratically-elected President, including mad allegations about his birth and religion. It is unprecedented. I can’t explain it as part of normal political rhetoric. I sometimes wonder if some WASP Americans cannot believe that “The sheriff’s a N*$$&^” (Blazing Saddles reference), and that WASPS are no longer in charge or obviously “the mainstream”.
I’ve lived in European countries which have democratic socialist parties and governments. Obama is not a socialist by any objective or even European standard. Obamacare offers such minimal care compared with most European standards, that any European political party proposing moving in the direction of Obamacare would probably be unelectable because it would seem to be retrograde and unjust compared with what they currently have.
“the size of federal has demonstratively increase since he took office (dwarfing the increase during the Bush Administration” I’m not totally sure what you mean, but I think this graph refutes your claim.

Mark Wymann August 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I’ve seen that guy with the cheroot on TV. It appears that his much younger wife has taken over the show. Kinda nasty when it comes to Catholics.
For entertainment, I prefer Jack van Impe.
Jimmy, who is that guy?

Mark Wymann August 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm

It was Dr. Gene Scott
http://www.pastormelissascott.com/Looped_Video.asx
Sort of reminds me of Kathleen Keating (who claims to be Catholic) and her bible code

Barbara August 9, 2011 at 7:04 am

We’ve had 43 heretics in the WH….one more or less won’t make much of a difference.

Johnno August 9, 2011 at 10:13 am

I agree that his faith is irrelevant. Christianity is already and has always been a point of confusion in America with all its Protestant circles, and with so called ‘Catholics’ in office who openly deny Church teachings about homosexuality and abortion and contraception and show up for Mass and stick out their hands for Holy Communion and the bishops continue to give it to them… So technically the Catholics are their own worst enemy and only served to damaged their own reputation… And ‘Christianity’ has always been and continues to be a schizophrenic existence in the U.S. A Mormon running for office makes no difference at this point in time. If he is against abortion and against gay marriage then that alone is enough to elect him over the clear evil and insanity that is Barack Obama.

Caleb August 10, 2011 at 11:19 am

Dear Steve,
Thank you for responding to my comments. I am a bit hesitant to expand our political conversation given the nature of this forum but in the spirit of GK Chesterton who said: “Politics and religion are the only things worth talking about ”, I will answer your comments.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) A.K.A. Obama-care:
1. Obama-care gives the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sweeping new powers to impose a wide range of detailed benefit requirements on employer-sponsored health plans and major medical policies sold by health insurers.
This is especially important for readers of this blog because just a few days ago under the authority provided by the Obama-care law (PPACA) the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius mandates health insurance policies to “cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible”. This mandate requires that all Americans pay for other people’s birth control pills (an objective immoral act) including the morning-after pill. Thereby in some circumstances we all will be paying for abortions.
This is clearly government intrusion in the free market a hallmark of socialism.
2. Obama-care mandate individual citizens to purchase a federally approved level of health insurance. Section 1501 imposes a monetary penalty if they do not purchase a health insurance plan that meets the federal definition of “minimum essential benefits.” Moreover Section 1502 authorized the Internal Revenue Service to enforce the health insurance mandate and to collect the penalties.
This provision intrudes individual liberty by coercing citizens to buy health insurance. This is unprecedented expansion of government powers, which constitutionality will be address by the Supreme Court.
3. Obama-care through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is legally required to sponsor at least two national health insurance plans beginning in 2014. This effectively creates a Public Option (government run health care plan) and gravely disrupts the free market because according to OPM director Kay Cole James: “OPM would not merely serve as the umpire overseeing competition among private health plans. It would also become a health-plan sponsor, fielding its own team of players to compete against the existing private plans in every state.”
The insidiousness of Obama-care is that it is not exactly European style socialize medicine but rather that it closely follows an incremental progression model towards it. First it destroys the free market through regulations, driving private insures out of the market by disproportionally favoring government subsidies and national health care plan. Second, it creates the infrastructure and bureaucracy to enforce and implement a government run health-care system. Third it creates 18 separate taxes increases that translates into $503 billions in revenues increase over the next 10 years. Fourth it conditions American people to the idea of government run health-care.
Government Spending
I appreciated the link you posted but it is misleading. According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, federal spending has just finished its largest two-year surge in nearly 60 years, leaping from 20.7% of the economy to 25.4% (Table 1.2; http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/). According to the Congressional Budget Office and the Treasury Department Washington is spending 23% more than it did two years ago.
Mainstream politics?
Let me point out through the Obama-care debate the more the American people learned what the legislation entailed the more they opposed it. It has consistently poll unfavorably. The most recent poll by Rasmussen indicates that 57% of Americans favor the repeal of Obama-care, including 46 percent who strongly favor its repeal. Meanwhile, 53 percent think the law will be bad for the country, and only 31 percent think it will be good–the lowest finding since the law’s passage.
So much for mainstream…
Obama won the election riding on aura of change and bipartisan unity amidst an economic downturn and voter fatigue of eight years of the Bush Administration that exacerbated many fiscals conservative. However, the way that the President handled the Obama-care legislation (back room deals and especial dispensations to Unions) and the debt ceiling debate show a glaring gap between his unifying rhetoric and his partisan actions. Now the President has a record to run on.
Tea Party
Vitriolic hate? I have observed Tea Party rallies and they are honest, decent and to the point. To question the legitimacy of the President by fringe groups does not negates the urgency and validity of their message. Comparing them to terrorist on the other hand reveal an innate acknowledgement that the left has lost the argument.

Joseph D'Hippolito August 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Regardless of the merits and demerits of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jimmy, what makes you any different than the Protestant pastors who questions whether JFK was “American enough” to be president?
If you want a confessional state, Jimmy, move to the Vatican. Otherwise, stop writing drivel.

Jimmy Akin August 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Joseph: You are in proximity of a Rule 1 violation. I do not mind people who disagree with me commenting. I don’t mind if you disagree with my position. However, you must express yourself politely. Referring to what I write as “drivel” is impolite. Don’t say things in a person’s combox that you wouldn’t say in their living rooms. When you are on their blog, they are your blog host. Be respectful to your hosts if you want to remain welcome. It’s that whole “Golden Rule” thing. Y’know?

Jimmy Akin August 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm

P.S. As to your question–just for a start–Protestants are actual Christians; Mormons are not; voting for a Protestant does not confuse the public about what the core doctrine of Christianity is; voting for a Mormon does.

Caleb August 12, 2011 at 10:18 am

I agree on principle with Jimmy and respect his opinion. However given the choice between a Pro-life and fiscal conservative Mormon President and Obama I choose a Mormon President. Obama has demonstrated to be an unwilling existential threat to our economy. Has willfully undermined the sanctity of life through his pro-abortion policies (http://www.lifenews.com/2010/11/07/obamaabortionrecord/) and his bipolar foreign policy is laughable…among many others left of center social secular policies. Having said that Jimmy is absolutely right a person who is a practicing Mormon would bring to the forefront Mormonism and could potential bring confusion about what Christianity really is…
I am quite disappointed with the current crop of candidates and I am still holding hope that either Paul Ryan or Chris Christie jump into the race.
Also, why do people always have to resort to offensive comments to make their point? It only accomplishes two things: 1. Abdicate their argument to irrationality thus rendering it ineffective. 2. Reveals a position of weakness.

Joseph D'Hippolito August 13, 2011 at 11:52 am

Jimmy, it is not within the province of the Office of the Presidency to define what Christianity is, nor is it within the province of the individual holding that office. It’s up to denominational leaders themselves to do so. If they can’t (and most of them can’t, these days, not even Catholic bishops and archbishops), then they shouldn’t expect any president to do so.

Joseph D'Hippolito August 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Jimmy, did you also realize that many of the Protestant pastors who questioned Kennedy in Houston probably didn’t think that Catholicism was Christian, either? Again, what makes you different than them, given this article?
I hold no candle for the LDS. I have little interest in, knowledge of or use for the LDS. However, I’m not going to stand here and allow bigotry to pose as “intellectual inquiry”…and I call it bigotry, Jimmy, because you are advocating that American voters should not vote for a de facto polytheist regardless of that individual’s ability or views.
As far as abortion goes, Jimmy, if the churches (especially your own) taught young people how to exercise moral responsibility when their hormones rage, perhaps abortion would be far less of a problem. However, I find people of your ilk advocating more and more legislative and judicial remedies for a problem that, at its heart, is a problem of individual moral responibility. Denying the Eucharist to Catholic office holders will change nothing (especially since the priests and bishops don’t have the backbone to match their rhetoric). Neither will laws or amendments.
However, funding crisis pregnancy centers that discourage abortion and soliciting donations for them might actually make a dent. Unfortunately, the vast majority of bishops and archbishops — including the current Pope and his immediate predecessor — are far more interested in talk than in substantive action.
This is why your article is so ridiculous.

Joseph D'Hippolito August 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

One more thing about abortion, Jimmy. American Christianity (not least of which, the Catholic Church) have done an abysmal job teaching young people to stand against a culture that seeks to sexualize them at an earlier and earlier age…if necessary, to stand alone, regardless of what their peers think or say. As far as the Catholic Church goes in that vein, it has been more infatuated with imposing collective control from above (the hierarchy) than in encouraging individual moral responsbility. That’s why the huge emphasis on legislative and judicial solutions from “pro-life” groups, as well as the nonsencial idea that bishops denying the Eucharist to certain Catholic officeholders will accomplish anything. Then again, the Catholic Church is so afraid of its own laity that obsessive, collective control is the only thing that will keep the hierarchs entrenched and preserve their inherent sense of superiority and entitlement.
If you want an explanation for the craziness that followed Vatican II, you just received one. People who have not been taught how to internalize moral and theological values will fall for any novelty. The post-VII Church is no different than the Soviet Union after glasnost and perestroika. Chaos, with unscrupulous people who will exploit the situation, followed by those who wish to re-affirm the misuse of hierarchical power that got the Church into this situation in the first place!

Caleb August 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

About misdirection and uninformed commentaries…
According to the CDC in 2007 alone a total of 827,609 legal abortions were reported to the CDC. That is in one year alone the US looses twice as many lives as it did during the entire World War II (~418,500 Americans soldiers were killed in action during WWII).
This is legalized genocide, period.
Abortion is an intrinsic evil since it deprives a developing human being of its life. One can argue that the root problem of abortion is a schism between morality and reason. Reason without a moral consciousness leads to progressive ideas such as eugenics, euthanasia, abortion and ethnic cleansing. Where an evil is justified by the good of the whole.
The U.S. was the first country in the world to legalize eugenic, serving as a model to Nazi Germany. Eugenic supporters seek to cleanse society from onerous conditions such as epilepsy, mental retardation, and criminality through government programs such as mandatory sterilization. In the process however it negated the dignity of the human life. The root problem with eugenic was precisely the separation of morality which condemns it and so-called reason which rationalize it. If as a society we neglect the right to life and the dignity of life by reducing the unborn to a dispensable tissue we are dissolving our law to be laws of convenience where the end justifies the means. Pitifully statistics show that this is the case. Abortion has become a method of birth control, whereas 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons, i.e. as birth control.
Abortion is not an intrinsic problem of the Catholic Church alleged abysmal job in educating of young people but a problem of our society as a whole that accepts the notion that people have a right to denied life, through laws that legalize infanticide. To advocates for laws that restrict abortion or criminalize it is not an exercise of collective control but an exercise in human dignity. Otherwise laws that restrict murder, rape, and mandatory sterilization would have to be considered an exercise in collective control.
Caleb
PS The Catholic Church is second to none in charity work through the world. The Church social work does makes a dent through out the world especially in inner cities across America…just ask the countless of woman who are help everyday in a manner that respects the dignity of human life and does not equivocate to the false promises of moral relativism…which we have the 20th century as an example of its fruits.

Joseph D'Hippolito August 16, 2011 at 11:59 am

Caleb, my original point in my last post was not directed solely at the Catholic Church ["American Christianity (not least of which, the Catholic Church)...]” Regarding the imposition of collective control, have you heard of the Index of Forbidden Books, which was only discontinued in 1966? Moreover, why is denying the Eucharist such a topic of discussion when that will not prevent one unborn child from being aborted?
Read what someone who wrote on America Magazine’s blog said:
Year after year I’ve listened to the local bishop and priests tell Catholics that abortion is the most important moral issue facing the country and that it must be the primary factor in deciding how to cast our votes in elections. Yet in the 13 years I attended Mass at the local Cathedral, there was not a single special collection devoted to crisis pregnancy centers – not a diaper or jar of baby food was collected. This supposed “priority” also merited no mention in the yearly pleas for contributions to the bishop’s Lenten appeal. Moreover, when our bishop decided to undertake a special fundraising effort, it was not to support crisis pregnancy services, but to build himself a fancy mansion to live in next to the Cathedral. What was that moral priority again?…The hypocrisy is nauseating.
For far too long, the Church has exploited the unborn for its own political agenda, just like secular feminists and “progressives” have exploited pregnant women for their own (albeit fundamentally different) political agenda.
And if you doubt how ineffective American Christianity’s efforts are in teaching moral and ethical courage to today’s young people…well, just look around you.

Caleb August 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I am failing to understand your point of view. Is the church perfect? No, is made up of sinners like you and me. Does everyone respond equally to the call to holiness? No, some will others won’t. It is the nature of free will. Can we do a better job as catechist? Absolutely!
We have to keep in mind that the Church is standing alone in the mist of a secular revolution. Secularist, like your self, obfuscate the issue by trying to discredit the Church in any way they can, without addressing the great moral evil that abortion truly is.
I noticed that you neglected to mention in your post that a great sums of money that the Dioceses collect goes to Catholic Social Charities. For example here is the website for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston:
http://www.archgh.org/Our-Programs/Social-Justice-and-Life/
Here is Priests for life:
http://www.priestsforlife.org/crisis.html
I bring these two examples (out of many) to demonstrate, contrary to what you proposed, that the Catholic Church does not use abortion as a political football but actually responds to the call of Christ to serve those in need. The Church will not and cannot support centers that offer abortion as a means to solve a “crisis pregnancy”, such as Plan Parenthood.
I respectfully disagree with you on the issue of denying communion to politicians who bring scandal to the Church by openly supporting legislation that support abortion. It does make a difference. Not only to the community by sending an unequivocal message that abortion is an evil but to the politician by calling attention that what he/she are doing is wrong and can put his/her soul at risk.
I also will like to invite you to see World Youth Day…our youth is not lost, we are part of the Body of Christ and we are call to bear witness to his love to our world…like lambs surrounded by wolves.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-9clTldvdE&feature=relmfu
I know is about the songs of WYD but it does show the fervor and passion of our youth.

Caleb August 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Concerning your point about the Index of forbidden book: would you give your son venom to drink? This was the rationale for the so-called Index of Forbidden books. It served as a warning sign for believers to be cautious about the content of those books. For example you know how much misinformation, confusion and damage the Da Vinci Code caused to not only to Christians (Catholics and non-Catholics) but to non-Christians (even with the author’s disclaimer)…now imagine this book being published around in the 12th century…how the Church could issue a warning about the fictitious content of that book?

Joseph D'Hippolito August 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Caleb, how can you call me a secularist? Just because I don’t mimic the kind of rhetoric you’re used to? Just because I think for myself?
In one of your own posts, you cited a statistic claiming that 93 percent of abortions are ex post facto birth control. If that’s statistic is accurate, then it merely reinforces my two points: Many of today’s young people do not have the moral or ethical tools needed to deal with their hormones, and the Church (American Christianity as a whole, really) is not doing enough to provide those tools.
The fact that some young people will reject the attempt to sexualize them doesn’t mean that the Church should stand still.
As far as the Index goes, it did more than warn people. It made it a sin to read or examine ideas that the Church didn’t like. No, I wouldn’t want my son to drink venom but that hyper-dramatic response typifies the Church’s view of adults as children who need constant guidance from ecclesiastical bureaucrats, not as people who can think for themselves, let alone be trusted with understanding for themselves what the Church supposedly teaches.
You are mouthing the same old arguments that the vast majority of Catholics use to justify the inertia and arrogance that have permeated Catholicism, and the Pharisaical attitudes of the hierarchy.

Caleb August 18, 2011 at 11:27 am

Joseph,
I appreciate your response, however your lines of argument are presented from a secularist point of view, hence it was logical to call you out on it. I did not mean any disrespect to you nor I intended to imply that you don’t think for yourself. It is evident that you do and that’s why I am willing to engage in our debate.
The data collected by the CDC* disagree with one of your points about abortion, most abortion are done by mature woman not teenagers with raging hormones:
“Among the 48 areas that reported by age for 2007, women aged 20–29 years accounted for the majority (56.9%) of abortions and had the highest abortion rates (29.4 and 21.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 and 25–29 years, respectively) (Figure 2; Table 3). Women in the youngest and oldest age groups (<15 or ≥40 years) accounted for the smallest percentage of abortions (0.5% and 3.2%, respectively) and had the lowest abortion rates (1.2 and 2.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged <15 and ≥40 years, respectively)”.
*The 2007 report was latest year available from the CDC.
Irrespectively this is still a minor tributary to your main argument, which I partly agree with: the Church can always do better. I can do better, but I miss the mark everyday.
The real question is how can we do better? Perhaps this is where we disagree. The answer cannot be found in lax moral ethic, such as promoting the use of contraception nor it can be found in abdicating to laws that allows for abortion. The answer can only be found when the value of life comes first, when we respect the right to life for the unborn.
I will invite you to see the Church in action. “Inertia and arrogance”? Please look at the history of Saints and Martyrs who have given their life to the service of Christ. Look at those people lay and clergy who are serving the destitute, the poor, the abandon…I don’t see the Church as this big bureaucratic structure, I see it everyday in the hands of those who minister to me and my community. I see it here in our discussion and in my friends who take their time to teach the youth. If the Church is failing is because I am failing.

Cheap Puma Shoes August 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I’m sure the monthly updates are unbearably tedious to everyone except me, so I apologize. But at the moment my mind is currently in the fetal position over the possibility of another economic meltdown and other cataclysmic world events, and is therefore devoid of anything clever to write about. Okay, not really. Mostly, I’m mulling over how disappointing last night’s SYTYCD finale was, and how badly guest judge Mrs. Katie Cruise needs a vocabulary builder — if you’d been playing a drinking game based on her use of “strong,” “beautiful” and “amazing,” you would have been quite drunk indeed.

Cheap Puma Shoes August 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I’m sure the monthly updates are unbearably tedious to everyone except me, so I apologize. But at the moment my mind is currently in the fetal position over the possibility of another economic meltdown and other cataclysmic world events, and is therefore devoid of anything clever to write about. Okay, not really. Mostly, I’m mulling over how disappointing last night’s SYTYCD finale was, and how badly guest judge Mrs. Katie Cruise needs a vocabulary builder — if you’d been playing a drinking game based on her use of “strong,” “beautiful” and “amazing,” you would have been quite drunk indeed.

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