Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Life in Abundance?

Because I do everything in threes, I'm doing a third secular politics post -- and that'll be it.

Let's face it, snowflakes, I'm not a neocon bishop. Ergo, being a partisan cheerleader is not in my job description.

But I've gotta say, the cons want everything -- everything for Republicans, that great champion of (politically exploitable) human life Tom DeLay included, Magisterium (and ethics) be damned. It baffles me sometimes, how people who profess to be so Catholic can be blind as bats... unless they're just misleading you and me.

Huey Long once said, legendarily, that "When fascism comes to America, it'll be on a program of Americanism."

Take out "America," insert "Roman Catholicism." Discuss.

So the Republicans won the values debate last time by making people forget how badly off they were, because domestic partnerships would make their lives oh so worse and golden calf-style death and destruction would befall the heartland.

And, they said they were pro-life, too. Hmm... Pro-birth, sure. But pro-life? Let's think about this for a second.

Last time I checked, Jesus said "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." OK, let's concede that the Republicans want unborn babies to have life by criminalizing abortion -- but what about going forward, what about having that life abundantly?

Hey, nobody asked the GOP to become the Lord-impersonator -- the issue of abundance is a fair question.

Criminalizing abortion, yet cutting the very lifelines which lower socioeconomic women look to so they can carry their pregnancies to term and be able to welcome, cherish and embrace the human life born to them is, to be honest, a pretty superficial and lazy culture of life. And if we know anything, we should know that building a culture of life in abundance doesn't come cheap -- and a culture of life is, sure as hell, 180 degrees from tax cuts in abundance.

So the question must be asked: with all these cuts, with all the rising crime, costs of insurance, consumer goods, with jobs short and hospitals closing and the American Dream in tatters as the classes become ever more stratified (blame selfishness), can a poor baby in the inner city, born to a courageous mother making minimum wage who has to get right back to work or she'll lose her job at McDonalds, have life in abundance?

When the GOP consecrates Christians' sexual hang-ups to stealth a platform which neglects the poor, reduces public education to a shell, kills off government services, cuts taxes to choke the welfare state, opposes family leave and kowtows to the health insurance companies which are gaining med-mal protections while raking in record profits on the backs of working people, is that life in abundance?

When the administration ignored the cries for peace of the selfsame John Paul whom its base calls "the Great," yet shamelessly milks his church for votes and gives lip-service to the "culture of life" teaching the late pope lived as Americans and foreigners are endangered and killed thanks to the very US hubris John Paul railed against, is that life in abundance?

When "God Bless America and no place else" is the essence of our foreign policy, our foreign aid isn't what it could be, what it should be, and we only focus on those suffering places in the world that Cheney, Hadley, Libby and Wolfie want to bomb, is that life in abundance?

And when I can't walk outside my house at night without worrying about getting shot because NRA money (taken by both parties) allowed an assault weapons ban to lapse and let a thousand Uzis bloom on the streets of Philadelphia, is that life in abundance?

It sounds less like life as abundance than life as "nasty, brutish and short." Did Jesus say the latter, too? No, Thomas Hobbes did -- and not the most Christian of philosophers was he.


John Allen -- whose new book comes out today -- had this fascinating nugget from before the last election:

I know many Spanish Catholics who voted for the Socialist candidate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in last March's elections, driven by opposition to conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Though Zapatero is a leftist, many Spanish Catholics felt his emphasis on peaceful resolution of conflict, and his strong social concern, were closer to the Catholic spirit than Aznar's more bellicose style. A Spanish Opus Dei member told me that even Opus Dei voters probably went 60-40 for Zapatero.

Got that, snowflakes? Peaceful resolution of conflict + Strong social concern = Catholic spirit.

Who would disagree and why? Be honest and cite logical examples.

The best example of this truism is when the cons are asked to justify Iraq in light of just war theory and the Holy See's (i.e. John Paul's) furious opposition and they start spinning that "the state has the power of war." So God knows how many deaths are justified on the basis of a technicality? That's the most ludicrous thing I ever heard -- and this from self-anointed "pro-life" people.

Sheesh, cons -- as you always keep telling your inferior castes, the cafeteria is closed!

To close, as further proof that fringe (as opposed to rational) Republicans masquerading as orthodox Catholics (hence the term "con") want every foot or not an inch, John Kerry last week gave a speech where he quoted the Bible.

And he was immediately lambasted for embracing a sola Scriptura theology. As Archbishop Chaput says, "Political parties are not 'Lord.'" They're not God either, sorry.

Long before I showed up, the old fear was that the Pope would bore a tunnel under the Atlantic and take over America. He doesn't even need to do that now -- the RNC fantasizes about moving its headquarters to Borgo Pio and attaining dicastery status.

The unspun among us know that, contrary to popular delusion, the Holy See wants no part of them. But they're just as grateful the Pope won't have to receive a President Dean -- B16 would've been fitted with earplugs for that. He would've needed Red Bull if Kerry were elected.



Blogger Matthew Lickona said...


Do you think Jesus was referring to socioeconomics when he said what he said about having life more abundantly? I think he was referring to the interior life that comes from friendship with God and leads to beatitude. Not to say that Christians don't have a duty to their neighbors, particularly the poor and suffering. I just don't think it's based on that line from Scripture.

I don't think a defense of heterosexual marriage (and family) as the bedrock of civilization is necessarily the fruit of sexual hangups.

On another note: thought you might find this interesting, an interview with Phil Lawler over at Ignatius Insight:

Schmalz: What do you feel is your vocation as a journalist and an editor of a Catholic publication and a Catholic news website?

Lawler: Simply to be honest. 

I firmly believe that the truth, when it is fully known, will prove the wisdom of Catholicism. So I do my best to cover news accurately, without worrying about the "spin." 

Actually, the first obligation of any journalist is to be read. If no one reads your stories, it doesn't matter what they say. So it's very important to put the news in a lively, appealing form, so that people will find it attractive. 

Schmalz: Catholic World Report (CWR) and Catholic World News (CWN) have both made names for themselves as being willing to criticize the Church for its policies and to criticize the actions of certain Church figures. Many Catholic publications are unwilling to do that because they feel it undermines the Church. You have a different perspective. Can you explain that?

Lawler: Again, I'm confident in the truth. As St. Augustine said, "God does not need my lie." The Church is in the business of proclaiming the truth, and if we're not truthful in the way we convey in-house news, then how can people be confident in the way we preach the Gospel? 

And what is it that is being undermined when we expose some unfortunate truths about the state of Catholicism? Is it the Church, the Body of Christ? Or is it the corruption that tarnishes the Church? It is my love for the Church that compels me to speak out when I think someone is harming the faith. 

He sounds an awful lot like you!


7/6/05 14:30  

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