Catholicism, Abortion, Public Policy and Personal Beliefs
Last night we heard, for the first time, two Roman Catholic vice presidential candidates debate one another. It was inevitable that the debate would turn to the abortion issue. I want to take a moment and go through the transcripts of the answers to get a general sense of how these Roman Catholics see public policy and religion.
RADDATZ: I want to move on, and I want to return home for these last few questions. This debate is, indeed, historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time, on a stage such as this. And I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And, please, this is such an emotional issue for so many people in this country…
RYAN: I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.
Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.
You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, “Bean.” Now I believe that life begins at conception.
That’s why — those are the reasons why I’m pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don’t agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals.
Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties. And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they wanted it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding. Taxpayer funding in Obamacare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized and wouldn’t second guess their one child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That to me is pretty extreme.
Most obviously, my belief more aligns with Ryan’s the best but I think there are a few issues here that puzzled me.
“It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.”
Apparently Mr Ryan feels that faith is separated from reason and science? Mr Ryan must see faith as blind faith or a leap of faith. I honestly believe he does see religion this way. During the last election several Roman Catholics lost their jobs because of this very point. When the pro-life democrats decided to change their opposition to Obama Care – voting for it; against their religious beliefs – 15 out of 20 were thrown out of office. The moral of the story is simple. The people don’t see a difference between faith and reason and that’s because there is none. Religion and especially Christianity is an explanation as to why the world is the way it is. It’s not a fairy-tale and if it’s true, then it’s reasonable. Mr Ryan would be good to read Roman 1 where Paul makes the case that people are condemned because they went against reason to suppress the knowledge of God.
Politicians have this uncanny ability to compartmentalize things. The religious politician sees different levels of importance. They build stories (like in a building). On the bottom is the foundation that affects everything – we’ll call that public policy – and at the top (in the clouds) are religious things that don’t affect anything but just give you warm and fuzzy feelings. The top story are personal beliefs that should remain just that – personal. Your public policy is guided by your foundation that contains no “personal” belief. This of course, is exactly opposite of what we see in the Bible where Jesus is the foundation and as a Christian your identity is not in public policy but in Christ. Your public policy should be dictated by the truth and if Christ is the ultimate truth then this should dictate everything. Mr Ryan and Mr Romney have compartmentalized religion and put themselves in the position of governing God’s creation. Faith is important, but science and reason (that apparently oppose religion) are much, much more important. I think it would be good for Mr Ryan to talk to his unemployed congressmen friends who felt the same way and are now suffering the consequences.
If Ryan and Romney want to appeal to reason over religion, then they need to suffer the consequences for these actions. They believe that abortion should be legal in the cases of rape and incest. So if a person is a victim of a violent crime that produces an innocent baby, it is reasonable to kill the innocent baby? I’m sorry, were is the reason in that? So if I am in a grocery store and I get robbed, It would be okay for me to shoot the clerk? More over, why do these guys limit the killing of the innocent when it’s inside the womb? Why is it not perfectly reasonable to kill the product of incest and rape once it’s born? It’s still a product of incest or rape. Of course that’s not reasonable and neither is Ryan and Romney’s plan for abortion.
Lastly, our current president is the most extreme abortion advocate on the planet. He is the ONLY one to ever vote for infanticide in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Infanticide is of course the killing of babies outside of the whom (READ ARTICLE IS WROTE A MONTH AGO). Yet Ryan didn’t bring up this fact – he should have since Obama is nearly the only one on the planet that thinks this is a good idea (He and Planned Parenthood who supported him during these votes)
BIDEN: My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.
But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that. With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.
That is a fact. Now with regard to the way in which the — we differ, my friend says that he — well I guess he accepts Governor Romney’s position now, because in the past he has argued that there was — there’s rape and forcible rape. He’s argued that in the case of rape or incest, it was still — it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend.
Biden’s response should not be surprising. Though he calls himself a Roman Catholic, I have no reason to believe he actually is. His record says otherwise. He voted to oppose Clarence Thomas to the court because Thomas believe in “natural law”. As a Catholic, Biden should also believe in natural law as well and if his faith “informs” him he should not have been in opposition to this. I guess Biden is saying that he’s religious but anyone who he supports must an an atheist to be a politician. Biden may be Roman Catholic but he certainly doesn’t follow Christ and neither does his so-called Christian boss.
More importantly, why has the Church allowed this? Unlike Protestantism, the Roman Catholic church states that they speak in one voice. The views given from Roman are the views of all Roman Catholics and those who do not agree with them are anamatha (cast out). So why has the Roman Catholic church not excommunicated these politicians that use the Roman Catholic church as a spring board for politics? I suspect it’s because the church is not as strong or as united as they believe to be. We hear of every conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism but for every one of those there are thousands who defect the other way. In order for the church to remain powerful, they need numbers – period!
Fundamentally, these guys are the same and you can see it in the words they use to describe their positions.
BIDEN - Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.
RYAN - why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.
Both have compartmentalized religion and politics and this is a shameful display from two men who claim to be followers of Jesus. If Jesus is sovereign in one’s life than our actions must align with him no matter what the consequence. If, on the other hand, Jesus is just a fictional story we tell ourselves to make sense of the world, then we should expect to see answers like we saw last night. The moral of the story? Neither display the characteristics of true faith and, in fact, you will be hard pressed to find anyone in Washington who does. It’s unfortunate that followers of Jesus have retreated so far from political life but I can understand why. Our society, even the religious, have rejected faith as being a key factor in decision making. If a true Christian runs for politics, it is incumbent upon him to strip away all religiosity and take on the appearance of an atheist. A secular, naturalistic, humanist who rejects all things supernatural as a guide for our country. This of course has consequence and I believe the downward spiral of our society is a symptom of that.
One last thing as it comes to voting for president. I have been forced to make my decision based on a single issue. I believe whole heartily that regardless of who becomes president that this country has seen its last day of prosperity. Our debt is unrecoverable so regardless of who wins the outcome of the country is the same. So I have been forced to look at abortion as my single issue. Biden said something very important last night that has helped to guide me in a direction and hopefully is will impact you as well. He said:
The court — the next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees. That’s how close Roe v. Wade is. Just ask yourself, with Robert Bork being the chief adviser on the court for — for Mr. Romney, who do you think he’s likely to appoint? Do you think he’s likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court far right that would outlaw – outlaw abortion? I suspect that would happen
I suspect it would happen too and this is a compelling reason not to vote for Obama.