February 9, 2011

LIMITED OPTIONS:

Catholic Republicans' political beliefs, challenged by their faith (Michael Gerson, February 8, 2011, Washington Post)

A revolutionary populism has seldom been the Catholic style - especially since Catholics have often been the victims of such populism in American history. Catholicism asserts the value and dignity of duly constituted authority, both religious and political, which cannot be dismissed as "elites." Further, in a direct assault on the spirit of the age, it teaches that genuine freedom is found in submission to just authority. The alternative is the "freedom" of a fish liberated from the sea. Neither radical individualism nor disdain for government is an option.

But the tension is also substantive. Catholic social teaching is simply not libertarian. Neither, of course, are most conservatives. But where Republicans veer toward libertarianism, they will run smack into the bishops. [...]

[T]here will probably come a point when red lines get crossed and Catholic and other religious leaders declare: Contempt for immigrants, even illegal immigrants, is not a moral option. Or, cutting AIDS and malaria funding violates pro-life principles. Or, health-care repeal without a serious alternative is not responsible.

At that moment, one hopes, the faith of politicians has sunk deeper than the skin - and that they will be less nasty than they otherwise would have been.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2011 6:23 AM
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