Thursday, April 29, 2004

Turning Tables blog - a blog from a soldier who has served and returned from Afghanistan and Iraq

Religious Doctrine and Hypocrisy

Another example of this intentionally misleading approach is by Michael L. Shields, writing in the August 1, 2003, National Catholic Reporter article, "Double standard in public life hurts Catholic credibility," states:

"In March 1995, Pope John Paul II issued his encyclical Evangelium Vitae stating that the death penalty is nly appropriate "in cases of absolute necessity, in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvement in the organization of the penal system, such cases are rare, if not practically nonexistent." … In spite of this declaration by the church, so-called "true" Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was able to reconcile his views on the permissibility of the death penalty with church teachings. Scalia argued that since the pope’s teaching on the death penalty in Evangelium Vitae did not come ex cathedra (i.e., with formal infallibility) he is not obligated as a Catholic to accept it, only to give it "serious consideration." Using Scalia’s logic, it is just as easy for a pro-choice Catholic to justify his belief in the right of a woman to choose because Humanae Vitae also did not come ex cathedra. However, the pro-choice Catholic would be considered more reprehensible than Scalia simply because well-entrenched conservative … consider abortion to be the greater of the two evils and thus they turn a blind eye to Scalia’s inconsistent views."

Tim Francis-Wright, writing for the self-declared Marxist/Leftist web magazine "Bear Left," states in his May 6, 2003 column, "Acta Santorum,"

"Santorum has criticized Catholic politicians who espouse liberal views on social issues, while praising President Bush as "the first Catholic president of the United States." Bush is a Methodist, unlike former President John Kennedy … He is, however, an unwavering conservative, and that is good enough for Santorum.

"Santorum is free, as he should be, to use his religious beliefs to guide his political beliefs. His problem is that the complete tenets of Roman Catholicism are awfully hard to reconcile without some cognitive dissonance. If Santorum took a hard line against abortion and euthanasia and homosexual acts, but also against the death penalty and nuclear weapons and wars of retribution, as do "seamless garment" Catholics, then his views on sexuality and homosexuality would reflect the odd amalgam of radical and puritanical within the teachings of his church.

"But Santorum is hardly a critic of the death penalty or of any war. Like many Catholics-and many non-Catholics-he has chosen from his religion's dogma what he wants to hear and ignored the rest. He may not want to admit that he, too, is a cafeteria Catholic, but his public pronouncements belie him. Ultimately, Rick Santorum is no better a Catholic than myriad Catholics who attend only Christmas and Easter services."

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