Posts tagged ‘President Kennedy’

02/21/2012

Catholics: What Do They Believe?

The issue of Catholicism has again surfaced in American politics, thanks to former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, whose religious convictions have caused him to staunchly oppose abortion, birth control, and other social practices, to the point where he is now isolated, with just a handful of old bishops, who have alienated themselves from millions of practicing Catholics, and many more, who left the Church during the revolution of the 1960s.

Those who were never part of the Church, are sometimes confused as to what Catholics believe, because they listen to modern practitioners, but then see old stereotypes of the Church, in movies, and in broadcast news reports, which show the insides of medieval cathedrals, clips of outdated rituals, and interviews with cardinals, who are almost exclusively right-wingers.

To understand the Church, the best source is a former Catholic. Although I joined at a very young age (that would be the day I was born), I converted to Agnosticism, as soon as I was able to liberate myself on my 18th birthday, more than four decades ago.

To those who are “not now, nor have they ever been a Catholic,” let me explain the Church. Catholics are split into two major branches, the spiritual, and the practical. The spiritual spend their time praying for a better life, they hope to enjoy after death. The practical are not willing to wait to realize a good life. They want justice now, as their view of the purpose of the Church is to nurse the sick, school the illiterate, and aid the poor.

The politics of President John Kennedy and Sen. Rick Santorum personify the two schools. The Kennedy School downplays thoughts of the supernatural, and champions political programs for health, education, and welfare. The goal of the Santorum School is to convert religious beliefs into legislation, by opposing abortion, birth control, and other social practices, and by repealing all health, education, and welfare programs.

If you are now even more confused as to what Catholics believe, then we are making progress. The major split in the Catholic Church occurred during the American Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. As liberals prevailed in Rome at the 2nd Vatican Council, between 1962 and 1965, they implemented changes, which the conservative branch of the Church still bitterly refuses to accept.

The Mass was now conducted in English, instead of Latin. Nuns no longer dressed as they did in Mideast deserts, 2,000 years ago. Priests, who had turned their backs on parishioners during Mass, now faced the people. Catholics could now eat meat on Fridays. The Bible was no longer read literally, but only figuratively, as a tool for explaining morals. Catholics no longer confessed sins to priests in private confessionals, but were absolved as a whole, in the open. Jews were no longer to be blamed for crucifying Christ, as anti-Semitism officially ended. Interfaith marriages were permitted. The list went on.

In those days, nuns wore long black robes called habits, which covered most of their faces. I remember when ours walked into class dressed in a new outfit that allowed us to see her forehead and some hair on her head. Wow, I thought, there was actually a human being in there! The day before, as an Alter Boy, a priest chewed me out for not perfectly memorizing my Latin. Just like that, it was out the window. Cool! Why weren’t we using English all along? Although I liked fish, the “right to choose” a burger on a Friday night was a good change. (Did McDonalds lobby the Pope?)

Seriously, it was a revolution that opened the minds of millions to change. What was absolute infallible truth, just yesterday, was totally abandoned today. It led us to think: Was there anything beyond question? Was premarital sex wrong? Would drugs alter minds? Were Johnson and Nixon lying about Vietnam? Was there really a god? The Church let a Jeannie out of the bottle, and they totally lost control, as millions went out to seek their own truths.

While liberals now acknowledge the earth has existed for millions of years, not just 6,000, and accept the science of evolution, conservatives, like Santorum, still resist. As liberals question the story that the Virgin Mary had an Immaculate Conception, and believe Jesus merely slipped into a coma from a blood loss, before regaining consciousness, the right-wing clings to mythology. While liberals believe priests and nuns should marry, women should become priests, and old bishops should not dictate as to pre-marital sex, birth control, abortion, and divorce, Republicans, like Rick, want to impose their old dogmas through legislation.

While Santorum pushes for war in the Persian Gulf, Jesus said in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of god.” While the Senator opposes aid for the less fortunate, Jesus said at the Sermon on the Mount: “Do unto others, as you would have them to unto you.” Rick should just heed the word of the Apostle Paul: “It is better to give than to receive.”

Fortunately the U.S. Constitution states: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the U.S.” Hopefully the voters, including millions of liberal Catholics, will turn Santorum away, if he is on the ballot this year.

08/16/2011

Bachmann & God’s Plan: Deny Liberty

Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and other Republicans at the Iowa Straw Poll this past weekend, showed their willingness to impose fundamentalist religious beliefs on all Americans, as they advocated social policies outlawing abortion, gay marriage, and other freedoms.

At the Straw Poll were: 2 Evangelical Lutherans, Bachmann and Pawlenty, 2 Mormons, Romney and Huntsman, 2 Baptists, Paul and Cain, and 2 conservative Catholics, Gingrich and Santorum.

In the 1960 presidential race, Democrat John Kennedy, a left-of-center Catholic, made every effort to separate church and state, by distancing his personal religious views from the public policies he advocated. He made no effort, while campaigning, or as president, to convert his religious beliefs into federal law. He understood the 1st Amendment ban against the establishment of religion.

In the 2012 campaign, Republicans like Bachmann, Santorum, and others, do not understand the letter, spirit, or intent of the Constitution. They don’t appreciate the secular nature of the American system. If they gained control, they would establish a Christian Nation, by imposing their religious views on us all.

Instead of embracing the secular right to liberty found in the 5th and 14th Amendments, which allows women in the first trimester of their pregnancies to have an abortion, Bachmann would instead implement her non-negotiable religious convictions, which were solidified for her at the Oral Roberts Law School. She believes the termination of a fetus is the same as murder, and wants to force all Americans to live under the rules established by her church.

While former Penn. Sen. Santorum correctly described Bachmann as one who demands everything, and compromises nothing, he too harbors uncompromising views derived from his conservative Catholic beliefs, as he promised to criminally prosecute all doctors who perform abortions, even though it is legal to do so.

Bachmann pledged not to nominate activist judges, but what she meant to say was she would not name any liberal activists. She certainly intends to nominate right-wing activists, like Supreme Court Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts, who share her views. She apparently does not realize that the conservatives on the court are just as active in shaping the law, as some liberals.

As to the issue of marriage, Bachmann was asked to explain a comment she once made that wives should be submissive to their husbands. She instead dodged the question, saying submission meant respect, an entirely new definition, not in any dictionary.

Although laws as to marriage and divorce have always been made at the state level, Santorum wants to throw out the 10th Amendment, and govern all families from Wash. DC. He disapproves of states’ rights on this and would rather dictate his religious dogma nationally. He was proud of his efforts in Iowa, where he helped defeat state justices, who found illegal the ban on gay marriage.

Romney joined Santorum in his ill-conceived idea to govern marriage from Washington. He wants the Constitution amended, so marriages are limited to just one man and one woman.

Huntsman, the only reasonable Republican as to social issues, said civil unions are acceptable. He warned the Republican audience that they need to do a better job on equality. Perhaps what the Republicans should do is start listening to Huntsman, and stop hearing voices from God.