Monday, July 1, 2013

Republicans, Democrats, America, and Catholicism *Updated*

This morning, His Excellency sent me a pithy response to our listener which I have posted at the bottom of this post.

Our show on America and Catholicism garnered a lot of interest from various parts of our listenership.  One listener made a blog comment but there were so many points made in the comment that it made more sense to answer this as a blog post and anonymize the comment of said listener.  I'll post the comment below and then try to systematically answer through all the points made.
Mr. Heiner, I listened to your podcast "America and Catholicism" today. I was surprised at you and Bishop Dolan's repeated attacks of Fox News. It was very strange. I think you guys mentioned Fox News about 20 times. 
Well, I don't think it was 20 times, to be fair, but let's start here.

If it wasn't clear from our broadcast, both the Bishop and I see a severe problem with Catholics who spend more time watching Fox News than learning about Catholicism.  We don't think that "being informed" about things one really has very little power to change is a healthy way to live one's life.  The problem is not just Fox News, it's CNN, MSNBC, pick your poison.  If you call yourself a Catholic and spend more time following the news than learning about your faith in this time of darkness, that's a problem.  That's a big problem.  I don't believe at your particular judgment that Our Lord is going to ask if you truly believed Billo was "looking out for you" or whether you were a "Great American" via the Hannity formulation.  All of your "knowledge" about the evil plans of the Democrats aren't going to matter.  At all.  We were attacking Fox News as the substitute religion for Catholics, traditional or otherwise.  I even said on the radio program that if a family is watching TV in the house regularly (as opposed to having a TV for the occasional movie) that is problem #1, so I'm already fighting a losing battle when I say that watching Fox News (or whatever your news of choice is) might be the biggest waste of time in your life.

I say this as someone who once thought that watching Fox News and voting Republican was a sensible thing to do.  But as I learned more about Catholicism, the Social Reign of Christ, and my Faith in general, I realized that was all wrong.

Catholics understand that, as Dr. Thomas Fleming once said, "A Dark Age is what you make of it."  I am using this Dark Age to read, learn, and listen about my Faith first and everything else second.  Fox News wouldn't even make the bottom of my list of 100 things I should spend time paying attention to.
Then you guys slammed the Tea Party movement. I am not claiming the Tea Party or Fox News to be Catholic in nature. But what is wrong with wanting a smaller efficient government? I understand the need for government, but should the government be in the "wealth redistribution" business? I work with a "Traditional Catholic" Socialist and sometimes you guys sounded like him! 
Well, I don't think that's true.  The Tea Party movement is not for a "smaller, efficient government."  They consider government in and of itself to be evil (not Catholic) and they are enormously intellectually dishonest because they don't want to pull back from our absurd military spending, which is expressed in 11 Carrier Groups across 770+ known bases worldwide.  The Tea Party movement owns all the recent wars and wants more!  

Here, unfortunately and ironically, our listener falls into a classical liberal fallacy: You're not for Position X, ergo you are for Position Y!

Bishop Dolan and I never, ever, once advocated for wealth redistribution.  Not once.  It's false to claim that because I oppose the Tea Party's inconsistent and anti-intellectual thrust that I am for the Obama position on wealth.

If we do sound like your friend, feel free to introduce us!  I'm always happy to meet new like-minded individuals, even if they are "socialists!" :-)

Neither Bishop Dolan nor myself throughout any aspect of the show indicated that we were enamored of socialism.  In case you missed it I'm happy to state for the record here and now that I'm not.  My entrepreneurial track record in the secular world would probably put an exclamation point on that.
Bishop Dolan said there is "no difference" between the Democrats and Republicans. Since you guys like labels, what do you label yourselves? I agree they can be similar on some issues but saying that there is NO difference is silly. 
Why is it silly?  Because you say so?  The Republicans owned 7 of the 9 nominees during the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case and they STILL couldn't overturn Roe v. Wade.  The Republicans make promises to the right and then fail to deliver.  Let's examine some differences, shall we?

Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security:  Both parties are committed to status quo.  People like Paul Ryan are outliers who can't even get momentum for change despite his popularity and someone like Rick Santorum, who is a huge "big government" guy, says that Medicare should never be abolished.  Both parties are simply committed to managing status quo, not getting government out of the health care business.  The one man I know who would say try to get the government out of health care, Dr. Ron Paul, is no longer in Congress.

Abortion/Stem Cell Research:  Both parties have put up presidential nominees that have very little difference on these issues.  Mitt Romney and John McCain were both for stem cell research and were pro-abortion - until they wanted to run for President as Republicans.  

War: Both Republicans and Democrats remain committed to the status quo ridiculous "War on Terror."  President Obama has continued the horrifying torture, rendition, secret trials, and immoral drone bombing of civilians that the Bush Administration made infamous.  

Funding:  The Republican Congresses under President George W. Bush spent more money than the previous 4 Congresses combined.  The "fiscal conservatives" added a new unfunded entitlement (Medicare Part D), an unfunded education reform for a department that should be abolished (Department of Education) and put two unjust, expensive, stupid wars on a national credit card.

Bailout:  Both John McCain and President Obama supported the 2008 bailout of the criminal bankster elite.
It is unfortunate that U.S. Catholics have to vote for the "lesser of two evils" but in your opinion Obama/Pelosi and company are on equal footing as Republicans. I don't identify myself as a Republican but I just didn't understand you beating up on them and not touching at all on the Democrats and liberals in this country. 
I had a hard time on this one.  Firstly, I utterly reject your premise that one has to vote for the lesser of two evils.  It is precisely that kind of compromised JFK-esque Catholic type-thinking that has gotten the country to the state it is currently in.  If Catholics voted like Catholics this country would be in an amazing state!  And as far as Obama/Pelosi, at least they are open about their agendas.  Republicans simply lie to "conservatives" to get their votes and then don't do anything to change the status quo.

And why would we use airtime to talk about the Democrats?  We have to assume that our listeners know what they are about and that they are against the Faith.  I've met plenty of Democrats who actually believe what they stand for - they are terribly brainwashed.  But what is worse than honest Democrats is the assumption that the Republicans are the "good guys" simply because they stand against the Democrats (if you can even call it that).  If our radio show and our attack on Fox News, Republicans, and the Tea Party caused you to take even one step back to examine the situation, then in the words of one decidedly not-conservative Republican, "Mission Accomplished."
Government is necessary but is it supposed to redistribute wealth in the form of social welfare (and corporate welfare)? How many conservatives do you know that support Obamacare or the immoral HHS mandates? 
Well, no, but what are Republicans doing about that, my good sir/madam?  Republicans are responsible for the biggest corporate welfare bills and laws ever!  Do you think the Democrats are the ones passing sweetheart deals for corporations?  And again you present me with this non sequitur of wealth redistribution.  I'm sorry, opposing Republicans and Fox News does not make me a "spread the wealth around" socialist.  

I do appreciate your podcasts and thank you for the work that you do. 

Ah, this was the line that caught me because it made it clear to me that you are of good will and that you are asking honest questions and simply haven't had someone really push back on some of the ideas you alluded to in your questions.  I was in the same place once too!  May I beg your patience a bit more?  

I have links below here to articles that will give you a more cohesive sense of the "political action" and "conservatism" related to Catholicism that I have developed since "growing up" from reading Drudge, listening to Rush and Sean, etc.  If you take the time to read them I would be very interested in your thoughts and comments.  You know how to reach me.


Why I didn't vote for John McCain in 2008 (to your question about "lesser of two evils")




And, if you've made it this far...

Some Fox News Alerts may actually alert one to something worth while. Some Tea Parties may offer a good cup of tea and those great little sandwiches the Brits have. But I invite you to step back from the plugged in conventional American lifestyle to reground yourself as a Catholic. Start reading Papal teaching, Fr. Fahey, and so much more. Continue listening to Restoration Radio. Follow up on leads. Educate yourself out of the box they put us in. Magna set veritas et praevalebit. Subsidiarity is exactly the principle which promotes smaller government. Read about it. Enjoy the wonderful discovery which awaits you! 

With every good wish and prayer, 
Bishop Dolan