Friday, September 25, 2015

Why I Cannot Consider Myself an American Conservative

It's pretty obvious that I am not a Lefty when it comes to American politics, although many would call me that. I believe in social justice, the rights of all - even if they are here illegally - the dignity of all people, including rapists and murderers in prison. People might think I'm a Lefty, but then they hear how I'm against abortion in ALL cases, how I'm against euthanasia, mercy killings, doctor-assisted suicide, or any other euphemism you decide to give it. I'm against taking a Divinely-initiated Sacrament - matrimony - and redefining it so that people can be married multiple times or to multiple spouses at the same time (it's going to happen), or to legalize homosexual "marriage". I reject the lies of contraception, the "hook-up" culture, militant feminism, and many other things that would make the Left point at me and scream, "Republican!!!!!"

But that's not accurate. The American Right is pointing out something that I've been feeling for quite some time: this part of the political spectrum, massively influenced by its Evangelical and Fundamentalist members, doesn't want Catholics around any more than the Left does.

Upon hearing the Pope's words encouraging mercy for immigrants and that our economic system should do more to help the poor, Ann Coulter said, "This is why our Founders distrusted Catholics and didn't want to make them citizens." Michael Savage said, "The same people who brought us Obama brought us this pope." Upon the release of the Pope's encyclical on the care of our common home, Rush Limbaugh said, "[E]ssentially what this papal encyclical is saying is that every Catholic should vote for the Democrat Party," and called it the pope's "Marxist climate rant." Fox News' Brian Kilmeade said, "Yeah, I’m Catholic, and he could stay home...Some of his comments just have no place. He’s in the wrong country...Tired of the pope." In wanting to visit his flock in Cuba, Gov. Chris Christie said, "I just think the pope is wrong. The fact is that his infallibility is on religious matters, not on political ones." Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, a self-professed Catholic (like Nanci Pelosi is a self-professed Catholic), announced he was boycotting the Pope's address to Congress, saying, "I don’t need to be lectured by the Pope about climate change." Right before the Pope was to address Congress, an unidentified Congresswoman with a strong Southern accent was picked up on the mic saying, "I'm gonna take my shoe off and throw it at his head." And it goes on and on.

Although I'm not a huge fan of Michael Voris, he has a point when talking about this Right-wing meltdown - the Right hates Catholicism just as much as the Left does, but the Right has done a better job at hiding it. The truth is that orthodox Catholicism is incompatible with many modern-day American "values". Even the GOP cop-out of not being outraged about gay "marriage" because "There can be no such thing," but their outrage lies in that "The states should be the one who decides." Ok, so it's not immoral at the state level?

Simply put, whenever you have orthodox Catholicism, it always looks and acts...foreign around the non-Catholic world. That's on purpose. We're not Protestants. We're not "Americans first". Our loyalty is to the King of the Universe, not our congressman or our governor or our flag. Faithful Catholics are good Americans, patriotic Americans, and as a Knight of Columbus, I feel honored to be associated with so many amazing, kind, patriotic Americans. But, and this is a big BUT, that doesn't mean supporting America for America's sake; when we're wrong, we're wrong. The Wall Street bailout? Wrong. Our current economic system where the rich keep getting richer, the poor keep on getting poorer, and the Middle Class keep getting squeezed? Wrong. Our policy of unending warfare? Wrong. This country's embrace of contraception, abortion, and sterilization - including as conditions for international financial aid? Wrong. Our boycott of Cuba while we kiss the feet of Communist China, one of the world's worst human rights offenders? Wrong. Our addiction to oil from Saudi Arabia, one of the world's leading architects of radical Islam, at the expense of our political freedom and the environment? Wrong. Our blind support of Israel, even when she's wrong and violating the rights of her neighbors - many of whom are fellow Christians - all because of an erroneous theology invented in the 1800s? Wrong.

The Right and Left hate us because to them, we're not American enough. It's been the charge against us from the start. If we were truly good Americans, we'd just shut up and go with the flow. But, because our teachings cannot agree with many of the public policies of this country, Right and Left take turns telling us to shut up and sit down. At the end of the day, we really don't have many friends out there. I remember reading an article about our country's anti-Catholicism and at the end as proof for how much the country has changed, it highlighted the fact that Kennedy was elected and that we now have so many Catholics in political office. The truth is that the Kennedy's were as Catholic as Queen Elizabeth II. And when you look at most Catholic politicians on the national scale, they've picked America over their Catholicism, whether it's the Left's love affair with the Culture of Death, or the Right's nativism and idolatry of capitalism and war. Whenever the pope says something that doesn't jive with the American Right or Left, politicians - even priests and theologians - come out of the woodwork to explain how little of the pope's words Catholics need to really adhere to; I saw that with Laudato Si'.

At the end of the day, I love my country, but I love my Church even more because it's the Body of Christ. My loyalty is with the Church, the faith handed down from Christ and the Apostles, defined by the Fathers, lived out by the saints, and explained through the ages by her theologians, doctors, and popes. America can be gone tomorrow - to most on the Right, that means the world will go to hell in a handbasket. To the faithful Catholic, that's just one more nation that's passed through history - but the Church remains. The Church will always remain.