Monday, November 5, 2012

long-awaited endorsement *cough cough*

As a wise bard once said, "Don't call it a comeback!"

_Spiritual Diabetes_ has not closed.  Rather, your intrepid blogger ran off on pilgrimage to Rome for the recent canonization of seven blesseds including upstate New York native St. Kateri Tekakwitha.  More on that in a later blog post.  Suffice to say, it was quite a trip.  Nothing like going to church with a couple hundred THOUSAND of your fellow believers.  Along with that, an object lesson about the use of Latin.  But all that later...

More immediately, the election tomorrow.  Perhaps you've heard of it and the candidates running for office.  I suppose the truly observant blogger would've posted daily with insights about the races, the candidates' positions and perspectives, and the rhetoric with which the races have been conducted.  If I'd done that, then maybe some of what follows wouldn't be necessary.  Obviously I didn't, so now it's time to place a little catch-up.

SPIRITUAL DIABETES endorsement:  Mitt Romney.

Voting for Romney might very well cause several problems for those of us committed to the Catholic Church's vision of social justice.  I am especially concerned about energy production, quite frankly, living in upstate New York.  We just got the water clean, and now fracking might undo that.

Still, here's the one point:  voting Romney offers a chance to undo the HHS mandate.  Everything after that is negotiable, and I'd bet the US Catholic bishops would hold the Romney administration's feet to the fire regarding immigration, capital punishment, and health care just as they have with President Obama.

But the fact remains:  the HHS mandate is a direct assault on religious freedom and especially the Catholic Church.  This must be overturned.  Otherwise, all religious groups can expect a gradual infringement of their rights.  Yes, yes, yes, I know New York State already has laws similar to the HHS mandate.  There are, though, significance differences between a state deciding to do so and the federal government decreeing one state's actions should be the way for the other forty-nine.

Perhaps tipping my hat more than I should regarding other issues, ever since the HHS mandate was announced I could think only of... Karl Barth.  Yes, the old curmudgeon of Reformed theology, the guy who once equated the Thomistic "analogia entis" with the anti-Christ.  That being said, Barth was the one who saw the Nazi regime for what it was.  In an age when some scholars (even Jewish ones) simply could not recognize the Nazi threat, Barth said (famously) "NO!"

At some point the HHS mandate needs a similar NO!...and tomorrow is the day to deliver it.

Announcing this will probably scare away this blogger's already-scant readership.  But the whole point of this medium is some degree of public honesty and integrity, right?  The Catholic voices weighing in on the presidential race are legion--and many, like the demonic crowd in Mark 5, appear similarly unruly. Catholic bloggers like Mark Shea and Vox Nova have made it clear that a vote for EITHER Obama OR Romney does not square fully with Catholic social teaching.  Quite frankly, those bloggers make a very prescient point.  Voters, especially Catholics, fool themselves if a vote for a particular candidate inaugurates a social-economic-political vision completely resonant with their faith (secular or religious).

It's this self-congratulatory thirst for spiritual fulfillment and recognition that sparked the idea for Spiritual Diabetes

That brings me to the "Catholics for Obama" crowd. Talk about thirsting after something that ultimately isn't good for you... There are those whose support for President Obama leads them to make, in my mind, some very unwise statements regarding the unsuitability of Romney and Ryan.  I know of, and in some cases have worked very closely with, many signers of "On All Our Shoulders."  Quite frankly, the combination of logic and vitriol employed seems quite out of character.  I.e., it doesn't read like the arguments those people normally make.  Whatever--they made them....and, ultimately, they're wrong. A vote for Obama certainly supports some of what the Church's Magisterium teaches on social justice.  In fact, the Church's social justice tradition enthusiastically endorses the values that promote universal health care.

But not one that 1) violates religious freedom and 2) does so precisely on the 'life' issues. 

And in that regard Catholic support for Obama fails. This break between life and social ethics is precisely what Benedict XVI warns against in Caritas in veritate, esp. sections 15, 44, and 51.  It's this thirst for Obama's perceived suitability for Catholic social justice that, in this election, must be seen for what it is:  a left-leaning symptom of spiritual diabetes.


  1. Thanks for your thoughtful endorsement, Jeff.

    I can't really endorse either candidate, they are both terribly flawed as I see it. As for Romney reversing the HHS mandate as he says he will - I am not so sure that he will be successful. And trust me, I say that as someone that has huge issues with the mandate.

    As for his position on life, I also am not so sure that he actually believes and lives by what he says.

    Now of course, President Obama has gone to the other extreme. And his position on many ethical issues is sadly not what I would like it to be.

    But I have to vote for one of them and on this, I have prayed, discerned, listened for the Spirit, and explored my conscience more than in any other election. I know who I will vote for, despite not feeling great about it. As we know, there is no such thing as voting for the "lesser of two evils." It is still a vote for evil, but abstaining is another act in and of itself.

  2. So what IS the difference between a state government imposing a contraception mandate and the federal government imposing a contraception mandate? The link doesn't actually make an argument, just says it hoped for better from the feds.