May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Politicians and Their Faith. Practice or Political Practicality?

During the Vice Presidential debates, moderator  Martha Raddatz asked the two contenders about abortion and how their faith informs their lives. VP Joe Biden said,  “My religion defines who I am...”  He is, like Paul Ryan, a Catholic. Unlike Ryan, it appears he decides which doctrines and dogma he decides to accept.

The longer quote:
"I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others…"

Not being Catholic I had to look up "de fide": De fide (of the faith) is a "theological note" or "theological qualification" that indicates that some religious doctrine is an essential part of Catholic faith and that denial of it is heresy.[1] (Wikipedia Dictionary)

This also, to my understanding, something revealed by God. Apparently the issue of abortion doesn't qualify. 

To my greater point, politicians often separate their faith from their politics. This causes me severe cognitive dissonance. If your faith informs and defines you, how can you in practice ignore the values, beliefs or teachings of your Faith or Church?

Biden's answer is typical; he refuses to impose them on others. The Kennedy's are all pro abortion and nearly all have gotten divorces against the doctrine of the Church they claim to belong to. Nancy Pelosi, another Catholic has even said abortion is an unsettled matter in the Church, and doctrine has developed only in the last fifty years.
"I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time.  And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition.  And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months.  We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.  Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child–first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester.  There’s very clear distinctions.  This isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and–to–that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god.  And so I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins.  As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who’ve decided…"
 The Catholic Church teaches life begins at conception. It has been since at least 70 CE.  
“The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child” (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).

The Catechism in paragraphs 2271, 2272, and 2274, and explicit in 2322:
 "From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a “criminal” practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life."

If a politician claims to belong to a religious institution, or claims belief in the teachings and values of their stated Faith, when they say, like Biden, their Faith defines them, they should walk the talk. It's not a matter of forcing beliefs on others. Such people deciding to be politicians, regardless of political affiliation, should vote issues according to their Faith if they state it's what defines them. They should run for office stating they cannot vote for pro abortion laws or State funded abortion because of religious beliefs. The same with any issue. They should tell the public their affiliation and beliefs when they run for office, and that they obey and practice them. Biden saying his Religion informs his life, then not acting on that, makes him both a hypocrite and a liar. These people's politics and lust for power inform their lives, not their Church or their Faith.

What church or what religion one practices is a matter of choice. Belonging to a Church is voluntary.

If one disagrees with those teachings, dogma, doctrine, another Church should be found. To do anything other than that is hypocritical and cowardly.

 From the debate:

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