Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

10/8/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Catholics are called to a moral coherence in the exercise of their citizenship

On Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, at 6:15 AM (EST) Joy Allen of Pittsburgh appeared on the popular morning program "Fox and Friends". She told of her double down experience of push calls from a group associated with the Obama campaign who are reaching out to Catholics with deception.

Article Highlights

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/8/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Joy Allen, Obama push calls, anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic, USCCB, Bishops, Voter Guides, Romney, Ryan, Obama, Biden, Campaign 2012, Deal W Hudson, Keith A Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, at 6:15 AM (EST) Joy Allen of Pittsburgh appeared on the popular morning program "Fox and Friends". She told of her double down experience of push calls from a group associated with the Obama campaign who are reaching out to Catholics with deception.

As we reported twice, each of the callers began to read from exactly the same script.  The script contained claims that President Obama was not pro-abortion and that Planned Parenthood did not emphasis its abortion services (no kidding!).

But the part of the story that found traction in the mainstream media was this question from the script: "How can you support a "Mormon" who does not believe in Jesus Christ?"

This activity of 'playing the Mormon card' is a tactic which the both the president and his campaign manager promised would not be employed. In fact, since we broke the story, the Obama campaign has issued a release denying these push calls even occurred.

We knew what Joy would say, and how she would be recieved, if given the chance to tell of her experience on National Television. She was given that chance on Monday, and told of her experience with such obvious credibility. No response from the Obama campaign, yet. Stay tuned!

With the release of election voter guides by some state Catholic conferences listing issues in alphabetical order, we are now witnessing the most important story about Catholic voters, thus far, in the 2012 campaign. 

As we wrote in yesterday's Countdown, these voter guides appear to completely ignore the specific instructions of the bishops as published in the "New Introduction" to their "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship".

In the "New Introduction", the bishops underscored the importance of not treating policy issues in a "quantitative" manner, that is, as if they were all of equal value.  That is precisely what the state Catholic conference voter guide seems to have done, and quite a few Catholics, clergy, lay and religious, are upset about it. 

In our view, it might have been preferable for the conferences to issue no voter guides at all than to issue one that may be construed as confusing, inaccurate or misleading to voters in need of help understanding their obligations as faithful citizens.

We have no desire to pick a fight with any particular conference, least of all with any individual of responsibility in a conference.  However, Catholics should know the rationale being offered by staff from some of these conferences in defense of the alphabetical voter guides. 

What follows is a list of responses sent to us, and several others, by a person of responsibility within a state conference.  We have not quoted the email verbatim but have retained the basic arguments as presented.  After each argument, presented in bold type, we provide a short comment.  

1. The voter guide is not intended to provide guidance on differences between the moral importance of the issues.

In our opinion, a Catholic voter guide is not authentically Catholic, that is, true to the teaching of the Church, if it fails to distinguish between those issues that are settled, or non-negotiable, and those that are matters calling for the application of prudential judgement.  Such a voter guide misrepresents Catholic moral and social teaching, pure and simple.

2. A state Catholic conference is not legally permitted to provide guidance on the moral importance of the issues due to the Church's 501(c)(3) status.

If the Church cannot act as the Church because of its 501(c)(3) status then consideration should be given to voluntarily giving it up.  However, that is not necessary.  There is nothing in the IRS regulations regarding a 501(c)(3) organization that keeps the Church, or any of its laity, its bishops, other clergy or conferences from educating membership about the moral tenets of its faith -- even if one or more of those tenets might have a probable impact on an election.

3. The Church does provide guidance on differences in moral gravity among issues, but it cannot legally do so through voter-education documents on candidate positions, such as surveys and side-by-side comparisons.

If the problem is calling the document a "voter guide" then the conferences can solve this simply by issuing a document with a different title, such as "Moral and Social Issues in the Public Policy Debate"; one that does not do a side by side comparison of candidates by name.  On one sheet of paper, the front could contain a list of settled issues -- life, marriage, euthanasia, embryonic fetal stem cell research, and religious liberty -- and the back could contain prudential issues such as immigration, poverty assistance, the environment, war, health care, education, national security, etc. There is still time to do so. 

4. "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" does discuss the differences in moral gravity among the issues -- specifically, the duty to oppose intrinsically evil acts -- which the bishops and their conferences communicate to Catholics throughout the year.  It's the job of all Catholics to educate and be educated on this difference in moral gravity.

This is the strangest argument of all: If the Church is continually instructing its members about differences in moral gravity of political issues, why does the Church suddenly have to stop during an election season? That simply makes no sense to us.  If this sudden silence is due to a perceived threat from the IRS then that can be resolved in the ways we have suggested above: Either call the document something else or, if it becomes necessary, ditch tax-exempt status for the sake of being the Church.

5. An alphabetical listing of issues was used four years ago and the same protocol was employed this time.

Not only was the alphabetical listing of issues criticized in 2008, but the "New Introduction" of "Faithful Citizenship" -- prepared for the 2012 election -- specifically asks that Catholics not be presented issues in a "quantitative" manner. 

In summary, these state Catholic conference voter guides ignore the wishes of the bishops they represent! That is a very big story, and a sad one.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

DECLARED INVALID: North Dakota abortion ban overturned by federal judge Watch

Image of North Dakota has passed new abortion restrictions in recent years. Abortion supporters have declared North Dakota's fetal heartbeat law as the most restrictive in the country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A North Dakota law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy, has been overturned by a federal judge. The law is "invalid and unconstitutional," according to U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who declared ... continue reading


Evidence of corruption: Newly disclosed emails show Lois Lerner WAS in contact with the DOJ over conservative political groups Watch

Image of The truth is, only I am allowed to lie and dodge questions, not private citizens or their political groups.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Lois Lerner - Eric Holder scandal has hit the fan with the court ordered release of documents which implicate both in breaking the law to persecute and potentially prosecute conservative non-profit organizations. This issue has been the subject of Congressional ... continue reading


Cliven Bundy is a scofflaw, so why are so many people supporting him? Watch

Image of We want these things respected. Our Faith, our Rights, our Liberty. That's why we stand against federal corruption and evil. This is not negotiable.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Despite the drama which recently unfolded on the Bundy ranch in Nevada, the federal government apparently has a history of using heavy-handed tactics to enforce their will on rural farmers. This is part of the reason why so many people are sympathetic to Bundy, despite ... continue reading


WSJ exposes secret tax Obama has imposed on EVERY HOUSEHOLD in America - and yes, you have to pay! Watch

Image of Government regulation is a stealth tax on the economy costing $1.9 trillion annually.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Wall Street Journal has exposed one of the greatest problems of the Obama administration and how its behavior is hurting the economy. While most would be quick to cry corruption, the reality is far more mundane and at least as dangerous. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Ron Paul says he will not pay IRS fine against his non-profit org Watch

Image of Ron Paul suggested his group will fight the IRS if they attempt to enforce a fine against Campaign for Liberty.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty, a nonprofit political group, has been targeted by the IRS. The IRS has demanded to see the group's donor list, a demand the group has refused to meet which has led to a fine. The organization now says it will not pay the fine. LOS ... continue reading


Report says Christianity should be taught Watch

Image of Religions place in public education is a hotly debated issue for Americas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is commonly, though wrongly, accepted knowledge that public school teachers are not allowed to teach the Bible, biblical values, or Christian history in public schools. It is a debate that dominates every part of life, from a single household to the federal ... continue reading


Obama has proposed 442 tax hikes since taking office and you won't believe what he could tax next! Watch

Image of Obama has proposed hundreds of tax increases and more could come within the last two years.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama has attempted 442 tax increases during his six years as president so far, and more are likely to come as the administration looks for ways to pay for their proposals. According to Americans for Tax Reform, the numbers suggest why it's important to have ... continue reading


Hey Eric Holder, where are the special prosecutors? Watch

Image of Hey Holder, why won't you answer simple questions?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At several federal judges said last week that in their professional opinion, Attorney General Eric Holder has exceeded his authority by giving federal prosecutors "improper instruction" to reduce drug sentences prior to official approval of new guidelines. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Corruption runs deep - Ranking member of Committee asked to explain 'surreptitious communication' with IRS Watch

Image of Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has suspicious contact with the IRS. He has also resisted efforts to compel Lois Lerner to testify.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is asking its ranking member, Elijah Cummings (D-MD) why he had surreptitious communication with the IRS over a group that received unlawful IRS scrutiny. The committee says the public deserves a "full and truthful explanation" ... continue reading


Attorney General Eric Holder lashes out Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Attorney General Eric Holder has been under some intense, unflattering scrutiny as of late, stemming from the "Fast and the Furious" debacle. Holder went "off script" during a speech given at the National Action Network. While lauding the organization's effort ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 10:34, 37-43
34 Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-9
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Reading 2, Colossians 3:1-4
1 Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 20th, 2014 Image

St. Marian
April 20: When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter