Monday, April 28, 2014

Sarah Palin and the politically homeless Catholics

(Cross-posted at Coalition for Clarity)

I don't know that I would have learned that Sarah Palin blasphemously compared the torture of waterboarding to baptism if Rod Dreher hadn't written about it here.  I'm completely with him when he says:
OK, stop. Not only is this woman, putatively a Christian, praising torture, but she is comparing it to a holy sacrament of the Christian faith. It’s disgusting — but even more disgusting, those NRA members, many of whom are no doubt Christians, cheered wildly for her.
For having written that, Rod is now being attacked on Twitter as a non-conservative; one such Tweet even misidentifies Rod as a Catholic in order to add a little anti-Catholic bigotry to the attack.  About that, Rod writes:
Well, I’m not Catholic, but I’m honored by the Hon. Kincannon’s mistake, given that the Catholic Church has stood up strongly against torture. Now, let’s be clear about this: Kincannon doesn’t represent Southern Baptists, either in his anti-Catholic bigotry or his support for torture. My Southern Baptist friend Joe Carter is a Marine Corps veteran and a political and religious conservative, but he was quick to criticize Palin’s remarks on the Gospel Coalition site. So readers, don’t use this Kincannon tweet to slam Southern Baptists. What’s interesting here, and unsettling, is that a professing Christian is so eager to defend a Christian who endorses torture (and compares it to baptism!) that he publicly indulged in anti-Catholic bigotry, presumably because the Catholic Church opposes torture.
Like I said, I’m not Catholic, but I’ll proudly stand with Catholics and any other Christians who believe that human dignity and the Holy Name is more important than maintaining solidarity with barbarism and its proponents. How can it make you proud that the more an American goes to church, the more likely he is to support torture? What is perplexing is the increasing self-marginalization of the populist right. Do they imagine that most Americans take pleasure in hearing a conservative leader promote torture in a gleeful tone, and a crowd cheer for her in doing so?
Sarah Palin was one of the last Republicans on the national stage I actually supported, mainly because I believed that she was that rarity, a truly Christian, conservative, pro-life, Republican party woman who would help shape the party in years to come.  Boy, was I wrong.  There is nothing pro-life at all about a rabid support of torture.  There is nothing Christian about cheering for waterboarding or comparing it to baptism.  There is nothing conservative about the kind of warmongering that leads to approving of torture in the first place.  That leaves "Republican party woman," and frankly there's nothing in any of that that would be worth supporting.

So I regret having supported her, just as I regret having believed that Republicans actually offered a substantially different choice to voters (as compared to Democrats) instead of being the other side of the same filthy coin, minted by oligarchs, circulated by sycophants, and duly rendered to Caesar.  It's becoming increasingly clear that we serious Catholics are politically homeless in this culture of death and destruction, and that both major parties only tolerate us as long as we're willing to stifle our Catholic consciences and give them our votes.


stmonicasbridge said...

Thank you for this. How many times have I looked at my political choices and thought about sending it back to the party to say "try again." It's happening now with the Republican primary for our House seat. Why do I have to choose the lesser of two evils? It is still a choice for evil. Anyway, like you, I supported Palin. I am deeply hurt as a Christian, and yes a Catholic, by her statements comparing a sacrament of initiation to torture.

Jacque said...

I've never been a fan of S.P.. She has what my husband would call, "the right yo yo, but the wrong string.".
I think she tries to live out her Christian beliefs, but she also has the plague of vanity which causes her to seek out the media and fame. We are all plagued with some kind of sin.
Yes her statement about waterboarding baptism is rediculous, but it just shows how most protestants don't really have any faith in the sacraments at all. In fact they dont believe in a sacramental life. To them the sinners prayer does what we know only baptism can do.

just my 2cents

Daddio said...

I expect to be accused of "wasting" my vote, but I am also tired of being taken for granted by the Republican party.

Red Cardigan said...

Jacque, I love that saying of your husband's! :)

Maybe one day soon there will be a new, pro-life, anti-torture, pro-traditional marriage, pro-Catholic social teaching party we can support. I can dream, anyway...

Elizabeth said...

The problem seems to be that the RCC refuses to fit neatly into American political categories. As such, both "tribes" of our national polity attack those parts of Catholic teaching that they find objectionable. Worse, they seem unable to use their intellects, not to mention their hearts. to understand that the teachings are internally consistent.

You know I'm not Catholic, Red, but the other day when a friend of mine blamed the RCC for the excesses of capitalism, I spent the rest of our lunch together lecturing her on highlights of history. She claims to know "too much about Christianity" but hadn't even heard of Emperor Constantine and his decision to make Christianity the official Roman religion. She had never heard of Adam Smith, who basically wrote the capitalist "bible" as the industrial revolution was revving up.
Smith was not RC.

This from an "educate" middle aged woman who attended a highly regarded university. Very depressing.

Red Cardigan said...

Wow, Elizabeth! Amazing. But my oldest girl is taking a college history class from a teacher who majored in film, and let's just say his idea of the role of Christianity in general (not just Catholicism!) in American history is...truly odd. It's as though he got all his ideas about American history from film school!

extremesplash said...

You know the real reason the Left has been winning elections? The Left doesn’t throw their own under the bus for being “too liberal.” Liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid say ridiculous things on almost a daily basis but you don’t see liberals in the media mocking them and marginalizing them. In fact, they are heroes to the Left. You may not agree with the way Palin presents the conservative message but it obviously connects with a good chunk of the base. Is the GOP and conservatism in general in such good shape that people like you and GOP leadership should be mocking and pushing a good portion of the votership away in order to make yourselves look good to people who will never vote Republican anyway? I’d say the answer is probably “no.”

Elizabeth said...

He probably did!

I was thinking today about my friend's arguments - esp. about the wealth of the RCC. For starters, it has been gathering for over 1,700 years, and some of it is in the form of art that was commissioned or gifted to the church. What is the Vatican supposed to do - sell the Sistine Chapel and The Pieta? Much of the land and building wealth was donated and built by Catholic faithful over the centuries. I'm inclined to suggest that the church's wealth indicates that they are generally good savers.

And let's talk about RC social teaching, in which capitalism is about as beloved as communism.

Anyway, the lack of historical perspective was jarring. My friend is an observant Conservative Jew, who would be the first to correct anyone who started saying ignorant things about Judaism. I understand that she has been evangelized more than she cares to think about in her lifetime, by people who seem to think they'll get an extra star in their halo in heaven for converting a Jew. But still, there is not excuse for ignorance.

I find myself defending Christianity as a whole more often than I, as Buddhist, ever thought would happen.

Kirt Higdon said...

"hadn't even heard of Emperor Constantine and his decision to make Christianity the official Roman religion"

I'm more concerned about all the many people who have heard of this, because it did not happen. Constantine ended the persecution of Christians and gave them religious liberty, but he continued to function as high priest of the official Roman paganism until he was finally baptized on his deathbed by an Arian bishop. Christianity was not made the official religion of the empire until the Emperor Theodosius, a couple of generations later. This is an inconvenient truth for all those who like to blame Constantine for all the problems of the Catholic Church and Christianity in general.

Kirt Higdon

Elizabeth said...

Kirt- Sorry, of course you are right. I wrote that while still coming down from trying to summarize 1,700 years of European history that included brief updates on the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, economics and Adam Smith (my friend referred to Scotland as a "third world country" so I had to give a refresher on the place of Edinburgh), aspects of Catholic social teaching and the fact that the RCC runs the major global chain of charity hospitals and institutions of higher learning. All over lunch. Gloss happened!

People "blame" Constantine for stuff? Hasn't he been dead a bit long for personal grudges to linger?



Scott Waddell said...

Actually extremesplash the question isn't why liberals keep winning. Rather, it's why are liberals in such lock step. And that's because they would rather let their candidates loose than deviate one millimeter from the liberal script. They can afford to do this because they can loose a thousand times. They only need to win once to destroy whole chunks of law and order at a time. Contrast that with all the excuses people make for Three Exceptions Republicans.