An appeal to Catholic Right to Life Republicans to join the Democrat Party
How is that for a non-starter lead-in statement. Right off the bat 70% or more Catholic Right to Life Republican readers have turned to stone, their ears have been covered, and eyes closed. I understand. The issue of abortion is too painful, and the position staked out too entrenched. I am not, however, asking any Catholic Right to Life advocate to give up the issue of Human Dignity, including Abortion. I am asking you to fight harder for human dignity for all people.
Victor Hugo’s Prisoner 24601 in the infamous Les Misérables stole a loaf of bread to feed his nephew[i]. Theft seen as a singular act with or without context is wrong. Amplify the sin a thousand-fold, abortion with or without context is wrong. The challenge, however, is do we judge and apply justice blindly without context solely informed by the moment the crime was committed or do we own our social responsibility and address the entirety of the issue that led to an individual being in a position to feel the need to steal that loaf of bread or obtain that abortion (legally or illegally).
It is cheap grace to stop at labeling the offender a criminal or murderer and not addressing the issues that put millions like them in the position to consider committing a crime that we may see as unfathomably. We cannot throw the first stone until we have done our due diligence to eradicate the conditions that shape our inhumanity to each other.
Catholic Social Thought requires seeing, judging, and action. These are ideas are core Catholic ideas that the Jesuits practice today. Pope, after Pope, has turned to the Jesuits for fighting the intellectual and theological battles of Christian thought since the inception of the order and during the counter-revolution (fighting for the Catholic Faith’s authenticity with the rise of Protestant ideas, Martin Luther, and the enlightenment secularization of society). Catholic Social Thought is broken up into four distinct areas of study and action and supported by 40 concept papers here on every aspect of modern-day life today:
- The Principle of Human Dignity
- The Principle of the Common Good
- The Principle of Subsidiarity
- The Principle of Solidarity.
Pick any hot button topic of American politics and culture and go to this Jesuit site:
My fellow Republican Catholics, consider the concept paper on Catholic Social Thought and Human Dignity. It addresses not only Human Life, but Human Rights, Human Development, and Empowerment. Without the latter three, we will not eradicate the lack of respect for the value of every Human Life, with or without laws supporting our beliefs. Alienated, impoverished, and oppressed people who are treated with a lack of dignity and lack of access to societal resources are apt to value life in the same way society values them. I do understand that even if we correct our systemic and cultural mores that devalue life that there will still be those that will choose to devalue life despite being given every respect and access to Human Dignity that our society has to offer. They would be the exception, not the norm. Let us have strong laws commensurate with one’s ability to follow those laws.
My fellow Republican Catholics, consider the concept papers on Hunger, Health Care, Global Financial Systems, Distributive and Restorative Justice, and others. The Democratic Party needs your strength and faith to bring these social teachings to life in addition to the teachings on Human Dignity. These teachings are not the teachings of the Democratic Party, Socialism, or Bernie Sanders. These teachings are “Rooted in the Scriptures and the teaching of the Catholic Church. Catholic Social Teaching represents a developing tradition which includes organic and systematic reflection on social realities, ethical principles, and application of those principles to current circumstances.” 1
The truth is the Democratic party is paralyzed with the abortion issue. They cannot address with any substance improving Human Dignity issues as they recognize social realities prevent them from simply criminalizing actions that are often acts of human desperation and misery. They seek a remedy put forward to address the causal agents of societal indecency and inhumanity. Without the strength of Republican minded individuals who possess both a strong Catholic ethic and business ability to transform systems, the Democratic party may continue to pursue unobtainable social change. They need you. We need you. The Republican party will not support the bulk of Catholic Social teachings. Read the papers and you will agree.
At the end of the day, after you have read, you may still be immobilized or unconvinced to switch your vote or your party. I understand that sometimes our identity can chain us past what is good for us even if we recognize our party has lost its way. If you can’t join the Democratic party, maybe you can transform the Republican Party to its former integrity and make the party the pallbearer for all Catholic Social Teaching.
If that is too much to ask, as I have been amongst strong republican supporters where dialogue is unwelcome, perhaps quietly pushing a different lever or not voting at all will send a temporal message that you do not support a presidency or a party that does not support Catholic Social teachings in action or policy.
We still have had only one Catholic president. No worry – these Social Teachings to Christian theology as well!
Make the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush (the father) come alive again and bring ethics back to the White House. Bring Christian and Catholic decency and ethics to public discourse and policy. Bring back the scientist and the informed vote. Bring back America fighting for global issues and global humanity. You can do it, my fellow republicans – within your party or in mine.
At the end of the day, we are all for Human Dignity.