Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Obama bad, My Obama good

Election years. Did I tell you that they KILL ME? I suppose part of the problem is that it's hard to be a clear and consistent Catholic when certain bodies in the Church present "either/or" arguments. That would be simple. If you are for GOOD, then you are against EVIL. However, when such arguments are put toward individuals, such as our president, then it gets weird.
When a Catholic asks, "Can I support the Obama Administration as a Catholic?" One can look at this recent communication from the USCCB and say, "yes" (si):

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the action of President Barack Obama today to defer action to all young people eligible under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, saying that it would permit young people who were brought into the United States undocumented to come out of the shadows and more fully participate in society.
“This important action will provide legal protection, and work authorization, to a vulnerable group of immigrants who are deserving of remaining in our country and contributing their talents to our communities,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.“These youth are bright, energetic, and eager to pursue their education and reach their full potential.”
As many as 800,000 young people would be eligible to receive a deferred action on deportation for two years, and a work permit.
Archbishop Gomez said the President’s action is no substitute for passage of the DREAM Act and encouraged Congress to enact comprehensive and humane immigration reform.
Oh, and if someone came up and said, "Can I support the Obama Administration as Catholic?" One can look at this recent communication and say, "NO!"

Catholics and many other Americans have strongly criticized the recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. For the first time in our history, the federal government will force religious institutions to fund and facilitate coverage of a drug or procedure contrary to their moral teaching, and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit an exemption. This is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide such coverage even when it violates our consciences.
What we ask is nothing more than the right to follow our consciences as we live out our teaching. This right is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith? Without religious liberty properly understood, all Americans suffer, deprived of the essential contribution in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that religious Americans make every day.
What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative, and robust civil society—or whether the state alone will determine who gets to contribute to the common good, and how they get to do it.

Both arguments come from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. Like in the same week.

So how does one work this out?

First, we can't think of things in binary terms. No sane person can make decisions of value in "either/or" categories. Most decisions of import are made with painful and risky sacrifice. And if you support this administration does not automatically make you FOR KILLING BABIES or WANTING MEXICANS TO TAKE OVER EVERYTHING. You can use your own discernment. Which leads me to...

Second, it depends on the horse that pulls our cart. For example, you may be able to parse the issue of the HHS mandate to the point where it is of lesser sin than it's alternative. That's not a bad road to take. What is bad is to willingly oppose the Church without any education or prayer.

Third, watch the language. Sometimes what the administration says is far different than what is said about them. That goes for the Federal government as well as the Bishops in the Church. And that goes for what each one says about the other.

Democracy, as we know it, is a beautiful and precious thing. It only survives by intelligence and respect.

And election years seem to suck both of those things right out of us.