Saturday, November 18th, 2017

I’m Catholic. We don’t elect religious leaders.


Congressman Michele Bachmann is getting some negative publicity over the beliefs of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Apparently they’re not big fans of the Pope, and even refer to him as the Antichrist. I understand at least one Lutheran leader was so upset at the Catholic Church he vandalized a church door in Germany.

I’m surprised he wasn’t prosecuted for a hate crime.

For the record, I have seen all three of the original Omen movies, and the Pope looks nothing like the Antichrist.

I can think of a lot of reasons for and against a Bachmann candidacy for President of the United States, including the shabby way she treated Turner and Overdrive. Unless Bachmann wants to pass the Popery Act , her religious beliefs shouldn’t matter. The last time I checked, the Constitution did away with the religious test for office, and the late John Kennedy opened the doors of the Oval Office to every religion.

I don’t find Bachmann’s religious views any more interesting than I find Mitt Romney’s religion or Sarah Palin’s religion. What matters is the politician’s political program.

Where I become concerned is when a politician uses their religion to justify their public policy choices, a fault we can find in some conservatives and some liberals.

I am also concerned when politicians support actions “prohibiting the free exercise” of one’s religion. For example, laws that would compel Catholic hospitals to provide birth control, Catholic adoption agencies to allow homosexual couples to adopt, or Catholic charities to provide benefits to same-sex partners, are far more hostile to the Catholic Church than the beliefs of one Protestant sect that are absent the power of the state.

I also find it interesting that when this was brought up while former Congressman Mark Neumann was running for governor, it was not Neumann’s critics in the GOP raising the issue. It was some of the same people who are actively hostile to the religious beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church. Suddenly they were concerned about Catholics being offended.

Likewise, the Atlantic runs to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League to see if he’s offended. Fine. I’m sure Donohue has a long list of things that offend him that never concerned any writers at the Atlantic, including the writings of Andrew Sullivan in support of gay marriage when he was one of their regular bloggers.

Fortunately, we’re not electing a religious leader to sort out the details of Christian sectarianism. There will be no White Smoke up the chimney of the White House when the presidential election results are final, no party platform with 95 issues will be nailed to the White House doors.

We’re electing a president. If this country could survive President Bill Clinton consulting with the Reverend Jesse Jackson at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it’ll survive a few presidents that see the Pope in a more secular light.

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