Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Catholics and the Republican Party

ExcessiveCatholicism offers an insightful post on the relationship of orthodox Catholics and the Republican Party.

It is no secret that American Catholics have differences with the Republican Party. And it is no secret that many Republican Catholics (this one included) have reservations about the Republican Party. However, the depth of our conviction on non-negotiable truths, attacked so vociferously by the Left, leads us to plug our noses, to varying degrees, and vote GOP. George Weigel has summarized this entirely rational phenomenon....

As you may know, I am no fan of the Harriet Miers nomination. But Mr. Shea's 'abandon ship' overreaction, along with his scrupulous cataloguing all of the ways in which the Republican Party differs from the Church hierarchy on matters of prudential judgment promotes the (false) impression that Catholics must find both contemporary liberalism and contemporary conservatism to be equally abhorrent -- and that this bipartisan balance is somehow essential to being a Catholic. This assumption is much too narrow, much too simplistic, and much too prevalent (at least in my Catholic social circles).

I should be clear that Mr. Shea has never articulated this idea explicitly (and I don't believe he would), but my complaint is that he too often gives that impression.

Catholics are not called to be loyal Republicans, loyal Democrats, or loyal nonpartisans. We are called to be loyal to the truths of God, regardless of whose camp that leads us to. Whether that means society will label us conservative, or liberal, or moderate, or radical, or anything else, is immaterial. The society that events these categories is ever changing; God and the truth do not change.

Every five minutes or so since the Contract With America revitalized the Republican Party, someone or other has announced the Great Republican Crack-up and said it is now time for Catholics/Conservatives/Bi-metalists to jump ship for a third party.

Now, I find the idea of a system with four to five viable parties interesting, but the idea of jumping ship over any of the suggested tipping points seems premature. Indeed, one of the problems that strongly ideological movements like the Pro-Life movement have is that they tend to constantly turn against themselves -- or rather, those whom they perceive as traitors to the cause. This makes them unreliable allies, which in turn saps their political power.

It's certainly true that if pro-lifers vote Republican without seeing any results, they will eventually be as black voters are by the Democrats. However, given how aggressively and (apparently) permanently pro-abortion/gay marriage/cloning/etc. the Democratic party has become, and given that there really aren't any viable pro-life third parties out there capable of doing any good for us, it really is questionable how much good staying home or voting third party would do. It sounds suspiciously like a "get any closer and I'll shoot myself" threat.

If we are to make significant progress in turning the country away from its current, culture-of-death path, our only chance is that of imitating the early Christians, who with much sacrifice and slow persistence managed to work with and eventually take over the Roman Empire -- despite the fact that Rome was actively persecuting the Church. It is perhaps significant that despite the fact the empire actively tried to destroy Christianity, the early Church did not take a page out of Mohammed's book and retreat from Rome until it could raise enough of an arm to subdue it. Christians have historically often lived in and worked for governments which are actively antagonistic to Christian ideals.

And given that the Republican party is less antagonistic to our ideals than the Democratic party, it may well be that one of the best ways to achieve a political turn-around in this country is not by playing hard to get with the Republican leadership, but rather by trying as hard as possible to become the Republican leadership.

1 comment:

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