Love your Neighbor

The United States Constitution was drafted as a document of rights and freedoms for the American people. Anyone reading the document can see the influence of Christian teachings running throughout. “Love thy neighbor’ is a continuing theme. It is emphasized repeatedly in the New Testament and is reflected in the Constitution. The responsibilities of citizens toward each other spring from that one clear message. Yet, today, there is great anger and divisiveness. If you don’t agree with me I have a right to shoot you, or destroy your business, or have a violent protest march. The news media have been fomenting anger and divisiveness for months. Then everyone seems shocked when Republican congressmen, playing baseball, are shot. Why the surprise? The media deliberately created the climate for this act of violence to occur.

A very strange response to the heroic actions of the police who were in attendance at the ball game came with this article that was widely shared on social media: http://www.politicususa.com/2017/06/15/portrait-american-hero-gay-minority-woman-saved-republicans.html

Oddly enough, the reporter thought the gender preference, gender and race of the police officers was the most important issue in this tragedy. I wondered why.

We live in a society where there are many public services paid for by taxation. The people trained for these public services are accepted for their jobs regardless of race, gender, gender preferences, religion or political party. If they meet the job qualifications and can pass the training, they are given their responsibilities. In the case of the police service, it is to protect and serve the public. There is no qualification about which members of the public are to be protected and served. There is no matching of police officers and public by any criteria other than the equal rights and responsibilities under the law. This is as true for firefighters and health professionals as it is for police officers.

Why then, did this reporter emphasize the race, gender, and gender orientation of one of the police officers injured in this confrontation? Only to foment dissent, anger, divisiveness and sell his paper. Emotion and divisiveness sells. The American public has come to expect gossip, negativity, sexual deviance and violence in its news reports. The more violent, the more readership. A sad commentary on who we are as a nation.

The implication generated from this article is that public servant can pick and choose who they serve. The reporter seems to imply that sexual preference and race take precedence over the duties and responsibilities of the job. Is he right?

To use a parallel situation, what if there were an automobile accident or a terrorist attack and the victims were all taken to the nearest emergency room and the triage included race, sexual preference and gender in addition to the physical trauma? How would the American public react to that scenario? Americans expect to be treated equally in a health care facility.

But are they?

Pamela J. Brink, RN, PhD, FAAN. 2017. Patientology: Toward the Study of Patients. Charleston: Create Space.

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Right to Life versus Abortion – continued

freestocks-org-73878I am disappointed by the lack of response to my post asking Catholic Democrats how they justify the Democratic party’s position on abortion. Perhaps it’s because they feel it is none of my business how they believe. And that’s true, it is none of my business. I merely want to understand how someone resolves a seeming conflict in values.

In Catholicism, we have a label called “Cafeteria Catholics.” These are Catholic Christians who, seemingly, pick and choose which tenet of the Catholic faith they believe. Is the Catholic position on abortion one of those tenets?

Democrats, unlike Republicans, have what some reporters call a “herd mentality.” What one decides to do, all will do. This has been amply demonstrated during recent confirmation hearings and committee votes where no Democrat shows up to vote. As they say in the Three Musketeers, they are “one for all and all for one.”

It would seem then, that to be a Democrat, one votes and behaves according to the party line regardless of personal belief.

There are famous Catholics who are staunch Democrats. Think of President John Kennedy and his family. Or, think of the famous priest/author Andrew Greely. He, too, was a staunch Democrat. What did they think of Roe Versus Wade?

Roe versus Wade could not have passed Congress without the Catholic vote.

So, our Catholic congressmen and women approved of abortion in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Will they tell me that they were not voting in favor of abortion? Or, will they tell me that they voted for a woman having the right to choose what happens to her own body?

If the second is their answer, do they realize the woman is making a choice to kill her baby? That when she chooses an abortion she is killing her unborn child who is as much her child whether it is born or unborn?  And that those who perform abortions are deliberately killing a human child with the same lack of concern they would show in drowning a sack of kittens?

The Roman Catholic teaching is that all human life is sacred and to be protected from conception to natural death. Abortion is in direct contradiction to that teaching.

Or do Catholic Democrats see the human fetus as an “it” or a “thing” or a “growth?” This is how atheists view an unborn child. They say it is not a “person” therefore it has no rights. For centuries, Canadian and American women were not considered “persons,” which was why they were deprived of their right to vote. American slaves were not considered “persons” and so could be bought, sold or killed at their owner’s command. But if a human fetus is not a “person,” what is it? It is not the fetus of a cat or dog.

A human fetus is a human being in development just as all living beings develop.

I am aware of the issues surrounding an unwanted pregnancy. Who can deny them? But aren’t there other solutions besides abortion? It seems abortion is the easy way out without having to develop more humane solutions to an unwanted pregnancy.

The question in my mind remains – how do Democrat Catholic Christians resolve this issue for themselves? Is it a question of being a cafeteria Catholic or a cafeteria Democrat?

 

 

The Right to Life Versus Abortion: A Question for Catholic Democrats

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This is a question I would like to ask my friends who are staunch practicing Catholics as well as staunch Democrats. “How do you reconcile the Catholic belief in the right to life from conception to natural death with the Democratic belief that abortion is a woman’s right to kill her baby?”

The reason I am not asking my friends is that I do not want to jeopardize our friendship. I am afraid they will be offended by the question. I am afraid they will not answer the question; or ask a diverting question about some Republican belief; or; give an indirect emotional response rather than a reasoned answer. I want them to be open and honest and truthful to me. I am afraid of what will happen to our friendship if they are not.

So, I am choosing this method to ask my question. Why do practicing Catholics espouse abortion?

Do they simply pay no attention to this part of the party platform?

Do they really believe a woman has the right to kill her own baby?

Do they see a human fetus as an “it” or a “thing” as the Democrats seem to do?

Do they agree with the Democrats that a human fetus is not a “human person?”

Yet there is extreme outrage when a teenager tries to flush her newborn baby down a toilet. Parents are put in jail if they mistreat their babies or neglect them. But a human fetus can be murdered by the thousands without thought.

How do practicing Catholics explain this to themselves? Would they consider explaining it to me?

There is an inherent illogic for a Catholic to abort a baby, whether her own or to participate in the abortion of another woman’s baby.

I understand that there are teenagers who don’t make the connection between sex and conception. There are girls who are raped and conceive. Our society says sex is fun and to hell with the consequences – there is always abortion to solve the problem.

I have a non-Catholic Democrat friend who has accused me of not caring about the girls and women who have been raped or suffered sexual abuse in the home environment. In her eyes, abortion is the only way to handle rape and sexual abuse. But she is no longer a Christian so she views the world as an atheist does. She will not answer the question as to whether a human fetus is a person. Instead she attacks me and my faith and diverts attention from the question. She firmly believes in the Democratic platform. But she is neither Christian nor Catholic Christian. Her conscience is clear. My question is not for her.

Many couples want babies, search for a baby to adopt, pay for a surrogate mother in order to have a baby. With widespread abortion, adoptable babies are fewer.

There are other ways to deal with unwanted pregnancies and babies, but many of these have been abandoned with the easy availability of abortion.

Since the concepts of the ‘right to life’ and ‘abortion is not killing’ are totally contradictory, how do my Catholic Democrat friends reconcile this difference with their own consciences.

I would really like to know.

Medjugorje

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I have been re-reading Morris West’s “The Clowns of God,” 1981. The story is about a vision given to a Pope Gregory of the imminent end of the world and the Church’s response to that vision. One of the things West talks about is the Church’s need for ‘evidence’ or ‘verification’ of the reality or truth of a vision.

This, of course, makes me think of Medjugorje.

The visions have gone on so long that many disbelieve for that reason. Pope Francis himself, has been said to comment that ‘Our Lady does not drop in periodically and leave messages like a postman.’ The sun dancing and rosaries that turn to gold are insufficient as verifiable evidence.

Our Lady has told us that when she stops visiting Medjugorje, she will no longer appear anywhere in the world. She has also promised an indelible sign that her visits have been real.

But she also brings an apocalyptic message – when she stops her visits, the world as we know it, will come to an end. Like most of the people in West’s book, no one (aside from the devoted believing few) pays any attention to her message. Most pooh pooh the message and declare the messenger insane. (We know the Medjugorje visionaries are not insane.)

1981 was the time of the cold war when anyone could press the red button and destroy the earth. Everyone was worried about that. We have lived with that threat for so long, we are no longer concerned about it – despite the fact that the possibility remains very real. Our Lady is trying very hard to get us to change from our self-absorbed lives and turn back to God. Instead, we continue to pursue lives bent on pleasure rather than faith; privilege rather than responsibility; emotion rather than reason. We are truly headed for self-destruction if we don’t change our ways. It is so sad how few listen, believe and act.