More than likely, candidates can speak to a congregation because they’re being asked to religiously witness rather than campaign. Is this a fuzzy distinction? Yes. But candidates from both sides do it – Bush has done it a lot.
Alternatively, a congregation can ask both candidates to speak, but if only one shows up… it’s not their fault. Is this breaking the spirit of the rules which say that any political forum in such a church must be non-partisan? Yes. But it happens to both parties.
Are there cases in which a minister blatantly breaks the IRS rules and encourages his or her congregation to vote for a particular candidate or party? Yes. A lot. But for every Southern Black congregation that is told to vote Kerry/Democrat there is a MidWestern White evangelical congregation being told to vote Bush/Republican.
The IRS does not have the means to chase after every hundred-family congregation where the rules are broken. However, the TV evangelists and the big players, like the RCC are watched closely.
Well, yes and no. Catholics who attend Mass every week tend to be more conservative than those who don’t, and do display bloc-like patterns in voting. However, only 20-30% of Catholics attend Mass every week, and un-bloc the whole.
Well, the Catholics who went to mass every week in Reston tended to vote a lot differently than the ones who went to mass every week in Herndon. Reston’s parish (The church itself looked like a ski lodge) came from a “folk gospel” tradition, while Herndon’s was much more traditional and conservative (as was their building’s 1940s architecture).
The church has a lot of opinions and such, but will not officially TELL people how to vote. Just because a local priest or bishop says something, does not make it Church Doctrine. The official line so far is, vote your conscience.
Well, I’m not in Memphis, so I can’t hear what’s being said in any of these churches. Have you been to all of them to hear what’s being said, or is this FOAF stuff?
And if they are an IRS Tax-exempt organization, and they endorse a specific candidate by name or party, and someone turns them in, and the IRS cares enough to investigate, then it will result in a loss of tax-exempt status.
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Again, it states to vote your moral conscience based on Catholic teachings. Neither Kerry or Bush are clear cut electable candidates based on some of the questions raised on page 2. We have been asked not to have just a narrow view (focused on one topic), but to look at the broader view based on how the candidates can best accomplish the most concerns brought up by the church as a whole.
As for regular Church going Catholics being more conservative than non-regular Church going Catholics, I just don’t see that. Credible cite, anyone?
Also, here are the guidelines that the Catholic Church follows when observing IRS guidelines. An individual may have an opinion, but must use private funds to express that opinion. Cite.
Are abortion, euthanasia, stell-cell research, and same-sex marriage really considered more immoral than the death penalty and unjust wars? If a strict Catholic focuses solely on those issues, of course she would vote Republican, but looking at the range of Church beliefs, one would lean towards Democrats. (Factoring in issues of social justice.)
Roman Catholicism definitely leans towards social programs aimed at helping to poor. The death penalty is also a very sticky issue. Given that Catholics see the death penalty as unjust killing, and that Republicans tend to favor the death penalty, when the issue is the sanctity of human life, which party to favor isn’t clear.
Since this is GQ, what I’m wondering is whether the Catholic Church in the United States is really emphasizing the issues of abortion, stell-cell research, etc., while deemphasizing issues that are equally central to Church doctrine and happen to favor Democrats.
As frequently happens in discussions of “the Catholic Church,” this seems to presume a monolithic structure that rumbles along with a monolithic perspective and focus.
The RCC is actually a pretty fractured place. You can find bishop Fabian Bruskewitz standing somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton being called a commie sympathizer. The majority of the bishops (the only guys who currently get to “speak for” the church) holding a lot of contradictory positions on a lot of subjects. Certainly individual diocese may take a noticeably Left-leaning or Right-leaning stance (as set by the bishop), but it is difficult to accurately characterize “the church” as being pro-Republican or pro-Democrat. (And, as with many topics, one’s viewpoint can be swayed by one’s own views, with people who are mad (or delighted) about any position in their local diocese feeling that the church is “clearly” leaning away from (or toward) one party or the other.)
The Church doesn’t normally rank issues on importance, but the “real world” answer is that abortion is one of the most important issues, because innocent people (the unborn babies) are being killed. Wars are also big deals, for the similar reasons (innocent civilians). Stem cell research is wrong because the stem cells come from aborted fetuses.
On the surface of it, same-sex marriage shouldn’t be on the same level as matters of life and death, but it’s currently a “hot button” issue, and gets a lot of play for that reason.
The death penalty is a matter of life and death, and the Church is firmly against it, but most American Catholics aren’t too concerned about it, because the people who are being killed have been duly convicted of very serious crimes.
The archbishop of St. Louis has told the Catholics in his jurisdiction that abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research from human embryos and same-sex marriage are wrong in every case, with no moral justification whatsoever. War and even capital punishment can be justified in some rare circumstances, but since any support of euthanasia in any circumstance can not be justified, then a politician’s stance on that issue must transcend a stance on war.
This is one of those areas where even though a given body says something (e.g., abortion) is wrong, there isn’t a church-wide definition of how far a person can go in supporting a pro-choice postion (while not doing anything directly involved in an abortion). Local bishops are filling that void with their own pronouncements.
As can be seen by the posts in this thread, there is something to be said for monolithic doctrine.
I couldn’t finish my previous post because I had to start working, so here goes
In this election, both Bush and Kerry are on the wrong side of some important issues. Bush is wrong about the war and the death penalty (aside: has Kerry said anything about capital punishment one way or the other?), while Kerry is on the wrong side with abortion, stem cell research, and same-sex marriage.
In this election, Catholics have to decide who the lesser evil is, and vote for him.