Saturday, November 3, 2012

VOTE REPUBLICAN, OR BE JUDGED FOR ETERNITY

Letter to the members of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria from Bishop Daniel R. Jenky:
Election AD 2012

By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.

Dear Catholic Believers,

Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present. Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community's grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception. This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system. Contrary to the guarantees embedded in the First Amendment, the HHS mandates attempt to now narrowly define and thereby drastically limit our traditional religious works. They grossly and intentionally intrude upon the deeply held moral convictions that have always guided our Catholic schools, hospitals, and other apostolic ministries.
....

For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God's great mercy in time will give way to God's perfect judgment in eternity.
The headline of the post at the National Catholic Reporter is "Peoria bishop orders Catholics to the polls".   Since I've long admired the reporting at NCR, I hope the headline is irony.  What the bishop orders is that Roman Catholics go to the polls and vote for Mitt Romney and Republican candidates for the US Senate.
 In 1954, Congress saw the need to separate charities and churches from politics. An amendment was offered on the floor of the Senate by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson.

The Johnson amendment is found within the well-known section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In its present form, the law states that charities, including churches, are not allowed to “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”


Freedom of speech and religious liberty are essential elements of our democracy. But the Supreme Court has in essence held that tax exemption is a privilege, not a right, stating, “Congress has not violated [an organization’s] First Amendment rights by declining to subsidize its First Amendment activities.”

The rule against intervention by charities and churches in political campaigns has been entrenched in the law for over a half-century. Congress enacted the law. The Courts upheld it. Our job at the IRS is to educate the public and charities about the law and to enforce it in a fair and evenhanded manner.
Perhaps the powers-that-be at the IRS might be moved to investigate the Diocese of Peoria's tax-exempt eligibility. The bishop stepped outside the boundary of advocating issues to advocating candidates. I know the IRS is not likely to do as I suggest, but it should.

The bishop's heavy-handed order to the priests in the diocese demonstrates desperation and a lack of confidence in his own authority.  He speaks of the "Catholic community" as though all Catholics think alike and speak with one voice, which is (excuse my language) bullshit, as is Jenky's claim of "assault upon our religious freedom", on which basis he orders the faithful to vote Republican, or risk their very salvation.  Will Roman Catholics pay attention to the gospel according to Jenky when they vote? I hope not.

In an earlier post I quoted another letter from Bishop Jenky in which he compared President Obama to Hitler and Stalin. 

Note: I was going to take a pass on posting on the the bishop's odious letter, but Rmj at Adventus inspired me otherwise.  Keep in mind that the thoughts and words here are my own, and Rmj bears no responsibility.

36 comments:

whiteycat said...

Bp Jenky has most definitely overstepped his bounds. This is downright SICK!

Grandmère Mimi said...

whiteycat, I seem to have exhausted my commentary with "bullshit".

Bex said...

I remember back in the day (2004) when the IRS investigated an anti-war sermon preached by the former rector of All Saints, Pasadena. That's not even close to what Jenky is advocating, but I doubt the IRS will be interested.

Marthe said...

Apparently the Bishop is in total denial, fantasizing that the women of the state not only agree with his version of the faith, but adhering to some form of the rhythm method (which a Boston Catholic friend described to me as have two, swear off sex for the rest of eternity, which is why golf and drinking are so popular there) ... ummmm, Bp., nobody is listening to you ... Thank God (you know, the One who gave us free will and is our one and only judge).

Grandmère Mimi said...

Yes, I remember the investigation, too, Bex. Much ado about nothing.

That a so-called follower of Christ would prey on the fears of the gullible is despicable.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I became pregnant with a rhythm baby when my first child was 5 months old. Thereafter, I did not trust the method.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I love that the bishop screams about freedom of religion while stepping all over the religious freedom of everyone else. I sure hope you're right and that no one is listening to him. I fear you're wrong and hundreds of thousands will.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I fear you're wrong and hundreds of thousands will.

Elizabeth, I'd put money on it. The gullible are taken in by this kind of fear-mongering.

Marthe said...

Exactly why women need to be in charge of the "timing", by any means necessary. No doubt you love that child, but it sounds like she/he was not exactly on the schedule you would have chosen. The GOP goes on and on about "personal responsibility" then would outlaw the means by which women CAN be responsible ... eeeeaaagh!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Oh, I do love my No. 2 son, and the two boys were great companions to each other as they grew up. When my sons were 2 and 3, I was pregnant again and after my daughter was born, I finally got serious about birth control, though I agonized over the decision. What unnecessary suffering the church inflicted on its members. I don't regret any of my children, but I would have spaced the pregnancies differently.

Prairie Soul said...

I hate to get too worked up about anything political because I like to believe that common sense ultimately will prevail in the voter's booth on election day. Tea Party shenanigans have shaken my confidence, though I think (hope) that this movement is on the wane. But in that the USCCB has been so blatant in its disregard for the separation of church and state, I am just about ready to protest outside the local cathedral doors. These letters are being read in dioceses across the country, and they very well could influence the election. If the IRS does not launch an investigation, a harmful precedent will be set. The bishops are a collection of bullies on this issue (even though some of them may be well intentioned), and they need to knock it off.

Acolyte of Sagan said...

"I love that the bishop screams about freedom of religion while stepping all over the religious freedom of everyone else."

There does seem to be some confusion over the meaning of religious freedom in certain quarters. I'm no expert on the Bill of Rights (except for the fact that Hancock really wanted his name to be noticed), but I always understoood that the basic principle was that everybody would be free to worship any religion or none, and that the State wouldn't be able to meddle in the affairs of - or be seen to actively promote or favour any one religion over another. The confusion does, I believe, stem from the commonly believed myth (lie?) that the Pilgrim Fathers left Britain to escape religious persecution, when they actually decamped from our shores because they weren't allowed to practice religious persecution here. There was no problem with them being highly puritanical and nobody told them that they couldn't practise their religion, they just weren't given carte blanche to demand their outdated - even for those times - fundamentalist views be adopted by the nation. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of Americans (not just the Mormons) are not overly clued-up over their country's history and think that the Pilgrim Fathers and the Founding Fathers are one and the same. They certainly seem to think that the religious freedom they are promised in the Constitution is the 'freedom to control others' type the Pilgrims would have loved to have, rather than the 'if you don't like it, you haven't got to follow it' freedom the Founding Fathers put their names to.

Acolyte of Sagan said...

You see,that's the trouble with the Catholics. They've always thought themselves as being bigger that The Beatles...or am I confusing stories? :-)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Somehow a good many folks seem to have a wrong understanding of the freedom of religion clause in the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

David and John said...

If enough folks would write the IRS asking them to investigate the Bishop/Politican of Peoria, they might look into the matter.

Marthe said...

Bully religion is bully religion, regardless of the denominational label. I have no problem with the idea that God's law trumps faulty human law, but when humans decide that they "know" what God thinks, I know we're in the troubling realm of delusion and coercion and error. And you're quite correct in your earlier comment re: founding vs. pilgrim fathers - most of these people pick and choose the version of history that suits them, including the twisted to suit their bullying "spin" flavor. The thing is, they will always find a way to justify persecuting others, even if it's only "for your own good" or "we must save your soul" nonsense ... their impulse to impose their reality on others is a form of mental illness ... perhaps the only contagious form of brain disease ... and it doesn't appear that anyone is leading the research on how to cure it (and oh, by the way, education doesn't really help - these folks are determined to inflict their reality on others ... the bully imperative). Sane people must vote them back into their rightful place in the tolerated fringe of existence.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Prairie Soul, I'm fast losing faith in the assumption that the majority of people have common sense. The IRS seems to tread lightly in investigating religious organizations who violate the rule of no endorsement of candidates. I'll be surprised if they move ahead.

Grandmère Mimi said...

That's a thought, David and John. I believe if we searched around, we may be able to name a few more bishops besides Jenky.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Acolyte of Sagan, I believe it was the Beatles versus Jesus. :-)

One of these days, I'm going to get one letter of your nom de blog wrong and not catch it in time.

Grandmère Mimi said...

A number of the Founding Fathers were Deist, rather than Christian, although they may have regularly attended religious services.

Yes, the religious leaders who claim to know the mind of God and wish to impose "God's will", as they see it, on others are bullies.

Bonnie said...

Marthe--I think there is always an element of brain-washing too. People are so easily susceptible to herd mentality--trusting the wrong people who have wormed their way into positions of authority in their lives. I will pray that we "vote them back into their rightful place in the tolerated fringe of existence."

Amen to the "bullies" comment too. (And, OT, need your prayers on Monday morning due to a situation where I have found myself the victim in a gob-smacking, demonizing mess created by a bully with phony credentials who has managed to gain the trust of some very gullible people. I suppose that I should not be surprised. Sticking your neck out for justice issues will eventually garner more than a little hostility. Please pray that I can meet this with wisdom, grace and forgiveness.)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Boonnie, I will pray for wisdom, grace, and forgiveness, dear friend and for peace for you.

Prairie Soul said...

Here's the letter that was sent to North Dakota parishes by Bishop David Kagan:

Catholic citizenship

It was followed up with a "clarification," which can be seen on the same webpage.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Prairie Soul, I hope that load of crap, including the "clarification", pisses off enough of the flock that they vote the opposite of the instructions.

Acolyte of Sagan said...

"Please pray that I can meet this with wisdom, grace and forgiveness."

But if all else fails, wear big boots and give the offending party the mother of all arse-kickings. It's neither big nor clever admittedly, but it can be so satisfying.

Grandmere, that one wrong letter would blow my atheist credentials for sure :-)

Prairie Soul said...

Some Catholic friends said their priest actually gave some sheepish "hope this won't offend anyone" remarks in advance of dutifully reading the letter from the pulpit. As has been said numerous times above, these bishops are bullies. My friends are not cowering in obedience, however.

kishnevi said...

Mimi, you'll notice that His Godness the Bishop didn't actually say to vote for the GOP, or even to vote against the Democrats. So, in of those technicalities that law and order zealots love to preach against, he wasn't crossing the bounds set by the tax code.

And mind you, he is correct that a fundamental religious and moral conviction of the Catholic Church--that it has the right to force everyone else to conform to its teachings, something it seems to have adopted about the year 313 CE (or whichever year it was that Constantine decided to be a Christian). People don't seem to understand that this is really a case of the Catholic Church attacking the First Amendment, not the government.

kishnevi said...

Actually, the North Dakota letter is rather restrained compared to the Peoria letter. No threat of eternal damnation, you notice, and it simply says "this is Catholic teaching, and think it over so you can decide for yourself how to apply it when you vote". And no false claims of religious persecution, either.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jenky may have left enough weasel room for the IRS to let him be, but although he does not name the party, in this country, we have only one president and one federal Senate at a time. "Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community's grave objections..." blah...blah...blah, common sense would say that the bishop can only be referring to the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, common sense does not always prevail.

Grandmère Mimi said...

One day I will blow your atheist credentials, Acolyte of Sagan. It's bound to happen. :-)

David and John said...

As the Parish Administrator (and the first one to arrive on Sunday mornings) one of my duties is to check the voice mail on the Church office phone.

There were three voice mails encouraging "the pastor" to preach about voting this Sunday, and remiders about how important this election is for Christian freedom. THe voice mails were pre-recorded. One was from James Dobson (Focus on the Family), one was Dr. David Jeremiah, and the other was the pastor of First Baptist Church (Dallas). This is the first time I have heard of anything like this.

To say I was disgusted is the most civil thing I can say.

Grandmère Mimi said...

David and John, the "Christian" pastors should spend time in Iraq or Pakistan or another country where Christians risk their lives to practice their faith. Then they might know the meaning of loss of "Christian freedom". That these heavy-handed pastors portray themselves and their followers as victims turns my stomach.

In which denomination do you serve as Parish Administrator?

David and John said...

Why, The Episcopal Church of course :)

David and John said...

Actually, after discussing it with the rector, we decided the phone calls may have served their intended purpose.

We might be hearing a sermon someday about how easy it is for some people to place the "gospel of partisan politics" above the Gospel of Christ. While that homily is not exactly what the callers would want to hear, it is about as close as politics comes to our pulpit.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I thought so, but I was not sure.

Regarding your comment that follows, that would be a fine sermon to hear. Our priest preached on the saints, how we are all called to be saints.

Bishop Morris suggested that the churches in the diocese have a special collection today for the dioceses that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, as we remembered that the national church and various dioceses and churches around the country were so very generous to us in south Louisiana after Katrina and the federal flood.

Scott Paton said...

Oh the poor catholic church............my heart bleeds! Not! The Vatican is a very powerful and rich organisation with a very dubious past. It can look after itself as it has always done. Its much worse than the mafia or any other crime related organisation. So shut the fuck up catholic believers!!!!!!