Matt C. Abbott
Silencing Christians in the political process
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By Matt C. Abbott
November 10, 2010

It seems at least a few liberals were infuriated by Father Richard Perozich's pre-Election 2010 call for Catholics to stop voting stupidly (see my Oct. 9 column). They want us pro-life, pro-family Christians to shut up.

Alan W. is one such individual.

Alan recently e-mailed me a rambling rant, which included the following comments (out of charity, I did a bit of editing):

    Someone who obviously reads your [column] sent me an e-mail entitled 'Stop being stupid.' I was simply shocked by almost everything I read. Since I can't respond to the idiot who wrote it, I'll respond to you....

    I can't believe you people fell for Ralph Reid's 'selling of the church' to the most anti-Christian bunch of money-worshippers there are: the Republican Party. And what really makes Ralph laugh out loud is that you think some Republicans will actually try to enact your anti-pro-choice, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-everything-but-your-neo-nazi-crap agenda!

    What a laugh, the Republicans bought you but not your load of hypocrisy; they already have their own. The only — and I mean only — thing that the Republicans are actually interested in is keeping as much money and assets in the hands of the super rich. I seem to remember something about a rich man and a camel and the part where Jesus overturns the tables of the money-changers!

    So, I say back to you and your readers: Stop being stupid! You know that whole thing about the 'log in you own eye.' Please go back to being Christians and not this evil band of frenzied, un-thinking, un-feeling bunch of fundamentalist zealots! Hmmmm. Never mind; it seems throughout history, your religions have always been used to fuel hatred and death and destruction. Oh well; it was worth a try.

In a subsequent e-mail, Alan wrote:

    And again, back to my very first original point: Using the pulpit (the article was written by a priest) to further political issues is unethical and unlawful. It's fine if a person wants to express an opinion, but a tax exemption status precludes political expression. So, again, my original point is, please keep the political opinions out of the pulpit!

To which I responded:

    It's funny that liberals don't seem to mind when 'the pulpit' is used to further political issues with which they agree — just the political issues with which they disagree. I wish the Church in the U.S. would worry less about its tax-exempt status and instead be more vocal about the moral crisis we're facing in this country.

    Perhaps the reason that many clergy are seemingly afraid to be more vocal is because of the fear of losing tax-exempt status. I say: If the government decides to tax the Church, so be it. I applaud priests like Father Perozich for speaking out, and I hope more will follow suit. And if they want me to print their 'political expression' in my column, I'll be glad to do so as long as I'm able to do so.

Needless to say, Alan didn't appreciate my response. He wrote:

    Well, if you continue to print [Father Perozich's] name with his title in the Church attached on the articles, prepare to get sued! If you want to have a valid opinion, be a person like the rest of us!

The unfortunate reality: What Alan "threatens" is precisely how the left has been attempting to silence faithful Christians with regard to the political process. Sadly, it's quite possible, even probable, that the left will have more success in this area given the relativistic culture in which we live — and given that what we have is not separation of church and state, but rather (as the late Father John Hardon, S.J., stated) subordination of church to state.

By the by ... Alan was once an altar boy, his uncle was a priest, and he claims to have several friends who are priests. Scary, isn't it?

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if those emails are marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)

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