Saturday, April 23, 2005

Messing with my life

Laura at 11d complains about non-Catholics holding an opinion about affairs in the Catholic chuch:

I just don't get why non-Catholics give a crap about the church's position on women clergy, abortion, or birth control. Nobody is dragging you up the aisle to receive Christ's life blood.

If only that were true. The problem is that the church isn't just taking positions on these issues with regard to Catholics, but rather working to institute their positions in civil law and society. And that does affect me and is my business.

If Catholics want to quibble about which circle of the inferno you will reside in if you use birth control, that isn't my affair. But when the church tries to make it difficult or illegal for anyone to obtain contraception, it becomes my business. And the same goes for abortion or gay marriage or anything else for which the church has decided that non-Catholics are obliged to live by their standards.

So am I saying that Catholics are obliged to withdraw from the political arena? Not at all. Individual Catholics should be informed by their faith and vote according to their moral principles. But when the church as an institution starts getting involved in politics, as when Ratzinger issued a directive that pro-choice politicians should be denied communion last year, for example, or when he issued an instruction yesterday that Spanish Catholics working in the government should obstruct gay marriages, then this becomes inappropriate meddling in secular affairs that I have every right to be concerned about.

This is true, by the way, for issues that I agree with the church on as well. I admire the Vatican position on the death penalty, for instance, but I don't think that their position as an institution should have any influence on the legality of capital punishment.

As long as the Catholic church messes about in my political institutions, I will continue to allow myself opinions about their leadership.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Republicans endorse terrorism and political assassination

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who in his previous life as attorney general of Texas was responsible for upholding the laws of that state, yesterday endorsed the assassination of judges that he doesn't agree with:

SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: "I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence." [Senate Floor, 4/4/05]

Over at Red State intellectually dishonest mental lightweight Josh Trevino eggs him on:

the notion that the people might reject -- and might violently reject -- a judiciary that does not follow their collective will dates back in American history to the 1790s...[s]et against this strain of American history... Cornyn's musing, while impolitic, is hardly [a] danger to Constitutional governance...

Josh, who wants people to think him smart just because he knows who Tacitus is, would say that Cornyn should be absolved of blame just because he appended the following to his remarks:

Certainly without any justification but a concern that I have that I wanted to share.

Well, of course Cornyn is going to say that. He has to give himself some political cover, after all. Can't be going around explicitly endorsing terrorism and political assassination. Cornyn thus moves himself into the class of Yasir Arafat and Marawan Barghouti and all those other Palestinian leaders who preface their cheerleading of suicide bombers with such phrases as "While we don't condone such violence..." But appending such a qualification is meaningless. What matters is the substance of what he said, which is that assassination of judges is a logical conclusion, in his opinion, to decisions that are unpopular with the theocrats and racists among us.

The next time an Eric Rudolph blows up an abortion clinic or a Tim McVeigh blows up a federal building or a Nazi follower of Matthew Hale shoots a judge, remember that Senator Cornyn implicitly endorsed such a course of action and supposedly mainstream Republicans like Josh think it is part of a grand American tradition.