Yup. To me those two words go together. Like peanut butter and jelly. But this past election I was told by a couple of people that Catholics can be and (oddly enough) are liberal Democrats. Really? This surprised me. Most, if not all (or at least 99.9 %) of my Catholic friends are conservative. This past year we discussed the HHS mandate and how important it was to vote Obama OUT of office. So hence: I personally did not (and still don’t) think you can be liberal and be a Catholic… but I was told, or argued with… that I am wrong… and after seeing the results of the election, many Catholics did vote for Obama (WHAT?! REALLY?! UGH!)!
Though I don’t get why Catholics voted for him since the Bishops expressed over and over and over which issues we as Catholics should vote on. The main one was LIFE… but it seems that most Catholics ignored this… Our parish had pamphlets at the back of the church: Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics. The “Non-Negotiable” issues were 1. Abortion 2. Euthanasia 3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research 4. Human Cloning and 5. Homosexual Marriage. Okay, where do the candidates stand on these issues?… which ones have beliefs that are in accord with the Catholic teachings? Hm… easy. There was only one candidate that we as Catholics should vote for. (Though, just let me say, I did not think Mitt was the best pick for the Republican ticket…but he was better than the alternative… MUCH better). So SIMPLE… it should have been simple. We as Catholics should have gone out in droves and voted against the man who voted 4 times to shelve babies born alive from late term abortion, …. Right? Huh. But Catholics didn’t. Why? (WHYWHYWHY?!!!!!!!!) I have read articles by several priests who were angry about how Catholics voted. Fr. Frank Pavone, from Priests for Life, was pretty disturbed. I cannot seem to find the video of his response to the election. He was not happy.
I am Catholic first and foremost. And… I was told this past year that we, as Catholics, should not pick one political party because both are not perfect when it comes to issues important to Catholics. But wait … I found that my views and ideals (which are Catholic) fall in line with Republican’s ideals. I am not saying that they, the Republicans, are perfect. I have some problems with some of the things that are said and done in the Republican party. But if I had to choose a party that had Catholic ideals it would NOT be the Democrats. Many of their beliefs and policies go against what I believe as a Catholic. Like I said before LIFE is the most important.
So why do I consider myself conservative, and how did I become a conservative? Back when I was young and a non-practicing Catholic I was a liberal Democrat. For over twenty years I considered myself a liberal. I did not go to church. I was a wild, rebellious party girl. I did not pray nor did I even think about God or the church. I probably thought the churches teaching on many issues were outdated and wrong. The liberal Democrats ideals and beliefs kept me farfarfar away from the Christian faith.
So what brought me back to the church? Actually Jewish conservatives. Back in December of 2003 I was reading articles written by Jewish conservatives about the War on Christmas. They defended Christmas! I agreed with them… the War on Christmas made me angry! This got me to thinking about my old faith, the one I abandoned to be “free” to do what I wanted. They, non-Christians, were defending the Christian faith. Which made me think, why did I leave it? … Should I defend it too?… I needed to learn more… it got me questioning and looking back into my childhood faith.
My husband also made me re-think my beliefs on issues. He asked me, “Do you believe in small government?” Yes. “Do you believe in lower taxes?” Yes. “Do you believe in more personal responsibility?” Yes. “Welcome to the Republican party.” … uh… huh? …wait… what? I had always thought my beliefs were liberal, they were not. So I began to read and read and read and watch the politicians… they were not who I thought they were (both parties, I believed the lie that conservatives were evil). A light went on in my head. Over time and much pondering (and the movie The Passion of the Christ) I came back to my faith. I came back because of the writings of conservatives. The liberals were saying and doing things that were FAR from the church teachings. And tell me who voted God out of their Convention this past Fall? Not the Republicans.
I am told that liberal Democrats care more about “social justice” issues. Really? Hm. I am not saying they do not care about social justice issues, some do… and that is awesome. But~ are they saying that conservatives don’t care at all? Those evil, selfish greedy conservatives care only about themselves and their businesses, right?… humph. I think this lie has gone on long enough. Conservatives do care, and they actually do care a lot more than we think and are told.
Arthur C. Brooks, who was a liberal professor at Syracuse University, did a study several years ago to find out who gave more of their time, talent and treasure. When he completed his study he was very surprised at what he found. He wrote a book about it: Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism. Yes, actually Conservatives give more of their time talent and treasure to charities and to social justice issues, not liberals. Then why don’t we hear this? Blame media bias… or maybe it’s because conservatives are more humble, they don’t brag about it as much as their counterparts. The facts don’t lie… we are not those evil uncaring beings we are made out to be… we do care… and we care more than the liberals who get all the credit.
Again I will say, conservatives/Republicans are not perfect and say and do stupid things at times. I belong to that party because their “small government/low taxes/more personal responsibility” goes along with my beliefs. They are also, for the most part, pro-life, which is my big issue.
I am sorry (wait… HA! Who am I kidding?… no I am not sorry) but right now… I will still say… you cannot BE Catholic and believe in the liberal pro-abortion stance. I have heard people say, “I’m a pro-life Democrat” … but why? Why stay with a party that continues to embrace abortion? Why stay there? I jumped ship… go ahead… do it too… Hey you don’t have to BE a conservative… but stop calling yourself a Democrat. It’s so… un-Catholic.
If at some point the parties change their ideals and beliefs then, yes, sure I will change my party. I know Catholics that are happy to be “independent”… fine, whatever, that’s okay. But at this point for me the Republican party shares my beliefs as a Catholic. So here I will stay. Conservative and Catholic. Catholic. Yeah. …Amen.