Republican or Democrat: Where should Catholics fall in line?

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I have said this many times, and I expect I will say it many more: You cannot follow Jesus Christ and follow either of the two political parties.

This election season has demonstrated in an obvious way that both our political parties are morally bankrupt. It has shown us, if we would allow ourselves to see what is directly in front of us, that this great nation, founded as it was on the idea that all human beings are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, is in danger of being brought down, not by enemies from without, but from the craven manipulations and lies of our political parties.

We will destroy our country if we do not cease and desist from the self-destructive nihilism and corporatism that our political parties are pushing on us.

Far too many people, Republicans and Democrats alike, have made false gods of their political affiliations. They feed this idolatry by hating the sins of the other party without acknowledging the sins of their own party.

In fact and in truth, there is enough fodder for that gun in either party’s behavior.

The democrats are pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and, increasingly anti-Christ in their actions. President Obama directly attacked the First Amendment with his invidious HHS Mandate, and the official Democratic Party backed him.

Republicans will pass pro life legislation, and many of them give lip service to support for traditional marriage. They say they oppose the HHS Mandate, although their legislative record on the issue is weak. In truth, they use these more as wedge issues to get votes than they actually will fight for them in the face of legislative opposition. They do not do the deals and horse trade for pro-life, pro-marriage, anti-HHS Mandate legislation the way they do, say, for tax cuts for their wealthy donors. At the same time, they are outright and outspoken advocates for a type of fascist economics that the last three popes have condemned and labeled “corporatism.”

Meanwhile, We the People keep lining up like We the Sheeple, defending our parties when they are wrong and actually putting these political parties and their “teachings” ahead of the teachings of the Church and Jesus Christ. You cannot follow either political party and follow Jesus Christ.

Let me say that a third time: You cannot follow either political party and follow Jesus Christ.

When you begin to excuse your political party when it violates the eternal verities of Christian teaching and even go so far as to claim that the teachings themselves are wrong, then you have stepped outside Christ and into idolatry.

If you are a Democrat, you have to condemn the Democratic party for its anti-Christ nihilism. There is no quarter to be given to attacks on human life, family and religious freedom.

If you are a Republican, then you must repudiate the false economic teachings that place the power of government in the hands of what Dwight Eisenhower called “the military industrial complex.” This is corporatism, and it is evil and cruel all the way through.

Both corporatism and nihilism have been unequivocally condemned by the Church. This is not some new-fangled thing dreamed up by Pope Francis. It goes all the way back to Jesus Christ.

This election season is a sad, tawdry mess. Don’t We the People deserve better choices than a Clinton re-tread versus a vicious demagogue? Are these two people the best leaders that our great country can raise?

Of course they aren’t. They are what the political parties and their quest to control and manipulate the electorate with lies and poll-inspired positioning have yielded to us.

There is a deep anger stirring in the electorate. It is a just and inevitable reaction to the fact that both political parties ignore the will and needs of We the People. Our government has become unresponsive to the will of the people because the political parties are controlled by a few individuals who hold the rest of the people of this country in contempt.

How can we solve this? It would seem that there is no hope. But the hope and the solution are both right in front of us.

Follow Christ. It is as simple as that. The reason the parties continue down their destructive paths is because it works for them. The reason it works for them is that We the People have made idols of our political affiliations. We choose to believe the lies they tell us, even to our own destruction.

We have made false Gods of our political parties, and we are paying the price of bowing down before the gods of this world.

But if we take this false god off the altars of our hearts and put the real God in His rightful place as the arbiter of all we do, then the balance of power changes absolutely.

A true follower of Christ may be just as confused as a sailor lost at sea without a compass. But if we simply follow our true North Star of Jesus Christ, we will slide safely into port, even if we never really know or see the route all the long journey home.

Follow Christ like a blind man hanging onto a rope. That’s what I did when I was dealing with the vicissitudes of being a pro-life Democrat elected official. Just hang onto Jesus and ignore — ignore — the false teachings of the world.

Do not do this to change the politics of this country. Do it to save your soul. Do it for love of Him Who died for you. Do it because, in the final analysis, Jesus Christ is the only One Who is never wrong. He is your only hope. And He is a sure hope.

The side effect of this will be something no one expects. If American Christians simply follow Christ without question, the political parties will change. They will be forced to change, or die.

The political puppet masters brought this beast to life. But We the People have been feeding it with our adulation and subservience to it.

We need to follow a new master. We need to follow the Master.

Cast out the false idols of political party and put Jesus Christ on the altar of your lives. Follow Him and Him only. If there is a difference between the teachings of Christ and His Church and your political party, follow Christ. Do it every time.

We need to convert this country. The first, best and only way to do that is if we first convert ourselves.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Pro Life Democrats are, as they say in Oklahoma, as rare as hen's teeth. That makes Rebecca Hamilton a rare find indeed. When Rebecca left her 18-year career in the Ok Legislature last November, she had more seniority than any other member of the legislature. In the 1980s, Rebecca experienced a knock-you-down-in-middle-of-the-road conversion experience that changed her from pro abortion to pro life. Before her conversion, Rep Hamilton had advocated for legal abortion in the legislature. Before her first election in 1980, she was the Oklahoma Director of NARAL. She left office after 3 terms when she had her first baby and was a full-time stay at home Mom for 16 years. She was re-elected to office in 2002 and spent the next 12 years passing pro life legislation. Rebecca is the author of the bill that broke the 30-year logjam on pro life legislation in Oklahoma. She passed the bill ending elective abortions in state hospitals. Rebecca also passed a resolution calling Congress to begin hearings on an amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage as between one woman and one man. Because of her pro life work, Rebecca came within a razor thin vote margin of being publicly censured by the Oklahoma State Democratic Party at the 2007 statewide party convention. Rebecca blogs at Patheos at Public Catholic where she writes at the intersection of faith and public life.

35 Comments

  1. Nice to see a post from you. Have missed your views.

    We do deserve better. Hard to understand how this is happening.

    God bless.

  2. Ridiculous, altho true in many ways. But we, as Catholics, must vote. It is our duty and o ligation. We must seek the closest to oue faith beliefs. Obviously, there is mot a true Christian candidate running. We have to look gor next best.

  3. To be a Democrat is to be Anti-Catholic! The only thing the Republican party does wrong is to encourage achievement and prosperity. Killing the unborn is a greater sin then corporatism. Why would you want to stay in a party that claims to help those less fortunate by keeping them dependent on government handouts? Help them out of the hole not just send food down to them. You give them no incentive to do better with their lives. I was a Democrat and voted for Jimmy Carter big mistake. Him and Obama worst Presidents ever! I became a Republican and voted for Reagan. They aren’t perfect but at least it’s a Pro-life party.

      • “pro-life in name only” is a hell of a lot better than being aggressively anti-life in both word and deed. Both Clinton and Sanders keep saying they will Expand Planned Parenthood and increase its funding. Both of them are in favor of physician assisted suicide. There is definitely a lesser of 2 evils here, and it is the GOP.

        Remember, in the last POTUS election, the Democrats BOOED GOD off their convention platform. You cannot be a Christian in good conscience and be a Democrat. To do so would make you a Christian in name only.

    • I worked 48-52 hours a week for an American corporation here in the United States. The people I worked with, all of whom were working as many hours as I was, continued to qualify for government handouts because minimum wage only gives you enough to provide for yourself, if that. I would suggest requiring corporations to reimburse the government for the welfare benefits and the cost of providing them for each of their employees. The federal budget deficit would drop so fast your head would spin.

    • Theodore Seeber on

      Trump isn’t pro-life, and I remain unconvinced he’s even lawful. Cruz is pro-life, but has other issues with sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. Not to mention he’s got the same problem as Obama- if we were paying attention to the Constitution, neither Obama nor Cruz would ever have been able to run.

    • Personally I think Bill Clinton was worse than Carter. At least on moral issues. Carter was not as pro-abortion as the subsequent Democrat presidents and candidates were. Carter is morally opposed to abortion and did not want it to be tax-payer funded.

    • Dan Schwartz on

      Pearl, I echo your thoughts. I’m a Catholic convert and love my faith. We will never have a perfect candidate. I believe in our church’s teaching of the hierarchal moral values – #1 Sanctity of Life & 2. Traditional Marriage. I will always choose the candidate that will promote these sacred values first and foremost. If we cannot get these two right all the rest won’t matter.

    • Same thing can be said of the Republican party. Killing is killing wether it’s before you are born or after by refusing the oportunity for healthcare and food for those that have fallen on hard times or are born into them.

    • GOP is the party of hate and racism and goes directly against the teachings of Christ. Those who put Trump in office will be accountable to God.

      • Brian, how exactly does the GOP promote “hate and racism”? Those words sure are thrown around a lot, but where is the substance to back it up? How is the GOP against the teachings of Christ? If anything, they are the ones defending Him. Do you think Christ would support transgender operations, same sex marriage, abortion, physician assisted suicide, sex education to little children, and drug legalization? Because those are all party of the Democratic Party platform.

    • I agree April. Not to mention Democrats support things like same sex marriage, gender change, physician assisted suicide, etc. Basically, they want to erase all boundaries and not be responsible for the consequences of decisions. The party is fundamentally against the Catholic Church.

  4. In this election, how does the follower of Jesus vote? Can a prolife candidate who is not running be written in? If that is possible, where does the vote go? Thanks

    • I would ask the Johnny Carson question… how pro-life is he? And, you can write in Mickey Mouse if you wish.

    • Dan Schwartz on

      Anytime anyone votes 3rd party or writes in a “makes me feel good candidate”, we lose to the most abortion-minded candidate. I prefer to save as many babies and help as many families as I can.

  5. you are a very mixed up lady, it seems you are a communist/except you believe in god — they are mutually exclusive. the democratic party from which you came, are anti god and support every law and movement designed to force religion out of our country. our economic system may not be perfect but it beats any other system in the world, it has done more charitable works through out the world than any other system. you have to work in the system of government if you want to change it, pray first but than vote republican, because as you said, at least they agree with most of our social issues, then we can work on improving the flaws in capitalism.

    • Except the Republicans care only for the rich, hate immigrants, and support guns and capital punishment. (Not all, but most) so a true Catholic is left politically homeless in the US. Anyone who says that economically supporting the poor is wrong and wages should be kept down, regulation down, taxes down at all costs and public services down is not a true Catholic, just ask any priest.

      • Frank Gutierrez on

        JOSE CARLOS, your comments are not accurate. Republicans oppose illegal immigration. That doesn’t mean that they hate immigrants. Please don’t lie. And most Republicans are middle class, not rich, so why would they care “only for the rich.” That makes no sense. And we keep guns in case we have to defend ourselves or our family against criminals. That’s wrong? Sir, you are the one that’s wrong.

  6. Martin Coughlin on

    Ms. Rebecca Hamilton, your article was great up until the finish. I suggest you get to know Ted Cruz and his beautiful family.

    • Ted Cruz: anti immigrant, pro rich at the expense of the poor, lacks decency and humility, doesn’t care about the sick. Supports capital punishment, wants to “carpet bomb” the enemy (I support full scale intervention but not unrealistic dangerous showmanship) doesn’t support fighting climate change

      If all that doesn’t make you as a Catholic dislike him, then you are worshiping the Right over God.

      (Sadly though, I am debating whether to vote for him given that there is a SCOTUS vacancy and hope that maybe he can get something done on the 4 issues that keep me listening to the Right (life, drugs, family, religious freedom))

      (I like sanders cause he’s authentic though naive (after 25yrs?) And has good economic and health plans. If only he wasn’t socially liberal and losing)

  7. First off, its been a while. I hope this means you’re doing better and have recovered significantly from your ordeal.

    Now, the main gist of the article is to avoid blindly following Republicans, avoid blindly following Democrats, avoid blindly following any political party for that matter, but to instead, blindly follow Christ and by extension, the Catholic Church.

    Why should you follow blindly anybody at all? Or to put it another way, do you follow the Church’s pronouncements because they are good or because they come from the Church?

    What if the Pope put out the word for all Catholics worldwide to join a Vatican-sponsored army in order to fight ISIS, granting entry into Heaven to whoever responded to the call? I highly doubt the current Pope would ever do that, but there is a precedent for such a thing. In a similar fashion, in the past, the Church has benefited from slavery, imperialistic conquest and associations with morally questionable regimes.

    The point of referencing these past sins is not to slam the Church; I think it would be fair to say that most, if not all of these actions were a reflection of the people and attitudes at the time. But the point I do want to make is that the Church, even if its Divinely founded and inspired, is ultimately a human institution, subject to the same human flaws as any other.

    So, do I think Catholics should trust Jesus and by extension the Catholic Church? Well, yeah, that’s kind of the point of being Catholic in the first place. But that trust should be granted with a grain of salt.

    God didn’t provide you with critical thinking skills and the ability to reason just so you could surrender them at the first opportunity.

  8. “At the same time, they are outright and outspoken advocates for a type of fascist economics that the last three popes have condemned and labeled “corporatism.”” i.e. I don’t think that their general stance on minimum wage laws constitutes “fascist economics”, etc.

    I think this is an overstatement on Hamilton’s part, IMO largely due to the fact that as a Democrat, she had to draw a parallel to the Democrat positions that are clearly at odds with Catholic teaching at face.

  9. Maureen Schooley on

    Ms. Hamilton, You’ve once again have hidden your “hidden agenda” to follow the Dec party to follow Christ. You’ve set up the article as “what’s one to do?” and I agree, and at the end of the article, as always, it’s the hidden agenda: vote your party. I’ve written to NCR asking for the removal of your opinions. I find to my dismay you’re here, too.
    Right now, as the country stands, Cruz is the Pro-Life choice, so please stop pushing your party on us. Pro- Life, first. Which is God. Common good, second.

    • Theodore Seeber on

      Why do you see a difference between pro-life and the common good? I don’t. Feeding mothers prevents abortion. Health care for all means ultrasounds for pregnant women, which prevents abortion.

      Yes, the Democratic Party version of the common good excludes feeding mothers and ultrasounds being freely available and the information in those ultrasounds being presented to the mother.

      Yes, the Republicans are against giving away anything at taxpayer expense and believe the common good should be privately owned and denied to most.

      Both have concpired to create the genocide of the unborn.

  10. When Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race yesterday it left Catholics and particularly CV without options. I don’t want to vote for Trump. I think he is crazy and is somewhat of a loose cannon to be in control of the nuclear code. What is left? Hillary with all of her baggage or Bernie who may be too old. HELP!

  11. This is the toughest election for a Catholic!! Trump says that he is pro-life, but I do not believe it. I truly do not care for him and do not believe anything he says. I was always a Democrat, please forgive me. However, I do not like any of the options for presidential candidates. I have never been so confused and torn about voting. Wrong -yes!! I was already to vote republican this year, but I do not want to vote for Trump. I wish there was another better choice. I will not vote for Hillary or Bernie. We must vote, but for who????

  12. Sheryl Doggett on

    It is a difficult decision for me. One, I am pro-life but the Catholic religion is not pro-life just pro-pregnancy. Once the infant is born, he/she is on his/her own. Catholic religion does NOT prohibit capital punishment although does state it should be rare.

    On the other hand, I cannot support a party that has a long and storied history of building up the military and supporting the veterans in rhetoric but not in reality. I take great issue with our country consistently going into other countries to make them democratic by decimating their country as well as killing much of their population all in the name of democracy. The Republican party is all for “God and guns” which is an oxymoron. They also are against a living wage.

    It seems both parties are not technically “pro-life” just pro-pregnancy.

    To be a true Catholic, I should of course not be Democratic. But to be Republication, support a party that constantly destroys another country’s infrastructure, killing its people, all in the name of creating a democracy is abhorrent.

    Life is life, so I am pro-life from conception to natural death.

  13. I don’t believe Trump, either. I just came back from voting. I voted the Pro-life ticket. But I inserted Gary Johnson./Bill Weld at the top.

    I think Gary Johnson will refuse to fund Planned Parenthood at a federal level. And he will reduce government.

    Yeah, I’ve heard the “throw away vote” objection. I don’t believe it. If this were a strict 2-party system, with no other candidates, you might throw away your vote by not voting. But it isn’t.

    In the American system, if you vote for Hillary or Trump, you bear the blame if they are elected. I voted to elect Johnson/Weld. I’ll accept responsibility when they are elected. But I won’t bear the responsibility for your error if you vote for Hillary/Trump.

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