Professor David Cloutier has an important article up at Commonweal. Cloutier, who teaches theology at that notoriously leftie hangout Mt. St. Mary's in Emmitsburg (that's a joke people!), examines the use of the concept "intrinsic evil" in the current political debate. With greater erudition, learning and theological heft, Cloutier makes the point I have been making for some time - it is the wrong category and its misuse makes the bishops look like they don't know what they are talking about.
Last week, Mitt Romney said that "he read" somewhere that Jeep was going to send all of its Ohio jobs to China. Chrysler officials politely pointed out this was completely not the case. Then Romney launched an ad that repeats the same canard, only extending the warning to include GM. Corporate officials usually do not jump into partisan fights. After all, both Democrats and republicans buy cars. But, Romney's brazen lie required a response.
At the Washington Post, Mark Rozell looks at different religious groups and how they will likely be voting this year. Rozell is a professor of public policy at George Mason University and a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy research & Catholic Studies at CUA, where I am a visiting fellow. He has been looking at this kind of data for years and no one knows this turf better.
Bishop Daniel Jenky’s letter to his clergy, asking them to read a letter to the people of the diocese of Peoria, is remarkable in several ways. First, Bishop Jenky is inviting his clergy to commit an intrinsic evil because in the very first paragraph, there is a big, fat lie. Jenky writes:
I do not doubt that Mitt Romney is a good and decent man. The stories of his personal generosity are many and moving. A friend who had dealings with Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts always found him receptive and responsive.
I suppose we have all done it at least once. You feel the need to say something to appease one person in the room, but you want to re-assure a different person that your words should not be taken at face value. So, you mouth the words, turn to the second person, and give them a knowing wink.
Bishop Anthony Taylor has posted the text of a recent homily he delivered that touched on the upcoming election. I do not know Bishop Taylor, but I have very fond memories of worshipping at the Cathedral of St.
The online journal of the Danforth Center, Religion & Politics, explores the often treacherous cultural fault lines between religion and politics, but if that were not enough, they have now posted an article by Max Perry Mueller that throws race into the already combustible mix. Mueller is too kind to say that Andrew Sullivan's recent Daily Beast essay on this topic demonstrated - again!
Ezra Klein’s article this morning focuses on an issue that has been bothering me for some time: The fact that GOP obstructionism these past four years appears to be working. Citing a string of newspapers endorsing Governor Romney on the hope that he will be able to work with Congress across party lines, Klein rightly wonders if the logic of these arguments will not actually embolden the intransigents in both parties.
Listening to bishops at election time can be dispiriting. So many seem intent on finding slightly opaque ways to tell their flock exactly how to vote, offering tendentious renderings of the moral calculi at work in voting, or invoking important moral categories like "intrinsic evil" and "prudential judgment" in ways that would not pass a Moral Theology exam in an undergraduate course.