June 6, 2022

Chastisement from Church Not Deserved

The title of this post was not of my choosing. It is the headline that The Indiana Gazette gave to a letter to the editor I submitted and which was published on June 2. It will suffice here, however.

My letter was in response to a column by Cal Thomas. His columns appear in the Gazette with alarming frequency, and letters to the editor arguing with his assertions are also common. The essay I responded to in this instance can be read here.

My letter follows. The published version got a bit mangled—“edited” is not the right word—so I have corrected the text below. I don’t think I need comment further.

Cal Thomas asserts in his column, “Theology, politics and abortion” (Indiana Gazette, May 24, 2022) that Roman Catholic politicians such as President Biden and Speaker Pelosi should knuckle under to church abortion dogma. He identifies opposition to abortion as a “central tenet” of the church. Despite his attempts to argue otherwise, however, the Bible is silent on the matter, and the church teaching is a modern one.

I was always led to believe that the central tenets of Christianity involved loving God and one’s neighbor, feeding the poor, comforting the afflicted, and so forth. If Mr. Biden and Ms. Pelosi support a woman’s right to control her own body, that is no reason to believe they are not sincere followers of Jesus Christ. In reality, they are in good company among Catholic laypeople and the majority of citizens of whatever faith.

Mr. Biden and Ms. Pelosi have sworn an oath to the Constitution, a document setting forth rules for a secular nation. As free citizens themselves, they may advocate for or against a policy supported by their church. The Catholic Church, however, has no privileged position in American politics; it is simply another lobbying organization advocating an unpopular policy. The president and speaker do not deserve the chastisement of archbishops and sanctimonious columnists.

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