US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Daily links, Wed., Nov. 9, 2011: heretics, unions, and abortion

Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Vox Nova’s Morning’s Minion expresses the same frustration that I think most Catholics have: We’re tired of being labeled heretics because we question rampant individualism and the prevailing interests of big business over the basic needs of people (for health care, a living wage, housing, nutritious food, etc.). In the comments, Morning’s Minion even calls Thomas Peters dangerous. Peters has a  distorted vision of the church that divides it into two mutually exclusive groups, liberals and orthodox, and he manages to twist his understanding of so-called “orthodoxy” into a call for unflinching support for the Republican Party. He’s loud, sensational, and young—all which make him quotable. I’d agree that that’s why he’s dangerous. His views certainly don’t represent mine, nor do they represent most people who identify as Catholic.

Despite the rallying calls of Peters and other anti-union conservatives, voters in Ohio, a swing state in presidential elections struck down “Issue 2” last night that would have taken away collective bargaining rights for public workers. Susan Thistlethwaite, after noting a sign that read “Thank God for unions,” asks if it’s so different from seeing a sign at a Tea Party rally that reads “God hates taxes.” Thistlethwaite writes in her Washington Post column, “God does not have a ‘politics,’ but people of faith should always be challenging themselves to ask, ‘what is God’s side,’ and how can we as imperfect human beings strive toward God’s goal for us of pursuing greater justice and mercy in this world?’

Unions are imperfect vehicles for achieving justice and mercy in this world, heaven knows, but they are nevertheless a way to accomplish some of that work. Unions, at best, are human beings working together to challenge the falsehood that people are isolated individuals, and the terrible conviction that people must either succeed or fail on their own with no help from their neighbors, their communities, and their government.”

Well said.

You know who else has some choice words today? Bryan Cones, whose blog post is the most pro-life piece of writing I’ve read in months. Being pro-life means not just advocating against abortion, but supporting mothers and their children during and after pregnancy. Sure, we’ve all heard that before, but Cones makes a what should be obvious case for why each and every parish should be exactly the place a woman in need should feel free to turn to, no questions asked. If we have to choose just one place, I think we should start this initiative in Minnesota. It’s charity, it’s parish-based, and there are no church-state issues to have to contend with (nor would any government funds be needed). I don’t know what we’re waiting for.