Keeping Post-Election Hope Alive
Because we as Catholics are and will remain deeply rooted in Christ and his Church, and not in ephemeral, temporal affairs, we should not be deflated by the election results. Rather, we should be strengthened in our mission, ever more resolute to proclaim the Gospel to a nation and world that are greatly in need of our witness.
Given the precedent of the 9-0 Hosanna Tabor religious-liberty case, EWTN and other Catholic entities should easily prevail on the Health and Human Services’ mandate at the U.S. Supreme Court level. Yet, in any event, EWTN and others will go forward nobly, resisting any unjust and unconstitutional governmental actions brought against them.
On a practical level, and despite the comments of some media pundits and Republican leaders, the GOP should not rethink its stands on genuine family values. Rather, the GOP needs to put forth fiscally conservative, populist-oriented candidates who preferably speak Spanish and who have a long history of standing up for family values. Not ones who are perceived as out-of-touch, rich white guys whose conviction on life and same-sex “marriage” issues are rather recently acquired and who, thus, don’t have the tested mettle and cultivated vocabulary to speak credibly and persuasively on these matters.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey are successful examples of the former, even if they’re not fluent in Spanish, while Mitt Romney, though a good husband and father, sadly exemplifies the latter, as evidenced by his defense of same-sex adoption and domestic partnerships.
If the GOP doesn’t heed this wisdom and seeks, rather, to become more “moderate” on family values, we could potentially see the advent of a viable third party on the national scene, which could draw family values voters from both the Democratic and Republican Parties and thereby bring welcome change to our nation’s political climate.
The election results undoubtedly confirm the decline of the family in America. And, in significant part, they’re an indictment of men.
Consider some of President Barack Obama’s key supporters. He overwhelmingly won young people again. In the mid-1960s, the Moynihan Report noted that nearly 25% of black children were born out wedlock, and that was called an epidemic. (It was 3% for the white population.) Today, that figure is 40% for all Americans. Couple that with a divorce rate that has been at 50% for more than 20 years — given our deleterious no-fault divorce laws — and you quickly perceive that many young voters have grown up in broken homes, i.e., without the stability, formation and provision of a father.
These young adults tend to be less self-reliant, so they now dysfunctionally turn to the government for the paternal support they’ve either lacked or never had, and that means free health care, a bailout on imprudently taken enormous student loans and/or or some other handout.
Similarly, Obama again received the backing of a great majority of single women — whether never married, single mothers and/or divorced — and specifically those who support legalized abortion and contraception, which they view as a means of liberation. Yet behind such women are failed men or the fear of them.
Consequently, these women look to the president to help ward off single motherhood for the first or an additional time; yet the contraception and abortion they receive predictably preclude the genuine intimacy and commitment most of them so understandably desire.
Thus, in contrast to a truly caring father, the president’s policies actually harm women and children. Indeed, legions of men also support the president and are more than happy to do so — precisely because he enables them in their irresponsible, no-strings-attached relationships with women. This is what collectively and truly constitutes a “war on women.”
So the men may periodically change in these women's lives, but typically not the type of men. And, therefore, these women and their children continue to suffer — and by extension so does society at large. And same-sex “marriage” only gained ascendancy when authentic marriage and family declined.
Finally, the election results are certainly a wake-up call to the Church, not only in reaching out to Hispanic Catholics, but also Catholics in general. They are also a stark reminder that obstinately dissenting politicians of whatever political stripe should not enjoy the canonical status of “Catholics in good standing,” for by such continued status they are emboldened in their actions and lead many astray, while spiritually endangering themselves, as well.
They should be pastorally disciplined, sending a clear signal to all concerned that their political choices are gravely wrong and that we pray for their reconciliation.
These politicians don’t care whether they can be extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, speak at parish functions, etc., and these bans have not worked. And an excommunication would give them the public benefit of a false martyrdom they don’t deserve. Removing their weekly photo op in the Communion line would be more than sufficient, as it would plainly convey to rank-and-file Catholics that abortion and same-sex “marriage” are really as wrong as the Church teaches.
Also in need of some form of discipline are priests and religious who obstinately flout Church teaching by aiding and abetting wayward politicians; in doing so they also mislead the faithful, as well as undermine the good witness of their priestly and religious confreres.
As on religious liberty, the U.S. bishops really need a united witness on all these matters that show our faith in action. Our culture depends upon it.
Tom Nash is a theology adviser with EWTN and the author of Worthy Is the Lamb: The Biblical Roots of the Mass (Ignatius Press, 2004).
- family values
- hope in christ
- religious freedom
- u.s. conference of catholic bishops