I am sorry it has taken me so long to put my thoughts out here. I have been extremely busy and every time I think about this topic it makes my head hurt; it is just such a big topic.
Just in case you missed the series from a couple of weeks ago:
Here is the introduction to what is going on.
Here are the Guest Posts (the order was picked randomly, but worked out very well, I think).
I asked these ladies to write on this topic because I will in no way be able to do it as eloquently or intelligently as they did.
But now, it is time for my thoughts. *deep breath*
For one of my very first Can of Worms, I wrote about the Separation of Church and State, as it specifically related to schools. As I read each of the guest posts and the comments on them, I kept coming back to this idea.
And from that idea, I find myself a registered Democrat who wishes that the Republican way of doing things would work, but who thinks the Democrats have the right idea on a lot of things. Huh? Yes, you read that right, I will try to explain.
The most important belief I think I hold is that Religion and Politics should be kept separate. Not in the extreme "remove 'Under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance" way, but separate nonetheless.
When it comes to the Republican party, the idea of small government with less taxes is a great theory. In theory, CEOs of major corporations would, because it is the right thing to do, donate their excess wealth to those in need and operate their companies with integrity. People, in general, would use the money they are not being forced to pay in taxes to help their fellow people. BUT, we all know this does not work, the current state of our economy is proof of it. And my question to those who vote Republican, you don't want the government to have high taxes and decide what it will do with our money, but you DO want the government to mandate that abortion is illegal? But, according to the 'small government, less taxes' philosophy, those with money, when they do not have to pay as many taxes, will reach out to help women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies, right? I so wish we could focus on other issues than abortion, but it always comes back to this. I understand why, I just do not like it. It seems to me that if the Republican party is really about small government and state and/or private control, they should advocate for keeping abortion legal - let the private (church) sector deal with preventing it.
And when it comes to the Democratic party, well, there are some great ideas there too. Civil rights for everyone regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation and proposed government programs to make it work. But, we all see that this does not work either. Those in government are just as bad about lining their own pockets and the pockets of
So, where do I end up?
I think we need to go back to Separation of Church and State.
Should we allow homosexuals to marry? Yes - secularly. A committed, homosexual couple should not be denied the benefits of marriage. Does a Catholic Priest (or any other religious clergy) HAVE to perform a marriage between two people of the same gender? No. The Catholic Church specifically defines marriage between a man and a woman, thus same-gender marriage should not be sanctioned in the Catholic Church. Should Catholics be accepting and compassionate of homosexuals? YES! And the Church teaches us specifically this. Should government permit marriage (or civil unions if you prefer) between two people of the same gender? Yes. Please go to post of 5/11/2012 for an update on this topic.
Should abortion be illegal? No. The church teaches that abortion is wrong - and I AGREE. I agree because I have been taught and believe that life begins at conception. I was not taught this by government (or maybe I was because I was taught in Science class that we all start as a single cell when the egg and sperm combine), I was taught this by my parents and by my Church. Abortion is legal and I would not have one because I have been taught it is wrong. (And I always include this, I am NOT speaking of the death of an unborn child that falls under the doctrine of double effect). So, why not put our energies into educating women and girls about when life begins and work to eradicate abortion so it does not matter if it is legal or not? I would feel like an actual victory would have been won, rather than just putting a band-aid on a bad situation. Please go here for an update on this topic.
And while, I am on the abortion topic. I believe the life of the mother is equally as important as the life of the unborn child; and I think that making abortion illegal rather than making it so that no one wants an abortion tells a scared-out-of-her-mind pregnant woman that her life isn't as important as the life of her unborn child. I am not saying that is the intent, but for the woman who feels she has no other option, taking away the only option she feels she has may be just as detrimental as the abortion itself. I have no proof or data for this, it is just how I feel about it.
What about regulation of businesses? We, as a society, have proven that we are greedy and selfish. That said, I say working towards ethical practices by executives needs to be our primary objective. Until that is a reality, removing regulations is irresponsible and could create and even worse economic environment in which to live. If our churches and families placed more value on ethical practices and hard work than, say, large donations, we would see children growing up with an inherent desire to work hard rather than just make a lot of money.
What about war? In some of the previous posts there was discussion about war and that some wars are just. Even that the current war in Iraq may be a just war. The United States is seen as a big bully in the world view. When the Taliban attacked us, they saw it as just attack. Was it? Personally, I don't think so. Therefore, from whose perspective is a war 'just'? I find it very interesting that most in high-ranking military positions are Republican. The party that favors less government interference is more often the party in favor of going to war. So, perhaps it is less government interference in our own country, more in others? (I am not being snarky here, just making an observation.)
I guess what I come back to is this: there obviously need to be some government decided laws and regulations - anarchy doesn't work out so well. And, as voters, we need to vote based on our beliefs - be it the beliefs of our family, our faith, or that we have formed on our own. We (as a society) have continually elected selfish people into positions of power and we have placed value on things rather than people. Until that changes, we will see the same cycles continuing over and over again. In my opinion, that doesn't change by voting based on a single issue, on a party-line, or, frankly, voting at all. It changes with the family. With the church. By sharing what we believe and living as Jesus taught us, with compassion and understanding, and being good examples of our faith.
I want to know WHY I should or shouldn't do something. I don't want someone telling me I have to do it or I can't do it. That is what I have loved about my recent Reversion to the Catholic Church. Growing up I was always told what I should and shouldn't do, the whys were often left out. Now, as I learn the whys and the hows, I see it makes sense and I see myself living a more Catholic life because I want to, because I believe it is right.
I think it is the same thing with government. Until we change how we do things to developing the inherent desire to do what is right, we will continue down this very slippery slope we are on. Increased regulations or less regulations, it will not matter.
So, my summary to this very long post: Politics and religion should be as separate as possible.