Sensible and Seamless

denim-jean-seamI’m writing this in late August of 2020, which means we are just a couple months away from a contentious national election.

For Catholics, it is time to witness the periodic, tortured effort to justify a vote for pro-abortion politicians “who otherwise stand strong on the seamless and consistent ethic of life.”

Of course, anyone with more than a passing knowledge of logic knows this is a ridiculous argument. This isn’t to say that a Catholic should not stand strong on all the components of the “seamless ethic” but should spend a little more time understanding the underlying issues.

The argument for voting for a pro-abortion politician typically goes something like this… Yes, Representative Snodgrass supports abortion, but he supports feeding the poor, free national health care, free college, ending the death penalty, and better housing for the poor.  He supports everything on the social justice agenda that the Church supports, so that balances his support for abortion.

It is like a child telling mom it is fine for him to eat a pound of chocolate because he already ate his spinach. That won’t save him from a fat belly and a mouthful of cavities.

For Americans, the debate nearly always involves that “liberal vs. conservative” battle.  Liberals support abortion, free everything, and government control. They claim to really care about the people and their needs.

There is in that the implications that Conservatives are mean-hearted, not only because they would deny a woman the “right to choose” but because they don’t think the government ought to keep increasing taxes and providing more free stuff to more people.

However, it just might be that conservatives are NOT mean-hearted but believe there is a better way to provide for the needs of the nation’s citizens.  And if you look at the track record of socialist/communist nations you gather little ammunition to counter the Conservatives.

A Liberal might sincerely believe that the best way to help people is through immense government programs.

A Conservative might sincerely believe that the best way to help people is by limited government interference, allowing businesses to grow and flourish, and encourage communities to depend on private entities (like the Catholic Church) to provide help to those who fall into dire straits.

One of the things that amazes me is that Catholic leaders from rural America to Rome tend to support socialist government, even looking to a future of “one-world” government. It amazes me because anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that in such a world, religion – especially Christianity – would be marginalized and become increasingly diminished in its ability to help the very people it professes to help.

What does all this have to do with the seamless ethic? Quite simply, the need to address issues of life and social justice is consistent but the components in the cloth are not the same and cannot be treated with the same finality.

On the one hand, abortion and the death penalty are absolute.  You can’t be partly for or against abortion if you accept Catholic teaching that life begins at conception. Killing a criminal – no matter what horrible things he has done – removes his ability to repent and find salvation; man steps into the role of God.

The resolution of the social justice issues – medical care, poverty, housing, education, discrimination, even war – can be addressed in different ways. It is not clear that Big Government is the way to solve any or all of these challenges.

Put more bluntly, if you are a Catholic you can’t justify voting for a pro-abortion politician because he supports more money for government poverty programs. To make the matter worse, you likely will find that the politician who supports abortion nearly always supports allowing the old and ill to die, perhaps even supporting assisted suicide.

A recent American president of the Liberal persuasion famously said that he supported abortion because if his daughter became pregnant, he wouldn’t want her “punished with a baby.” Assuming that this wasn’t a case of immaculate conception and in light of the massive security around a president’s daughter, such a situation would likely be the result of a conscious decision to be sexually active. If that produces a baby that baby needs to be cherished as a God-given blessing, not seen as punishment.

Beyond that, the “punished” statement is an unintended comment on a culture in which each person wants to do what they want rather than what they ought. Each wants his will rather than God’s.

Thus, many Catholics seek a way to rationalize a vote for politicians who condone abortion. They seek a way to justify a worldly choice over a Godly choice.

That is the choice Satan makes. The Church calls it sin.

Fixing the Abhorrent Names of NFL Teams

Maryland_Hopkins_footballSeldom can I find anything positive to say about actions taken in Washington DC. But the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins of the National. Football League (NFL) has set an admirable model for every team in the league by changing its name to the Washington Football Team.

The old name was deemed offensive by some people; the new name is inoffensive to all but the few of us that cringe at the mention of the name Washington (when referring to the city rather than the founder of the country, although there likely are some who don’t like George Washington).

An analysis of the 32 teams that participate in the National Football League shows that each name is without doubt offensive to a good number of people. Therefore, all teams must follow the example of Washington and identify only by the name of their city.  Thus, The Chicago Bears would become the Chicago Football Team.  The New York Jets would become and New York Football Team. (This becomes complicated because there are two New York football teams, but since the Giants play in New Jersey; they can be the New Jersey Football Team.)

At this point, you may be thinking that most of the names of the teams in the league are innocuous and couldn’t possibly offend anything.  Therefore, I offer my concerns about each if the current team names:

  • Arizona Cardinals: This name ostensibly refers to a red bird. However, the mention of Cardinal brings to mind the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, which could offend Muslims, Protestants, and non-believers.
  • Atlanta Falcons: Hunters for centuries have trained Falcons to hunt and attack peace-loving and innocent birds and small animals. This is a bad example for our youth.
  • Baltimore Ravens: The mention of this dark and mysterious bird recalls the white poet Edgar Allen Poe, clearly a non-divers cultural symbol offensive to millions.
  • Buffalo Bills: If Redskins is an offensive name, how much more so a name that conjures up the memory of a man who ran a wild west show that included staged battles against Native Americans.
  • Carolina Panthers: Obviously, cultural appropriation of an animal that is black.
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Exploitation of an endangered species.
  • Chicago Bears: We really should not be glorifying an animal that has maimed and killed so many people over the years.
  • Cleveland Browns: I don’t think I have to explain this one.
  • Dallas Cowboys: Here we are honoring the invaders who murdered, pillaged, and stole from Native Americans.
  • Denver Broncos: Broncos are the poor animals that are mistreated in rodeos by, who else, the cowboys.
  • Detroit Lions: Christians should object to this glorification of the animals that were fed Christians in the Roman Coliseum.
  • Green Bay Packers: And what do they pack? Animals they have killed and chopped into little pieces.
  • Houston Texans: We really should not mention a state that occupies land stolen from Mexico.
  • Indianapolis Colts: Some think this is a reference to young horses, but it makes me think of the Colt guns used to kill and wound thousands of people.
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Another disgusting reference to Native Americans in a demeaning manner.
  • Los Angeles Chargers: This is another name that might be intended to refer to horses but in reality suggests the undisciplined use of credit cards.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: Calls to mind an exclusive British car owned by the one percent.
  • Miami Dolphins: Clear exploitation of what many believe to be among the most intelligent of animals.
  • Minnesota Vikings: Why hold up as a positive example the group known for rape and plundering?
  • New England Patriots: Some believe these “patriots” worked to establish a country where slavery could flourish.
  • New Orleans Saints: Disgusting appropriation of Catholic culture.
  • New York Giants: How offensive to little people.
  • New York Jets: Jets are the weapons of war and destruction.
  • Oakland Raiders: A raider is one who plunders and the mere mention of the term is likely to trigger many of our more tender-hearted citizens.
  • Philadelphia Eagles: This bird, which noble to some, is also the symbol of a nation that has waged war around the world.
  • San Francisco Forty-Niners: A terrible celebration of greed and a passion for gold.
  • Seattle Seahawks: Perhaps this name was intended to refer to a bird but the Seahawk is the most sophisticated helicopter of the US Navy and is thus a weapon of war.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: We talking about a rusty old industry that pollutes and causes dread disease in its workers.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Buccaneers were horrible scoundrels who prayed on innocent settlers, particularly of Spanish background.
  • Tennessee Titans: This is a harmful reference to white mythology and likely offensive to many sensitive minority groups.
  • Washington Redskins: Already handled!

Anyone who has read this far may think some of my interpretations to be extreme, even silly.  However, we live in a time of rising secularism in which political correctness is the new religion. It is an intolerant and cruel religion where any deviation earns persecution and risks loss of employment and punishment by the press.

As ridiculous as my analysis may seem, don’t be surprised if some of the National Football Teams really do follow the lead of the Washington Football Team. After all, the owners, coaches, and players already are bending a knee to groups that would overthrow our nation.  Frankly, I can’t think of anything much more disgusting than taking a knee during the National Anthem.

I don’t have the power to bring athletes to their feet to honor their country. But I can do my small part to protest. Until the National Football League gets the courage to stand for what is true and right, I won’t be watching their games. And I expect I’ll have lots of company.