This I Believe
American Catholic Bishops Present a Double Standard
As a lifelong American Catholic, I oppose the unjust killing of any human, born or unborn. Lately, I have come to believe American Catholic Bishops, members of the Teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church, have elevated anti-abortion rhetoric and activism far above the needed outcry against our indiscriminate killing of civilians in America’s elective wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The fifth commandment, “You shall not kill,” applies equally to all unjust killing. Neither Exodus’ fifth commandment nor Jesus’ reiteration of this divine directive is parsed into any specific category of killing.
Recently, the American Catholic Bishops distributed, to all parishioners during all United States’ weekend masses, postcards addressed to senators and representatives opposing the Freedom of Choice Act (F.O.C.A.). The postcards did peripherally mention the Catholic Church’s support for life, whether born or unborn, but it failed to ask our leaders to withhold funding for the use of twenty-first century smart bombs, cruise missiles, and other powerful weapons that cause massive collateral damage and slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian non-combatants.
The Catholic Church teaches that we are allowed to defend ourselves from attack, “You shall not stand idly by while your neighbor’s life is at stake (Leviticus 19).” In 2005, a “Blood” gang member murdered my wife in a terroristic act; yet neither the American Catholic Bishops nor our government would allow me to kill the remaining “Blood” gang members, kill their families, or destroy the neighborhoods in which they live. Confusingly, the “Blood” credo is similar to the Al Qaeda credo, that is, destroy the fabric of American life through terrorism. The fact is that no one has the moral authority to indiscriminately kill the innocent.
American Catholic Bishops find easy participants in their stand against abortion, but, apparently, they have not the stomach for seriously and actively challenging their congregations and elected officials when it comes to slaughtering innocent civilians on an unprecedented scale. This inappropriate and arbitrary selection of abortion as the chief evil and outrage is unworthy of the American Catholic Bishops. Jesus would condemn civilian killing with equal outrage.
When the American Catholic Bishops distribute a postcard campaign demanding our leaders deny funding for the use of “collateral damage producing” weapons in our anti-terror wars, I shall then sign an Anti Freedom of Choice Act postcard. As it stands, it appears our American Catholic Bishops endorse our freedom to choose to kill our neighbors on a massive scale. This is NOT what Jesus would do. This I believe.