Saturday, November 15, 2008

Priest: If You Voted for Obama, You're Going to Hell

Did you vote for Barack Obama for president? Well, if so, it’s off to hell for you unless you repent and perform some kind of penance. At least that’s the view of one Catholic priest in South Carolina.

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary’s Catholic Church told his parishioners that they should not partake of Holy Communion if they voted for Obama unless they confess their grave sin and do penance for it. Seriously folks, a Catholic priest has publicly told his congregation that their eternal souls are in jeopardy of being condemned to hell unless they repent of their evil political ways.

His main problem with Obama seems to be the president-elect’s support for abortion rights laws. He claims that Obama is pro-abortion, which is not true. He is pro-choice. There is a difference.

I am not in favor of using abortion for birth control. But I am in favor of letting the woman decide. It’s her body. I am definitely pro-choice. But I am not necessarily pro-abortion, although I would recommend getting an abortion in the case where a pregnant woman finds out her fetus is severely mentally handicapped.

I mean, let’s face it people. Forget the moral question for just one moment. Look at it from a point of logic and pragmatism. Why bring a deformed baby into the world with no hope of ever being normal and who will almost surely rely on tax dollars for support at some point?

Ok, so you can’t forget the moral question? Fine. Morality cannot and should not be legislated. There is no universal morality. It’s not the bible; it’s not the Koran. Morality is what society decides it is. We don’t need a list of commandments that tell us not to murder or rob our fellow humans. Everyone knew those things were wrong from the beginning.

And so-called pro-lifers insist that abortion is murder. Well, it most certainly is not. Murder is a crime that is coded within our laws of the land. Abortion is legal in every state. That means it is not murder. If you believe it is morally wrong to have an abortion, then don’t have one. Counsel others not to have abortions. Take out ads claiming that abortion is morally wrong, at least in your worldview. But don’t try to prevent someone who does not share your beliefs from exercising their rights by trying to take those rights away.

What if I thought it was morally wrong to allow a baby to be born knowing full well it would be a drain on society because it was discovered to be severely mentally handicapped. What if I lobbied to pass laws against bringing such a burden into society and forcing pregnant mothers to have an abortion if they were carrying such a fetus? Would I be wrong?

Yes, I obviously would be wrong. If you’re pregnant and you know you’re carrying a retarded fetus, you should have the right for yourself to decide if you want to give birth to it. And, by the same token, if another pregnant woman decides that she doesn’t want to give birth to her fetus, she should also be unencumbered by the moral judgments of others that seek to prevent her from exercising her right to terminate her pregnancy. If it’s fair one way, it’s fair the other.

Priests like Newman along with other conservative fundamentalists who believe they hold the key to everyone’s salvation give religion a bad name. They make religion dangerous. Religion is basically useless anyway. There is nothing that can be done with religion that cannot also be done without it. But it becomes far more worthless and even damaging to society as long as there remain those like Newman and Pat Robertson and their entire ilk.

Our country will be much better off when they finally go the way of Jerry Falwell. Unfortunately, there are many zealots-to-be, brainwashed by their parents and church, waiting in the wings to continue their oppression against freedom of choice in this country.

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