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June 9, 2004

A Swing Vote of Faith

A few days ago, Earl took a look, on Catholic (?) Kerry Watch, at the interrelation of divisions among Catholics and the implications of their political strength:

... the battle in the pews to defend the Holy Eucharist from CINO politicians and activists whose "cafeteria" selections dump the Catholic doctrines of the sanctity of life and marriage into the garbage along with the aborted baby reflects the battle at the ballot box.

In pondering theology, lately, it has seemed to me that our tendency is to separate spiritual and material worlds too drastically. Now that I'm a believer, the axioms that "you just have to have faith" and "faith is something you believe regardless of the world" make even less sense to me than they did when I was an atheist.

If the spiritual level of the universe is real, it will affect the material. Things that are immoral don't necessarily lead to tangible harm, just as things that yield a tangible benefit are not necessarily moral, but we shouldn't be surprised when we can trace moral corruption to dreadful wrongs.

Moreover, the mechanism isn't always simple cause-and-effect, and insistence on the primacy of such direct explanations usually loses sight of the personal — the effect on us. How could the marriages of a tiny minority affect the institution itself? By way of the larger society. How could legalized contraception lead to legalized cloning? Well, by way of us — our emotions and the blend of compassion and selfishness, ability and flaw.

Voting represents a pivot point for various intersections of morality and policy. And it isn't surprising, as Earl writes, that the battles "waged for the soul of our Holy Catholic Church" and for "the head of our nation" are part of the same war.

Posted by Justin Katz at June 9, 2004 10:57 AM

My Latest Bumper Sticker:

"It's the Eternity, Stupid!"

Posted by: Marty at June 9, 2004 5:02 PM