(Note: Originally slated as one post for a later date, the recent news piece spurred on a two-part series)
Right Wing Watch:
"The Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, is warning that the Democratic Party has endorsed "intrinsic evils" and consequently, voters who back Democratic candidates have put their eternal salvation at risk."
"You're going to hell!" is an old standby of intimidation for bullies, pulpit pimps, street preachers and the people who enable them. Certainly, threats of hell and damnation are nothing new: if everything else fails to have someone knuckle under, threaten their souls with fire and brimstone. Its use is as commonplace as the church steeples that dot our American landscape.
Only within the last 40 years, however, have we heard it in connection with politics....and not very loudly.
The rise of the Christian Right in America's modern political arena has emboldened it to negate America's hallowed Separation of Church and State: not content to merely jump over a forbidden fence, it has brutally annihilated it and said to the nation "so what the hell are you going to do about it?"
Not content with calling Obama the Antichrist, the desperate CR has finally played its last trump card: if you vote for anyone within the demon spawn Democratic Party, you're destined for eternal fire and damnation.
The fact that the statement comes from a Catholic Bishop and not the likes of "Bishop Eddie Long" does nothing to mitigate the sentiment stated more subversively in Protestant (and Mormon) churches throughout the country.
"[Bishop Thomas John] Paprocki concludes with a warning that while he is "not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against," backing the Democratic Party may put your eternal salvation at risk: 'a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.'"
In other words, if you vote for the Democratic Party, you're probably going to hell. Even though "there are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic platform."
Intrinsically Evil Behavior - Liberalism
face it, when Paprocki refers to "intrinsically evil behaviors", he's
specifically taking on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage (which he
states in the video below), but the tone is dismissive as to "positive and
beneficial planks" - whatever that means. It is also a tone that lends
itself to "conservatism good, liberalism bad" and can be built upon
as needs be during the coming campaign weeks.
And while the argument of having a moral imperative to "warn" Catholics about the morally corrosive Democratic Party platform is put forth, it becomes secondary to the stridency, the innate viciousness of coupling the party with "intrinsically evil behavior". It's as if he's saying, "as your spiritual leader, I'm bound to tell you that they are promoting things that will lead you down the path of evil because they themselves are evil. Liberalism is evil and must be avoided at all costs, especially in the ballot box."
An Act Of Desperation
Sarah Posner (Religion Dispatches and author of God's Profits) points out:
"The latest Pew poll, though, shows Obama bouncing back from a decline in support among Catholic voters...Pew's comparison with 2008 exit polls showed that Obama's current standing among Catholics is identical to the percentage of Catholics who voted for him in 2008. But Romney is behind where John McCain fared among Catholics--despite picking a Catholic running mate and taking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' position on the contraception coverage and same-sex marriage."
"You're going to hell if you vote Democratic" is a trump card that the entire Christian Right is playing out of desperation, but it may not work ... this time.