Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

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Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby EsotericWombat » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:06 am UTC

A priest who said that parishioners who'd voted for Obama had committed a mortal sin and needed absolution has been disavowed by his diocese. His parish is apparently supportive of the things he said, however.

This is something that I take rather seriously, because it's in many ways worse than showing up to the polls with a gun and asking people who they'll be voting for. Those who buy into Catholic doctrine were essentially being told that unrepentant Obama voters were hellbound. If this happened before the election I'd be calling for his arrest on charges of voter intimidation.

In similar news, Catholic bishops have met in Baltimore to discuss the failure of their Catholic voter's guide to prevent a majority of Catholics from voting for Obama.

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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby clintonius » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:15 am UTC

The news about the diocese repudiating the priest makes me happy; the news about the bishops' congregation in Baltimore makes me sad.

I'm always so conflicted about catholics!

. . . they do that on purpose, don't they?
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Dream » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:43 am UTC

clintonius wrote:I'm always so conflicted about catholics!

. . . they do that on purpose, don't they?

They call it the mystery of their faith...
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Megatriorchis » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:59 am UTC

Dream wrote:
clintonius wrote:I'm always so conflicted about catholics!

. . . they do that on purpose, don't they?

They call it the mystery of their faith...

It's no mystery. It's obvious that many of them are hypocrites.

Edit: Note that I said "many", and not "all". There are practicing Catholics who actually follow their faith instead of following their "leaders".
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby natraj » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:03 am UTC

I totally don't understand things like this. Even if you are "pro-life", the Democratic candidates often have platforms more in keeping with Christian teaching than Republicans. I mean, on every other life issue (war! taking care of poor people!) the conservative side sucks.

But then everyone looks at one issue and tells us we are Bad Catholics if we look at things comprehensively.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Dream » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:05 am UTC

Megatriorchis wrote:It's no mystery. It's obvious that many of them are hypocrites.
Wait, do you know any catholic doctrine?
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby natraj » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:07 am UTC

Dream wrote:Wait, do you know any catholic doctrine?


I had Catholic doctrine drilled into my head fairly forcibly through high school.

(Opus Dei high school. It was very conservative.)
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Dream » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:09 am UTC

natraj wrote:I had Catholic doctrine drilled into my head fairly forcibly through high school.

(Opus Dei high school. It was very conservative.)

Edited, sorry about that.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby cycoden » Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:17 am UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:If this happened before the election I'd be calling for his arrest on charges of voter intimidation.

I don't know about that guy, but some did: http://vodpod.com/watch/1133575-kansas- ... -salvation. There are probably less subtle examples than that guy too.

On the other hand, all that the sinful obama-voting catholics have to do is 'confess' to voting obama, and all will be forgiven. Hmm. Maybe thats the same way they manage abusive priests too.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby clintonius » Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:19 am UTC

I'm not catholic and don't claim a deep knowledge of their doctrine, but isn't a mortal sin an unforgivable one? That would make the priest's rebuke a much more immediate matter to parishioners.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Dream » Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:02 am UTC

No such thing as unforgivable. Everyone gets into heaven, and every sinner will be forgiven. When Jesus comes back...

Is that breath I see you holding? Might want to give up on that.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:23 pm UTC

The only one you can't fix is suicide, for rather obvious reasons.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby xaeon » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:28 pm UTC

Just out of interest, what are the legal ramifications of voter intimidation in the US? How close to an election do you have to be for the charge of voter intimidation to be considered? For example, could he in any way be charged on the basis that in four years time you'll all be back to the polls and people may still have his warning in mind when considering who to vote for?

For people who believe that kind of thing, the threat of eternity in hell I would assume must be a pretty powerful threat.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:42 pm UTC

Sadly, voter intimidation is not taken very seriously. It doesn't help that there honestly is sometimes a fine line between sharing your views and outright intimidation. Certainly spreading misinformation (like some asshole somewhere who was hanging up flyers stating that voting day for Democrats was November 5th) and anything that hints at adverse consequences for your vote that are NOT a result of a candidate not being in office (such as you go to Hell if you vote Obama) should be cracked down on. This shit should seriously be treason, and punishable by death. And should the death penalty be deemed unconstitutional at some point, then whatever the worst punishment is that the legal system can offer.

So, no, there aren't really any legal ramifications. But by Optimus Prime there bloody well should be.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby EsotericWombat » Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:41 pm UTC

xaeon wrote:Just out of interest, what are the legal ramifications of voter intimidation in the US? How close to an election do you have to be for the charge of voter intimidation to be considered? For example, could he in any way be charged on the basis that in four years time you'll all be back to the polls and people may still have his warning in mind when considering who to vote for?


First of all, here's the relevant legislation

Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act wrote:(b) No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for urging or aiding any person to vote or attempt to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for exercising any powers or duties under section 3(a), 6, 8, 9, 10, or 12(e).


Section 12 deals with the penalties, the most common of which (and the one germane to that specific passage) is either a fine of not more than $5,000, a prison sentence of not more than 5 years, or both.

Now, I happen to think that the penalty is far too lenient, but the main problem is enforcement. The fact that the perpetrator here is a man of the cloth puts a chilling effect on prosecution. Even if he weren't, you just don't hear about the law cracking down on this bullshit.

True story: Oregon is actually the state with the toughest crackdown on tampering with the vote. This isn't due to some legislative action or any specific act of law enforcement, but rather the mere fact that they're the only state with voting by mail. Any tampering done to ballots is therefore also mail fraud, which is taken far more seriously by the Federal Government.

I'm absolutely with Noug on this one. I'd say that the MINIMUM penalty for fucking with our elections should be revocation of citizenship.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby cycoden » Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:26 pm UTC

Noug wrote:Certainly spreading misinformation (like some asshole somewhere who was hanging up flyers stating that voting day for Democrats was November 5th) and anything that hints at adverse consequences for your vote that are NOT a result of a candidate not being in office (such as you go to Hell if you vote Obama) should be cracked down on.

While making a misleading statement on the date of the election seems analogous to yelling fire in a crowded theatre, I'm not sure how a priest saying you will go to hell if you vote for obama could be considered voter intimidation - maybe the priest does truly believe that god is more interested in the fate of an unborn fetus than people who can't afford basic life-saving health care (for example), and would send people to hell for supporting abortion even once :P

Its clearly stupid and wrong, but the whole point about a democracy is anyone can express their views. In my view, he'd only cross the line if he exhorted his supporters to, say, sabotage the vehicles of obama supporters or picket voting booths.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby EsotericWombat » Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:44 pm UTC

There are a very limited number of things that free speech doesn't cover. "I want to kill the President of the United States of America" is one of them. "I'm going to kill you if you vote for Barack Obama" is another. I fail to see how "You're going to hell if you vote for Barack Obama" isn't one as well. It certainly qualifies as coercion, as per the statute.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby natraj » Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:46 pm UTC

cycoden wrote:While making a misleading statement on the date of the election seems analogous to yelling fire in a crowded theatre, I'm not sure how a priest saying you will go to hell if you vote for obama could be considered voter intimidation - maybe the priest does truly believe that god is more interested in the fate of an unborn fetus than people who can't afford basic life-saving health care (for example), and would send people to hell for supporting abortion even once :P


I don't think it matters what people truly believe -- even if I truly believed that Obama winning the election would've meant God raining fire and brimstone down on America, threatening someone with torture if they voted for him would still be intimidating them.

I can see an argument being made that that is voter intimidation, considering that it is likely many people in his congregation truly believe that hell = eternal torture and that whatever priests say about religious matters = true. So he basically threatened everyone with eternal torture if they didn't vote how he wanted them to. Pretty intimidating!
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby armandtanzarian » Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:11 am UTC

On that note, if anyone is taking issue to this mixing of church and state, there's always the possibility of taking away their tax-exempt status. In the same way Californians are trying to take away the tax-exempt status of Mormons, a couple of complaints to the IRS might help attract their attention.

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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:06 am UTC

cycoden wrote:Its clearly stupid and wrong, but the whole point about a democracy is anyone can express their views. In my view, he'd only cross the line if he exhorted his supporters to, say, sabotage the vehicles of obama supporters or picket voting booths.


Well that's why I added the qualifier of implying adverse consequences of a particular vote that are NOT a direct result of said person's election or said issue's approval or denial.

If you vote Obama into office, x, y, and z terrible things will happen because this is his platform and he will do them.
If you vote Obama into office, you will burn in Hell for all eternity because God doesn't want you to vote for him.

Pretty huge difference there.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby EsotericWombat » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:48 am UTC

armandtanzarian wrote:On that note, if anyone is taking issue to this mixing of church and state, there's always the possibility of taking away their tax-exempt status. In the same way Californians are trying to take away the tax-exempt status of Mormons, a couple of complaints to the IRS might help attract their attention.


I would say that before any such action is taken (against any group in fact, including the Church of Scientology), there should be a legal opinion drafted by someone in a relevant position of power (possibly a commission from the Treasury or the IRS in particular) detailing what exactly constitutes a cause for revocation of tax-exempt status. It would serve to both make any such revocations far more defensible if challenged, and also potentially get some of these people to fucking can it lest they cause their church to be taxed.

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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Alexius » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:22 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:S
I'm absolutely with Noug on this one. I'd say that the MINIMUM penalty for fucking with our elections should be revocation of citizenship.

In Vermont, the ONLY crime which results in disenfranchisement is election fraud. Even if the election was the day before a Vermont citizen was due to be executed for treason, they'd still be allowed to vote- yes, prisoners can vote in Vermont. But if you try and mess with someone else's vote you lose yours.

One of the many reasons why I like the Vermont approach to democracy- along with the town meetings, and the fact that we're the only state to still have a voter's oath.

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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:27 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Always leave your enemy a way out.*
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby TheStranger » Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:18 pm UTC

I'm not sure I see a major contradiction here.

- repudiating a priest for making inflammatory statements not backed by his higher ups seems reasonable to me.

- due to the strong anti-abortion stance that the Catholic Church has, and the most likely direction that Obama will take in regards to abortion, the CC is defining their policy in the light of changing political circumstances.

- the CC leadership expected to be able to influence their voter base, and it appears that their influence is less then they expected.

It's like how you can not agree with someone, but still not act like a jerk towards them.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby EsotericWombat » Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

The very fact that they're holding meetings about better leveraging their political clout means that they've crossed a line and become, at least in part, a political organization. They have no business being tax exempt.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby mosc » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

That's really what I would like to see happen for this. The stick aught to be removal of tax exempt status until AFTER the next election (provided they shut up for that one). Preaching politics = taxation. That simple. We don't need to get all mean about it, they're perfectly allowed to become a political party if they so desire. They'll just have to start paying sales tax on those gold crucifixes and whatnot.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Lucrece » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:37 pm UTC

Churches should have never started with the privilege of tax-exempt status, anyways. Preferential treatment through and through.

One thing I've noticed is how differently American Catholics operate in comparison to South American ones. I can tell you that the churches in South America aren't so politically organized, and that they're more bark than bite.

To be frank, the US contains one of the most antipathetic styles of Christianity I've come across in my life.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby EsotericWombat » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:27 pm UTC

mosc wrote:They'll just have to start paying sales tax on those gold crucifixes and whatnot.


That's an excellent point. Why the hell should the tax exempt status of a church be something that enables it to spend so much fucking money on ridiculous bullshit? Maybe there should be something akin to the opposite of a tax return here.

But yeah. Losing tax exemptions until the next election cycle seems to be a fair way of dealing with this
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:42 pm UTC

Lemme play devil's advocate here for a second, since we're basically stuck in a circle jerk about how awful the Catholic church is.
mosc wrote:That's really what I would like to see happen for this. The stick aught to be removal of tax exempt status until AFTER the next election (provided they shut up for that one). Preaching politics = taxation. That simple. We don't need to get all mean about it, they're perfectly allowed to become a political party if they so desire. They'll just have to start paying sales tax on those gold crucifixes and whatnot.
Are we planning on making other non-profits pay taxes, too?
EsotericWombat wrote:That's an excellent point. Why the hell should the tax exempt status of a church be something that enables it to spend so much fucking money on ridiculous bullshit? Maybe there should be something akin to the opposite of a tax return here.
Could you elaborate on what "ridiculous bullshit" they're spending money on that they shouldn't be due to their tax exempt status?
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Jebobek » Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:13 pm UTC

In my Catholic Church we had a one page fold-out pamphlet that sits next to the entrance. Our church's "Catholic voter's guide" listed topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and the war in Iraq, and had side-by-side comparisons of McCain Vs. Obama's beliefs. So our donations went into that, pretty much. If you wanted to pick it up, you could, but I pretty much scanned it and put it back down. I'm not sure I would consider it "ridiculous bullshit," more like "ehh, I'm not going to read into this."

If you don't mind, try not to use that one parish example to denounce the whole Church's methodology. This is just anecdotal, but our priest is actually registered independant so that he can vote upon who he thinks the right candidate is. It was basically "both candidates have ups and downs, the pamphlets are in the front, read it, study up on the candidates and vote for what you think is best."

From my own experience, you can't take tax-exempt away from printing off pamphlets, and you can't take it away for some priests telling the congregation that they're going to hell, which the Church does not believe that to be the case at all.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:20 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Could you elaborate on what "ridiculous bullshit" they're spending money on that they shouldn't be due to their tax exempt status?


Well, I was under the assumption that the reason for the tax-exempt status of churches was the understanding that they were giving back to the community, etc. etc. But for an organization that purports to be charitable, the Catholic Church has a shitton of extravagant wealth. Hell, I believe that the door to the rectory at my old parish is worth more than anything I own. As the old joke goes, if this is poverty, I can't wait to see chastity.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Jebobek » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:45 pm UTC

I have to say that It does piss me off when the local parish blows donations on something not needed. We built a giant stain glass window because it was in the origional plans, instead of building a gym out back for CYO to play in. Granted, the thing is gorgeous, but I'd rather let future kids be able to shoot some hoops. These decisions usually occur on the local level, though.

I wonder if there is a percentage or amount requirement to donate for the organization to be considered charitable, and if it needs to be turned up for the Church.
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:57 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Well, I was under the assumption that the reason for the tax-exempt status of churches was the understanding that they were giving back to the community, etc. etc.
It was my understanding that the reason it's tax exempt was because it's a charitable, non-profit organization. It seems to me as long as the guidelines set in place for all other tax exempt organizations are met it should stay tax exempt regardless of whether or not you personally agree with their morals, practices, etc.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Soralin » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:21 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
EsotericWombat wrote:Well, I was under the assumption that the reason for the tax-exempt status of churches was the understanding that they were giving back to the community, etc. etc.
It was my understanding that the reason it's tax exempt was because it's a charitable, non-profit organization. It seems to me as long as the guidelines set in place for all other tax exempt organizations are met it should stay tax exempt regardless of whether or not you personally agree with their morals, practices, etc.

As far as I'm aware they're not, there's a special exemption for religions so that they don't need to follow the normal conditions to be considered a non-profit or such. If all the references to religion were removed, and churches had to play by the same rules as everyone else to be considered a charity or a non-profit organization, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby Malice » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:57 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
EsotericWombat wrote:Well, I was under the assumption that the reason for the tax-exempt status of churches was the understanding that they were giving back to the community, etc. etc.
It was my understanding that the reason it's tax exempt was because it's a charitable, non-profit organization. It seems to me as long as the guidelines set in place for all other tax exempt organizations are met it should stay tax exempt regardless of whether or not you personally agree with their morals, practices, etc.


Don't non-profits still have to pay things like property taxes? Aren't churches exempt from that?
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22/7
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Re: Catholic Church repudiates priest for anti-Obama bulletin

Postby 22/7 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:48 pm UTC

Soralin wrote:As far as I'm aware they're not, there's a special exemption for religions so that they don't need to follow the normal conditions to be considered a non-profit or such. If all the references to religion were removed, and churches had to play by the same rules as everyone else to be considered a charity or a non-profit organization, I wouldn't have a problem with it.
Hmm... well, a quick google search for "churches and tax exempt status" turned up a few... interesting websites, the first of which seems a little less than unbiased, but it appears to actually be arguing against churches have tax exempt status for the sake of the church. Apparently they are automatically tax exempt (and tax-deductible, for the sake of contributions). According to this rather lively website, LBJ did this in order to remove churches' influence on politics, thus the name of the website (hushmoney.org). Kind of puts a different spin on things...
Totally not a hypothetical...

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