Hacking the Catholic Vote

Before you click away to Pinterest or Facebook because you just can’t handle another anything political, give this post a chance. Give it a chance because it really is our future at stake, and even more grave – the Catholic faith in America as we know it.

This election is a big deal. I am not here to tell you who to vote for, though. There are other places that are made for that. What I did want to bring to your attention is a quiet campaign that exists to capture, snatch, and hack the Catholic vote. It’s occurring right under our noses, and it is being perpetrated in large part by other Catholics. It is a covert subterfuge that is at the tip of a whisper campaign. It is the very worst of politics, and a despicable effort by those claiming to speak on behalf of the faith.

Over at U.S. News & World Report yesterday, Peter Roff wrote an article highlighting this: Obama Supporters’ Dirty Tricks to Win the Catholic Vote. In the piece, Roff describes how this isn’t just an isolated incident here or there, but a mentality and strategy that is being employed across the board. In 2008, the “Faithful Citizenship” document was hacked by some Catholics on the political left to serve a purpose that was never intended. As the new introductory statement says itself,

Although [Faithful Citizenship] has at times been misused to present an incomplete or distorted view of the demands of faith in politics, this statement remains a faithful and challenging call to discipleship in the world of politics. It does not offer a voter’s guide, scorecard of issues, or direction on how to vote. It applies Catholic moral principles to a range of important issues and warns against misguided appeals to ‘conscience’ to ignore fundamental moral claims, to reduce Catholic moral concerns to one or two matters, or to justify choices simply to advance partisan, ideological, or personal interests.

So you see, even the Bishops acknowledge that their message was “hacked.” It was manipulated at a theological level to achieve a political end.

It doesn’t stop there though. As Deal Hudson outlined over at Catholic.org yesterday, there are groups that use the title Catholic and then promote those that act squarely against the teachings of the faith. Not only are these tactics subversive to the faith and the election, but thy erode the teachings of the Church and cause confusion amongst the faithful.

So it is incumbent upon us, the youthful of the faith, to stand firm against these things. We can’t sit idly by as others tear down the teachings and meanings of our faith simply because we want to be polite or cordial. It doesn’t mean that we have to pick a certain candidate to support and campaign for, but it does mean that we have to protect the virtues and beliefs that make us the Body of Christ. We can’t let those more motivated than us hack the faith, we can’t let those intent on manipulating the words of our Bishops to do so because of our laziness or lack of care.

As Bishop Thomas Paprocki recently said,

You need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because 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.”

The world is very good at making us complacent, and allowing us to be lulled into believing that our individual actions are quite small and insignificant. We must defend the faith and its teachings. The Catholic Church in America is under attack. We knew that from the HHS Mandate. But now, the attack is coming from the inside.

So what can you do to stop this? Speak up. That is the easiest thing, and we all can do it. You don’t have to be an expert on policy, and you don’t have to advocate for a candidate. But what you must do is stop people from believing that Catholics can vote for anyone that advocates or currently actively allows for intrinsic evil to be committed. You also must speak up against anyone that manipulates or contorts the true intent of the Bishops words or the Church’s teachings. Whether it is by voice, email, tweet, or marching into the chancery – you must make your voice heard. The war is at your doorstep, time to pull up your bootstraps.

Finally, let us remember that we are not struggling against flesh and blood but Powers and Principalities. What that really means is that evil beings use the weakness of men against us. They strike us where we are weakest. Nothing is pure evil, instead good things are twisted and contorted until they no longer resemble that good – truth is broken and then reshaped to resemble truth, that is the most deceptive lie there is. In the end, this isn’t just about politics but something bigger. This is about living a Christ centered life and the teachings of the faith.

Archbishop Chaput said it best

“Politics is important. How we vote in November will help choose the course for our nation, for good or ill. But as Christians, our story began long before this campaign season. It will continue long after. Our task is to reform our own lives even as we witness Jesus Christ to the world– not just by our words, but by our actions.”

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