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Liberal Catholics Can't Handle the Truth
Townhall.com ^ | July 17, 2009 | Kathryn Lopez

Posted on 07/18/2009 5:55:04 AM PDT by Kaslin

ROME -- Some things are beyond parody. In announcing that Barack Obama is more Catholic than the pope, Newsweek takes the cake.

The piece, written by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for the magazine's Web site, in anticipation of last week's presidential-papal meeting, asserts: "(The pope and the president) politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won't care, because they know Obama's on their side. In fact, Obama's agenda is closer to their views than even the pope's."

Townsend, like many a commentator, misses something essential: There is a truth to which the pope subscribes. The whims American Catholics confess to pollsters are another thing entirely.

Townsend argues that the pope needs to bend his ear to the poll results, and to ditch his Christian hope for Obama's brand of faith. Townsend ultimately wants to remake the Catholic Church so that it reflects her more liberal political agenda. In this regard, she is not unlike other American-Catholic politicians. (Townsend ran for governor of Maryland in 2002.) But in doing so, she puts aside the Church's commitment to truth.

Here, Townsend joins an Obama work already in progress. When Obama spoke at Notre Dame's commencement he declared, "The ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen." It was his reworking of Hebrews 11:1, which reads, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith isn't a belief. It's a substance. It's evidence, as the words of Scripture say. As one priest wrote, after the speech, in his diocesan paper: "Faith leads not to doubt, nor merely to subjective conviction, but to objective truth discoverable through revelation and grace."

So when Catholics latch onto the Obama gospel, they're doing not only their Church but also themselves a disservice. If they're projecting their own personal and political wants onto the Church, they're rejecting their own integrity.

Townsend was far from alone in missing the point of the Obama-Benedict meeting and the new papal encyclical. The papal document "Charity in Truth" was released just days before Obama's visit and was widely described as the pope's embrace of global government. But his political guidance was not the heart of the matter -- and that's not me trying to make the encyclical mesh with my political philosophy. Taken in its entirety, "Charity in Truth" offers a view of today's world that is challenging for people of all political persuasions.

An honest reading of the encyclical is hard for right and left alike. I'm not comfortable with increasing foreign aid, redistributing wealth, and anything having to do with the United Nations. But if you went to National Review Online after the encyclical's release, you would have seen writers wrestling with the issues, reading and trying to understand the thinking behind this serious moral guide. And while we dealt with the text, the more mainstream headlines merely focused on what's "bad" for conservatives in it and suppressed what is challenging for the left. Newspapers everywhere ignored the pope's condemnation of the far too many international organizations that contribute to a culture of death (such as promoting contraception), as only one example.

As Kishore Jayabalan of the Roman office of the Acton Institute said, shortly after the Vatican press conference announcing the new encyclical: "Neither side . . . seems ready to take Benedict's theology -- his own field of expertise -- seriously. Part of this is a result of our habitual, liberal-democratic tendency to separate Church and State and not let theological arguments influence our politics. This tendency invariably blinds us to the pope's combination of respect for life with the demands of social justice. ... Reading 'Charity in Truth' for partisan purposes can yield moments of agony and ecstasy for left and right alike."

Newsweek will continue to find Catholics who will put a partisan spin on the pope and his teachings. The pope, meanwhile, will continue to provoke all of us -- and yes, sometimes even make us uncomfortable -- in the interest of truth.

Townsend, like many a commentator, misses something essential: There is a truth to which the pope subscribes. The whims American Catholics confess to pollsters are another thing entirely.

Townsend argues that the pope needs to bend his ear to the poll results, and to ditch his Christian hope for Obama's brand of faith. Townsend ultimately wants to remake the Catholic Church so that it reflects her more liberal political agenda. In this regard, she is not unlike other American-Catholic politicians. (Townsend ran for governor of Maryland in 2002.) But in doing so, she puts aside the Church's commitment to truth.

Here, Townsend joins an Obama work already in progress. When Obama spoke at Notre Dame's commencement he declared, "The ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen." It was his reworking of Hebrews 11:1, which reads, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith isn't a belief. It's a substance. It's evidence, as the words of Scripture say. As one priest wrote, after the speech, in his diocesan paper: "Faith leads not to doubt, nor merely to subjective conviction, but to objective truth discoverable through revelation and grace."

So when Catholics latch onto the Obama gospel, they're doing not only their Church but also themselves a disservice. If they're projecting their own personal and political wants onto the Church, they're rejecting their own integrity.

Townsend was far from alone in missing the point of the Obama-Benedict meeting and the new papal encyclical. The papal document "Charity in Truth" was released just days before Obama's visit and was widely described as the pope's embrace of global government. But his political guidance was not the heart of the matter -- and that's not me trying to make the encyclical mesh with my political philosophy. Taken in its entirety, "Charity in Truth" offers a view of today's world that is challenging for people of all political persuasions.

An honest reading of the encyclical is hard for right and left alike. I'm not comfortable with increasing foreign aid, redistributing wealth, and anything having to do with the United Nations. But if you went to National Review Online after the encyclical's release, you would have seen writers wrestling with the issues, reading and trying to understand the thinking behind this serious moral guide. And while we dealt with the text, the more mainstream headlines merely focused on what's "bad" for conservatives in it and suppressed what is challenging for the left. Newspapers everywhere ignored the pope's condemnation of the far too many international organizations that contribute to a culture of death (such as promoting contraception), as only one example.

As Kishore Jayabalan of the Roman office of the Acton Institute said, shortly after the Vatican press conference announcing the new encyclical: "Neither side . . . seems ready to take Benedict's theology -- his own field of expertise -- seriously. Part of this is a result of our habitual, liberal-democratic tendency to separate Church and State and not let theological arguments influence our politics. This tendency invariably blinds us to the pope's combination of respect for life with the demands of social justice. ... Reading 'Charity in Truth' for partisan purposes can yield moments of agony and ecstasy for left and right alike."

Newsweek will continue to find Catholics who will put a partisan spin on the pope and his teachings. The pope, meanwhile, will continue to provoke all of us -- and yes, sometimes even make us uncomfortable -- in the interest of truth.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: catholic; contraception; cult; faith; popebenedict; prolife; religiousleft

1 posted on 07/18/2009 5:55:04 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

A pro abort adulteress decides who is more catholic???

Excuse me while I puke.


2 posted on 07/18/2009 6:04:42 AM PDT by Carley (OBAMA IS A MALEVOLENT FORCE IN THE WORLD)
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To: Kaslin
I just love all this wealth redistribution talk. So, I want to help, really I do.

Next year, each person shall be asked to indicate a choice on their Federal Income Tax return.

Do you want your wealth redistributed?

If you answer "yes" then you owe the taxes indicated.

If you answer "no" then you owe no taxes.

So, I wonder how many Democrats/liberals would answer "yes."

3 posted on 07/18/2009 6:09:21 AM PDT by Enterprise (When they come for your guns and ammo, give them the ammo first.)
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To: Kaslin

Why these people get newsprint facetime as “Catholics” simply confirm the profound levels of editorial ignorance today.

Their public confessions of their belief deny their Catholicism...something only an ignorant or malevolent editor could deny.


4 posted on 07/18/2009 6:10:49 AM PDT by mo
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Carley

“A pro abort adulteress decides who is more catholic?”

Yeah, I had some problems with this as well. This is just my own observation - and I am not RC: The Catholics who I know that attend Mass on a regular basis, and try to follow the teachings of the Church tend to be very socially conservative. I would hate for someone of my denomination, who never attends service, and outwardly rejects the doctrines which we hold true, be held up as example of what we all believe. I’m not trying to start a theological argument- just trying to be fair.-—JM


6 posted on 07/18/2009 6:19:02 AM PDT by Jubal Madison (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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To: Kaslin
...but Catholics back home won't care, because they know Obama's on their side.

So if Obama is for you, who can be against you? Oh wait, that's not how it goes...

7 posted on 07/18/2009 6:22:33 AM PDT by kdot
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To: mo

You got that right.


8 posted on 07/18/2009 6:35:58 AM PDT by Piquaboy (Military veteran of 22 years in Navy, Air Force, and Army.)
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To: Jubal Madison
just trying to be fair.-—JM

Fairness duly noted!

9 posted on 07/18/2009 6:36:43 AM PDT by JimRed ("Hey, hey, Teddy K., how many girls did you drown today?" TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: Jubal Madison

No, I don’t think you’re starting an argument there. As a Catholic, I take the very same position. I attend Mass. I believe. I take the Eucharist. I ignore the politics and sometimes I have to avoid other Catholics who want to discuss that sort of thing. It would suit me for the Church to more publicly and pointedly disavow people like the Kennedys who are, at least in my opinion, simply “political Catholics” for the sake of seeking the so-called “Catholic vote”. They succeed in doing so more on more on ethnic and traditional allegiances than on teachings or doctrines. So, no, I think you’re being fair.


10 posted on 07/18/2009 6:56:18 AM PDT by Emmett McCarthy
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To: mo
Their public confessions of their belief deny their Catholicism

Or anyone who professes Jesus Christ and also abortion are lying about one or the other, be they Protestant or Catholic.

I know very little about Judaism but would guess that Jews too are lying if they claim Judaism and think it's OK to murder babies.

11 posted on 07/18/2009 7:02:14 AM PDT by Graybeard58 ( Selah.)
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To: Jubal Madison

JM ... you’re absolutely correct. I AM a Catholic and find it very hard to believe that someone would presume to publically speak for “American Catholics”. The liberals have infiltrated our Church in this country and are trying to twist scripture to fit their liberal beliefs. We had people like Susan Sarandon telling us during the election that Jesus was a “community organizer”. These Liberal Catholics aren’t the ones we’re seeing in the pews for daily (or even weekly or monthly) Mass.


12 posted on 07/18/2009 7:02:40 AM PDT by Jackson57
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To: Jubal Madison
No arguments here, because it drives us insane. It's really a matter of honesty and not just with the world in general, but with ourselves. The Kennedys have a serious honesty problem. So do any number of other public CINOs, and yes, they smear the rest of us by association.
13 posted on 07/18/2009 7:09:36 AM PDT by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: Jubal Madison

Thank you, JM.

My heart just sinks when, in conversation, I hear some of my fellow Catholics talk about Obama. I realize I am talking to someone who is poorly educated about our faith and I become so discouraged by the fact that they think they are being so socially just (all the while they are actually doing wrong by supporting leftist policies). Where do you start?

I have found that many friends and acquaintances will turn their backs on you when they find out you are pro life.

In my opinion, so many women have had abortions now that a majority of people feel guilty when we talk about pro life issues. We are probably speaking to someone who has had an abortion or knows someone who did. This creates a lot of cognitive dissonance in their minds. We must remember this when we speak about abortion— we may be speaking to someone who had one and is trying to avoid the guilt.

For the people I really care about, I spell it out: you can’t be Catholic and pro abortion— or vote for anyone who is.


14 posted on 07/18/2009 7:16:28 AM PDT by Melian ("Now, Y'all without sin can cast the first stone." ~H.I. McDunnough)
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To: All
Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend


15 posted on 07/18/2009 7:21:36 AM PDT by ElPatriota (The SILENCE of the Catholic Church on the war on family-values, is ** DEAFENING **)
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To: Jackson57

We are having the same trouble in our church. I don’t have a problem with someones political views - but I would suggest if you can’t abide by our interpretation of scripture or our doctrines - then perhaps you belong somewhere else. It is true enough I have a lot of questions, but my faith requires that I submit to scripture. I believe therein lies the rub - a lot of the “liberals” (not all) don’t want to submit. Christianity is not about us, it is about Christ - and our submission to him. To me personally, being a Christian is about worshiping the Risen Christ and being a servant to Him. It isn’t about me or my political agenda. This is just my view, I hope it hasn’t offended you or your faith in any way.-—JM


16 posted on 07/18/2009 7:22:13 AM PDT by Jubal Madison (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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bookmark


17 posted on 07/18/2009 7:24:27 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Kaslin

Not being Catholic I make no claim to know what is or is not a “real” Catholic. But these people aren’t even Christians let alone Catholic or Protestant. Their belief systems seem to align more closely with the old pagan religions where there was a god for everything and you could pick and choose according to your personal preference. So you could practice according to the particular cult you ascribed to and claim the mantle of piety even if the practice was some perversion or degeneracy.


18 posted on 07/18/2009 7:25:18 AM PDT by scory
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To: Jubal Madison

Liberals would have a BIG problem with John 3:30 - “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

You haven’t offended me or, I would say, any other true Catholics on here. You’re stating our common faith.


19 posted on 07/18/2009 7:25:40 AM PDT by Jackson57
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To: Melian

“you can’t be Catholic and pro-abortion...”

I don’t understand how anyone, regardless of denomination, can claim to Love and follow Jesus Christ and be pro abortion. Forgive me if that sounds harsh, but that is how I see it. If Christ is our example, can you imagine a situation where he would find abortion “acceptable”? If the scriptures are correct, and I believe they are, then we are created in the image of God. Doesn’t that make all life a gift from God? Are God’s gifts not sacred? I don’t know if you agree with my theology or reasoning - that is just how I view it.-—JM


20 posted on 07/18/2009 7:34:53 AM PDT by Jubal Madison (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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To: Kaslin

And the Kennedy’s wonder why they are cursed.


21 posted on 07/18/2009 7:40:18 AM PDT by micmac
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To: Jubal Madison

You sound a bit like me.

Born Catholic, married into Lutheran (assured they were almost the same).

Yeah. Lutherans are Catholics without the “red tape” ie, no hard and fast REAL guidelines. Kinda like the notion of the “living and breathing Constitution.”

I no more want a living and breathing Constitution, than I want an IRS code, an employment contract, a divorce decree, or an extended warranty to be “living and breathing.”

I prefer my documents “dead” if you know what I mean.


22 posted on 07/18/2009 7:40:35 AM PDT by Daisyjane69 (Michael Reagan: "Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time)
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To: Kaslin
This jackass of a write needs to learn it's not, the pope.

You address and acknowlege him as the Pope.

23 posted on 07/18/2009 7:43:35 AM PDT by A Cyrenian
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To: Melian

In my reply at #20, I seemed to have forgotten my humility and compassion. While I don’t believe Christ would ever condone abortion, he would certainly have compassion for those poor girls who have had one. In my haste and self righteous pride, I have forgotten that I was once in the muck of my own sin, and Christ in his Mercy and Love pulled me out. Please forgive my harshness. As a Christian, I am to speak truthfully - but I am also admonished to be Loving,Compassionate and Merciful. I failed in that regard, and I ask for forgiveness.-—JM


24 posted on 07/18/2009 8:06:53 AM PDT by Jubal Madison (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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To: Kaslin
So when Catholics latch onto the Obama gospel, they're doing not only their Church but also themselves a disservice. If they're projecting their own personal and political wants onto the Church, they're rejecting their own integrity.

*********************

This is an exceptionally well written article, Kaslin. Thanks.

25 posted on 07/18/2009 8:07:27 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Jubal Madison

More than fair, Jubal.


26 posted on 07/18/2009 8:08:26 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Kaslin
Photobucket Obama meets the Pope.
27 posted on 07/18/2009 8:16:32 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Jubal Madison

Your expereinces match mine to a T. Except for the fact that I am Catholic. The people I see every Sunday at church are the most socially conservative I know.


28 posted on 07/18/2009 8:17:01 AM PDT by mockingbyrd (Boehner Baby!!!)
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To: Carley

Adultress? Spill, please!!!! I thought she had gone away permanently - to continue burying her placentas from all her children - YUCK!!!!!!


29 posted on 07/18/2009 8:23:19 AM PDT by matginzac
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To: Kaslin

I had a funny sense of deja vu reading this.


30 posted on 07/18/2009 8:26:19 AM PDT by Scotswife
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31 posted on 07/18/2009 8:32:16 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Kaslin
In fact, Obama's agenda is closer to their views than even the pope's.

The Pope's view is closer to God's. Now...who exactly, is going to be judging everybody on Judgment Day???

32 posted on 07/18/2009 8:40:18 AM PDT by pray4liberty (http://www.aroodawakening.tv)
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To: Melian
I have found that many friends and acquaintances will turn their backs on you when they find out you are pro life.

God is separating the wheat from the chaff. The world hated Jesus, and they will hate us, too.

33 posted on 07/18/2009 8:43:14 AM PDT by pray4liberty (http://www.aroodawakening.tv)
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To: Kaslin

I believe in CHOICE.

Yes, the Right of the Foetus/Fetus to CHOOSE whether to be born alive or to die in utero of spontaneous abortion.

No one has the right to interfere with the Foetus’ right to choose.

And no Foetus is going to come out feet first with a sign on the nape of it’s neck that reads “puncture here and suck out my brains.”

LET THE FETUS (FOETUS) CHOOSE BETWEEN LIFE AND SPONTANEOUS ABORTION (MISCARRIAGE). FETAL CHOICE IS THE CORRECT CHOICE. TAKE THE GUILT AWAY FROM THE MOTHER-TO-BE, ALLOW THE BABY-TO-BE TO DECIDE LIFE OR NOT.


34 posted on 07/18/2009 9:10:46 AM PDT by HighlyOpinionated (I believe in CHOICE: Let the Fetus decide whether to be born or to spontaneously abort. FETAL CHOICE)
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To: Carley
"A pro abort adulteress decides..."

I guess you might call that an opinion from the "Lay-ity".

35 posted on 07/18/2009 10:24:40 AM PDT by BuddhaBrown (Path to enlightenment: Four right turns, then go straight until you see the Light!)
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To: BuddhaBrown

Count on the Kennedy’s to sneak attack bebe Cuomo as he runs for Gov. of NY

Sharpton has already claimed Cuomo is a racist for running against Patterson.


36 posted on 07/18/2009 11:13:16 AM PDT by Carley (OBAMA IS A MALEVOLENT FORCE IN THE WORLD)
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To: pray4liberty
"The Pope's view is closer to God's."

I don't wish to muzzle any individual Catholic's (even a Kennedy) opinion on matters. I just hope she carefully considers that the definition of sin is a revealed truth not a tracking poll. And that while no human (except Christ) can totally avoid sin, intentionally (mis)leading the faithful away from truth is a mega-sin.

In an analogous way, Obama is the source of the corruption of individual Christian souls in a more non-denominational way. A misguided portion of the whole Christian flock are being led to believe, in direct opposition to God's revealed truth, that somehow theft is now equal to Christian compassion. That if we just authorize someone in government to do the stealing on our behalf, then we can have the best of both worlds - no commandment breaking directly by us and yet we can claim Christian "charity" by giving via proxy to others what was never actually ours.

That is a lie. And one more subtly deceptive than even those whispered to Eve in the garden. Obama and his socialist compassion thieves take from us the blessings with which we could bless others of our own choosing and they spend it according to their morally decrepit desires. And do so while claiming an ethical high ground which, in reality, is built on sand. Those who fall victim to such thinking and support such evil are in very serious danger of losing their seat at the great and none too distant wedding between the faithful and the Messiah spoken of in parables not understandable to the weak in faith. Those folks will be, as prophesied by Christ, shocked and mortified when He slams the door in their collective face and proclaims "I never knew you."

Those who profess a faith in God would do well to remember that Satan does not often drag folks down with him by convincing them to do what they know to be evil. He does it by convincing them that what God defines as inherently evil is actually somehow good.

37 posted on 07/18/2009 11:13:58 AM PDT by BuddhaBrown (Path to enlightenment: Four right turns, then go straight until you see the Light!)
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To: scory
Not being Catholic I make no claim to know what is or is not a “real” Catholic.

According to the Catholic Church, a Catholic must:

1) Be baptised

2) Have confirmed the baptisimal oaths in adulthood

3) Accept the totality of Church teachings, dogma and revelation

4) Go to confession regularly and as necessary

5) Attend Mass weekly & on Holy Days, where 2, 3, & 4 are reaffirmed, and a Catholic receives the Sacrament.

If any of these steps are not taken, a person ceases to be a Catholic, but may or may not call himself a "lapsed Catholic," if he chooses.

You either practice a religion, or you do not practice a religion, but if you are making up your own rules, then you are obviously practicing your own personal made-up religion.

38 posted on 07/18/2009 2:01:30 PM PDT by presidio9 ("Don't shoot. Let 'em burn.")
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To: Jubal Madison

I do agree with your reasoning. Anyone who really knows Christ cannot support abortion.

The problem is that so many people confuse the right to have an abortion with social justice issues. In their rush to support the poor and downtrodden, they hesitate to tell them how to live.

Some studies indicate that a surprisingly large number of women have had abortions. My point is that when we are having discussions with women on this subject, we should keep in mind that they may have made that sad choice and have very complex feelings about it. We have to change their minds and hearts in a way that can reach them. It is a very difficult thing to do- precisely because most do have guilt about what they did but don’t want to admit it. That’s not a very enlightened and modern reaction in today’s secular world!

I thank you for your well written and thoughtful comments.


39 posted on 07/18/2009 2:59:55 PM PDT by Melian ("Now, Y'all without sin can cast the first stone." ~H.I. McDunnough)
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To: pray4liberty

“God is separating the wheat from the chaff.”

Very true. It is hard when some of those that hate us are our nearest and dearest; but I’m sure St. Paul and many of those who followed Christ also experienced it. That is some comfort.


40 posted on 07/18/2009 3:05:13 PM PDT by Melian ("Now, Y'all without sin can cast the first stone." ~H.I. McDunnough)
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To: mo
only an ignorant or AND malevolent editor could deny.

There fixed that!

41 posted on 07/18/2009 3:06:11 PM PDT by wintertime (People are not stupid! Good ideas win!)
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To: Melian
I do agree with your reasoning. Anyone who really knows Christ cannot support abortion.

I would add to that, anyone who really loves Christ cannot support abortion. It is the work of the Devil, truly it is......"legal" murder based on deception and lies.

42 posted on 07/18/2009 5:19:53 PM PDT by pray4liberty (http://www.aroodawakening.tv)
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To: Melian
That is some comfort.

I'm glad you said that. My whole family just about hates me for standing up for the Truth.

43 posted on 07/18/2009 5:22:54 PM PDT by pray4liberty (http://www.aroodawakening.tv)
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To: Jubal Madison
While I don’t believe Christ would ever condone abortion, he would certainly have compassion for those poor girls who have had one.

"Poor girls"?

Hardly.

They are killing innocents out of innate and ugly cruelty.

All the deserved empathy is for the babies not for those who murder babies.

44 posted on 07/19/2009 11:53:10 AM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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