Douglas Kmiec is a law professor at Pepperdine University, and once was the dean of the law school at Catholic University in Washington D.C. Despite being a conservative lawyer with strong pro-life beliefs, he nonetheless cast his vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 general election.
So far, the scenario for this Catholic scholar would seem an uneventful exercise of his constitutional right to vote. He chose the candidate he deemed the best for the office of president of the United States. Apparently, though, a Catholic priest saw the situation differently.
Kmiec was invited to speak at a Catholic church to discuss his motivation for supporting a candidate who supports abortion rights. Right before Kmiec spoke, however, the priest set the stage for the religious malpractice yet to come. He prefaced Kmiec’s address to the audience with a stern denouncement of those who had supported pro-life candidates as participants “in a grave moral evil.”
Then, when Kmiec presented himself at the altar to receive the holy sacrament of communion, the same priest shook his head from left to right and refused to serve Kmiec. Though Kmiec said to the cleric, “I think you’re making a serious mistake, Father,” the priest simply replied, “I don’t think I’ve made any mistake.”
Lest ye believe that this is an isolated incident, in Greenville, South Carolina, the Rev. Jay Scott Newman, pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, took religious intervention to a whole new level.
Rather than run the risk of allowing an Obama supporter to approach the altar with the audacity of seeking the communal host, Rev. Newman penned a letter to his parishioners, admonishing them not to present themselves for communion if they had voted for Barack Obama. The good reverend asserted that congregants who had supported the pro-choice president-elect had cooperated with “intrinsic evil,” and should not partake of the sacrament “lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.”
Aside from Rev. Newman’s more blatant religious scare tactics, one can’t help but notice that in the letter, he made sure to refer to our 44th president by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama. Clearly, this was attempt by the cleric to color his edict with the same shade of Muslim bias made famous by the Republican campaign machine this past election season.
In 1892, the Supreme Court passed what would become known as the Trinity Decision, in which it was clearly stated that “this is a Christian nation.” In addition, we clearly see an overlapping of religion with matters of state. Be it the “in God we Trust’’ statement that adorns our currency, or the “So help me God” that concludes every presidential swearing in, including the one planned for Obama in January.
Despite these blurred lines of church and state, it is an obvious miscarriage of religious authority to pass judgment on those Christians who have cast their ballots in favor of a duly qualified American candidate for president.
In his book, My Life, former president Bill Clinton states unequivocally “I thought then [in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision] and still believe that the Court reached the right decision.”
Yet somehow, when Clinton asserted his pro-life stance as a candidate and president, there was no call for penance for his supporters. I guess Rev. Newman et al see a difference between Clinton pro-life and Obama pro-life. I am left to only speculate what that difference could possibly be.
I am reminded of the passage, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Given some of the “challenges” that the Roman Catholic Church has had within their fraternity of priests, I am bewildered by their willingness to cast stones before Obama even takes the oath of office.
The Rev. Newmans of the world should recognize that the Catholic Church, just like the presidency, is not free of blemish, and that priests should judge not, lest they be judged.