Feature

The jihad in American politics

John Boehner, of course, isn’t the first politician to be deemed “insufficiently Catholic” by co-religionists, said Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times.

Tim RuttenLos Angeles Times

Is John Boehner a bad Catholic because he’s a conservative? That, said Tim Rutten, was the contention of 70 leading Catholic scholars who criticized Catholic University for inviting Boehner to make the commencement speech last weekend. The scholars said the Republican leader had defied one of the church’s “most ancient moral teachings”—our obligation to care for the poor—by supporting a budget proposal that “guts” Medicare and Medicaid, and slashes taxes for the rich. His voting record, the scholars said, was “anti-life.”

Boehner, of course, isn’t the first politician to be deemed “insufficiently Catholic” by co-religionists. His Democratic predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, routinely had her faith questioned by conservative Catholics outraged at her support for legal abortion. But as this latest controversy shows, it’s ugly and wrong to turn politics into “an inquisition into any officeholder’s religious conscience.”

We have a separation between church and state because politics and religion represent “distinct aspects of human experience.”They often inform and challenge each other, but when they are merged, the result is dangerous. Let’s not forget that “there’s a reason we deem ‘theocracy’ a term of opprobrium.”

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