Saturday, October 25, 2008
THE STRANGE LOGIC OF LIBERTARIAN CATHOLICISM
The article is titled "Christians and the Pro-Life Ploy". It appears at the LewRockwell.com website and is written by Dr. Gregory C. Dilsaver. It addresses the Pro-Life vote, but it does not condone the logical response to Obama's support of abortion. Instead it proposes another platform, one based on the concept that America has become a totalitarian empire.
Before going further, it is necessary to look at the author. G. C. Dilsaver is a Catholic psychologist. He has written a book, published by Sapientia Press, affiliated with Ave Maria University, and available through Ignatius Press, as his website advertises. He runs a clinic that he says is based on a Christian conception of God. He calls it Imago Dei Clinic.
Imago Dei Clinic treats the full spectrum of mental illness, including the mood disorders, psychoses, obessive-compulsions (sic), as well as marital, familial, and gender-sexual issues.image of God. Created in this image, the human person has a nature that can be understood in accord with universal attributes and laws, yet always retains a sublime mystery that is to be revered.
Imago Dei means
Imago Dei Psychotherapy is the first psychotherapy to fully locate the science of psychology within a traditional Christian understanding of the nature of the human person. Imago Dei Psychotherapy (IDP) views the human person as a moral agent who is called to assent to the truth and love the good.
Dilsaver lists his credentials here. His doctorate comes from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. That school is a newcomer in Academics. It was founded in 1978 by Pat Robertson, and originally named CBN University (that's Christian Broadcasting Network), according to Wikipedia. The school is not without controversy both in the Law School and in the School of Psychology and Counseling. Wikipedia spells it out:
One professor said that there is a "climate of fear and intimidation” within the school. Another said, “The climate is contrary to Christian values rather than embracing them.” While a third said, “I cannot in good conscience continue to participate in this unhealthy and toxic environment.” A petition was circulated which criticized the behavior of the school's dean and the counseling department's program director said to have used the terms "brothas”, “hoes” and “homos” however some students said the words were used in an "academic context".
Controversy is not inherently bad. One test of the mettle of the school must be what do its graduates stand for? With that question in mind I return to Dilsaver's article at LewRockwell.com. He writes:
Leaders in the Catholic and other conservative pro-life churches are almost making it mandatory this presidential election that the faithful vote for McCain or, more to the point, vote against the pro-abortion Obama. But is this single-issue pro-life exhortation really in harmony with authentic Christian tradition? Are these leaders really showing that they are of the mettle of their predecessors, from the Apostles to St. Thomas Beckett to Cardinal Mindszenty? Or instead are these Christian leaders more aligned with those predecessors who all too often compromised the faith and kowtowed to political power, the world, the flesh, and the devil? This essay advances that it is the latter.(bolding mine)
The Pro-Life Ploy
Indeed, the pro-life ploy is perfectly demonic: in holding out the illusionary possibility of destroying an evil an even greater evil is fed. But what can be more evil than killing babies? It is that which is the cause of this killing and myriad other evils. Indeed, as atrocious as abortion is, it is nonetheless a symptom. Our nation is not vicious because it allows abortion, rather it allows abortion because the nation is vicious.
It is good that church leaders are finally showing some spine in regards to politics and the crime of abortion, but this is neither remarkable nor prophetic. In doing so they are merely reacting to the most gruesome and sensational symptom of a systemic evil. But tragically the election of another Republican will not take care of the symptom; at the very best (don’t hold your breath) it will remand it back to the states. Abortion will remain, legal or illegal. However, it is certain that voting for either the Republican or Democratic candidate will strengthen the systemic evil that is the current Republican-Democratic political axis, and the powers that manipulate that government. Also be certain that the last thing the national government wants to do is remand anything back to the states, much less to the community, church, or family. Indeed, Roe v. Wade is the rotten fruit of the Federal government’s usurpation of state’s rights.
The systemic evil that must be primarily combated is the rise of the most omnipotent State in history, both on the domestic and international level. Under this State, and abided by mind-boggling advances in technology, totalitarianism has the potential of reaching an apex of power and control undreamed of by past despots. The future is ominous indeed, for already this State contravenes its own constitution.
The article continues in that vein for a total of five pages of printout. The bottom line? Dilsaver places a higher priority on combatting this evil institution called America than he places on the lives of unborn and born infants who are the result of botched abortions. Life itself, in other words, is subservient to Dilsaver's idealism.
With this article Dilsaver joins the other public voices undermining the clear directives of a few brave bishops who are fighting for the life of the most helpless humans of all--unborn babies.
While I agree with most of his claims of a need for change, I surely cannot agree with his overall philosophy as expressed in this priority. It is a priority that will undermine any hope of addressing abortion by dividing the Catholic pro-life vote. Ron Paul is not going to be elected President. A vote for him is a vote against our only hope of addressing abortion--voting for a man who opposes it and has a chance to be elected. Instead we are urged to throw our Catholic vote away by voting for one who will not win.
The Republican candidate is not going to be a knight in shining armor delivering us from the evils of totalitarianism. Republicans and Democrats are not all that different on issues of governmental power. That is a given. Ron Paul may be advocating for addressing a wider scope of evil, but he has no hope of accomplishing his dream within the next four years. Supreme Court justices are at stake. Laws to entrench abortion more irreparably in the American legal system are at stake. They are on the table during the next term. We must address with our vote the immediate wrong that hits us in the face. Idealism can wait when infant lives are at stake.
With this essay Dilsaver joins the other Catholic voices of dissent such as Nancy Pelosi, Doug Kiemec, and Joe Biden that courageous bishops are opposing. It is sad to see such hypocrisy on the Catholic right as represented by Ave Maria University and Ignatius Press. We are a house divided in more ways than we know.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!