Modern RC publication's evaluation of Pat Robertson's attempt to be allies with the traditional branch of the RC cult.
File under "Robertson kicked in the teeth by RC buddies"
From ............... National Catholic Reporter
November 3, 1995
CATHOLIC ALLIANCE AGENDA ONE OF FEAR, EXCLUSION
A quarter of a million Catholics, culled from magazine subscribers and donor lists, last week found solicitations in their mailboxes from the far right-wing political organization, the Christian Coalition.
[Roman] Catholics are the new target of TV preacher Pat Robertson's well-oiled political wing, which recently spun off a subsidiary called the Catholic Alliance.
The offshoot was formed to attract Catholic money to its narrow causes.
Christian Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed explains in a Congressional Scorecard, published by the coalition, that the intent of the Catholic Alliance is to
"reclaim America for the traditional moral values that built our great nation." It is also intended to speak out against the anti-Catholic bigotry we see every day in the news coverage, on university campuses, in the schools, in the public debate and other areas of American life where church leaders are vilified and ridiculed for their Christian beliefs."
The scorecard allows the targeted potential donor to use Reed's voting index to measure his or her congressperson's support for "Catholic" values.
And by what measure? Curiously Reed's Christian Coalition list looks more like a Newt Gingrich campaign placard than a papal encyclical.
The Reed list includes votes on a balanced-budget amendment, congressional term limits, welfare cuts [in the stated pursuit of "strengthening the family"], reinstituting the ban on homosexuals from the armed forces and limiting government growth. Legal aid is also targeted to "discourage frivolous lawsuits," that is, class action suits aimed at corporations.
The coalition has bought in fully to the most extreme proposals of the new Congress. Reed and Robertson would love to slash away at the federal government Ñ and leave big business totally unregulated Ñ until little is left standing except smiling theocrats who know what is best for all of us.
The alliance's pitch letter begins with a bold quote from Pope John Paul II urging Christians to be proud of their faith and to accept
"the task of changing not only your own lives, but also your environment according to the light of the gospel."
There is no reference in any of the literature, however, to the demanding social dimensions of this pope's message to the rich nations of the world.
There is no reference to the pope's passionate pleas on behalf of immigrants and the marginalized, nor to his relentless criticism of the growing gap between the rich nations of the North and the desperate poverty of those to the South, nor of his calls to compassion and generosity
We don't hear the pope's ringing challenge recently made to Americans Ñ a challenge made in full awareness of the political climate here Ñ to rekindle compassion and response to "the needs of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, those who are alone or ill" and specifically, "those suffering from AIDS."
That side of the church's message, proclaimed from atop a rich and growing legacy of social pronouncements during this century, is not part of Pat Robertson's pitch because it can't be squeezed anywhere into his program. There is no room for it in the narrow, cribbed agenda of those who claim a divine mandate for their fundamentalist politics.
Robertson and Reed are master marketers. The mailing screams with fright about homosexuals and "radical feminists," "Big Government liberals" and vilifiers of religion in general and [Roman] Catholics in particular.
In many respects the issues are those that concern us all Ñ crime, parental control of education, abortion, balancing the budget, reforming welfare . It is in the fine print, the punitive and angry approach, that the coalition reveals itself.
But their pitch can be seductive to those who feel bruised by the age and fearful that our culture has slipped it moral moorings.
Robertson and Reed, after all, have all the answers. They have the entire program because they have a direct link to the Almighty. God tells them precisely all we need to know about how to live our lives and how we are to be governed.
They know what art we should view and endorse, what sexual practices we should engage in, what sexual preferences are condemned, on whom God bestows his favor or wrath. Their God has a system of rewards that translates directly into the good life Ñ and God, Robertson believes, is so impressed with his efforts that he has graced the Virginia evangelist with a special power and position.
"We are seeing the Christian Coalition rise to where God intends it to be in this nation," he declared to his followers, "as one of the most powerful political forces that has ever been in the history of America."
It is an exaggerated claim, for certain. But [Roman] Catholics should beware of granting the Robertson-Reed effort any further legitimacy in the name of their faith. It is unlikely that God is rejoicing over Robertson's fundraising schemes.
It is equally unlikely God is calling the church to a narrow politics of fear and exclusion.
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