Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, gained national attention earlier this month when he affirmed that Catholics cannot be part of the Democrat Party because of their platform’s support of unrestricted abortion. On September 5, Bishop Strickland tweeted the following:
As the Bishop of Tyler, I endorse Fr. Altman’s statement in this video. My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you, Fr. Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation … please HEED THIS MESSAGE.
The video from Fr. Altman referenced in Bishop Strickland’s tweet is entitled, “You cannot be Catholic & a Democrat. Period.” Fr. Altman, a priest in Wisconsin, says in the video that because of the Democrat Party’s radical stance on issues like abortion, the Catholic Church must teach on whether Catholics can be Democrats. “When politics and politicians act in an immoral way, we most certainly do have the duty and obligation to speak up about it.” He added, “You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period. Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches. So just quit pretending that you’re Catholic [if you]vote Democrat.”
Altman noted the hypocrisy of the mainstream media, which condemns priests for speaking in defense of Life but praises clergy who support anti-Christian causes. “[I]t’s okay for James Martin [a controversial Catholic priest]to spout out for the Democrats on their national stage—but God forbid a priest speak out against their godless platform.” Fr. Altman also explained how manipulative and dishonest politicians call on God in their public office, recounting when then-President Barack Obama, one of the most anti-Life presidents in our nation’s history, proclaimed, “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.” Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in America and donor to abortion-supporting politicians, ends the lives of more than 345,000 preborn babies per year.
Fr. Altman does not exaggerate in labelling the Democrat Party as the party of abortion. In recent years, the party platform has become even more barbaric, demanding total compliance for elective abortion up to birth funded by taxpayers. Democrat Party leadership told candidates that support will be withheld from them if they do not fully endorse the radical anti-Life policies promoted by the Democrat Party elites. Fr. Altman is correct in equating a vote for the Democrat Party to a vote in favor of killing preborn children.
Yet several prominent Democrat politicians identify as Catholic, including presidential nominee Joe Biden. Biden’s stance on abortion has become more extreme over the years. Last year, Biden jettisoned his long-standing support for the life-saving Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer-funding of abortion through government programs. Now, Biden has fallen in line with the abortion radicalism of the party at large. With Biden’s selection of Planned Parenthood heroine Kamala Harris, the Democrats now have arguably the most anti-Life presidential ticket in our nation’s history.
Fr. Altman received criticism for bravely stating the truth that the anti-Life extremism of the Democrats is incompatible with the Catholic faith; however, Bishop Strickland’s agreement buttresses the need for Christian clergy of all denominations to educate their flocks about values voting. Strickland’s tweet garnered more than a thousand comments plus thousands of retweets. Most of the responses to the bishop’s tweet are positive, thanking Strickland for standing for Life while the silence of so many other church leaders is deafening. Strickland has spoken in defense of innocent human Life in recent months and has emerged as one of the few bishops in America who publicly espouses the truths of the faith and who exhibits courageous leadership.
The nomination of Biden, who still claims to be Catholic despite his increasingly radical position on abortion, prompted ONLY a handful of other Catholic bishops to speak. Bishop Rick Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, tweeted, “How can a person say they are a faithful Catholic and yet support those who support the ultimate child abuse and human rights violation of those yet born? Slavery was legal at one time and yet now we look at it with horror. A child yet born is not the property of another.”
St. John Vianney, regarded as the patron saint of parish priests, instructed: “Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the angels, and the saints. They are your public.” Clergy who avoid the topic of abortion in the upcoming election are futilely attempting to please everyone, rather than guiding toward intimacy and holiness with God. The moral imperative to repudiate anti-Life politics applies to all Christians, not only to Catholics.
Christians must vote and do so with an informed conscience. When Christians separate their religious views from their civic voting duties, those they elect assault such religion. The upcoming election will determine the saving or the loss of a great many lives depending on the policy position of the winners. Christians must follow Fr. Altman’s compelling words and be on the side of Life.
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