I got hammered today (no, Father Bud, not that kind of hammered) in a letter I received from a Catholic couple who are really upset with me for something I said — or, as it turns out, something I didn’t say — on my EWTN Open Line radio broadcast (Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. ET) this past Thanksgiving Day, November 27. They accuse me of being arrogant, judgmental, inappropriate, and a blunderer in my comments about President-Elect Obama that day.
On my radio show, during the final months before the election, I got plenty of angry and confrontational calls from “pro-Obama” Catholics who were displeased that I continued to remind my listeners that I believe voting for a pro-abortion candidate, regardless of his or her party, is to make oneself complicit in the crime of abortion. If you go back to the archives and listen to previous shows, you’ll hear what I mean. I’m not saying that the folks who wrote me this letter are pro-Obama, but they were definitely lit up by what they thought they heard me say about him.
Here is their letter, which I reproduce for you verbatim, complete with the original punctuation, capitalization, and emphases — not to embarrass them, but for complete authenticity. After you’ve read it, please click the link and listen to what I actually said on the show.
We were astonished at your program on Thanksgiving Day. I wanted to turn it off, but I HAD to find out who was talking. I never have written a letter like this . . . EVER. But my precious church and EWTN are too important not to comment. You used the legitimacy you have gained from being on EWTN to “air” your personal opinion making it sound like an official church position. Your statement, “We have elected evil” sounds like Barack Obama is evil. You tried to correct yourself by saying, “We have elected an evil.” Believe me, that didn’t fly. Making a statement like this on EWTN puts us all in the same group as though we Catholics go around condemning people like we know what is in another’s heart.
I love everything about our faith. This statement is the first thing I have heard that, as a Catholic, I am offended at being drawn into association with . . . a network making a sweeping condemnation like that, as if we know what was in another person’s heart. It was arrogant and inappropriate.
We are all aware of our church’s stand on the evil of abortion. We can count on these doctrines to be the heart of Jesus. It is one thing to say we are sinners as the church does, but you targeted an individual as an “evil.” Correcting your statement to “an evil” is too judgmental. We can say abortion is evil without looking stupid.
We urge you to discern the difference we are talking about here. We don’t get to judge others. You could have said the Democratic stand on abortion is unconscionable. We, too find it regrettable that the Democratic party has embroiled itself in its stance on abortion and the foolishness of “so-called” gay rights.
Where does the sweeping condemnation of a statement like this stop? Barak Obama is evil, the Congress is evil, American Democracy is evil, and by associate, America is evil too. Unfortunately, anyone listening to this might conclude the church condones this opinion, that the Catholic Church is saying America is evil because Barak Obama was elected.
What you say, SHOULD be official church doctrine. Isn’t that your real job? Unfortunately, because that is what your job is, what you say comes off like it is the official stances of the Catholic Church.
Watch yourself carefully. You are not an official voice of the Catholic faith. You might be an authority on Canon Law or church doctrine, but you certainly are not an expert on what lies in another man’s heart. If you think you are, God help us all.
Why [did we] write this letter? Because you will be on EWTN again and again. We listen to EWTN all the time. We will hear you again. It has taken me a lifetime to find my beloved Catholic Church, to overcome the protestant bigotry I have heard all my life. A blunder like this supports all that old bigotry and, in fact, literally pushes people away from becoming interested in the Catholic Church.
We want to thank you for considering what this letter is intended to say. It is hard to take criticism. We want you to think about what you have said. Think faster. Talk slower and think about the repercussions of broad statements like this.
With kind regards,
N. & N.
Me again. While I do appreciate their taking time to contact me by letter with their concerns, these folks simply misheard and, therefore, completely misunderstood, what I actually said.
Here are my exact words from that show (which you can listen to in its entirety here http://ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/ol_11272008.mp3, starting about 30% into it, with the second caller). Please note my comments in bold:
[Referring to bygone laws, such as legalized slavery] “. . . Those were unjust laws, they were morally reprehensible, and yet, they were legal for a time in this country. And my hope is that the morally reprehensible ‘legality’ of killing unborn children will go the way of the dodo bird. I hope it goes the way of the Jim Crow laws when, eventually, enough people come to their senses and say, ‘We cannot have this. We cannot live in a country that can tolerate these kinds of atrocities.’
“Now, God permits this [kind of thing], and we’re no different than any other generation. Let’s not forget that every generation of human beings has had to go through its share of travails. And so, whether it’s bad governors and bad government, whether it’s war or famine or disease or natural disasters — there are all kinds of things that go on, and many of those, they bring forth situations in which people have to make moral decisions. They have to choose good or evil. And I’m sorry to say that over half the people in the United States, on November the 4th, chose a great evil, and I don’t mean the person Barack Obama when I refer to that ‘evil,’ I’m referring to the great evil that he stands for and represents and supports — the evil of abortion. And it’s saddening, it’s astonishing, that that so many people could be so wrong on such a basic issue, but yet, there it is.
“So, yes, God does permit this, and I think also, there must be taken into account the element of punishment, of chastisement; that God will allow human freedom to run its course. And so our sins and the repercussions of those sins are going to have consequences. And the devastating consequences of the sin of abortion are going to be felt far and wide in this country, as they have been for the last 30 some odd years since it [abortion] was legalized. So, the element of God’s chastisement through letting us get what we deserve, even those of us who didn’t vote for this man, nonetheless as a society, this society will suffer as a whole by having bad leaders with immoral positions, and evil positions — evil stands that they take — on those kinds of issues. So I think that has to be taken into account as well. . . .”