Friday, April 08, 2011

New Hampshire Tea Party agrees with Representative Andrew Manuse

It turns out that the New Hampshire Tea Party agrees with Representative Andrew Manuse: religion should be private, marginal and irrelevant.  It has its place in churches but should remain there.  At its website, the New Hampshire Tea Party states, "Some of us think that churches are supposed to be a connection to God and His moral authority for those who choose to be guided by this factor, and thus they should stick to the things of God which are the Ten Commandments..." (See here).

In other words, Christians should leave their beliefs in church where they belong.  But, as I said here, "The Gospel has political implications for those who follow Christ and who have a role to play in the political process."  As Christians, we believe that the responsibilities of citizenship constitute a very important part of our personal vocation.  Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council says, "May all Christians be aware of their special and personal vocation in the political community.  This vocation requires that they offer a shining example of devotion to duty and of service in promoting the common good, so that they also show by their deeds how authority can be harmonized with freedom, personal initiative with the interrelationships and bonds of the whole social body, and appropriate unity with beneficial diversity." (No. 75).

Those of us who are Christian are not second-class citizens.  But it would appear that the New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition views us as such.  We're permitted to be part of the political process as long as we do not let our Christian faith inform or shape our political values.

There has been a whole lot of anti-Catholicism erupting throughout the Granite State as of late.  We might just have the smoking gun here.


Karen said...

Then I will not be voting for Tea Party candidates in the future. Any party which engages in Christianophobia will not have my vote.

Disgusting and vile!

Anonymous said...

"As Christians, we believe that the responsibilities of citizenship constitute a very important part of our personal vocation."

Quick question Paul, do you think Muslims feel the same way?

Jennifer Goguen said...

The Tea Party doesn't speak for me. And it certainly doesn't speak for authentic Catholics - those are not CINO. I resent the Tea Party telling me that I have to leave my religious convictions inside of a church. Let THEM keep THEIR beliefs to themselves!

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Undoubtedly. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement entitled "Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility," had this to say: "Today's democratic societies . . . call for new and fuller forms of participation in public life by Christian and non-Christian citizens alike. Indeed, all can contribute, by voting in elections for lawmakers and government officials, and in other ways as well, to the development of political solutions and legislative choices which, in their opinion, will benefit the common good. In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation. All believers are called to faithful citizenship, to become informed, active, and responsible participants in the political process. As we have said, "We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate [more fully] in building the culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum."

As the Bishops have said, responsible citizenship is a virtue. The key word here is "responsible." All of us have a duty to promote the common good. Why should Muslims be excluded from the political process if they are engaged in responsible citizenship?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

It must be remembered, however, that "responsible citizenship" does not entail coercion.

LaconiaCatholic said...

I was initially very excited with the Tea Party. But it seems that the party has been overshadowed by anti-Catholic bigotry. And since I'm not very excited by any Republican candidates in New Hampshire, I don't think I'll be voting in the next election.

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