06.17b. Should the Roman Catholic Church Excommunicate All Democrats, Even Anti-Abortion Ones? I was just reading Professor Thomas Smith's sensible remarks on abortion. He made the usual point that if (a) the Roman Catholic church believes that abortion is murder, and (b) a church member promotes abortion, then (c) the church has a moral duty to expel that member. He made the correct analogy to what the church should do if a member promoted the exterminaton of Jews and Gypsies, and he even provided the caveat that the Church might be wrong on point (a) (if you think it is wrong , you maybe shouldn't be a Catholic). Then I came to where he said,

It's not really the Church's problem that the Democratic Party has established a litmus test that to be a Democrat you have to believe in the absolute right to an abortion. You rarely hear the suggestion that maybe the Party should reconsider its position on abortion, rather than the Church reconsider its opposition to it.

At that point I paused, because I didn't see the connection. If the Roman Catholic Church has a right to expel members for being pro-abortion, surely the Democratic Party has the right to expel members for being anti-abortion. The Democratic Party litmus test is an example of hypocrisy, to be sure, when they criticize the Church, but nothing more than that, and it's not the first, or the twentieth example of liberal hypocrisy.

But then I realized another implication, one that is valid but I haven't heard mentioned: The Roman Catholic Church should excommunicate anybody who votes Democrat, regardless of their position on abortion.

This is a strong claim, but inescapable, I think. Here is the chain of reasoning:

1. Promotion of the abortion of millions of babies is not just a peripheral but a core principle of the Democrat Party.

2. Under Roman Catholic doctrine, this means that promotion of the murder of millions is a core principle of the Democrat Party.

3. Murdering millions of people is far more important than, say, tax policy, or the proper level of sulfur dioxide emissions, or whether airport security workers are unionized.

4. Thus, a Roman Catholic is not justified in supporting the Democratic Party in spite of its position on murder.

5. Thus, a Roman Catholic who votes Democratic should be expelled from the church.

If you have trouble following this, try substituting "Nazi" for "Democrat" and killing Jews for killing babies, and suppose that whether or not killing Jews is murder was a matter of controversy, on which reasonable men could differ. That is not quite the right analogy, because the Nazis did not, in fact, advocate killing Jews--- the Nazis did not begin doing it until 1941, and even then they were ashamed enough to do it secretly, so voting for the Nazis in 1932 was not so clearly contrary to Roman Catholic doctrine in this dimension.

We have something of an example of this in Bloomington. Our Indiana Statehouse Representative Peggy Welch is a conservative, anti-abortion, Democrat, and a member of Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, our one local mega-church, which is a pretty sound church theologically. Although she votes against abortion in the final floor votes, her vote is important for whether the Democrats control the Statehouse, and so she contributes to abortion, on net. Her church is an independent one though, and I don't know their position on abortion.

I should perhaps add, for those who have a hard time following logical arguments, that all of this is quite independent of whether the Roman Catholic Church, or Sherwood Oaks, ought to oppose abortion or the killing of Jews. Even if those activities are actually harmless, and the church is wrong, if a church believes they are equivalent to murder, it ought to discipline members who promote them.

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