Saturday, April 03, 2004

Abortion and Same-sex Marriage vs. Taxes

For the last week or so there has been much discussion among the Catholics for Bush group (as well as the "Catholics" for Kerry group) concerning a Catholic social teaching concerning taxes, and how this teaching in some way compels Catholics to support Sen Kerry and oppose President Bush. This is because of their respective positions on taxes: the senator would raise them, the president has cut them. In addition this teaching on taxes supposedly trumps the Church's teaching on the sanctity of life.

Let's put an end to all this.

The Church has always taught that abortion is an intrinsic evil. Always. And recently the Church has reminded Catholics, and the rest of the world for that matter, of their moral duty to oppose abortion in all ways. (See Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and the Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life) And the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has for over 20 years spoken about the need and importance of a "culture of life".

That being said, I have found nothing similar in regards to Church teaching on taxes. Yes, taxes are referred to in Rerum Novarum and Centesimus Annus, but these encyclicals' pronouncements on taxes just are not on the same level as pronouncements on the evils of abortion.

So, how/why do some Catholics highlight what seems vague Catholic teaching on taxes and seemingly ignore the explicit guidance on opposition to abortion? It seems obvious, but I'll let you answer that yourself.

Also, Church teaching on marriage and the disorder of homosexual acts, and the moral duty to oppose SSM is consistent and clearly laid out for all Catholics to read. It is not so for taxes though.

So, to say tax cuts are in some way against Catholic social teaching is really misleading and false. As well, to state tax cuts for the rich or a flat tax system would be incompatible with Catholic social teaching is false.

I would say Catholic social teaching has much to say on the role and responsibilities of the state in regards to serving/protecting the poor and contributing to the common good. Yes, levying taxes would be consistent with these teachings. But, stating one tax system is more in line than others seems an attempt to hijack these teachings to merely serve an agenda.

Either way, to say a position on taxes is in some way more important than one's views on abortion or SSM is in my opinion just wrong and a weak attempt to justify a Catholic's support for Sen Kerry.


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