Sunday, September 05, 2004

Catholic Voting Guide Again

A commenter asked, what is so wrong with the 2004 Catholic Voting Guide? It was pointed out that I have only listed one problem with it, Targeting of Civilians. Actually, I have problems with many of the issues and more importantly I have a problem with the guide overall.

The guide is based on Faithful Citizenship, published by the USCCB last year. Faithful Citizenship makes no distinction between all the issues it lists. Thus, the protection of the weakest among us, the unborn, is given the same standing as support for the United Nations! The USCCB published in 1998 the pastoral letter, The Gospel of Life, in which they stated,

But being 'right' in such matters [policies on poverty, employment, education, etc.] can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.

If this was the case in 1998, why is not the case now in 2004? Regardless, no matter how "right" Senator Kerry seems to be on dealing with "Haitian refugees' fleeing to the US" or supporting "buy-in to health insurance through creating a federally subsidized plan" it does not excuse his wrong choices on abortion, ESCR, and euthanasia. As well, his failure to defend life renders suspect the claims in the guide to his being right on the 'Death Penalty' or 'Use of Force'.

This same commenter accuses me of being a "cafeteria Catholic" for he/she seems to think I "pick and choose" the USCCB statements I use. Never been accused of that! If I picked or chose my positions on faith and morals as I saw fit and not as the Church (i.e. not the USCCB) teaches then you could call me a "cafeteria Catholic". I am merely pointing out what seems to be a contradiction from the USCCB. If I am to be accused of being single issue voter or closed minded when the I point out USCCB does not fully uphold and defend the faith then so be it. My conscience tells me to do so.

Back to the guide itself. It would helpful if those who wrote and maintain the guide would reference the information they list under each of the candidates positions. It would allow all to see where they gather the information. In acknowleging this commenter's claim that I only pointed out one issue, here are a few others:

Under Avoid War, the guide states "All nations have a right and duty to defend human life and the common good against terrorism, aggression, and similar threats," yet points out under the president's position that "he would still have invaded Iraq in March 2003 even if he knew at the time that there were no WMD in Iraq and that there was no link between President Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda." This does not address Saddam's use of WMD on his own people and Iran, his financial support of families of Palestinian suicide bombers, his brutal treatment of political opponents, or his blatant violation of UN resolutions. And the Iraqi link with al-Qaeda is debatable and not a closed case as the liberal pundits suggest. These were all important in "defending human life and the common good against terrorism". I feel the writers of the guide have their own pacifist bias here rather than a non-partisan laying out of the candidates positions.

Under Discrimination, the guide lists President Bush's position as that he, "reduced funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that enforces federal laws against discrimination and upholds the equal pay. " That's all. Nothing more. As if the funding of the EEOO is a proper measure of the president's work to "overcome barriers to equal pay and employment for women and those facing unjust discrimination." Why not mention the Bush administration's changes to overtime rules? Though misreported by the liberal media, these rules will ensure that an "additional 6.7 Million Workers Earning Less Than $23,660 Will Be Guaranteed Overtime. '. . .[T]he final rule guarantees overtime protection for all workers earning less than the $455 per week ($23,660 annually), the new minimum salary level required for exemption. Because of the increased salary level, overtime protection will be strengthened for more than 6.7 million salaried workers who earn between the current minimum salary level of $155 per week ($8,060 annually) and the new minimum salary level of $455 per week ($23,660 annually).'”

I could go on and will if asked, but it seems rather obvious that the writers of the guide are not "non-partisan" as they claim and have an agenda of their own.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you against the 2004 Catholic Voting Guide and the USCCB's Catholics in Political Life? What other publications and organisations are you against? It seems that I'm shooting at a moving target here- why not just address the comments on the original thread instead of making up whole brand new ones? Whatever.


"If I am to be accused of being single issue voter or closed minded when the I point out USCCB does not fully uphold and defend the faith then so be it. My conscience tells me to do so."

No, I accused you of taking someone else's 1 point outta 39 and reducing your talking point to that ONE point and ignoring the other 38 (I've responded to this point already in the original post)

"This does not address Saddam's use of WMD on his own people and Iran, his financial support of families of Palestinian suicide bombers, his brutal treatment of political opponents, or his blatant violation of UN resolutions. And the Iraqi link with al-Qaeda is
debatable and not a closed case as the liberal pundits suggest."

Mercy of God, how do you support the statment that the Iraqi link with Al-Qaeda is debatable?? Stop watching Fox News and start reading government documents, such as the 9/11 commission, or any other major news source- this is NOT debatable! Saddam did use WMD on his own people- so have other repressive regimes, so do other regimes currently (Sudan, Chechnya). Does this mean we should spread our liberty to them as well? Why the heck not, we shouldn't be selfish and limit our spread of freedom and liberty to everyone! Dude, as I mentioned before, if you or Bush can convince me that the invasion of Iraq is justifiable, I'll vote for Bush in 2004.

"Under Discrimination, the guide lists President Bush's position as that he, "reduced funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that enforces federal laws against discrimination and upholds the equal pay. " That's all. Nothing more. As if the funding of the EEOO is a proper measure of the president's work to "overcome barriers to equal pay and employment for women and those facing unjust discrimination. Why not mention the Bush administration's changes to overtime rules? Though misreported by the liberal media, these rules will ensure that an "additional 6.7 Million Workers Earning
Less Than $23,660 Will Be Guaranteed Overtime. '. . .[T]he final rule guarantees overtime protection for all workers earning less than the $455 per week ($23,660 annually), the new minimum salary level required for exemption. Because of the increased salary level, overtime protection will be strengthened for more than 6.7 million salaried workers who
earn between the current minimum salary level of $155 per week ($8,060 annually) and the new minimum salary level of $455 per week ($23,660 annually).'

Dude, EEOC is the arbiter of discrimination for workers. If you want to discuss a specific piece of legislation that Bush passed, then do it separately, or are you equating the legislations attempt to limit certain professions to overtime as anti-discriminatory, as if 'discrimination' is euphemism for helping out the working class. Is Bush running as the anti-discrimination president? If you are trying to argue that Bush, over his term in office, helped the working class more than the rich, you're really fibbing. Go to the Congressional Budget Office website and check out what really happens under Bush tax cuts. Bush has never pretended to be the populist president- that's because his tax cuts overwhelmingly benefit the rich.

"I could go on and will if asked, but it seems rather obvious that the writers of the guide are not "non-partisan" as they claim and have an agenda of their own.are not "non-partisan" as they claim and have an agenda of their own."

Clearly, you are partisan and pro-Bush. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is when unsupported talking points are mentioned here as if they were facts. This is disturbing because one would assume that a Catholic website, or website targetted for Catholics, would try to dispense fact-based arguments in the support for Bush. The Voting Guide document you point out comes from website which attempts to correct the document when known errors are pointed out. I've tried to combat some of the erroneous talking points you've brought up, but they do not seem to have any effect.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Patrick Sweeney said...

Any characterizations of the positions of the candidates written by other than the candidates themselves will be open to criticism as being inaccurate representations of their positions.

They don't belong in Voters Guides.

The examples cited are wonderful examples of spin -- some truth, some mis-directed emphasis, some distortions, some omissions.

The objective information should be limited to matters of fact like laws passed or signed, etc. and links to partisan web sites.

The very idea that there's a non-partisan 100 word summary of Bush and Kerry policies is ludicrous. It's all partisan starting with the words "The" and "A".

8:52 PM  
Blogger Patrick Sweeney said...

The problem is that the 2004 Catholic Voting Guide contains characterization of the positions of the candidates which have inherent bias. Only the candidates themselves are the source of their positions along with their recorded votes.

The 2004 Catholic Voting Guide is an textbook case of spin -- a little truth, a little distortion, ommissions and changes in the emphasis and prioritization. As a Bush supporter I see the bias against Bush and for Kerry. I'm sure a Kerry supporter would see some evidence of bias in the opposite direction. The Guide's appearance of objectivity is false.

A Catholic Voters Guide should explain Catholic teaching and leave the characterization of the candidates positions to the candidates themselves, the political media, and, of course, the voters themselves .

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick,

Are you stating that 'spin' is unavoidable and thus Catholic Voting Guides of any type not espressly made by the campaigns themselves will be biased?

it does not excuse his wrong choices on abortion, ESCR, and euthanasia. But the point your missing is that Bush is not all that gung-ho for life himself. Bush, the biggest death penalty advocate in history signed for the killing of a whole bunch of criminals. His preemptive war killed tens of thousands, and caused injury to many more. His poor environmental reocrds causes incalculable number of long term suffering for everybody worldwide. Will you address these things or do you think that abortion trumps all? Again, why are you against the USCCB and the Catholic Church?

11:00 PM  

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