Having been raised Catholic and retaining what could be called residual Catholic sympaties, among the many websites I peruse for ranges of opinion include Catholic.org. The site is informational, covers news both Church-related and worldly, and proves exceptionally useful whenever I need to remind myself why I am not Catholic anymore.

Today I bring you someone named Robert Stackpole (I shit you not) sharing with the world his tax-exempt thoughts on politics in "A Plea to Catholic Obama Supporters: Part I." I think that by the end of this exercise you will agree that "Part I" takes on a menacing tone, threatening to subject us to more if we don't repent. Due to its tremendous length, I have redacted and summarized portions of his argument. If you care to read the whole thing to ensure that I have done this rhetorical wizardry justice, I won't stop you.

Let's rolltm.

It is much like the autumn of 1860, when the nation was (as usual) divided on many issues, but one in particular exercised the conscience and stoked the passions of everyone: the intrinsic moral evil known as slavery.

Oh good. No one has ever used the literary device of comparing abortion and slavery before. This will be new for all of us.

(The preceding sentence was written by someone who has been in a coma since 1964 due to a remarkable series of events involving a stepladder, a box of wigs, and two Mormons)

(In previous articles) I reviewed the three most pressing life and death issues of moral concern facing the nation today: abortion, healthcare, and war and peace.

It's a moral issue about life and death? Well way to tack on two qualifiers that both must be present for inclusion in the category. That is like saying "Of all of the arboreal issues of concern to guys named Norman, this new Norman Tree-Planting Initiative legislation is the most important."

However, the abortion issue remains (as Deacon Fournier so aptly phrased it), “the 800 pound gorilla in the room” of this election.

Deacon Fournier did not coin this phrase, nor was it particularly "apt" for him to fall back on such a hacky, predictable metaphor. I want abortion to be like a herd of incontinent stallions or an 800 pound sloth. That would be something to see. I can see 800 pound gorillas at the zoo for $20.

On this matter, Sen. Obama clearly, unequivocally, and unapologetically supports what the church considers an “intrinsic moral evil”

I bet the list is long and doesn't just amount to abortion and euthanasia. At least I hope so, because the list of things considered sinful in Catholicism is about about as exclusive as the list of things that have been in Paris Hilton's vagina.

the continuation (and even expansion) of the legal permission to kill unborn children in their mothers’ wombs.

Boy, it sure sounds bad when you expect the reader to unquestioningly accept your frame of the issue as murder.

In most respects, Sen. McCain opposes this extreme moral evil.

I hope this is the first of many milquetoasty efforts to position John McCain as an abortion opponent.

Think about that phrasing. Try it in other scenarios. "In most respects, your son survived the surgery" or "In most respects, the fire was extinguished" or "In most respects, I didn't kill that guy."

This issue, I said, should be the “tipping point” for Catholic voters in this election. As I wrote back in August: “Those who understand and accept the Church’s Social Teaching, with its recognition of human life as an absolute value and priority, simply cannot support [Obama’s] candidacy in the upcoming presidential election without seriously violating their conscience.”

Huh. Well I thought there was a little more to being a Catholic than having the right position on abortion. You know, I guess it's more convenient if we can just fuck all that "social justice" and "love one another" stuff in the Bible, which my heathen ass still reads cover-to-cover annually. I didn't realize that the entirety of this partisan political organization religion boiled down to opposing abortion.

Sadly, it seems that since that time, Catholic Obama supporters have continued to duck and weave, finding new reasons for marginalizing the issue of abortion in this campaign, and for the dubious contention that an Obama presidency would actually result in a lower abortion rate than an administration run by his relatively Pro-Life opponent.

Maybe Catholic Obama supporters understand that there is more to Catholicism than sending checks to Bill Donahue and being really, really pro-life. Also, McCain: He's Relatively Pro-Life!tm. That is like being relatively pregnant or sorta crapping.

This article is a final plea (from me anyway) to Catholic Obama supporters please to reconsider your position.

How can anything with "Part I" in the title be a final plea?

It is much like the autumn of 1860, when the nation was (as usual) divided on many issues, but one in particular exercised the conscience and stoked the passions of everyone: the intrinsic moral evil known as slavery.

It's actually nothing like the autumn of 1860, what with the impending Civil War and all the cholera outbreaks and the black people being property.

(I will now redact and summarize a lengthy analogy. Lincoln wasn't all that pro-abolition, but he ended up being THE abolition President. So even though John McCain isn't really all that pro-life, we can conclude with confidence that once we funnel millions of votes toward his desperate campaign he will actually be REALLY pro-life once he's in power and doesn't need us anymore! I am STACKPOLE! Cower beneath my logical abilities! Watch how used car salesmen high-five each other as soon as they see me walk on the lot!)

Can anyone doubt that for those who understand the Church’s Social Teaching (and not many U.S. Catholics did at the time) the morally right thing to do was to choose the lesser of evils and vote for Lincoln?

No, back in 1860 most Catholics relied on the Vatican's position that slavery was either, depending on who you talked to, OK or not that big of a deal. And that indians didn't have souls.

Can anyone doubt that a Douglas victory would have resulted in the continuation and probable extension of the evil institution of slavery on the American continent for at least another generation?

Sure, a few "credible historians" can doubt it. Plenty of readers can doubt it based on nothing more than the complete stupidity of everything you've written up to now, Stacky.

(more "Obama = Douglas, McCain = Lincoln" bullshit)

Would you be convinced? Neither would I, but, as we shall see, it is not unlike the choice facing us now.

So it's not a convincing argument? That's always a good thing to admit. I'm convinced…that your entire analogy is retarded, Stacky Onassis.

Two quotations will help us here. First of all, Patrick J. Buchanan in Human Events set the positions of the candidates in clear contrast for us: “Near the end of a town hall meeting in Johnstown, Pa., a woman arose to offer a passionate plea to Barack Obama to “stop these abortions.” Obama’s response was cool, direct, and unequivocal. ‘Look, I’ve got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. …I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.’

First of all, "Johnstown PA Lady" needs to crack a fucking junior high textbook and tell Stackpoleon Bonaparte how in the hell the president has the power to, or is supposed to, "stop these abortions." Is he going to kill Nancy Pelosi with his bare hands, wear her skin, and force the tribe submit to the alpha male? Can the President pass or rescind laws?

Punished with a baby.

I'd say that's a pretty accurate description of guilting or forcing a 15 year-old to have a baby.

Obama sees an unwanted pregnancy as a cruel and punitive sanction for a teenager who has made a mistake, and abortion as the way out.

Obama also sees "stars" when he looks up at the sky and considers ass-raping small children to be cruel and punitive. Astute observation, Lord Stackington of Poleshire.

The contrast with Sarah Palin could not be more stark.

Sarah Palin, a woman who will have absolutely no legal authority to do anything about abortion, taxes, or your neighbor's dog shitting on your lawn. She can affect all three equally. She is also not a candidate for president.

At the birth of her son Trig, who has Down Syndrome,

Please, Stackpolicus, tell us the story about Sarah's PropTard! We've never heard it before! Why, I didn't even realize she had kids!

(skipping story)

Yet we are being asked to believe that a McCain-Palin administration would be less likely than an Obama-Biden administration to safeguard the lives of unborn children.

No, you're being asked to believe what a McCAIN administration will do. McCain. McCain is the one running for president, the one who doesn't give a flying fuck about abortion no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that his sudden concern for pro-life causes is sincere and that he won't tell you to suck his butthole until gelatto comes out as soon as he's in office and you're no longer needed.

Second, Dr. Jeff Mirus of CatholicCulture.org ably sums up for us the bearing of the Church’s Social Teaching on this matter:

This promises to be an objective look at the candidates which fully takes into account the ways in which the President can influence abortion-related policy.

The Church has also taught that voting for a politician in spite of the fact that he supports abortion is at least remote material cooperation with evil, and so can be justified only when there is a proportionate reason…. The problem, for those who wish to take advantage of this to support pro-abortion candidates, is that there is no issue on the contemporary American political scene that is even remotely proportionate to abortion.

Ah, well that settles it. It's OK to vote for someone who's pro-choice if there's a compelling reason, but there can be no reason more compelling than abortion! Ha ha! That's what we call "circular reasoning," Stackquille O'Neal.

The number of abortions reported in the United States is over one million per year…. By contrast, there are about 17,000 other homicides per year in our country…. When compared with the issues that are widely argued to be somehow proportionate, the lack of proportionality is even more astonishing. Thus, while abortion claims between one and two million lives per year in the Unites States, premature deaths due to inadequate care are estimated at about 34,000 per year

Wow, does the Vatican have all this shit rank-ordered? Can we see the whole list?

the Iraq war has claimed a total of roughly 55,000 American and Iraqi lives since its beginning several years ago;

That's certainly an accurate accounting of the number of Iraq War-related casualties!

Wait, he said 550,000 right? You sure there's not another zero?


and the death penalty claimed the lives of 42 persons in the United States last year, most of whom were presumably at least guilty of a serious crime.

That is the worst fucking assumption that you could make, actually, "Doctor". This is true in Mayberry, Fictional 1950s America, and Right Wing Fantasyland. Let me check and see if we live in any of those.

Nope. We do not.

You can find all these statistics in about five minutes of research on the web.

"Which is all the research I did, because I'm a lazy hack who is talking directly out of his puckered asshole after an all-week PF Chang's binge."

I submit again, that no voter who is guided by reason can even begin to make the argument that there is an issue in the United Sates presidential election that is remotely proportionate to abortion

Let me correct this one: "…no Catholic who is guided by Catholic moral teachings can even begin to….."

There. It's fixed now.

(NB: even those who include in their body count in Iraq all those who have allegedly died indirectly from the conflict due to displacement, poverty and disease –some say that would bring the total to as many as 500,000 — have to acknowledge that, tragic as those deaths are, they number roughly 100,000 per year at most, not 1-2 million per year, which is the annual carnage in the American abortuaries).”

All those who have "allegedly died indirectly". "Some say" that it could be as many as 500,000, with "some" being "people who have actually counted the corpses." This number, of course, includes indirect deaths like "roving ethnic death squads" and "mass executions." You'd really have to be a loon to include those as war-related deaths.

If Dr. Muris is right

I have a high degree of confidence based on this quote that Dr. Muris could not find his dick with both hands and a powerful arc lamp let alone be right about an argument based on such infantile logic. But do tell, what if he's right?

then the conclusion would seem to be inescapable: a Catholic cannot vote for pro-abortion candidate Obama without violating the dictates of a well-formed conscience.

But if the doctor is wrong, then the conclusion isn't so inescapable. So the inevitability of this "conclusion" rests on an argument that reads like it came out of YouTube comments, Stack Attack.

…Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn addressed whether a Catholic in good conscience could vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy.

In other news, the Catholic hierarchy has determined that John McCain supports no "intrinsically evil policies", a category which includes: Abortion. My non-Bishop take is that quite a few of the violent, war-mongering policies McCain and his crackpot temper support are "intrinsically evil."

(The Pope said) “Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate¹s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason."

OK, so, bottom line argument time: George W. Bush = Pro-Life = Not Intrinsically Evil.

If the Catholic Church needs to understand why it's losing members in droves and it retains only a sad parody of the moral standing it once enjoyed, just read this paragraph over and over until it sinks in (Catholics have always been big on repeating things over and over until they are no longer questioned, so this should work). The fact that the Pope is telling his followers that George W. Bush is not an intrinsic evil because, through special VaticanMath, abortion is "worse" than anything Bush has done, is the only example we will ever need of why the church simply isn't relevant anymore.

Kill people, lie, cheat, plunder, violate the law, start wars…..you too can get the Catholic Seal of Not Evil if you oppose legal abortion.

In short, the Catholic Church demands that its followers be single-issue voters. There is no room for dissenting opinions or other issues. Abortion is the sum total of how a Catholic interacts with the political world. Every single thing a True Catholic says about politics is completely fucking irrelevant because the adherence to the faith demands that their voting decision is based on one issue in the end no matter what.

In my next installment, we will look at the arguments commonly brought forward by Catholic Obama supporters to refute this conclusion.

I'm sure you'll give them the kind of fair, even-handed treatment of non-Straw Man opposing arguments that we would expect from you, Stack Pole Down.

Dr. Robert Stackpole is an Associate Professor of Theology at Redeemer Pacific College and the Director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy

Of course you are, Stack Daddy. Of course you are. I bet the tenure requirements are pretty stiff at RPC and the JP2IDM. I bet that the school that granted you a PhD was accredited too.

Be sure to sign up for Prof. Stackpole's advanced seminar for Spring 09: "Theology 410: Your Ass or a Hole in the Ground?" in which he tries to confront life's greatest unknowable.