Politics and the Catholic Church | The Line

By | August 16, 2019


>>WELCOME BACK TO THE LINE. ELECTIONS CAN BE A TRICKY
TIGHT ROPE ACT FOR CHURCHES, AND THIS WEEK THE CATHOLIC
CHURCH HAS FOUND ITSELF IN A DELICATE BALANCING ACT. FIRST, A SANTA FE CATHOLIC
CHURCH RAISED EYEBROWS WITH A SIGN ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO
VOTE PRO LIFE IN THESE UPCOMING MIDTERM ELECTIONS,
AND A POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE FROM TEXAS PUT OUT
A FULL-PAGE AD IN THE JOURNAL AND THE SANTA FE NEW
MEXICAN THAT ALSO INCLUDED A PRO LIFE MESSAGE AND A
BREAKDOWN OF THE TWO CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR
STANCE ON THOSE ABORTION ISSUES. DIANE, THE STATE CONFERENCE
ON CATHOLIC BISHOPS HAS DENOUNCED THE AD, AND EVEN
CALLED ON CANDIDATE PEARCE TO DENOUNCE THE AD, AS WELL. BUT, BOY, HERE IT IS. A BIG SIGN IN FRONT OF
ST. ANNE’S, IT’S AN AMAZING
THING. BUT THEY’RE NOT TALKING
ABOUT A CANDIDATE, JUST AN ISSUE. IS THAT OKAY IF IT’S JUST AN
ISSUE?>>WELL, TECHNICALLY I THINK
IT COMPLIES WITH WHAT LAW OR TRADITION WE’VE HAD. THE SIGNS, THIS IS NOT THE
FIRST ELECTION THE SIGNS HAVE BEEN UP ON THE CHURCH
AT ST. ANNE. IT’S ALWAYS A VERY FINE
BALANCE WHEN YOU GET BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE AND FIRST
AMENDMENT RIGHTS, BECAUSE SHOULD YOU NOT? I MEAN, WHAT’S THE
DIFFERENCE OF PUTTING UP A SIGN OR TALKING ABOUT IT ON
THE PULPIT. SO, I DON’T KNOW. I THINK THAT IT’S CONFUSING. NOW, USING THE BISHOP’S
LETTER, I TEND TO THINK IT’S OKAY. IT’S A MATTER OF PUBLIC —
IT’S A PUBLIC DOCUMENT NOW. IT WAS SENT OUT AS PUBLIC. I SEE THEM USING TV
JOURNALISTS TALKING, AND THERE USED TO BE AN
UNWRITTEN RULE THAT YOU DIDN’T USE THE NEWS, A LIVE
RECORDING.>>THAT’S LONG GONE.>>YES. BUT I DON’T THINK STEVE — I
DON’T THINK MR. PEARCE HAS
TO APOLOGIZE OR DO ANYTHING, BECAUSE THIS IS AN
INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN SET UP, INDEPENDENT PAC. HE HASN’T BEEN COORDINATING
WITH THAT. THEY DIDN’T CALL HIM UP AND
SAY, CAN WE RUN THIS AD. AND SO HE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO
APOLOGIZE FOR SOMETHING ANY MORE THAN THE RLCC OR THE
REPUBLICAN PARTY, ANY OF THEM THAT HAVE RUN ADS.>>EXACTLY. TALKING ABOUT ST. ANNE’S AND
REVEREND LARRY BRITO, HE’S BEEN IN THE NEWS BEFORE, AS
DIANE JUST MENTIONED. HIS STANCE IS, I THINK,
PRETTY SIMPLE. HE’S VERY ANTI-ABORTION. HE CALLS IT A HOLOCAUST OF
SORTS. AND HE WOULD BE — AS A
REVEREND, IT WOULD NOT SUIT HIM TO STAY SILENT ABOUT
THESE THINGS. AND THERE WILL BE A LOT OF
PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT WOULD SUPPORT THAT STANCE, THAT
ABORTION IS SO HEINOUS AND WHY ARE WE JUST BEING QUIET
ABOUT IT, AND IT IS HIS OBLIGATION, AS A MAN OF THE
CLOTH, TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT HIS STANCE ABOUT THAT
IS. IS THAT A BAD THING?>>WELL, I THINK IT RUNS
AFOUL OF THE LAW, AND AS A MAN OF GOD, I THINK HE
SHOULD OBEY THE LAW.>>WHAT’S THE LAW?>>ISSUE ADVOCACY IS NOT
PERMITTED VERY CLOSE TO THE ELECTION. THIS IS ISSUE ADVOCACY. THERE MAY NOT BE A CANDIDATE
MENTIONED, ALTHOUGH IN THE NEWSPAPER AD IT WAS VERY
CLEAR WHO WAS BEING ENDORSED BY THE HISPANIC ACTION
NETWORK AD, AND THAT, YOU KNOW, BRINGS IN THE WHOLE
PROBLEM OF INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES THERE. BUT THE REFERENCE, OR THE
PRIEST’S ADVOCACY REALLY TREADS THAT LINE BETWEEN A
VIOLATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, AND WHETHER A PRIEST
SHOULD BE ABLE TO PREACH FROM THE PULPIT AND SAY,
VOTE FOR THIS ONE OR VOTE FOR THAT ONE, EVEN IF THEY
DON’T USE THE NAMES, IS THAT SOMETHING THAT RUNS AFOUL OF
THE NONPROFIT TAX STATUS THAT CHURCHES HAVE? I MEAN, NO CORPORATION, NO
NONPROFIT, C-3 NONPROFIT, ANYWAY, WOULD BE ABLE TO DO
THAT AND MAINTAIN THEIR TAX STATUS. BUT APPARENTLY THE CATHOLIC
CHURCH THERE, ST. ANNE’S, IS
EXEMPT FROM THAT.>>INTERESTING POINT THERE. REVEREND BRITO ALSO USES THE
COMPARISON OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD, SAYING PLANNED
PARENTHOOD DOES THIS KIND OF THING ALL THE TIME. THEY ARE PACs THAT SUPPORT
THIS. THEY NAME NAMES, THEY
SUPPORT CANDIDATES. SAME SAME? WHY DOES HE GET GRIEF AND
PLANNED PARENTHOOD DOESN’T? IS THAT A REASONABLE
ARGUMENT WHEN YOU HEAR THAT THAT?>>YOU KNOW, THERE’S A LOT
OF DIFFERENT ARGUMENTS THAT CAN BE MADE ALONG THOSE
LINES. I THINK THAT THE ATTORNEYS
WILL WORK OUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE LITIGATED AND WHAT
DOESN’T, AS FAR AS WHAT IS AGAINST THE LAW AND WHAT
ALIGNS WITH THE LAW. BUT IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO
PERCEPTION AND EDUCATION. A LOT OF CHURCHES, A LOT OF
CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS WILL GO AHEAD AND SAY THAT WE DON’T
WANT TO TAKE A PARTICULAR POSITION. BUT HERE’S A
SURVEY THAT WE DID ON THE TWO CANDIDATES, YOU DECIDE
FOR YOURSELF. AND THEN THERE’S A
PERCEPTION AS FAR AS BIBLICAL TEACHINGS SAY ONE
PARTICULAR THING ON PARTICULAR ISSUES, SO
THERE’S A CERTAIN EXPECTATION THAT THE CHURCH
IS GOING TO HAVE A PARTICULAR POSITION BECAUSE
OF THE BOOK THAT THEY WORK OUT OF. SO I DON’T THINK THERE’S A
WHOLE LOT OF SURPRISE. I THINK IT’S JUST MORE OF
SOMETHING THAT MAKES A HEADLINE AT THIS POINT IN
TIME.>>IT’S ABOUT BEING ACTIVE
AND BEING AN ACTIVIST IN YOUR POSITION. SOMETIMES WHEN I READ THESE
STORIES ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON HERE, IT SEEMS LIKE WE’VE
SETTLED IN THIS AREA, LAURA, WHERE A CERTAIN KIND OF
PERSON OR ISSUE CAN BE AN ACTIVIST, BUT IF YOU DO IT
ON THIS OTHER SIDE, IT’S NOT SEEMING QUITE THE SAME. WHY DOESN’T REVEREND BRITO
JUST GET A LITTLE CREDIT FOR BEING AN ACTIVIST FOR HIS
POSITION ON THIS? HE’S JUST HANGING A SIGN,
HE’S JUST DOING HIS THING, HE’S TRYING TO LET FOLKS
KNOW WHERE HE STANDS AS A REVEREND ON THE ISSUE OF
ABORTION. IF IT WAS SOMETHING ELSE,
WOULD IT BE AS BIG AN ISSUE? A.SO, I WANT TO TAKE THE
QUESTION ACTUALLY THAT YOU GAVE TO TOM, BECAUSE IT’S A
LEGAL ISSUE.>>TAKE IT.>>IT’S NOT THE SAME THING,
PLANNED PARENTHOOD AND THE CHURCH, AND I THINK HIS
COMMENTS COME FROM A POSITION OF IGNORANCE AS TO
THESE ISSUES. I MEAN, IT’S NOT HIS
BAILIWICK, AND SO HE MAKES AN ASSUMPTION, AS A LOT OF
PEOPLE MAYBE DO, ABOUT, WELL, PLANNED PARENTHOOD
DOES IT, WHY CAN’T WE. FRANKLY, IT’S A SEVENTH
GRADE ARGUMENT. THAT PERSON DID IT, WHY
CAN’T I? IT’S NOT A GOOD WAY TO LOOK
AT IT. PLANNED PARENTHOOD HAS
FORMED A POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE IN ORDER TO DO
THIS PROPERLY. IF THAT PARTICULAR PARISH
WANTED TO DO THAT, THEY COULD DO THAT AND CREATE A
SEPARATE — AND ACTUALLY, THE BISHOPS HAVE ALSO DONE
THEIR OWN. THEY DO IT SEPARATE. IT GETS SEGREGATED. THE FUNDS ARE SEPARATE. HE’S MIXING IT ALL INTO ONE
POT AND HE’S CO-MINGLING ALL OF THAT, AND THAT RUNS AFOUL
OF WHAT THE TAX LAWS ARE. SO THERE’S TAX LAWS AND
THERE’S STATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS, AND HE’S
ESSENTIALLY CREATING — I MEAN, HE’S NOT EVEN
UNDERSTANDING THAT THOSE ARE ISSUES THAT ONCE HE STEPS
INTO THAT ACTIVIST ROLE AND STARTS TO CAMPAIGN AND DO
ISSUE ADVOCACY, AS DEDE MENTIONED, HE’S IN THAT
REALM NOW, AND IT DOES TRIGGER AN INQUIRY, JUST AS
IT WOULD FOR A NONPROFIT. IF A NONPROFIT DOESN’T
REGISTER, THEY COULD BE IN DANGER OF DOING IT, TOO. SO THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT
WHEN PLANNED PARENTHOOD DOES IT, OR ANY OTHER NONPROFIT,
THEY AN ACTION NETWORK, THEY HAVE SEPARATE PROPERLY
ORGANIZED — I MEAN, THAT’S THE PRESUMPTION. IF NOT, THEY WOULD GET IN
TROUBLE. BUT THEY HAVE THE PROPER
ORGANIZED, YOU KNOW –>>IT’S IS A DIFFERENT TAX
STATUS.>>IT’S A DIFFERENT TAX
STATUS. HIS TAX STATUS — OR NOT
HIS, BUT THE CHURCH’S TAX STATUS HAS TO DO WITH
ESSENTIALLY IT IS A FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATION,
AND THEY HAVE A PURPOSE, AND THAT PURPOSE IS NOT
ADVOCATING IN ELECTIONS, WHETHER IT’S ISSUES OR
CANDIDATES. I THINK THAT’S THE BIG
PROBLEM THERE. SO HE’S SORT OF MIXING AND
MINGLING ALL THOSE.>>IF HE HAD HUNG THE SIGN
YEAR ROUND –>>IT’S HIS FAITH.>>HE’S ENTERING INTO THE
POLITICAL FRAY, AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM, IS THAT HE’S
ACTUALLY SPENDING MONEY. HE’S DOING SOMETHING WITHIN
POLITICS. THAT’S WHERE THAT LINE IS
DRAWN.>>REGRETTABLY, TOM’S RIGHT,
THE LAWYERS ARE GOING TO FIGURE IT OUT. THAT’S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE
FOR THIS WEEK. IF YOU WANT TO WEIGH IN ON
ANY OF THE TOPICS WE DISCUSSED, BE SURE TO REACH
OUT TO US AT NewMexicoInFocus.org. OR JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP,
FOCUS ON NEW MEXICO.

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