POLITICAL PAPIST COLUMNIST
If you’re anything like me, you probably think politics is difficult, disheartening and obnoxious. That’s true. But, as children of God and American citizens, it is our duty to stand up for the truth, even if it’s hard.
In this column throughout this semester, I will attempt to illuminate a Catholic view of ethics and morality in the dark cave of politics. If you disagree, we want to know! Consider writing a Letter to the Editor so that we can hear and publish your views.
Speaking of views, this past summer I talked with a radically feminist girl who announced that women will soon be able to reproduce entirely without men, using scientifically engineered sperm cells made from their own bone marrow.
I researched it with bated breath. Turns out, it’s not true; the studies were conducted on mice and used embryonic stem cells, not bone marrow, to manufacture sperm that became developmentally defective offspring. The rest of the scientific community had very low hopes for better results. That was the straight truth of the matter — the facts right from the study itself.
I relayed this information to the girl. She responded, “Oh well. I’m still going to tell people that.”
Wait, what? What about the reality of the situation?
She ignored the blatant truth in order to promulgate her position; we see this in the news all the time. Media sources twist the truth into unreasonable biases that support their agendas, causing the truth to be not-so-obvious.
One must only read articles on our president to see this. The leftist media loves to hate him, even when what he is doing is good (calling out useless governors or ending federal funding to Planned Parenthood). The right–wing media loves to love him, even to the erroneous point of portraying him as infallible in word and deed (no human is flawless, and he has made mistakes).
When did an agenda become more important than the truth? How can we judge what is true in the political arena?
Three words: Catholic Social Teaching (CST).
Part of the beauty of CST is that it isn’t just for lawmakers or government officials but for any Catholic concerned about the truth. It teaches Catholics how to avoid being reactionary and how to protect themselves from basing their opinions on sensationalist media. Instead of falling into the trap of exaggerated headlines, twisting agendas and allowing the media to ensnare us in rhetoric, we can follow three practical steps that CST presents: research, evaluate, act.
First, you must research to understand the issue at hand. This step cannot be side-stepped or sluffed off! It means looking for honest websites with good credentials, not just skimming often-misleading headlines. Perhaps you’ll even need to go beyond the first page of your Google search to find a primary source, such as a scientific study or an eyewitness account.
Ask questions like: Who writes for that site? Do they uphold the truth with integrity and reason rather than reactionary emotion? What do their past articles promote? Do their viewpoints line up with Catholic teaching?
Second, you must evaluate the issue in light of God’s instruction. What principles of Catholic morality and ethics could apply to the situation? Are they upheld or broken? Has the Church pronounced anything on the issue?
Third, once you understand the problem and what principle of morality it makes or breaks, you can decide, in good conscience, the best plan of action. Should you subscribe to this or that stance? Should you vote for this person? Should you continue to follow this news site? Should you post about this issue on social media?
It is our duty to investigate the truth of political issues so that we stand on the side of morality. We must do a little more work than simply listening to what the news states and insinuates. It won’t be particularly easy, but when has anything worth doing been effortless?
We must not allow the media to deceive us, especially on moral and ethical issues in politics. It is vital that we become well acquainted with the teachings of the Church and how they apply to the world today in order to discover and promote truth.
We worship and adore Truth himself, after all.