David Ancell's Virtual Home

Trying to Figure Out This Election

  /   Thursday, October 27, 2016   /   Comment(1)

If I were looking for an attention grabber, I’d could start this post with some statement about how this is the worst presidential election in the history of the United States. Well, it could be, but how would I know? I may not be young anymore, but I haven’t been around long enough to speak for our country’s entire history. I can say that this is the worst one I have ever voted in. In every other presidential race, I have known how I would vote well in advance. This time I am not sure what I will do. We have our usual two major party candidates, and neither is fit to be president.

I can’t think of any way that a Catholic, or any Christian for that matter, can justify voting for Hillary Clinton. The fact that she is very pro abortion is enough to disqualify her. And, no, you can’t say she is just respecting other people’s decisions). She is a supporter of the radical LGBTQ agenda. I know these aren’t the only issues out there, but these are two very important issues that are non-negotiable. Oh, and don’t get me started on her Catholic in name only running mate.  

If she continues along e trajectory of the Obama administration, then it’s likely that the only Christians who will be able to own a business or even practice certain professions will be the ones who are compromising the Faith. It’s her party that is in a dispute with the Little Sisters of the Poor because they tried to mandate that all employers provide free contraception in their insurance plans. She’s even made mention before that deep-seated religious beliefs need to be changed. Some may believe that the statement was taken out of context and/or magnified, but the fact that the phrase was uttered at all is very concerning.

Donald Trump’s conduct during the campaign is highly problematic, and it has gotten worse towards the end. I don’t think he would have done much worse if he were trying to lose the election. He is alienating people who otherwise might support him. His character is problematic, as evidenced by the disgusting conversation from years ago that was released and his response to the revelation.

On the other hand, his public policy statements suggest that he will support more pro-life, pro-family policies than Clinton, and he has chosen a very pro-life running mate. He has even sent a letter to the folks at Catholic Vote stating he will protect religious liberty. However, I am unable to find a past track record to back up what he states are his policy positions, and the possibility that he won’t follow through deserves much consideration.

The Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, but may be somewhat better than Clinton in protecting religious freedom. The former Green Party now independent (at least in Tennessee) candidate Jill Stein has a similarly problematic platform in those areas with no mention of religious freedom on her platform page of her web site. While I don’t agree with everything on the platform of the American Solidarity Party (I’m strongly against a single-payer health care system.), their platform poses no moral problems and is overall more in line with my thinking. The problem is that their candidate is neither on my ballot nor certified as a write-in candidate in Tennessee last I checked, and his profile online doesn’t really help me to understand how he is qualified to be president. One independent who is a certified write-in candidate is Evan McMullin, and there are a lot of good things in his platform also.

So, really, the only two viable choices I see are voting for Donald Trump or writing in an independent candidate, probably Evan McMullin. I have seen quite a bit on Facebook accusing people who would vote for Trump as voting out of fear. However, there is a legitimate basis in Catholic moral theology for deciding in good conscience to vote for a not-so-suitable candidate in order to limit the evil that the other would cause if elected. Some people who are voting for Trump may see the people voting for independent candidates as really allowing Clinton to win by taking votes from Trump. There is a risk of causing that outcome, but there is also a practical strategy that may be employed.

Having a practical strategy for doing the best that we can do for our country is important. I have a hard time taking people seriously who say to just vote for the candidate you like without taking practical considerations into account. We need to consider the potential consequences of what we are doing. I’m a big believer that I need to support someone who has a realistic plan of winning, and I strongly believe that I have a better chance of becoming the next pope than a third party or independent candidate has of winning the election in the usual manner.

Fortunately, though it’s a really long shot, there is another practical strategy that could work for a third party. In this climate, a third party candidate might be able to win a state or two with just enough electoral votes to prevent either major party candidate from getting a majority, in which case the House of Representatives will choose the president from the three candidates with the most electoral votes, and the candidate they choose could be neither Trump nor Clinton if there is at least one other candidate with some electoral votes. This could be the independent candidate who carried a few states. If the thought of voting for either major party candidate is repulsive to you, this is something you can try to bank on. I don’t think it has good odds, but neither can I suggest that it’s a waste of a vote in this election. In fact, I just might do this myself.

So, to recap, I’m saying that I can either vote for Donald Trump (as this Catholic blogger is doing), because he is better than Clinton from a policy standpoint, or I can vote for a third party or independent (probably Evan McMullin) and hope that he can prevent the major party candidates from getting a majority. If I do the former, I vote for someone who has a much better platform but risk him either not keeping his promises or causing other problems in other areas (e.g. immigration, foreign relations, scandalous conduct in general). If I do the latter, I risk making it easier for Hillary Clinton to end up winning, which would be a huge problem for being able to carry out my mission to serve Jesus Christ. Now, it’s time to pray, discern what to do, and go vote. Early voting is going on now in Tennessee. For whom will I vote? Well, I have no plans to reveal that on this site.

Category: Morality, News on My Life


The Respect Due People with Same-Sex Attraction vs Gay Rights

  /   Sunday, July 13, 2014   /   Comments(0)

A few weeks ago, President Obama has promised to sign an executive order prohibiting companies who do business with the federal government from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  This order is likely his attempt to implement, as much as possible, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act that failed to pass the House of Representatives last November.  The order hasn’t been made public yet, but it is expected soon. Needless to say, this could create a myriad of issues depending on how broadly  “discrimination” and “doing business with the federal government” are defined.

Believe it or not, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does mention, in paragraph 2358 (scroll down near the bottom), that people with same-sex attraction are to be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” We are to avoid “every sign of unjust discrimination” against them.  If I were a business owner, I could not in good conscience arbitrarily refuse to hire someone simply for having this inclination.  However, does this mean that there should be anti-discrimination laws in place?  Let me explain some things here.

If you haven’t noticed, in the paragraph above, I used the term “people with same-sex attraction” rather than describing such people as gay, lesbian, or homosexual.  I referred to them as “having this inclination.”  For some reason that I can’t understand, people with same-sex attraction often bind their identity up with their inclination and say that it is “who they are.”  However, people, regardless of their condition, are far more than their inclinations.

People who have such an inclination probably didn’t actively choose it.  There may be some responsibility for strengthening the inclination in one’s mind once it is noticed, but even then there may be reasons why a person isn’t fully morally responsible for this.  There is debate as to whether the inclination can be eradicated, and my own opinion is that it depends on how deep-rooted it has become.  Some may be able to eradicate the inclination, reduce it, or at least have a somewhat normal relationship with a person of the opposite sex.  Others may not be able to do any of that.  However, regardless of the above, having such an inclination doesn’t destroy a person’s worth and dignity in the eyes of God.  People with same-sex attraction still have a need to make a living and be able to function as they can in society.  This shouldn’t be denied arbitrarily.  However, it does not follow that there aren’t cases of just discrimination against them.

Notice that, up until now, I’ve been talking about having an inclination towards the same gender.  There’s a difference between having the inclination and acting upon it.  The inclination isn’t in and of itself sinful.  However, like I said, despite what the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association now say, it is a disorder, just like anxiety, depression, anorexia.  How do I know (apart from Church teaching, of course)?  The desire to have a sexual union with someone of the same gender has no natural means available to accomplish it.  Two men or two women cannot unite their bodies anatomically in the same way that a man and a woman can.  Our bodies just weren’t made for it.  It’s also completely impossible for it to accomplish the biological end of sexual relations – the generation of offspring.  Having the disordered desire is not in and of itself sinful, but acting on it is seriously sinful.

In fact, a case of discrimination is most likely to occur is if a person is, in fact, openly acting on it. Even then, there are a lot of situations when someone’s conduct can be tolerated.  If I were a restaurant  or store owner, an argument can be made that someone’s homosexual activity is not directly contrary to the mission of that particular business.  This is true even though I would run my business according to my Catholic faith.

However, it’s another story if we are talking about a Catholic school or university, charity organization, or even a for-profit whose purpose is to, for example, publish Catholic books.  Someone known to be deliberately acting directly contrary to the teaching of the Church in such a serious matter, with no known intention of changing the situation, would be acting directly contrary to the mission of such an organization.  Requiring that organization to employ such a person makes a mockery of its mission.  Would PETA be required to employ someone in a key position who ate bacon off the clock?

One major threat that an anti-discrimination law could pose would be to require Catholic employers or even institutions of the Church to recognize homosexual unions and provide spousal benefits to homosexual couples.  It’s one thing to tolerate such activity; it’s quite another to give official recognition or even the giving of benefits.  It’s still another to force the granting of recognition upon people whose long-standing religious beliefs would be violated in doing so.  Let’s not forget that we’ve already had a lawsuit against a Christian baker who did not want to make a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding.  The court ruled against him despite the fact that homosexual marriage isn’t legal in that state.  This is a real threat against religious freedom.

Even someone who is not acting on the inclination may not be suited for certain occupations, possibly depending on the severity of the inclination.  A Vatican document came out several years ago stating that men who practice homosexuality or have deep-seated tendencies cannot be ordained as clergy.  There may be some other situations in which such an inclination would affect how well they could do the job, and employers faced with such situations need to retain their right to make a reasonable judgment unhindered by political correctness.

The bottom line is that people who have an inclination towards people of the same sex are still loved by God, and they need our care and compassion.  Treating them with contempt is simply wrong.  However, allowing them to act upon the desire and pretending it is normal is doing them a great disservice, just like enabling an alcoholic would be.  People with such inclinations, even those acting on them, should be able to obtain what they need to live just like anyone else.  However, making them a protected class, especially in today’s society, is a dangerous move and needs to be stopped.

Category: Catholic, Morality, Response


Does Being Against Contraception Make Us Space Aliens?

  /   Wednesday, February 15, 2012   /   Comments(0)

A secular reporter was interviewing someone at a World Youth Day who loved Blessed John Paul II. The argument she made with the interviewee was ” . . . but he’s against birth control devices.”  Indeed, if you say that you are against contraception, there are plenty of people who will look at you as if you had said that eating whole wheat bread will cause spontaneous combustion.

Contraception has very widespread acceptance in our society.  Now, we even have government leaders who are telling us that it is part of the basic healthcare needs of women.  Somehow, it’s just so vital that women have “access” to contraception that every employer needs to provide insurance that covers it with no cost.

Does that make it right?  There are plenty of people who will tell you that the Church should “get with the times.”  Well, who or what are “the times,” and why should we listen to them?  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather listen to God.  Some people will accuse Catholics like me of blindly following church authority.  In doing so, they are really insulting people like me who took the time to study and work hard for what I know.  These same people will blindly follow “the times” without really being able to define exactly what it is they are following.

Because people are willing to follow “the times,” it never occurs to them that there might really be something wrong with the use of contraception.  They just assume that we Catholics who believe the Church are hopelessly stuck in the past. Most such people have never bothered to read Humanae Vitae.  They may not even know it exists.  The Theology of the Body may also be unknown to them.

Not only is the Church’s teaching regarding contraception true, it is also a positive good.  There are plenty of people out there who have heard the message presented as the good that it is and wondered “Why haven’t I heard this before?”  Indeed, this time in which our government wants to trample on us and our religious freedom may well be something that God is using as our penance for our long time failure to spread the message.  That failure is a failure on the part of both our clergy and laity.

The new Obama Administration mandate that requires all employers to provide contraceptive coverage at no cost is a great evil.  This is true whether it’s the employer or the insurance company who has to provide.  After all, where is the insurance company getting its money?  The problem with the mandate goes beyond the Church and organizations run by the Church.  It means that a Catholic like me can’t start his own business without being told that I have to pay for birth control for everyone.  It also means that we will all pay higher premiums.

However, God permits evil to bring about a greater good.  During the past few weeks, I’ve seen bishops whom I’ve never known to be great defenders of the Faith come out of the woodwork to speak against this evil.  The issue is now getting more attention than I’ve ever seen it get.

Now is the perfect time to educate people, especially Catholics who for some reason don’t know or don’t accept the Church’s teaching.  Let’s get out our materials and brush up so we can explain it.  This would also be a great time for parishes who haven’t already done so to have a study session on Humanae Vitae, Theology of the Body, or some other resource.  The mandate must be fought and ultimately overturned, but please don’t stop there.  This is the perfect opportunity to tell the world about the true meaning of human sexuality.

Category: Catholic, Morality, Response


Komen Foundation Fail

  /   Friday, February 03, 2012   /   Comments(0)

I saw a number of people on Facebook who were excited to hear that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had stopped funding Planned Parenthood. As much as I was all ready to send them an e-mail thanking them for doing this, something told me that I should approach with caution. I have a tendency to be pretty slow to react, and it comes in handy at times.

Surely enough, we now have this statement from the Foundation. They decided to “amend their criteria” to support organizations under investigation if the investigation is “political” and is not “conclusive.” So, I guess PP’s willingness to violate mandatory reporting for statutory rape doesn’t constitute a criminal act under Komen’s criteria. It must be just politics driving those investigations.

Under this “revision,” Planned Parenthood keeps its existing grants and may apply for new ones. While writing about how they don’t want their mission “marred by politics,” it is hard for me to interpret their statement as anything but either 1) bowing to political pressure from pro-aborts OR 2) ultimately wanting to maintain their ties with Planned Parenthood. For those who might think Komen hasn’t really reversed their earlier decision, note that Planned Parenthood is declaring victory on their web site.

Perhaps some people reading this wonder why I would be concerned as long as the money granted is being used for mammograms or other screenings. The answer is that money given for breast screenings means that more money from their general fund can then be used for their immoral activities like abortion and contraception. No matter what other services they provide, the fact remains that they are a MAJOR provider of abortions in this country. While breast cancer does kill many women, abortion is a directly intended killing of millions of unborn children.

So, as much as I’d like to support breast cancer research, I cannot and will not do it by supporting an organization that is helping to fund an organization such as Planned Parenthood. The great evil of abortion far outweighs any good that PP could possibly be doing. I will not take any chance on donating money to them.

Category: Catholic, Morality, Response


Preventative Care???

  /   Sunday, October 31, 2010   /   Comments(0)

Somehow, I don’t think this one will surprise many people who read my blog, but I received this article entitled Health Overhaul May Bring Free Birth Control from Prolifepharmacy.com on my Facebook.  It came from NPR, but I was hoping that it was actually from The Onion.  Like I said, I’m not surprised that this is on someone’s agenda.  The most telling quote was from Dr. David Grimes at UNC:

Contraception rivals immunization in dollars saved for every dollar invested. Spacing out children allows for optimal pregnancies and optimal child rearing. Contraception is a prototype of preventive medicine.

This guy is an Ob/Gyn.  Does he think pregnancy is an illness?  We might, as a society, save money, but for what purpose.  Fortunately, the USCCB has weighed in on this.  Hopefully, our upcoming election will boot the promoters of this nonsense out of office.

Category: Catholic, Morality, Pharmacy, Response


           



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