Rob Kall and the purposes of going to church

One of the e-mails I receive is from a gentleman named Rob Kall, who runs the far-left site OpEdNews. In this morning’s flyer, he wrote:

Between canvassing and phone banking, go to a church you’ve never gone to today — a right wing, evangelical or a megachurch. Monitor them to see if they do endorsements. DO it with a concealed recording device. Let’s cover this abuse of tax exempt status. At the least, let’s find out what churchgoers are told the Sunday before elections.

I suppose it never occurred to Mr Kall to go to church to, oh, worship God!

Well, being the nice guy that I am, I’ll tell Mr Kall and his readers what the Diocese of Allentown has done, by giving them the hyperlink to the current issue of the AD Times, our diocesan newspaper. This is a .pdf file, but if you start on page 8, you’ll come to articles about the responsibilities of faithful Catholics in the political arena.

The AD Times also contains position guides on the candidates for various offices, where the candidates stand on specific issues: education, health care, immigration, international justice an peace, refugee assistance, abortion, stem-cell research and religious liberty. The congressional and state legislative candidates were sent questionnaires by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, for the candidates to make their positions clear. Amazingly enough , of the Democrats running for seats in the Diocese of Allentown, fewer than a quarter (5 out of 21) had the courage to respond, in a state where one out of three voters are Catholic.

The Catholic Church hasn’t taken any positions on candidates, but she does take positions on the issues. If you look at those positions, you’d find some that are more closely aligned with general Democratic Party positions, and some that are more closely aligned with Republican Party positions. However, the Church has made it clear: the issue of life, and adamant opposition to abortion, is the single most important issue facing Catholics today; without the basic right to life, nothing else matters.

But, Mr Kall wanted to know what was said today, didn’t he? Well, today is All Soul’s Day, a day in which we had a special Mass for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. Father Jim Torpey (a very good, visiting priest, who celebrates Mass at our church frequently because our pastor is ill) spent most of his homily on the promise of resurrection, and how we must try our best to be holy, but also noting that few of us are saints, and we need the prayers of others. He went over the concluding line of the Hail Mary, in which we ask our Lord’s mother to “pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.” When we die, and stand before the Lord in judgement, who will say that we were good people, and who will remain silent. Fr Torpey said,

When I stand there, I don’t want 47,000,000 children to remain silent.

No candidates were endorsed; no candidates could be endorsed, because such violates the rules governing maintenance of the tax-exempt status. But faithful Catholics know what matters are important to the Church.

One final point. Mr Kall asked his readers to go to churches where they’ve never been before, “right wing, evangelical or a megachurch.”

Monitor them to see if they do endorsements. DO it with a concealed recording device. Let’s cover this abuse of tax exempt status.

Yet just what messages do you suppose were given in the heavily black churches in Philadelphia? Why didn’t Mr Kall suggest that a few of his readers check them out, to see if any endorsements were made?

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Note: This article has been submitted to OpEdNews and was published here.

9 Comments

  1. However, the Church has made it clear: the issue of life, and adamant opposition to abortion, is the single most important issue facing Catholics today; without the basic right to life, nothing else matters.

    This is your interpretation of the Church’s position. For you to present your fanciful reading as doctrine approaches heresy, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

  2. [Guffaws] Mr Tallis, if you would care to open the pdf file I linked, to this week’s diocesan newspaper, the very first article, on page one, right under the headline “Statement of Bishop Cullen on election responsibility,” concludes with this paragraph:

    Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.

    Those are the words of the Most Reverend Edward P Cullen, DD, the Bishop of Allentown. Now, tell me how I have misinterpreted the Church’s position? or perhaps you believe you know more about the Church’s position than the bishop.

  3. Here’s what was said over the pulpit in my church today:

    “Please don’t forget to exercise your right and privilege to vote on Tuesday.”

    That was it. We moved on to the reason we were at church to begin with and not another word was mentioned about candidates, opinions, ballot measures, etc. It is nice to get away from that stuff once in a while.

  4. I’m sure in every Black Church across the USA the Congregation was told to vote for BO. But they have no fear from the Rob Kalls of the world screaming for their IRS exemptions to be taken away. At least I can go to sleep tonight knowing the Double-Standard is alive and well.

  5. Another reason why the goofiness surrounding churches’ tax-exempt status needs to be dealt with. Either offer tax-exempt status to all nonprofits with no strings attached or make everyone taxable. The idea that churches shouldn’t be allowed to preach politics flirts with free-speech violations too much for my comfort. Those who are intelligent enough to question their church’s doctrine and see if they agree with it or not won’t be swayed by a preacher saying “Vote McCain/Obama.” Those who aren’t – well, they know how their church wants them to vote anyway, and they’ll do it. I just don’t think prohibiting churches from preaching politics is really doing anything.

  6. Urban churches in Baltimore City have a nice gimmick for getting cash from the state. It is not ‘outreach’ programs but ads in church bulletins that are alleged ‘public service notices’. Considering the circulation, the rates that are paid per reader/column/inch are orders of magnitude greater than a prestigious publication might ask.

    Is there a partisan payback?

  7. [Entire comment deleted by site administration.

    The comment by someone styling himself "Palestinian," giving an e-mail address that is almost certainly bogus, has the distinct honor of being the first non-spam message that I have deleted in its entirety. The original was nothing more than a profanity-filled rant ailed at Rob Kall, and I won't tolerate that here.

    The original tried to make a point concerning Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, a point with which I disagree but still consider to be a valid point of discussion. However, the forms of expression used were so far beyond what I consider acceptable on this site, that there was no way that I could edit the comment to make it acceptable.

    I'm pretty broad-minded, and tolerate almost anything in the form of legitimate discussion, but when someone starts off a comment by calling someone else a "jew bastard," he's already started off on the wrong foot. --DRP]

  8. Pingback: Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » I deleted two comments

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