There was hardly anything more disturbing in recent news than Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) implying that judicial nominee Amy Barrett could be disqualified for her position because of her Catholic faith. Unfortunately, the story got worse when, on Sunday, Sen. Feinstein prefaced a defense of her grilling of Barrett with the explanation that she attended a Catholic school in her youth.
Sadly, Sen. Feinstein’s insistence that she understands Catholicism while also spitting in its face is indicative of a larger attitude on the political left. They believe you can call yourself a Catholic, or a Christian–but only if you don’t practice what you preach.
Indeed, Catholics who identify as conservative, adhere to the Church’s social teachings, or even outwardly express their faith, are labeled “bigots” and mocked by the left. In practice, the left’s timid embrace of religious freedom only extends to those who check the boxes of liberalism.
For example, look at how Hillary Clinton’s campaign leaders and friends talked about Catholics in a series of emails leaked in 2016 from John Podesta’s server. Progressive leaders mocked and derided conservative Catholics and called for a “Catholic Spring” to purge the Church of such right-leaning heretics.
“They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy,” John Halpin, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote about conservative Catholics in a 2011 email.
“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church,” Sandy Newman of Voices for Progress wrote, while Podesta declared that he had been preparing for such a moment.
It’s especially distressing that several of the people captured in the email leak, including Podesta, are self-identifying Catholics. Clearly, orthodox Christians of any kind shouldn’t expect to find sympathy with members of the “Catholic left,” and instead may consider them a unique threat to their faith.
Then there was former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), serving in the good company of Dianne “The Dogma Lives Loudly Within You” Feinstein, who derided a Catholic priest for daring to disagree with Pope Francis on climate change. Boxer was far too focused on playing “gotcha” to let the priest explain to her that the pope does not speak from magisterial authority when he speaks on issues of science.
And let’s not forget our good friend Sen. Bernie Sanders who completely jumped the shark when he slammed Russell Vought, Trump’s pick for Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, for–you guessed it, being a practicing Christian.
Sanders accused Vought of Islamophobia for writing, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”
Clearly no one told Sen. Sanders that Vought’s language comes straight out of the New Testament. John 3:18 reads, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Leftists will be the first to stand on the side of religion when they think they can use it to push the policy chips in their favor. They love to lecture Catholics about “what Jesus would do” when trying to expand redistributive welfare programs, weaken the nation’s borders, or pass burdensome regulations meant to combat climate change.
But don’t ask them to support Catholics when it comes to ending abortion, defending traditional marriage, or running a private business in accordance with the faith. And definitely don’t ask them to separate a Catholic’s religious beliefs from their ability to perform a job. That’s just too far.
The reality is that if the left wants to claim “tolerance” they can’t just pick and choose which parts of Catholicism are acceptable in relation to their policy goals. And Catholics can’t be afraid to stand firm in their beliefs even when it means not fitting in. Otherwise their faith risks political manipulation.