One thing about Catholics is that, when it comes to partisan politics, they’re split pretty evenly. Only deeply ignorant people lump Catholics in with the “Religious Right” since about half of them are on the religious left. Many are admirably antiwar, and of course, there is even a nice anarchist pacifist tradition, in which one finds Dorothy Day or Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy.
Some Catholics, however, are absolutely terrible on issues of nationalism and war. This article below, written by a priest with whom I broadly agree on almost all theological and liturgical issues, was particularly tasteless. Fr. Zuhlsdorf, who is generally sound when writing about things that he actually knows something about, always ends up toeing the neoconservative line every time he ventures into foreign policy. Most clergy can be safely ignored when opining on political matters, and this case is no different. The text of his irreligious column is below with my comments in brackets.
Usama Bin Laden … Rest in… well… whatever… [How classy. Zuhlsdorf must have forgotten about Matt 5:44.]
by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
Pres. Obama announced tonight, fairly late on a Sunday night, that Usama Bin Laden was killed a week ago, as it seems.
I am guessing that he made this announcement tonight, USA, time, so that people rising in other parts of the world would get the fresh news during the morning at the beginning of a week, as markets open, etc. Had it come at the end of the week, it would have been fodder for Friday evening Muslim sermons. [Because all Muslims liked Osama bin Laden, you see. This assumption that all Muslims support violence is at the heart of the neocon ideology. Always ignored is the fact that a majority of "Christian" Americans support the dropping of American bombs on Muslim women and children.] It still will be, but after several days.
Nevertheless I find the timing of both the event of his killing by a small team of US operatives in a fire fight and the release of the news interesting. One friend called me to opine that they actually found him at a Taco Bell in North Carolina and flew him back to Pakistan before… you know. [ho ho] Moreover, the President seems now to be ready to quote a standard of American patriotism, the Pledge of Allegiance, with its strong invocation of God, when for sometime he couldn’t bring himself to quote the Declaration of Independence [written by an anti-Christian Deist] correctly with its reference to a Creator who gives us our rights. [Yeah! Why can't Obama be more like Bush who once said that the Constitution "is just a goddamn piece of paper."] Color me cynical.
And now CAIR is piping up to say that it is glad that the US military got him. Color me more cynical yet. ['Cuz any group that represents Muslims is bad and is pro-OBL.]
So, Usama bin Laden is dead. He has now gone before the Just Judge and has received whatever eternal reward he merited. [This is the part where any Catholic clergyman should encourage you to pray for the deceased.]
I wonder what Mr. Gaddafi is thinking tonight. [What does this even mean? This priest obviously knows nothing about the Islamic world if he thinks that Gaddafi and bin Laden were allies. Or this may just be a general comment in which the priest expresses his overall approval of war-criminal Obama's undeclared, unconstitutional war in Libya that's killing women and children and wasn't so much as even debated in Congress.]
I may say a prayer that he repented and God is merciful. [Finally, a reasonable comment.] I wonder if I will really be saying it for his sake or for my own. [So now he get's to what this whole post should have been about. Praying for the soul of a criminal. I guess he just remembered Luke 23:43.]
I am bit concerned at the cameras on the young people jumping around like IDIOTS whooping and hollering because someone was killed. [Agreed.] Although the kids with the “BUSH” t-shirts were amusing and perhaps not the sort of image the White House wanted. [Because Bush, who we now know (thanks to Wikileaks) supported the imprisonment and torture of old men and children at Gitmo, is da man, it seems, with this guy] Still, this story was – thank goodness – able to bump reruns of the royal wedding off air. [Because a peaceful event (which I roundly criticize here), that involves no killing or whooping it up for the US government, should never get more attention than an orgy of killing. Jesus hates weddings and loves war, of course. John, Chap 2 notwithstanding.]
I can understand the urge to celebrate that a paragraph of a chapter of US history has been brought to an end. [So can I, but one has to plumb the depths of naivete to think that this changes anything. The police state we now groan under was largely justified by bin Laden's existence, but now the state will invent fresh enemies, and Zuhlsdorf and other "patriots" will help lead more bleating sheep to the altar of the state where the last few remnants of freedom will be sacrificed in the name of making us "safe."]
I would rather see Americans welcome this news with a quiet nod of the head than with squealing in the streets. (cf Proverbs 24:17) [Romans 12:17 and 12:19 would seem even more appropriate here.] It seems to me that his death isn’t something to strut about as if it were a gold medal win at the Olympics. [Agreed.]
I am also grateful to the military and intelligence personnel [hired killers] who were involved. Hard, dangerous, quite, anonymous [and well paid and prestigious, and not even in the top 20 of the most dangerous professions. But then, farmers and fishermen don't have cool guns n' stuff.] work for the sake of the safety
of others[of the government]. Navy Seals did their job [Silly me, I thought, per their oath, that their job was the uphold the Constitution of the United States. I guess I missed which one of the enumerated powers of the Constitution grants the president the authority to assassinate a person inside the borders of a country with which we are not even at war (or anywhere else). And all funded by your tax dollars of course. And all after eight years of roasting the flesh off toddlers and women in Iraq and other places in the name of the War on Terror. Why can't Muslims love peace like we do?]
In case you think I’m a little too hard on the author, I would direct you to this post, for example where he indulges his fetish for killing machines, and his general re-posting of militarist and anti-Muslim talking points can be seen here and here and here.
All of this, needless to say, is extremely bad form for a priest.
He’d benefit from reading a little Laurence Vance.