The Catholic bishop in Peoria, Illinois has ordered priests there to read an anti-Obama letter from their pulpits. His required reading is factually challenged, Huffington Post notes.
By comparison, the heavy-handed political homily by Arkansas's Catholic bishop Anthony Taylor, though also deficient factually, seems pretty mild.
Catholic clergy involvement in this year's election has become so abundant that you wonder if it's been directed from higher up. Among the episodes are Huckabee-style threats of hellfire for those who don't follow the bishop's instructions:
Last week, Bishop David Laurin Ricken informed the 300,000-plus members of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., that voting for candidates whose positions contradict any so-called "non-negotiables" of Catholic teaching "could put [one's] soul in jeopardy," HuffPost blogger John Becker notes in his piece.
Those "non-negotiables" include abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage, according to a letter Ricken wrote and posted on the diocesan website. The letter was reportedly also emailed to the offices of every parish.
"Ricken has forgotten that we live in a republic, not a theocracy, as separation of church and state is clearly established by constitutional law," wrote the Green Bay Press Gazette's John Reiman in response to Ricken's letter. "Simply put, it is ethically wrong for the bishop to connect one’s salvation through participating in the civic act of voting, ostensibly, against church doctrine."
An old cartoon by Tom Toles seems appropriate to discussion of "non-negotiables." Don't they also include a definition of marriage, not only between man and woman, but for life?