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October 31, 2012

Leadership Or Idolatry? An Election Choice

"For false Christs and false prophets will appear..." -- Mark 13:6

As we who follow the Faith well know, the Catholic Church traditionally does not take sides in partisan politics. That restriction, however, does not apply to commentators who happen to be Catholic. Let it therefore be known that the following opinions do not speak for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, but merely for a concerned writer with the interests of the faithful in mind.

We have an election coming up, and were this a traditional choice between Democratic and Republican candidates, I would remain silent on this particular medium. But it is not. This particular election puts America at the Rubicon. As is the usual situation, neither candidate is of our Faith. This in itself, however, poses no threat to either American Catholics or to the Catholic Church in America or elsewhere. What puts our country at the crossroads is that one of those candidates threatens, if reelected, to put an end not only to our religious freedom, but to freedom itself in America. That candidate is the incumbent president, Barack Obama.

By now, all Catholics in Connecticut are well aware that the so-called Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act would force Catholic health care providers to fund artificial contraception and abortion-inducing measures that violate Catholic teachings on such matters. Within the Archdiocese of Hartford, Archbishop Henry Mansell has been particularly vocal on this issue. This, however, is only the most blatant of a number of issues concerning the incumbent president which many, if not most Catholics, tend to find disturbing.

That Mr. Obama occupies the White House at all is largely the doing of biased and partisan news media who, during the 2008 presidential campaign, purposely ginned up hatred for the outgoing president, George W. Bush, and purposely promoted the Democratic Party candidate, Mr. Obama. In doing so, they also purposely withheld vital information about their chosen candidate which, if generally known, probably would have allowed cooler heads to prevail in the last election. Instead, Mr. Obama rode a tide of emotionalism to rise from general obscurity to the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The first red flag came from popular television personality Oprah Winfrey, who, in a direct turnaround from her previous policy of not endorsing political candidates, rhetorically asked, "Is Obama The One?" This question should have been answered with an emphatic "NO!" "The One" is a title that rightfully belongs to Jesus Christ, and no one else.

Then, after Obama was elected, began a period of general hysteria almost eerily supernatural in its implications that became known as "Obamamania." Books by and about Obama flooded the newsstands. Episodes of fainting in the stands during Obama speeches (in all likelihood staged) were gleefully reported by ecstatic news media. Far-left commentator Chris Matthews of MSNBC, the broadcast news network most openly partisan to the left, claimed to have felt a tingle go up his leg at the sound of Obama's voice. Terms such as "messianic" and "messiah" were openly applied to Obama.

As we all know, or rather, should know, there is only one Messiah.

But it didn't end there. In a New Jersey township, in a scenario eerily reminiscent of Nazi Germany, school children were forced by a partisan teacher to sing hymns of praise to Barack Obama. Before Obama, no president ever would have condoned such idolization. Obama, however, made no effort to discourage such activity on his behalf. On the contrary, like the Roman emperors of old, he seemed to enjoy such implications of divinity. Certain celebrities, with whom Obama was an overwhelming favorite, took pledges "to serve the President of the United States." Excuse me. In a supposedly free country, we do not serve our president. He is elected to serve us! Neither do we sing hymns of praise to anyone but our Creator.

The most ridiculous expression of Obamamania came in 2009, not from any American source, but from the Nobel Committee in Stockholm, Sweden, who awarded that year's Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama, for essentially nothing more than simply being Barack Obama. He was given the prize not for anything he had actually done, but simply for his announced intentions -- none of which, incidentally, ever came to pass.
In the ensuing years, Obama proved that he was in fact none of what he had been hyped up to be. He was not a god. He did not have superhuman powers. He could not bring peace and kumbaya to the entire world with his physical presence alone. In short, the man was not the myth -- a myth which even he himself not only promoted, but apparently had come to believe himself.

When faced with a disaster having national consequences in the form of an oil rig rupture off the coast of Louisiana, he dithered and went off to play golf. Instead of reducing our national debt, he increased it by $6 trillion. His Cash For Clunkers program clunked. His expenditures of tax money for "green jobs," most notably Solyndra in California, ended up in dismal failure. His "stimulus" infusion of tax money into the economy stimulated nothing except an already bloated federal government. Plus, in the meantime, his government takeovers of substantial portions of the insurance, banking, and automotive industries, as well as a health care industry representing one-sixth of the total economy, resurrected echos of the former Soviet Union.

The recent campaign debates further accentuated a man cast into the role of President of the United States who in fact had no business occupying that office. Prior to these debates, his speeches had been made, with the aid of teleprompters, to selected audiences of those sympathetic to his viewpoint. Dissenters were never allowed to these events. Interviewers were careful to ask the president only those questions he wanted asked and was prepared to answer. Now he was forced to face a real challenge, and despite the fact that the moderators of these debates were all clearly in his camp, he was at a loss as to how to confront his challenger. Obama's belligerent bluster could not conceal his record, which was one of abject failure.

His most dismal moment came when once again he was put to the test of leadership, and failed that test most miserably. On Sept. 11, 2012, the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by forces representing the international terrorist organization al Qaeda. It was an attack specifically planned for the anniversary of 9/11, the date of a three-pronged attack on the United States by Osama bin Laden, the former al Qaeda leader. Despite being informed by intelligence sources that this was, in fact, an attack of terrorism, Obama and his minions in the administration denied this, claiming it to rather be a spontaneous riot in response to an anti-Islamic video produced in California. Most egregiously, requests for help from Benghazi were denied by the State Department, and four Americans -- including Ambassador Christopher Stevens -- were needlessly killed.

Obama's response? He flew to Las Vegas to attend a fundraiser!

As of this writing, polls have Obama and his challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, in a dead heat. Mr. Romney, though not a Catholic, has shown himself to be a sincere man of proven ability, and one who has the nation's interests at heart, rather than merely his own. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, has clearly demonstrated that while he likes the perks and the glory of being president, he shrinks from the responsibility. He likes living in the White House, flying on Air Force One, the lavish dinners, and the seemingly never-ending adulation of the press and fawning celebrities. But he does not like actually doing the job.

While Obamamania has clearly ebbed, with increasing numbers of Americans coming to the realization that we as a nation have followed a false Christ to the brink of possible extinction of the free country we have traditionally known, it is not yet over. America now stands at the crossroads, and for Catholics and other people of conscience our religious freedom is at stake. Our sacred beliefs should not be dictated to us by the federal government. Barack Obama would have it otherwise.

Let each and every one of us seriously keep these things in mind when we go to the polls on November 6.

Written by Tim Siggia
A Connecticut Catholic Corner Contributor

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