I sometimes visualize assemblymen and senators serving in many state legislatures (16 at last count) gathering in their statehouses and in back rooms for the purpose of devising effective means of suppressing the vote. Those among us aware of this evil practice are equally aware of the targets of such legislature: virtually all minorities, the elderly, and college students (who elected officials deem too liberal or idealistic).
Those who have hatched this sinister plot and enacted into law (now being contested in several states) did so prominently displaying our flag, a symbol of freedom and justice, on their rooftops on state buildings. One wonders if such miscreants sported an emblem of our flag in their lapels, as many politicians do.
But enough about hypocrisy and disloyalty. As a Catholic I attend services at one parish church, so I can’t determine whether or not the clergy of other parishes, those of other faiths, synagogues, or mosques have addressed this issue from their pulpits. Mainly through letter-writing over a brief period of time, I have urged church leaders in the chancery office in Newark to require priests in our diocese to condemn, from their pulpits, the abuse of civil and human rights inherent in the suppressing the vote movement.
To my dismay, Catholic church clergy seems reluctant to address this travesty publicly, perhaps being wary of the so-called separation of church and state tenet, which I ordinarily fully support. However, this suppression is not a political issue! It has nothing to do with separation of church and state! It is a moral issue!
I quote from a position letter issued by the Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C., in 2007: “In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” I interpret such words as sanctioning such an initiative, urging our Catholic clergy to address this issue from our thousands of pulpits on an ongoing basis. I urge those wearing the collar to do the Christlike thing – to come to the aid of the oppressed.