Richmond College '09

Over the last two weeks I, like many, have found myself reading as many articles as I can about the President-elect Barack Obama. Many news outlets have been running stories about his pick for chief of staff and his potential tapping of Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. But one article I came across struck me in a way that has bothered me so deeply that I felt the need to share it with all of you. On Nov. 13, Meg Kinnard wrote an article for the Associated Press entitled, "SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters."

In the article she discusses how a priest, Rev. Jay Scott Newman, in Colombia, SC will deny his parishioners the body and blood of Christ if they voted for Barack Obama. Newman stated in a letter to his congregation that, "Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the U.S. Senate or to run for president." He went on to say, "Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

This move, which has been supported by the larger Catholic Church, meaning the Pope, and followers of his church like Ted Kelly who stated, "I don't understand anyone who would call themselves a Christian, let alone a Catholic, and could vote for someone who's a pro-abortion candidate. You're talking about the murder of innocent beings," has angered me in ways I cannot describe. I see this as one of the most extreme forms of coercion and it should not be tolerated.

President-elect Obama stands for so much more than being "pro-choice." The will of the people was heard and on Nov. 4, like it or not, Barack Obama was elected our president. He will be the president of every American on Jan. 20. To me, the actions of Rev. Newman violate the very teachings of the Catholic Church. We are supposed to be free-thinking people endowed with a freedom of choice given to us by our Creator. He has taken an organization, the Catholic Church, which is supposed to promote unity, equality and a sense of community and undermined its very core.

Is it fair to say that because of whom you voted for you are no longer worthy of the teachings of Christ?

Is it fair to say that those who are free thinking and who support a women's right to choose are cooperating with "intrinsic evil"? Is it fair to force a group of people to follow your will or deny them something as sacred as Holy Communion? I myself am not religious and the actions of this priest and the people who support him are the very reason why. This act is outrageous and violates everything that we as Americans stand for. We are free to choose who we want to govern us. We are free to choose what we want our governmental system to be like. If the Catholic Church is going to make me choose between having the freedom to make up my own mind or following what they believe, then the choice is clear. I will take my ability to think freely and make up my own mind over some authoritarian organization that feels they have the right to deprive me of my ability to choose.