Unless you've been on the moon, you know it's election season. Before November, we'll be courted and commercialed by every candidate on the national, state, and local level. We'll listen to their message and make our decision. As we walk into that booth in November, we need to have done our research and homework. For Catholics, there are some issues on which we can't compromise. Look. I'm not a priest or a bishop. I'm just a lay person who loves my country and my faith. I'm not writing this to tell you who to vote for. I'm just sharing how my faith in Christ informs my voting choices. I want to use my vote to give honor to the values of my country and to give glory to the God I worship. Anyone who tells you that faith and politics don't mix is a liar. If your faith values aren't reflected in your voting choices you aren't helping to build the kingdom of God. Just my opinion. Voting is how we build our civic community. And I want my vote in that process to be one that upholds the values of my faith.
To begin with, forget political parties. If you want your vote to reflect your faith, you can't assume that just because someone is a Republican, that they're automatically going to support a pro-life agenda. And you can't assume every Democrat wants to fund abortion. This is especially true at the state and local levels. This means you really have to do your homework. Visit the candidate's website and if you can't get your questions or concerns answered there, send them an email or call their local office. Believe me, it's worth the effort to ask questions before you're standing in that voting booth. And just because a candidate is Catholic or evangelical doesn't mean they share your values, either. Look at their voting records, read their position statements and find out what they stand for.
The issue of life is at the heart of Catholic voting choices. There are 5 particular activities which the Church considers "non-negotiable." That is to say, we can't in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports any or all of them. These are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual "marriage." Abortion is the willful killing of an innocent child in the womb. Candidates who support abortion by funding it or by funding organizations which support abortion must be defeated. If the candidate will be in the position to appoint judges at the state or federal level, will they use their power to appoint judges who will support life? Euthanasia or "mercy-killing" is the practice of taking action to end a life before the person's natural death. Catholics support hospice care and palliative care that eases pain and suffering. But we can't support actions that purposefully hasten death such as the removal of devices which provide a person with nutrition or hydration or the use of powerful medications which cause their death. Embryonic stem cell research uses fertilized human eggs. These are babies. Any use of human embryos in scientific research is the murder of human life. Since adult stem cell research is so much more promising in terms of science and medicine, there's no place for embryonic cell use in our country. Human cloning is any attempt to create a human life by using the same cell cloning techniques which scientists have use to clone or twin sheep, dogs and other animals. Lastly, the issue of homosexual "marriage" is, for Catholics, non-negotiable. Marriage is a sacramental covenant between one man and one woman. Marriage is at the heart of family life in which new life is given to us by God.
So, it's as simple and as complicated as those five issues. Beyond these five lie the full array of all the other social, economic and political concerns of our time. But if we lose on these issues, I believe we're truly lost as a country and as a culture. If we fail to recognize and value the gift of life, I'm afraid nothing else really matters much. Perhaps we can work together to rebuild our economy. Someday the housing market may rebound. In a few years maybe everyone who wants to work may have a good job. Maybe our foreign policy will one day put an end to our terrorist enemies. But if we fail to support the right to life and fail to protect and defend life and family, America will be like a beautiful apple which is lovely to look at, but which is rotten at its core. At least that's what I believe and it's how my Catholic faith leads me to decide who gets my vote. God bless America.
"The Gospel of life must be proclaimed and human life defended in all places and times." --Blessed Pope John Paul II to U.S. Catholics, 1998
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Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
Since the news had to be in by Friday of last week, I don’t have a report on our services on Sunday.
I hope everyone enjoyed Memorial Day weekend. Most of all, I hope you took time to recognize a veteran and give thanks for their service. The beautiful Festival of Flags throughout Ringgold reminds us of our service men and women each time we drive through. This display is something we can be proud of as no other city we know of has anything like this. There are a total of 973 flags representing a deceased veteran who resided in Catoosa County at some time.
Our hearts were saddened on Monday, May 21 to learn that Jack Leigh had passed away. While we are incredibly sad to not have him in our midst, we rejoice with him that he is in heaven and has a brand new body and is no longer fighting cancer and its side effects. He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Wilma Teems Leigh, and three children, Debbie, Jackie and Penny, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives and a host of friends and fellow Christians. Visitation and a memorial service were held on Wednesday at Salem Baptist Church with Rev. Danny Henson speaking. In honor of Jack’s love of music and singing, the congregation sang some of Jack’s favorite songs at the service. As different ones visited with Jack over the last few weeks, he would ask them to sing with him once again. He is singing and rejoicing now without being short of breath or unable to walk. Keep Wilma in your prayers in the coming days. After the service, lunch was served by the ladies of the church. Thanks to all who prepared food and helped serve and clean up. It was really good to see Rev. Jack Price, Rev. Glenn Cavin and Rev. Jerry Little at the service. Each of them have been a blessing to Jack and Wilma and to Salem through the years and their friendship and support is much appreciated.
Congratulations to Reba Payne and the folks at Blackwood Springs Baptist Church in Calhoun, Georgia on calling Rev. Bob Sampley as their new pastor. Brother Bob, his wife Betty and daughter, Lisa, were with us for several weeks last fall and were a real blessing to us and we came to love them very much. Lisa has a beautiful singing voice and will be an asset to their music program. I expect good things to come for Blackwood Springs. If you live in the Dalton/Calhoun area, visit with them soon. You will love Brother Bob.
I was sorry to learn that Chareen Lowery Humble fell and injured her leg last Wednesday. She had surgery and is now home recuperating. I know Steve will be a good nurse.
Congratulations to those graduating from high school this weekend. Special wishes to Jonathan Holcomb, son of Steve and Sheila Holcomb, who will graduate from Heritage High. We wish him much success as he goes on to college and prepares for the future.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
Our hearts were saddened by the death of Glenda Painter,who passed away last Thursday morning at her home. Bro. Clyde really does need your prayers as he is still pasturing his church down at Lakeside. Her sickness and death has been such a shock.
Also Bro. Steve Norman’s brother Virgil passed away last week. Mrs. Edna May passed away on Thursday morning., also following a long illness. Polly Dilbacks sister, Geraldine Payne, passed away last week and her services and burial was in Blueridge.
Remember Francis Kraus who is very sick at home. Norma Headrick is very sick at home. Really pray for Bro. Thurman, he is not well.
We are revival this week with Bro. Jeremy Fincher and Craig Westbrook will be doing the preaching.
Paul Cranmore and Barbara McKee rode their trike to Florida last week and made it safely home and was at church on Wednesday night.
Bro. Charles Herman brought a short message on Wednesday night and then Bro. Stringer preached too.
We hope everyone had a safe holiday weekend.
My grandson Blake andhis wife Ashley made it home from Alaska on Tuesday. I had supper fixed fro them and we had a good visit. It had been over two years since we had seen him. He is out of the Army with a medical discharge. So really pray for them.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial Day. I'm sure it was a busy one with 1890 Days in Ringgold on Friday and Saturday also Ringgold High School graduation Friday evening.
We had a good bible study Wednesday evening. Bro. David taught on The Holy Spirit. So much of this is too deep for me.We can thank the Lord for what we do understand and trust Him for what we don't understand.
Dianne Hullender will go for another treatment on Wednesday. This will be her last chemo treatment. Pray that she will do as well this time and maybe even better than she has with the others. I think after this will be radiation. We just want her to get through this and be well again soon.
Denise Pitts came home from the hospital the first of the week and she is better and was able to go back to work. Norma Jean Headrick is at home now and seems to be doing lots better.Just continue to pray for her and Thurman as he takes care of her. Alma Bryson was able to be in church on Wednesday evening after being out on Sunday.
We send condolences to the Brown Family in the death of Clara Brown, she was the widow of Lee Roy Brown a former Sheriff of Catoosa County.
We send condolences to the Leigh family in the death of Jack Leigh, he was choir director for Salem Baptist Church. We send condolences to the Haddock family in the death of their loved one Katherine. We send condolences to the Painter family in the death of Glenda. She was cafeteria manager at Graysville Elementary School for years.
Others on our prayer list this week are: Ellie Pitts,Lula Petty, Louise Clark,Dorothy Longwith, Elsie Disheroon,Bernice Orr,Mavis Cain, Jan Elliott, our Military, our Missionaries and our Nation.
Happy Birthday Wishes to Donnie Howard, June 1. Happy Anniversary Wishes go to Philip and Misty King, June 6.