The San Diego Union Tribune ran this hysterical story about a church bulletin for a San Diego-based Catholic Church that says if you vote for Democrats, you’re going to hell. The church, the Immaculate Conception Church in Old Town, will host a polling station next Tuesday and they doubled down on their political activity this week by saying Satan works through Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Here’s the story.
Between requests for prayers for the sick and a notice for an upcoming chastity luncheon, a newsletter from a Catholic church in Old Town that doubles as an election-day polling site included a flier that told parishioners they’ll go to hell if they vote for Democrats.
Two Sundays later, the message had changed: Satan was working through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Oct. 16 bulletin from the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was stuffed with a flyer written in both English and Spanish that cited five legislative policies — support for abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research — that will doom a politician and their supporters to eternal damnation.
“It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat … immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell,” the flyer said. It cited the five public policy issues from the “Voters Guide for Serious Catholics” and said that Democrats violate each of them, while Republicans cross none.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego on Wednesday said the messages in the flier and bulletin do not reflect Catholic teaching or diocese policies, are inappropriate, and that voters should use their conscience to determine which candidates to support.
“It’s not a mortal sin to vote for Democrats, number one. And number two, the church doesn’t take positions on this, and we’re not going to,” diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said.
In a speech Tuesday at the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego, Bishop Robert McElroy stressed the importance both for his faith and for the country of religious leaders like himself staying out of candidate elections.
“I speak to you tonight as a bishop who is part of a long tradition in Catholic episcopal leadership in the United States which holds that both the Church and society are best served when bishops refrain from publicly endorsing or favoring, either directly or indirectly, specific candidates in partisan elections,” a transcript of his address says.
In his homily three weeks before the flier appeared in bulletins the church’s pastor, the Rev. Richard Perozich, discussed those same five points from the flier and how they’re relevant in this upcoming election but didn’t mention political parties, candidates, or damnation.
“In the church, we have what we call the five non-negotiables, things that are most important, and they’re around life issues. There’s life, from conception to natural death. There’s marriage and sexuality, embryonic stem cell research, cloning and euthanasia. When we vote, we don’t vote for candidates who support these things, even if they support other things that we really like,” said Perozich, according to a recording of the Sept. 25 homily posted on the church’s website.
Of courses, churches who hope to keep their non-profit status are not supposed to engage in electioneering and the San Diego archdiocese is doing their best to play this one down. But this is a case study in a individual church that ought to have that status revoked.