SC priest: Voted for Obama? No Eucharist for you!

posted by David Gibson

Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Greenville, SC, wasn’t waiting for the bishops to figure out what they should do. He sent a letter to his parishioners telling them that if they voted for Obama (“Barack Hussein Obama,” as he makes sure to note) they should not receive communion. In his letter to his “Dear Friends in Christ,” Newman (good name) says:

Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits 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.

Father Newman of course also notes that Obama was duly elected, and we should pray for him. But he has some pretty strong culture war rhetoric as well, about the unbridgeable gap between pro-choicers and pro-lifers:

Between these two visions of the use of lethal violence against the unborn there can be no negotiation or conciliation, and now our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president. We must also take note of the fact that this election was effectively decided by the votes of self-described (but not practicing) Catholics, the majority of whom cast their ballots for President-elect Obama.

Isolated instance? Or predictable collateral damage from the church’s war within? Either way, it seems grossly unjust if only because there is so much confusion over who can take communion, and you have individual pastors freelancing all over the place.
The original Greenville News story is here (paper of the hometown of my alma mater–not BJU), the AP version here. H/T to Michael Paulson’s “Articles of Faith.”

Comments read comments(29)
post a comment

posted November 14, 2008 at 12:35 pm

No wonder the Catholic Church is losing followers. The Church tells them to only vote on one issue. When will the Church wake up? Making birth control more accessible would eliminate many abortions – oh wait, the Catholic Church is against that too…..gee they want is all don’t they. In the wake of the SEX ABUSE scandal, one would think that the Catholic Church would work more toward compassion and unity to eliminate abortion. Oh, sorry, that is something Jesus would do.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 12:38 pm

So it’s OK to have voted twice for a President whose policies have led to the total destruction of the Catholic community in Iraq, but a sin to vote once for a President-elect who won’t change current policies allowing, not requiring, abortion?

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm

If I understand correctly, and not being Catholic I might not, isn’t it up to the conscience of the person as to whether they should take communion? And how many are going to tell Newman who they voted for? It is so not any of his business. How many candidates run on a single issue? Abortion was only one of many, many issues in this campaign …as the economy was top of the list this year. The RCC really encourages membership pulling stunts like this. ____As mentioned above…if they got to real life issues…allowing “artificial” birth control,(one of many) then there would be less women who might need an abortion. There should always be choice for women however.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm

So, think about this scenario… If abortion was never legalized our economy wouldn’t have too many issues because we would have more than 40 million tax payers adding to our nations economic growth.
I am proud to call myself catholic and am extremely proud of Fr Newman in SC, standing up for what is right. For those who disagree, ask our Father in heaven if he would want the lives of innocent babies dying quite brutally I might add? Remember the scripture, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”
And instead of promoting sexual activity by giving kids birth control that is going to screw them up, why not promote the sacredness of sex before marriage? Its not that hard to comprehend. Do you know what women go through when they have an abortion, physically or emotionally? THe problems just begin when they walk into that evil Planned Parenthood…

report abuse

Larry Parker

posted November 14, 2008 at 1:56 pm

If there were truth in advertising, it would simply be called the “Roman” church. A church that throws people out for the “sin” of exercising choice in their voting privilege in a democratic society is no longer “catholic.”
(Spoken as a Jesuit-educated ex-altar boy …)
PS — Is Fr. Newman not aware there are potential tax-exemption issues with his endorsement of Sen. McCain?

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 2:00 pm

The teachings of the Church are the teachings of the Church. Don;t like ‘em, don’t bother calling yourself a memeber of the Church. Go to a Unitarian church and do anything you feel like doing and feel good about it.
But leave what’s good about my Catholic Church alone.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 2:03 pm

“A church that throws people out for the “sin” of exercising choice
The sin isn’t “choice”. The sin is the murder of a child. Pretty big sin in my book.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Bob, that is fine, but to be quite honest and blunt,
The catholic church has no business telling me what I can and cant do. It has no business trying for force feed its hateful rhetoric down the throats of non-catholics. If they want to teach whatever they teach, fine, keep in in their congregations and keep it in their schools. Keep it out of mine.
The line was crossed when they started trying to tell non-catholics that they need to live according to catholic beliefs. The line was crossed when they started trying to manipulate politics in their favor so that they could force non-catholic americans to submit to their will.
The line was crossed when they said it doesnt matter if our elderly are suffering, that it doesnt matter if our children cant get medical care, that it doesnt matter if our children are dying in an unjust war. The line was crossed when they said abortion was all that mattered, and it didnt matter how many peoples lives were destroyed, as long as they got their way.
As far as I’m concerned, the bishops of the church violated most if not all of the seperation of church and state laws and deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The catholic church should also loose its tax exempt status as well. If the church wants to be political instead of pastoral, then they have no right to tax exemption, or for that matter, any of the exemptions of clergy.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 2:19 pm

One more thought:
If, as the bishops say, abortion is all that matters, then they should voluntarily give up all tax exempt status for themselves and the catholic church. They should put their money where their mouths are. Now, if they do, great, but if they dont, well, they keep demonstrating by their actions that they are hypocrits, why would we expect them to change now.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm

The official position of the Catholic Church is that abortion is a grave sin, but that Catholic’s can exercise their freedom of conscience to vote for a pro-choice candidate, if there are other compelling issues – such as poverty, healthcare, euthanasia, war, etc. I think Fr. Newman would be very surprised – given his comment – how may faithful and regular churchgoing Catholic’s exercised that right and voted for President-Elect Obama. Trying to outlaw abortion has not worked for the past 35 years, perhaps we should put our efforts into making it socially unacceptable instead of illegal. If we attack abortion on all fronts: preventing them with good education – both about birth control and why is is better to wait until marriage, providing strong support to unwed mothers, developing effective adoption processes and creating strong support structures for women who choose to keep their children – then abortion will be what it should be – safe and rare

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 2:58 pm

This is why I and many others stopped attending the church. Our local church is literally empty. No inspiration THERE.
This is also why a separation of church and state (what our founding fathers had in mind when they created this country) is necessary. Once politics and religion get mixed up, forget it. We’re done.When priests start telling people how to vote we have lost our way. That isn’t what Christ taught. I read the Bible regularly, and Jesus didn’t teach that. In fact he had a real problem with hipocracy and how his own leaders obeyed the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Did Father Newman speak out as forcefully on the unjust war in Iraq?

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Jack: If they want to teach whatever they teach, fine, keep in in their congregations and keep it in their schools. Keep it out of mine.
Well, they did. This priest, with whom I do not agree, wrote a letter to his parishioners. This priest’s position, is also not the position of the Catholic Church [sorry, Bob]. After all, Kmiec…who publically supported Obama…was denied communion and received an apology from a Bishop for the actions of one priest. Before we get too worked up about the Catholic Church in general, it is important to remember that this is, so far, an isolated incident.

report abuse

Meredith Gould

posted November 14, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Every day I wonder what “one more thing” will drive me from the Church I choose as an adult convert. Being a Roman Catholic is becoming more indefensible by the hour.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Voting for Obama is not murder. No matter how passionately and sincerely you believe that to be the case.
While The Church does seem to be of one mind that abortion is an intrinsic evil, the interpretation and teaching of what constitutes cooperation is becoming more and more a human (and read that IMPERFECT) dogma, and has no place next to Scripture or Tradition.
There are many, many ways to be Pro-Life. And there are many, many important ways to support the sacredness of life from conception to natural death. To couch a vote such as this in such stark terms that are clearly outside of the teachings of The Church is an example of man’s hubris to presume to know the will or mind of God.
People who believe that this kind of action by a parish priest acting as if it were on behalf of The Church should turn of EWTN and Fox News and go to some RCIA classes and speak directly with their pastors and their Bishops.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 5:41 pm

“But leave what’s good about my Catholic Church alone.”
There is nothing good about your church. It has been a force for evil and oppression for nearly 1700 years, and Earth will be blessed when it finally disappears. That day cannot come soon enough. Catholics, however, are not the same as Catholicism.

report abuse

Mark from PA

posted November 14, 2008 at 6:59 pm

I never remember a priest refusing to give communion to someone who voted for a white man. Since Obama’s father was a Muslim, and he has Hussein for his middle name and he is a bi-racial/African American some people are running scared. Too bad. They will get used to Obama being President and perhaps become more tolerant in the bargin. This priest is probably an embarrassment to the bishops.

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Makes me glad I’m not a Catholic.

report abuse

Your Name

posted November 14, 2008 at 9:31 pm

The state of general immorality we are in is in part due to the Vatican’s insistence on a celibate clergy. Thousand of men have either left the priesthood or avoided it because of this man-made rule that flies in the face of Christ’s command to go teach all nations. Teaching morality, and fighting against it is where they have dropped the ball. The Catholic clergy, having failed at their own job, now demand legislators (and presidents) to do their clerical job for them through legislation. My advice to the clergy is to keep their collective nose out of politics and straighten up your own house. Congregating in Washington, DC, waiving signs, shouting across the street to opponents does NOTHING for morality. Increasing the number of priests, forming coalitions against pornography, teaching from the alter instead of delivering the unprepared, bland homilies we hear, and becoming involved with their parishioner would help greatly. ____How many legislators and presidents have been elected who support divorce, have participated (and therefore believe in) adultery? Where does this judgement end? Do we continue to push Christ out of his throne and do the judging for Him? We elect presidents and legislators to lead and protect our country from harm, not from sin.__

report abuse


posted November 14, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Jillian, it is obvious you don’t approve of abortion, due to your beliefs. That’s fine for you and you don’t have to have one. I’m all for teaching responsibility, and sex education as well as birth control methods. Teaching about birth contol does not promote sexual activity. Only teaching abstinence has been proven not to work. Condoms stop STD’s and pregnancy. There are many reliable birth control methods, and doesn’t it make sense to have them available to prevent unwanted pregnancies, this less abortions? Of course it does. I remember the days when abortion was illegal, and was glad when Roe V Wade was passed. It meant that the coat hanger method or back alley butchers didn’t have to be used. I’m sure you realize that women have known how to abort a pregnancy for centuries. Since it became legal, women now can have a safe, clean termination if they feel it is necessary.

report abuse

Your Name

posted November 14, 2008 at 10:55 pm

I noticed the majority of your comments are negative. That is why you are where you are in your faith and obviously not Catholics. However, if you search sincerely and deeply in your heart, you will understand where this SC priest is coming from. If you are living your lives according to the Bible then you will understand exactly why this God fearing priest is making a stand.

report abuse


posted November 15, 2008 at 12:48 am

The Republicans have been offering the hope of reversing Roe vs. Wade to the Religious Rights for decades, and it is always the same thing; it is the carrot on the string they hold in front of your nose to keep you pulling their broken down old cart. You are never going to get a bite!
I’d also say that Mr. Newman should have done his homework on McCain.
During McCain’s 2000 presidential run he was asked if he would support repealing Roe vs. Wade. McCain’s answer? “No” – the same answer he had given for decades!
It was only during his 2008 Presidential bid, when asked the same question, and while courting the same Religious Right base that got Bush into power, McCain changed his tune and answered; “Yes, absolutely.”

report abuse


posted November 15, 2008 at 11:21 pm

There has never been a “coat hanger” abortion recorded in the United States.
However even if there were, killing a baby is murder regardless of how you do it. I have stood outside the murder mills and have counseled women while offering help and kindness and even financial assitance. Overwhelmingly the reasons given for the abortion have been the like of “I am going to be in a friends wedding and I don’t want to look pregnant”, “I am going on a cruise and want to wear my swim suit”, “I am married and this is not my husband’s baby”.
Death of the baby for the convenience of the mother. Not a justification in any form.
Please understand that 1.2 million babies are killed in this country every year, most are for convenience and during a time when contraceptives are freely available to all.
All this done in the name of personal choice. Hitler made his choice to kill the jews.
Abortion is murder. Murder Murder
How can a human being justify this?
How can a president make his first priorty easing the restrictions on the killing of babies?

report abuse


posted November 15, 2008 at 11:26 pm

I agree with your dangling carrot analogy however with McCain there was a hope that he would support legislation that was at least pro child.
With Barrack Hussein we have a promise of death backed by a record of pro murder.
Can you not see the culture of death that this country is setting?

report abuse


posted November 16, 2008 at 10:04 pm

And I guess, Michael, you’re an expert on how many coat hanger abortions have occured? Certainly you know that women know how to self-abort and have used knitting needles, coat hangers and other crude methods. They usually don’t go and tell someone so it can be “recorded”!! If indeed they couldn’t do it themselves, before Row V Wade there was the local “butcher”. That too wouldn’t be “recorded”. I have lived before Roe V Wade and after Roe V Wade. Life if better and safer for women after Roe V Wade. __You have stood outside a clinic to council (harass) women? That help is available inside the clinic. Those standing outside, IMO, do very little “helping”. IMO, no matter what your experience, women have good and valid reasons for not completing a pregnancy. There are medical reasons, or a pregnancy caused by rape, and incest. There are financial reasons, can’t feed and clothe either another child or even a first child. Scared teenagers, who are children themselves, don’t need to give birth if they choose not to. Too many stories of teens who have given birth….in restrooms, motel rooms, etc. Is that OK? The baby and the teen either die or just the baby. I can’t go into all the reasons a woman feels surgery is necessary. In my experience, there is much angonizing over the decision. ____Boils down to: No one forces a woman to have an abortion. Fortunately she can choose a safe, legal termination or she can carry to term. It is not your affair. And it isn’t murder. Totally disagree with you on that.____And IMO, I really think Obama isn’t counting the days so he can lift the restrictions on the still legal right of a woman to have an abortion. I really think the economy is more on his mind as well as the mess in Iraq…where our soldiers are dying as well as the women and children of Iraq and Afganistan. ____

report abuse


posted November 18, 2008 at 11:29 am

The priest is right, he has an obligation to warn the congregation of the DIVINE consequences of voting the way they did, or their blood will be on HIS hands! ALL actions will be judged. He’s doing his job, and he gets flamed for it by the world, the flesh and the devil! Typical of what happens when one stands for the Truth!
When the Books of Life are opened, that Obama vote will be right at the top for GOD to judge. If all Christians eat and the drink the Body of Christ while in a state of unconfessed sin (in this case, voting in favor to continue the murder of millions), that IS a straight way to Hellfire. They will see on Judgment Day, all the babies who were killed. Better the congregation hear this now and repent of it, or suffer eternal consequences, but unfortunately they are so hardened in their sins that they flame the priest for telling them the Truth. It doesn’t fit in with the moral relativism view that the Devil has used to deceive even the elect. No wonder Jesus said the faith of many would grow cold, and lukewarm believers will be spit out of His mouth! More priests need to have this kind of courage.
The priest did the right thing, even though it wasn’t the popular thing or what some Catholics want to hear. Repent now while you have the chance. Any one of us could die today. Did you know the Devil is a master deceiver and gets you to rationalize sin in your mind? Did YOU vote to continue his Evildoings? Are YOU right with God?

report abuse

Jesus Christ

posted November 18, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. — Matthew 5:11

report abuse

Your Name

posted November 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

The way I see it, Father Jay Scott Newman only relayed what the Catholic faith (and what should be for all Christians and other religions that honor human life) is all about in regards with this subject. The sanctity of life and the protection of the unborn (which is from the point of conception) is their main thrust, as all honorable religions I have seen do. If you compromise on life, then it is easy to fall further into sin and condone other immoral and unbiblical activities. Obama seems to support many of these unbibical items. Jesus said that if we think it is our minds, we have committed the sin. I believe that holds true if you support the person or effort promoting the sin, also. Has everyone seen abortions, especially partial birth abortions? You can not tell me that that is not a life, and feels the pain. Obama wants to have unrestricted abortions. How can he call himself a Christian or anything else taking that stand? What if his mother made that choice? Preserving human life is the most important attribute of a leader. Anything else is dehumanizing a portion of the population. God is the author of life, and he is the only one that can choose to make the decision between life and death. As the old saying goes – The leaders usually represent the morality of the citizens. Are most of us murders? That is scary if it is true, and we all need to pray for everyone, including those in authority and ourselves, that Godly decisions are made.

report abuse


posted November 20, 2008 at 10:05 am

I pity the fools that listen and believe the pure tripe that is coming out of the mouths of people like Newman. To deny communion to anyone that voted for President Elect Obama is insane, shortsighted, divisive (even to belivers) and puts him in the ranks with Hitler (who the chuch supported), Stalin and Mao. The 3 men I listed killed millions of people trying to do what Newman is preaching. My way or the highway.____In 20-25 years thankfully the Catholic church will be an extinct breed in North America. It refuses to acknowledge that people have fought and died for, yes died, for the right to have free choice. ____I could go on and justify my opinion but I won’t. It is a waste of my time. I find most of you are so brainwashed and beyond rational thought when it comes to what the vast majority believe. The church failed to grow and mature with the rest of the civiized world and will die eventually. Goodbye ____

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!  

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks...
So...my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from PoliticsDaily.com to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That means, in short, that I'll have to sign off from blogging h

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored the new look Calvin in an essay at PoliticsDaily, "Patr

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, hence the long absence. Apologies to those who have chec

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's contribution in developing countries" were key topics of discussio

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »

Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.