Fly the flag, Father

Fly the flag, Father

The archbishop of San Antonio, Texas, has ordered one of his pastors to return the American flag to the flagpole at the church. The pastor removed itafter flying it at half-staff to protest the war in Iraq.

“I have advised Father Mannion that the American flag must be restored at full height to its usual place of honor immediately,” Archbishop Flores said Thursday. “While I respect Father Mannion’s passion for the dignity of all life and his right to his personal position on the war, nothing is accomplished by using the flag to force that view on those who are suffering the pain and uncertainty of knowing that America’s men and women of the armed forces are in harm’s way.”

The priest’s parishioners have complained about his anti-American homilies and peace-nut activism.

But the story isn’t over. On Friday, the priest complained to the press about his treatment by the archbishop. He says he’s disappointed the archbishop didn’t back him up.

“My fundamental point is this: Killing is immoral under the Fifth Commandment. Therefore, as a church priest, it’s my obligation to preach that,” he said.

Come on, Father. Learn your Catechism. Murder is immoral, but a just war isn’t. At least try to make the case that the war is not just rather than offering such a simplistic statement.

He dismissed charges by some in his flock who say his criticisms of the United States show he’s “anti-American.”

“I’m an American citizen. I have never been anti-American,” Mannion said. “What I have been is opposed to politics that contradict the Gospel. For example, the tax evasion of the rich and the robbing of the poor to pay the rich.”

Ah, here we go. Classic political liberalism. Repeating ideological dogma as Gospel truth. Unfortunately, he’s wrong. Did you know that the top 50% of wage earners pay 96% of all personal income taxes? In other words, the half of all Americans who make more than the average income pay virtually all of the taxes. The top 5% pay 56.47% of the income tax. The top 1% is paying more than 10 times the income taxes of the bottom 50%. (From the IRS via Rush Limbaugh.) So, as you can see, the rich aren’t evading taxes and the poor are not being robbed by the rich.

Perhaps if Father educated himself about things—on both theology and politics—before shooting his mouth off, he’d be less susceptible to getting in trouble with his archbishop. And his parishioners might receive better pastoring from their pastor.