Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Michael Moore: Invoking his Catholicism

Today I flipped on the tube and caught a segment featuring Michael Moore, the most celebrated/condemned documentary film maker in the United States. 

I'm not the type who agrees with Michael Moore on most things.  In fact there are very few things that I do agree with him on.  Today the ladies of the View were interviewing him for his new autobiography.  They mentioned that Michael Moore disagrees with Obama's decision to have bin Laden killed.  And I agree.

His point was that bin Laden is a person, and as Americans who believe in the democratic process, we should have put bin Laden on trial.  Of course, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who I normally agree with, jumped in to voice her opinion that the notion was ridiculous.  Her point was that he didn't deserve a trial.  This disturbs me.  When people start deciding who deserves a trial and who doesn't we start looking more like communist China than we look like the US republic.

Barbara Walters mentioned that the decision was made so that bin Laden would not look like a martyr.  This is a far more reasonable argument to make then Elizabeth's was.  I can see how him taking the stand would make him a martyr in front of his handful of followers, which in turn could jeopardize our national security.  Point well made.

But I'm inclined to agree with Moore, who used the Nuremberg trials as an example.  None of those Nazi's are held up as martyrs and since Germany was wore torn with little resources to retaliate, none of the German supporters could lift a finger to harm the Allies.  The same is true of Al-Qaeda.  No normal person would view bin Laden as a martyr and Al-Qaeda is a small group of renegades that cover a small territory in a couple of countries.  True there are supporters who are not Al-Qaeda backed, but as Moore put it there are always going to be terrorists.  You can root out one group, but another is just going to start.  America has it's own share of homegrown terrorists just to prove that point.

At the end of the segment, though, Moore suddenly stood on shaky ground.  He immediately interrupted Whoopi Goldberg to say that he was a Catholic and as such it was wrong to murder a person without just cause.  Moore is right about that.  The Catholic blogosphere light up after bin Laden's death announcement to both condemn those who rejoiced it and to scrutinize whether his death followed the Church's teachings on just war.  On the one hand, we were at war with Al-Qaeda, a war which the Vatican did not approve of but did not condemn entirely.  On the other hand, we were also at war with Iraq, but made Saddam Hussein stand trial.  So was Obama justified?  While I agree that bin Laden should have stood trial, I also acknowledge whether bin Laden's death was just or not is up for debate.  Needless to say Moore has the right idea, but it's debatable. 

Elizabeth jumped up and asked him if he was a pro-lifer, which she is.  Moore said he was a pro-lifer in that he was for saving life (or something to that affect I can't remember his exact wording).  Moore is not entirely pro-life.  When it comes to abortion, Moore is pro-choice.

So here is Moore invoking his Catholicism without truly understanding the delicacies that are the doctrine of just war and to top it all off he's a total "cafeteria" Catholic, if you will, because he chooses to defend bin Laden's right to a trial but not the rights of the unborn.  Does that seem a bit bizarre to you?  Maybe I'm some daft pregnant stay-at-home mom who should worry about dirty diapers and less about politics, but it just confuses me.  And what's worse is he's invoking this in the name of Catholicism, which makes the rest of us Catholics who totally make sense on these issues, look like a group of dummies not intellectuals.  Michael Moore in one fell swoop made centuries of apologetic Catholicism look ridiculous.  No wonder so many people don't understand the faith.  With famous people like Moore promoting his version of Catholicism, it shouldn't surprise those who know better that we have to work twice as hard defending it.

So thanks Michael Moore.  Thanks for making Catholicism look like something it isn't.  You really make it so easy for the rest of us to evangelize. 


  1. So he's been spewing his bin Laden logic for a while now, huh? *sigh* Should have known. Some of his latest blah-mentaries um sorry I meant documentaries, he's been using his Catholicism to defend them. It's completely stupid. Somehow in his twisted logic he thinks people will agree with him because they are "Church endorsed" or something.

    At this point his version of Catholicism is so laughable, but some people are getting the idea that this is what Catholicism is which makes me perturbed. I'm waiting to hear someone start quoting him as some sort of theologian of Catholicism. Although oddly, one of my friend's whose a big supporter of his work is an atheist. So maybe he just start saying he's a Christian, which is more vague, instead.

    Enjoyed your post. Much better explanation of his oddball logic than this one.

  2. Celebrity "catholics" drive me crazy sometimes. About bin Laden and the trial... I mean, he did deserve a trial but then he was a wanted criminal, which plenty of American citizens are. And some of them are so dangerous they are wanted dead or alive. He's not an American so he doesn't have a "right" to an American trial, and i would guess that his home country doesn't have such rights for their citizens although I don't know. And then I also don't know if there is some UN international law that would apply. I guess my opinion is that bin Laden was dangerous, had plenty of opportunity to turn himself in, and was killed in the raid because that was the safest thing for the troops. I do see this as being a very different situation with the Nuremburg trials. This "war" and dangers are far from over, whereas at Nuremburg there was clearly no longer any danger.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!