Confessions of a Catholic Democrat

Confessions of a Catholic Democrat

Hear me out.
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I am a practicing Catholic and member of the Democratic Party.

Yes, I totally recognize this probably comes off as a complete contradiction. Nothing about being a Democrat and a Catholic seems to go together on the surface. The Democratic agenda supports things like abortion and a woman's right to choose, the death penalty, LGBT rights, and many other issues that the Catholic Church is very much against. These, of course, are only a few of the many issues that the American Democratic Party and Catholic Church express opinions, but they are very relevant and important examples that illustrate the discord between many Christian churches and progressive America today.

America seems to be becoming more and more progressive on the whole as recent years pass. Just over a year ago, gay marriage become legal. The government and private organizations are trying to figure out how to recognize and treat people who are transgender or do not fully identify with the sex they were born with. Within the next year, it is possible the United States could have its first female president. Many Americans are clearly pushing the times forward. However, a great percentage of Americans who are not so keen on this overall phenomena are Christians, including Catholics. They feel that the push for more liberal ideas is threatening to their religious rights and the way the world should be.

The changes happening in our country at the moment clearly are very dividing and certainly no black and white issue. However, I hope that I can explain a bit how I, as a Catholic and a Democrat, work out some of these issues so that they make sense. At least to me.

The type of Christianity I was raised with was one of acceptance and love. I was taught by my parents and at mass about seeing Christ in everyone. I firmly believe, from what I learned at mass, through my parents, and in nearly 17 years of Catholic school, that we are created in the image and likeness of God. God loves each person equally no matter what because we are all his children and creation. No matter how imperfect we are, he still loves us when we turn to him when we struggle.

My support of the issue of gay marriage, and really gay rights as a whole, can be used to show how my thought process works. If God creates people in his image and likeness and loves us, I firmly believe that means he creates people as straight or gay. I know not everyone agrees with me about this. That is okay, but it is what I believe. I also support gay marriage because I believe God wants us to be happy and live life to the fullest in the way in which he created us. God creates humans who are attracted to the same sex, but he does not do this to curse them or try to put them in a situation of sin. God loves us all equally no matter what, and I do not think it is right to prevent someone from finding a happiness in life that others have simply because they were created a certain way.

I may not have sounded very Catholic there. So, I hope that the fact that I am pro-life can maybe rebuild a bit of my credibility there. I absolutely am disgusted by abortion. I think the death penalty devalues human life and encourages a culture of violence in the US. I think just in general modern culture does not try to recognize the beautiful of life that God has given us. However, I think it is wrong to limit people to live a full life where they are loved and accepted and not cast out by society. Jesus embraced the outsider. He worked and lived with people who were seen by his society as sinners and dirty.

I have found that this way of embracing others and trying to help others is embraced for the most part by the Democratic Party. Welfare, as it currently stands, is flawed. I will admit that. I do not think it is a bad thing, but the way it works now is not good for various reasons. However, the intent to help the needy and the poor is why I align with and support the Democratic Party. I do think the government has the responsibility to help the poor. I do not understand how, when you think about the reasoning behind many Democratic policies, it is impossible to be both a Catholic and a Democrat.

I think the reason that many people have an issue with the whole idea of being a Catholic Democrat is the fact that we often think a person has to exclusively align themselves with one group completely and all its ideologies. Yes, I am a Democrat, but do I agree 100% with what the party says? Absolutely not. The same goes for what the Catholic Church teaches. I do often feel guiltier for not being completely aligned with Catholicism than Democrats, but at the same time, there are things the Catholic Church teaches that would make me feel really yucky (best word I could think of) if I said I believed them. I cannot say I think gay marriage is wrong because I genuinely believe and think it is not for the reasons I have said. It is justified to me.

I do not know if I am right. I doubt myself pretty much every second of the day, but I am firm in what I believe because it is what allows me to see the world in a good light. No one has all the answers, and if you think you do, you are a fool. We just have to navigate through life the best we can and not put everyone into these stupid boxes. I am outside the Democrat and Catholic box, but I identify with them because they are the best things I can find now to believe in and try to find my way with. I am just Laura. I am not in either of these boxes, but I wish people would stop trying to toss me in them.

Cover Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/U.S._Democratic_Party_logo_(transparent).svg/2000px-U.S._Democratic_Party_logo_(transparent).svg.png

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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