There are times when a complete and thorough understanding of certain political labels seems to elude me. What is it, exactly, that some folks mean by the terms "liberal" or "conservative"? Who sets the criteria?
In my own case, I would generally consider myself a Conservative, but surprisingly, there has been times when even yours truly has been accused of being a Liberal. One incident sticks out in my memory; a few years ago, when the Supreme Court held that prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camps had a right to habeas corpus under the United States Constitution, someone commenting on my blog called me a Liberal for agreeing with the Court's decision. Nothing I could say about my pro-life position or my views on the role of the Federal government's involvement in our lives made any difference with this person. The fact that I wanted to see the size of the Federal government drastically reduced - or the fact that I am in total agreement with the Catholic church's view on abortion - meant nothing to this person.
I bring up this confusion on my part because of a recent article written by Ann Coulter where, when writing on Rick Santorum, she stated that Santorum was "more of a Catholic than a conservative, which means he's good on 60 percent of the issues, but bad on others......". One Catholic blogger took offense to Coulter's comment, calling her a "BIGOT" and "something else that begin with a 'B' and an 'I' ". I don't agree with that assessment of Coulter.....I know exactly what she means. Catholic teaching doesn't fall in line with either political label. Liberals decry the Church's teachings on abortion, marriage and women's ordination, for example, while many Conservatives fall out with the Church over capital punishment and immigration. Many, so called "rock solid Conservatives" like Sean Hannity can't go along with Catholic teaching against artificial contraception.
Let's face it; if one is a true, devout Catholic, one will not conveniently fit in with either secular Conservatism or secular Liberalism.
Like Santorum, I would consider myself more Catholic than Conservative. Ann Coulter and I are not in 100% agreement on every political issue, but I certainly don't believe she is an anti-Catholic bigot, nor do I view her recent column as "a nasty piece of work" the way this Catholic blogger does.
As an aside, not everyone thinks Santorum follows Church teaching to the letter.