Texas Bishop Backs Priest Claiming Democrats Are Going to Hell

A Texas bishop has backed a Wisconsin priest's claims that Catholics who support the Democrats are going to hell due to the party's "godless platform."

James Altman of St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church in La Crosse said, in a message since viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube, that those who back the Democrats should repent or "face the fires of hell."

He referenced "godless politicians" and said the Catholic church is a "moral power," which justified him commenting upon political issues if lawmakers acted in an "immoral way."

"You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period. Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic church teaches," he said.

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He went on to refer to issues such as abortion, claiming "aborted babies" would bar the entrance of Democrats to heaven.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, has since backed this message.

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"As the Bishop of Tyler I endorse Fr Altman's statement in this video. My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you Fr Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation...pleases HEED THIS MESSAGE," he wrote on Twitter, sharing the video while doing so.

The comments have been questioned, with the issue raised of organizations which are tax exempt getting involved in politics.

Newsweek has contacted Altman and Strickland for comment.

It comes after Vatican consultant Father James J. Martin, who Altman also criticized in his video due to him addressing the Democratic National Convention, urged Catholics against claiming that support for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is sinful.

"Dear friends: I'm seeing more priests saying that voting for Joe Biden is a mortal sin. It is not. It is not a sin to vote for either Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump. Nor is it a sin to be Democrat or Republican," he said previously, as reported by Newsweek.

In regards to the comments from Altman, Martin told Newsweek: "Bishops, priests and members of religious orders are not supposed to endorse any candidates. And the church itself never endorses, because no one candidate could ever fully express all Catholic teaching. For example, in general the Democrats support abortion, but the Republicans support the death penalty. Both are against church teaching. Catholics are called to consider the Gospels, church teachings, and then vote the way their individual consciences demand. As Pope Francis said, the church is called to form consciences, not replace them."

In regards to his prayer at the Democratic National Convention, he said: "My prayer at the convention included a prayer for the unborn child in the womb. So I don't know how much clearer I could have been about my pro-life stance."

President Donald Trump has long criticized his opponent Biden and other Democrats on matters of religion, branding his rivals as "against God."

This is despite Biden having frequently made his Catholic faith well-known. He has also laid out plans for "safeguarding America's faith-based communities" should he win in November.

Newsweek has contacted Martin and the Biden campaign for comment.

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A bottle of hand sanitizer is seen next to Holy water and the Bible at an outdoor Sunday service in California in July. A Wisconsin priest has been backed by a Texas bishop after criticizing Catholics who vote Democrat. Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images
Texas Bishop Backs Priest Claiming Democrats Are Going to Hell | U.S.