Julián Castro, His Scary Pastor, and Our Shallow Country

Preface: I’m an Independent who doesn’t care much for President Obama, Romney, or Johnson. I have lived in San Antonio, Texas since my mother’s womb.

When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to respecting women’s rights, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, “No.” – Julián Castro’s Keynote Address, 2012 Democratic National Convention

When I first encountered Mayor Castro’s pastor, I was scared stiff. Father Frank Kurzaj, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church on San Antonio’s west side, certainly makes an impression. He’s tall, with a stocky build. His thick Polish accent nearly attacks you from above, booming in a frighteningly deep voice. Initially, he intimidates.

As I watched Mayor Castro deliver the keynote address at the DNC last night, I was reminded of Father Frank.

That’s because, on the surface, Castro hit a home run. In fact, everything at the DNC looked fabulous – from the diversity of faces in the audience and on-stage, right down to the jumbotron’s impeccable graphic design. The problem is: When you get to know Father Frank, you see past the scary exterior and find a surprisingly lovable shepherd.

I’m afraid that we’re all becoming quite shallow in this country.

By and large, we’re a nation of YouTube phenomena and five-second attention spans. Appearances are everything. We are quick to decide. We are media-dependent. Our young feel lost without their talking cell phones.

Last night, Castro shouted the usual taglines: Mitt Romney’s a rich, white guy who doesn’t understand regular Americans. Mitt Romney denies women their rights. Mitt Romney doesn’t want people to love each other. Mitt Romney “says no.”

It seems the Dems have this election in the bag. A minority vs. a rich, white guy? Women’s rights vs. ‘war on women’? Love vs. bigotry and fear? The Dems have mastered the dichotomy. But surface-level arguments are only as good as thin ice; when you step onto it, you fall through and face the cold truth. Are Americans actually going to fall for false dichotomies and shallow arguments? Are we simply going to write off a ‘rich, white male’ as ‘out of touch’ and therefore unfit for office?

Are we going to let political wordsmiths massage our minds?

Father Frank is a pastor. Mitt Romney, Julián Castro and President Obama are all fathers. Pastors and parents know that their kids often don’t think things through; children often judge by appearances. Example: “You don’t want me to have any friends. Otherwise, you’d let me go to the party.” or “I’m in love. Why won’t you support our shotgun marriage?” Parents know that real love is not easy. It doesn’t live on the surface. It makes tough choices and adult decisions. Real love makes sacrifices and goes without, when times are tough. Real love looks beyond appearances, to the heart of the matter.

I truly believe that Mayor Castro knows something about all that. Unfortunately, I believe that he and his party have mainly stuck to the surface. Their platform is supported by some false dichotomies. They have failed, in my mind, to address the root problems of our nation’s debt and social upheaval. They are selling their party on promises to ‘hand out goodies’ (as Ron Paul once put it) rather than make some adult decisions and face the ice-cold truth about our current situation at home and abroad.

My prayer is that, as a country, we clean the wax out of our ears, open our eyes, and remember that Saint Paul warned early Christians to look beyond appearances (2 Corinthians 11:14).



  1. I find it offensive that a Catholic is a member of a party that supports abortion, and promotes a man who favors the nation of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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