Lesser of Two Evils or Worthy of Honor

Since the Notre Dame controversy has all the staying power of an inebriated relative after a dinner party, I’ll attempt one more brief comment on it.

It is a disappointment to me, though hardly a surprising one, that just about everyone in the Catholic blogsphere who advocated voting for Obama in the first place (or sympathized with those who did) now find so much to object to in those Catholics (including quite a few bishops — all who have address the topic to my knowledge) who are upset at Obama being made the commencement speaker for Notre Dame and awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

The argument, which was made frequently enough during the election, was that while Obama was far from perfect (and, we were always assured, the speaker was indeed deeply troubled by his positions on abortion) he was the better of two distinctly poor alternatives available on the ballot.

If such was one’s true position, I disagree, but with a fair amount of respect.  Sometimes both options available are very bad, and choosing the lesser of two evils is quite the judgment call.

However, if this was, as claimed, one’s object in voting for Obama, I fail to see why one would be so angry at those objecting to Notre Dame’s decision to honor him so conspicuously.  One should hardly be heaped with honors for being the lesser of evils.

If it is true that we all take the abortion issue very seriously, but we have different assessments on which politician will, on the whole, be best for the country in a given election, then I would think that we could be united in opposing giving additional honors to an adamantly pro-abortion politician.  If the choice to vote for Obama were indeed the realist’s, “He may be an SOB, but at least he’s our SOB,” then one could hardly object to, after the election, treating the SOB as an SOB.  That so many are so angry at those critiquing Notre Dame’s decision would seem to support the contention that their decision was indeed a complete embrace of Obama’s positions, and not a prudential judgement that he was merely the best candidate available at the time.

67 Responses to Lesser of Two Evils or Worthy of Honor

  • To be clear,

    I think the decision to honor Obama is wrong, and that the bishops are right to speak out against it.

    My problem was more with the tone of the com-boxers and others. Critique is one thing, wrath is another. I stick with what my priest told us about wrath; it is only moral when it is proportionate and productive. If it doesn’t lead to anything but a cathartic release, or a sense of righteousness, then it is a self-indulgent sin. I’ve confessed it more than once.

    Some people can’t or won’t make the distinction between principles and tactics. Disagree with one, and you necessarily hate the other. It is a distortion of logic to say the least. If I can’t disapprove of your tactics without simultaneously being opposed to your principles, then what you want is a cult following, not a rational discussion. Why should anyone have to put up with that?

  • I meant the general “you”. Not you Darwin.

  • My position is that I am upset about those who are making a huge deal about this because 1) they are singling out Obama but have had no problems with other anti-life politicians (like Bush and C. Rice) being similarly honored by Catholic institutions, so their protests ring hollow, and 2) because very few people are distinguishing between Obama receiving an honorary degree and him simply giving the commencement address, and 3) the over-the-top rhetoric is simply hateful and, quite frankly, insane. The latest letter this blog posted, from the bishop of Lincoln, is proof of that.

  • Michael I.,

    Considering that you’re an expert on hate and hating and accuse others of such nonsense is silly.

  • Catholic Anarchist, when pro-life Republicans were confronted with Rudolph Giuliani being a serious contender in 08, we made it clear to all and sundry, through the Stop Rudy movement and other efforts, that he was unacceptable and that we would prefer defeat to having him as the nominee. Leftists like yourself who claim to be pro-life, excluding the honorable exceptions, largely flocked to the banner of Obama, as you did, because the struggle against abortion is simply not very important to them compared to other political goals. Now you bash those of us outraged that Notre Dame is giving a forum to the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, a man who has raised campaign funds touting his opposition to banning the barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion. Frankly Catholic Anarchist, since you are a de facto pro-abort, I would have been astonished if you had not behaved in just the fashion you have. For an anarchist, you are very predictable.

  • Meanwhile, you can add Bishop George Lucas of Springfield to the list of bishops addressing the Notre Dame mess/issue/scandal/disgrace/abomination. He states in this week’s issue of Catholic Times:

    “It is hard to imagine the university honoring someone, no matter his office, who had consistently spoken against the value of football. We are not being unreasonable when we expect the value of human life to be a central focus of a Catholic university.”

  • I personally would be satisfied, or at least less disturbed, if Notre Dame withdrew the honorary degree or if Obama decided not to accept it, and just went ahead with the commencement address. However, that really should have been done from the outset, and to do so now would be too little, too late. Also, if the “commencement” address were given separately from the commencement — say, the day before, at a different venue or somewhere off-campus, with ND graduates and their family given first crack at seating IF they choose to attend. That way, the graduation itself isn’t ruined for anyone who is either scandalized by the whole thing or just doesn’t want to deal with the security and media which are bound to be there.

    As I have stated in a previous post, I attended Eureka College while Reagan was president and saw how much security and media attention was imposed on the graduation Reagan spoke at. If there had also been a huge number of protesters there it would have been even worse. I expect that is what will occur at ND.

  • And I have to add this: Reagan didn’t come to my graduation, and even though I and my parents voted for Reagan and agreed with what he stood for, we were glad he didn’t. My elderly grandmother, both my parents and my brother came to my graduation and were really stressed out and snapping at one another by the end of the day.

    I can just imagine what it would have been like had they been marched through a gauntlet of Secret Service people and reporters. I can also only imagine what it would have been like for them had they been die-hard liberal Democrats who despised nearly everything he stood for. We probably would have just skipped the whole thing and had the diploma sent in the mail.

  • Agreed Elaine. I found my commencements to be crashing bores. When I got my JD I skipped the general commencement at the U of I and sold my tickets for a good price. My wife, then my fiancee, did the same. I wish I had scalped my lawschool commencement tickets also, since I found it tedious beyond belief.

  • Catholic Anarchist, when pro-life Republicans were confronted with Rudolph Giuliani being a serious contender in 08, we made it clear to all and sundry, through the Stop Rudy movement and other efforts, that he was unacceptable and that we would prefer defeat to having him as the nominee.

    I remember that movement. I supported it because of Guiliani’s anti-life views on abortion and war. I do not recall the republicatholic part of the movement saying that they would “prefer defeat.” Can you point me to that official statement?

    Leftists like yourself who claim to be pro-life, excluding the honorable exceptions, largely flocked to the banner of Obama, as you did, because the struggle against abortion is simply not very important to them compared to other political goals. Now you bash those of us outraged that Notre Dame is giving a forum to the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, a man who has raised campaign funds touting his opposition to banning the barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion. Frankly Catholic Anarchist, since you are a de facto pro-abort, I would have been astonished if you had not behaved in just the fashion you have. For an anarchist, you are very predictable.

    I’m predictable? You are so predictable (and utterly boring) that I suspect you have this little passage saved on your computer and you cut-and-paste in whenever you need to tell a non-republicatholic that he or she is “really” a “pro-abort.” Just because you can repeat this nonsense over and over does not make it true.

    As I have said repeatedly, I oppose Obama receiving an honorary degree precisely because of his views, and more importantly his actions on abortion. If the bishops who have spoken out (relatively few) and you loudmouth republicatholic bloggers would focus on THAT and not get into the business of condemning Notre Dame and making personal attacks on Fr Jenkins’ personal faith, I could agree with you. But as usual, you turn into a bunch of blowhards eager to prove your own supposed piety and “respect” for life when you are, in fact, woefully inconsistent.

  • You can say that again. My brother graduated from Illinois State. The ceremony consisted of a five-minute speech by the chancellor, then sitting on hard chairs for 2 1/2 hours in a sweaty auditorium listening to 800 names being read. We had to sit through about 400 of them to get to my brother, since “Krewer” is in the middle of the alphabet :) When my husband graduated from University of Illinois at Springfield, we didn’t even bother going. (Our married name, which I don’t use on this blog, is farther down in the alphabet.)

  • “I remember that movement. I supported it because of Guiliani’s anti-life views on abortion and war. I do not recall the republicatholic part of the movement saying that they would “prefer defeat.” Can you point me to that official statement?”

    We said it many times Catholic Anarchist, including in this thread on an obscure blog you may be familiar with, where “Alexham”, the founder of the movement, and I made our intentions quite clear.

    http://vox-nova.com/2007/11/27/rudys-evolution-on-abortion/

    Of course Catholic Anarchist, when put to the test, you went with your Leftist agenda, threw unborn children under the bus, and climbed on the Obama campaign bus.

  • Of course Catholic Anarchist, when put to the test, you went with your Leftist agenda, threw unborn children under the bus, and climbed on the Obama campaign bus.

    Once again, just because you can repeat some cliches does not make them true. I did not “campaign” for Obama.

  • Having read how terrible are those Conservatives who make a fuss about Fr. Jenkin’s awarding an honorary degree to Mr. Obama, I note with bemusement Mr. Lafrate’s words about the Conservatives:
    “You are so predictable [and utterly boring]…”
    “You loudmouth repubicatholic bloggers…”
    “Bunch of blowhards…”.

  • Climbed on board the campaign bus Catholic Anarchist is my way of saying you supported Obama. It goes nicely with my comment about you throwing the unborn children under the bus by your decision to support Obama.

  • Gabriel – Glad you got a kick out of it.

    Climbed on board the campaign bus Catholic Anarchist is my way of saying you supported Obama.

    I made pretty clear the extent to which I “supported” him. Too bad you ignored what I said.

    It goes nicely with my comment about you throwing the unborn children under the bus by your decision to support Obama.

    Only if you’re illiterate, and if you feel comfortable MAKING JOKES about throwing fetuses under buses. Unlike you, I don’t make jokes like that. Hope you’re proud of yourself, old man!

  • Oh, that part wasn’t a joke Catholic Anarchist. For you unborn children are completely expendable in order to accomplish more important political goals. The ironic thing is none of those other goals are probably going to be realized, certainly not in regard to foreign policy. You sold out on the issue of abortion for bupkis.

    You know, for someone who finds me boring, you certainly do spend a lot of time responding to my posts and comments on this blog.

  • You can keep repeating it, but it doesn’t make it true. Keep saying it. We’ll keep laughing, old man!

  • Glad you think dead babies are so funny!

  • Actually Catholic Anarchist you are the one repeating yourself. You have also been guilty of two ageism insults. It certainly doesn’t matter to me, since I have used my 52 years on this Earth productively, (besides my 14 year old daughter is a grandmaster at age jokes slung in my direction) but I am concerned that you may have to go to a progressive version of Confession in order to purge yourself of your sin against the PC gods.

  • How many more dead baby jokes do you think you can make in this thread, Don?

  • I’ve made none Catholic Anarchist. How many more dead unborn children do you think will result in this country and around the world from the pro-abortion policies of the man you voted for to be President?

  • More than what? The administration of the formerly pro-choice John McCain? The formerly pro-choice George W. Bush? The formerly pro-choice George H. W. Bush? The formerly pro-choice Ronald Reagan?

    I have no idea what results Obama’s abortion policies will bring. Neither do you.

    But leave it to you to make jokes about their deaths, feeling smug about having voted the “right way.” Haha, right?

  • I didn’t think the remark about throwing unborn children “under the bus” was meant as a joke at all, but rather as a metaphor for casting aside someone or something that is no longer useful to one’s cause. In that context, it would be entirely appropriate to say that Catholics who cast aside concern for life issues in their eagerness to elect Obama did indeed throw unborn children “under the campaign bus” in a figurative sense.

    Illinois residents may recall this this phrase having been used by Chicago Alderman Dick Mell to describe his now infamous son-in-law, ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, as someone who would “throw anyone under the bus” who got in the way of his ambitions.

  • I didn’t think the remark about throwing unborn children “under the bus” was meant as a joke at all, but rather as a metaphor for casting aside someone or something that is no longer useful to one’s cause. In that context, it would be entirely appropriate to say that Catholics who cast aside concern for life issues in their eagerness to elect Obama did indeed throw unborn children “under the campaign bus” in a figurative sense.

    It was not a joke in the sense of seeking to garner laughs. But Donald proves through his use of such language that he has absolutely no respect for the lives he claims to want to save. He’s only interested in voting the right way to preserve his moral “purity” while he kisses his grandkids and feels good about himself.

    Of course, the men he voted for have been directly responsible for the deliberate killing of human beings, but he could care less because they were (mostly) not pure little white american babies.

    The laugh is on him.

  • And once again Michael tries to depict opposition to abortion as somehow inspired by racism. What a hackish and unCatholic liar.

  • And once again Michael tries to depict opposition to abortion as somehow inspired by racism.

    Not at all, pal! Because I too am opposed to abortion! It is Donald’s disregard for human beings who are nto american and not babies that seems to be inspired by racism. In fact, one could say that Donald has “thrown Iraqis under the bus” because he did not oppose the Iraq War, right?

  • Above, the “nto” means “not,” ok?

  • Well then, Michael, if you ever use metaphors such as “walk through a minefield,” “drop the bomb,” “take no prisoners,” “go nuclear,” or “declare war on (fill in the blank)”, should we regard that as proof that you have no respect for the lives of civilians or soldiers killed in war and that your anti-war stances are therefore totally hypocritical?

  • Elaine – Donald’s views on respect for human life are inconsistent. And he’s proud of it. If I used those phrases in the way that Donald does, and if I demonstrated some inconsistency in who I regard worthy of respect when it comes to human life, sure, go to town and call me “hypocritical.” Have fun!

  • Joe,

    Yes, to be honest I think the topic has been discussed to much. Notre Dame University was wrong, it’s that simple. And I think little is gained from repeating the point and getting worked up. (Though at the same time, though I dislike the protest mentality, I have to admit that there are some good things that have come of protests. Civil rights comes to mind. And I fear that I am probably very much indicted by Martin Luther King’s discussion of what “moderate” civil rights supporters were like in the 60s.)

    Michael,

    I see no evidence that Donald lacks regard for lives which are not American and/or not babies. Can it.

    All,

    I have the feeling that things are going down hill on this thread. And so if anyone says anything rude before I complete my martini (which will take me roughly ten minutes) I will delete his or her comment[s].

  • I see no evidence that Donald lacks regard for lives which are not American and/or not babies. Can it.

    Could it be that you have similar views and this prevents you from having any sort of critical distance from Donald’s views? Just a question. Not trying to be rude. Enjoy your drink.

  • No, I think it’s that Donald and I both have a lot of regard for lives which are not American and/or not babies, but that you and we have very different ideas of what is actually conducive to helping others. And I think we’d all be a lot better off if we all kept that in mind before lobbing accusations.

    Speaking of helping others, try 1.5oz Plymouth Gin, 0.5oz Noilly Prat dry vermouth and a dash or orange bitters with two olives.

    Mmmmmm.

  • Even if you think that support for the Iraq war was racist (not at all proven), it’s being a bully to conflate the issues by accusing someone of opposing abortion only for “pure little white American babies.” That is, it is a complete lie to suggest that anyone around here is opposed to abortion only or primarily as to white babies . . . folks oppose abortion all around.

  • Darwin – I’m having a St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, straight from Montreal.

    …you and we have very different ideas of what is actually conducive to helping others.

    Stress on the word “very” of course. You and S.B. and Donald are open to killing people as a way of “helping” them. I am not.

  • It may be a bit of a segue but Obama also threw his primary opponent for senate, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and his aged white grandmother under the bus. So the unborn CHILDREN are in good company when it comes to this guy’s political agenda.

  • You and S.B. and Donald are open to killing people as a way of “helping” them. I am not.

    It is at the door, Rabadash. It is lifting the latch…

  • Catholic Anarchist, as I have observed before, it is going to be a very long four years for you. Better attempt to sharpen up on those rationalizations of your support for the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history. You are going to need them.

  • Michael,

    The charge of racism directed toward anyone who is anti-abortion is horribly inconsistent given that in this country a disproportionate number of minority child are the victims of abortion. Planned Parenthood, darling “health care provider” of the left intentionally sets up facilities in minority areas. American pro-lifers are as much against our government facilitating abortion overseas as well and have indeed always made a stink about that, often citing how Obama would rescind the Mexico City policy among other actions that would certainly help destroy children of color.

    On the other hand, a charge of racism could be plausible against supporters of abortion and those who pay lip service to immorality of it but don’t really act on it or who are critical of those who do.

    Personally I think it is erroneous (and even unfair) to consider someone’s support of a given war to mean that they are indifferent to the suffering and/or deaths of others. However, while it’s noble that you do care about the innocent Iraqi’s caught in the cross-fire, perhaps you’d feel a little stronger in your opposition to abortion if you considered unborn babies just as worthy of life as Iraqi adults. When you do, maybe you’ll understand why many of us come to a different conclusion about the gravity of the problems, what can be done about them, as well as the lasting effects of each.

  • You and S.B. and Donald are open to killing people as a way of “helping” them. I am not.

    As always, the preening self-righteousness combined with the gross mischaracterization of other people’s views.

    News flash: Killing the Nazis (for example) wasn’t helping the Nazis. But it was helping the rest of Europe, not to mention Jewish people.

  • However, while it’s noble that you do care about the innocent Iraqi’s caught in the cross-fire, perhaps you’d feel a little stronger in your opposition to abortion if you considered unborn babies just as worthy of life as Iraqi adults.

    You have no reason to think that I do not consider the unborn just as worthy as life as Iraqi adults. I oppose both abortion and war, unlike your buddies here at Catholic America.

  • You give every reason to think that you could give a flying leap for the unborn the way you fawn and protect your hero President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in the History of the United States.

  • You have no reason to think that I do not consider the unborn just as worthy as life as Iraqi adults. I oppose both abortion and war, unlike your buddies here at Catholic America.

    Actually, I have no reason to think that you do consider the unborn as worthy of life as others. All I have to go on are the words you utter online that I read. From those very words I don’t see much in the way of advocacy for the unborn, but I do see much from you intended to draw attention away from the abortion issue, coupled with a hostility and apparent hatred of those who do consider a Christian duty to defend the innocent. If you think others are lacking in their commitment you can certainly try to lead them to a more complete understanding, but you do no such thing. You condemn and insult those who should be your natural allies (if you indeed consider abortion an abomination). Frankly, your rhetoric tends to trivialize the cause of the unborn. In spite of your proclamations of “I’m against abortion too”, your remarks like “baby worshiping weirdos” speaks volumes.

  • As a couple people have pointed out, waging a war does not mean that one does not care about or value the lives of the citizens of the country one is fighting against or in.

    Otherwise, for instance, we’d have to assume that John Paul II didn’t care about Serbians because he advocated using military force against them to stop the strife in Kosovo.

    However, on both sides, I don’t think anyone will gain anything by discussing who does or does not care about the unborn, Iraqis, etc. So I’m going to ask that we drop the “you don’t care” “no, I care. It’s you who don’t care” line or argument. And if we don’t, I’ll close the thread.

  • It’s very perplexing that a few of the VN bloggers take that approach. If they deign to discuss abortion at all, 90% of the time it’s to ridicule and sneer at other pro-lifers for their political strategies, to urge people not to let anti-abortion sentiment sway their voting, to dismiss Obama’s pro-choice moves as “trivial,” to claim that pro-lifers are hypocrites, to mock Republican judicial nominees (but NEVER their Democratic inquisitors) for saying nice but meaningless things about Roe.

    But they get all sniffy if anyone wonders whether they’re really committed to being against abortion, given that opposing people who oppose abortion seems to be so much a higher priority. Then, and ONLY then, will they say, “Of course I’m against abortion.” Gee, thanks. Now how about writing that with conviction? How about focusing your voluminous contempt, for once, on pro-choicers rather than on other pro-lifers?

  • …but I do see much from you intended to draw attention away from the abortion issue

    Not at all. My intention most of the time is precisely to connect the issue of war with the issue of abortion. Their sinfulness flows from the same sacrificial logic.

    As for my use of the term “baby worship,” it is not mean to suggest that babies should not be valued and protected as any other human being. They absolutely should, by individuals and by the law. It is meant, rather, as a way to criticize the real god of many right wing Catholics. It is possible to care virtually only for unborn babies and to ignore the rest of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. So many Catholics are merely baby worshipers.

    Tito – Your comment is not worth a response.

    If they deign to discuss abortion at all, 90% of the time it’s to ridicule and sneer at other pro-lifers for their political strategies…

    I don’t ridicule the strategies of pro-lifers. I am a pro-lifer. But I not only sneer but oppose the “political strategies” of some pro-lifers: those who believe voting for republicans is the the way to enact pro-life politics. There is nothing pro-life about republican politics.

    …to urge people not to let anti-abortion sentiment sway their voting…

    “Sway” is an interesting word. I would urge people to vote pro-life, period. But the Catholic sense of the word pro-life is not limited to abortion. The Catholic anti-abortion position should absolutely play a role in the decision of who to vote for. A candidate’s view on abortion is important but not the only consideration.

    …to dismiss Obama’s pro-choice moves as “trivial”…

    Who is saying that Obama’s pro-life moves are “trivial”? I’m certainly not.

    …to claim that pro-lifers are hypocrites…

    I don’t claim pro-life people are hypocrites. A lot of them certainly are. Thankfully, there are many pro-lifers who are consistent and who do not isolate abortion as if it were the only pro-life issue. Why would I claim that pro-lifers are “hypocrites” if I am a pro-lifer?

    …to mock Republican judicial nominees (but NEVER their Democratic inquisitors) for saying nice but meaningless things about Roe.

    I have no party loyalty. I will “mock” any politician who claims to be pro-life and whose concrete political acts reveal otherwise. I oppose pro-choice policies coming from either party.

  • The real sticking point is in my last question:

    How about focusing your voluminous contempt, for once, on pro-choicers rather than on other pro-lifers?

    Can’t do that, of course, as it would jeopardize one’s reputation among other leftists. If you say anything about pro-choicers, it had better be couched amidst much more vehement criticism distancing yourself from all the “other” pro-lifers.

  • “How about focusing your voluminous contempt, for once, on pro-choicers rather than on other pro-lifers?”

    Because you have to recognize that this is a movement dispute!

    Do you guys realize how much time people on the left spend arguing with one another? I was there, I know – if any of you think there is some sort of united coalition over there, you’re completely wrong. Leftists fight amongst each other more often than the lesser chimps struggle with alpha male. There is an endless battle, and an endless purge, for ideological purity. This doesn’t happen on the right nearly as much, for reasons I won’t get into here.

    The left-populist author Thomas Frank tells us in his book “What’s the Matter With Kansas” that the only place he has ever seen the same amount of detailed, intellectual in-fighting is the history of the Catholic Church. That may not be exactly what is happening here, but then, it may be.

    To clarify, I actually DO write about abortion. But I don’t even bother with the pro-choice movement, and I suspect others don’t as well, because it is simply a given that they are wrong about everything. What reinvent the wheel by pointing it all out once again? We focus on our pro-life brothers who we believe are in tactical error because we remember what Christ said, and what he didn’t say regarding doctors and health: the sick are in need of a doctor, not the healthy, and here I’ll add, not the dead (i.e. choicers).

    We spend our time on Catholic forums, around people who are mostly pro-life – does it do any good to talk about choicers as if they’re here, as if they’re reading and they care? That’s just howling at the wind.

    All of that said, I think Mr. Iafrate is going out of his way to be disliked around here, so I’m not endorsing anything he’s said. Looks like there is already a history of conflict between him and others here – that this is more personal than anything.

    And, if anyone cares, I supported Mike Huckabee until he was out of the running.

  • We spend our time on Catholic forums, around people who are mostly pro-life – does it do any good to talk about choicers as if they’re here, as if they’re reading and they care? That’s just howling at the wind.

    There are plenty of pro-choice people who read Vox Nova, including one of the bloggers. Michael could easily write something about them that wasn’t just an offhand aside hidden amidst thousands of words aimed at other pro-lifers.

  • “There are plenty of pro-choice people who read Vox Nova, including one of the bloggers.”

    Who would that be?

  • Gerald Campbell.

  • There are plenty of pro-choice people who read Vox Nova, including one of the bloggers. Michael could easily write something about them that wasn’t just an offhand aside hidden amidst thousands of words aimed at other pro-lifers.

    You and I have a different understanding of Gerald’s position, obviously. Your simple-minded witch hunt mentality is discernible in a variety of ways, most especially perhaps with the way you engage Gerald on abortion.

  • But he IS pro-choice — there is no other semantically accurate way to describe someone who expressly says, time and time again, that he does NOT want the law to restrict abortion. Why would you dissemble on his behalf?

  • When in doubt, go to the horse’s mouth:

    Gerald Campbell-Vox Nova-January 28, 2008

    “MZ Forrest,

    “My problem with the Democratic candidates is that they seem to embrace abortion as a positive good.”

    If your statement were true, your point would be compelling. But, it’s not that simple.

    One cannot conflate pro-choice and pro-abortion. They are not the same. Most who are pro-choice are not pro-abortion. Some are; most aren’t.

    The pro-choice concern is primarily with the intrusion of the Federal government into the lives of individuals. It’s about personal freedom. This is a reasonable concern.

    When it comes to the legal route, I agree with you. The legal course has no future.

    Even if decisions are eventually returned to the states, it still becomes a matter of choice, doesn’t it. But in such case, the choice is abstract and distant from the person. Indeed, the choice of state legislatures will be based on numbers. At least when the women herself decides, a personal and existential dimension preserved. Moral persuasion then becomes an option.

    The best approach is to change “hearts and minds.” It’s a difficult journey. But it is a way that reaches into the very fabric of the person. It touches the wellsprings of human behavior.”

    http://vox-nova.com/2008/01/28/for-whom-i-shall-not-vote/

    If Campbell isn’t a pro-abort, no one is a pro-abort.

  • Here’s a recent comment wherein Gerald Campbell expressly said that he doesn’t support additional legal restrictions on abortion.

    Joe — this is yet another reason to question the commitment of Michael (and a few of his co-bloggers) to the pro-life cause. I.e., they’ll never question a co-blogger who has taken the pro-choice position repeatedly (and has even suggested that having the government pay for abortion is a matter of “equity”). Quite the contrary: they act like it’s a “witch hunt” just to quote the guy.

  • His answer is not, “No,” but “not within the specific context.” His answer is the same as Kyle who suggested that legislation without consensus does no good. It’s a question of strategy to reach the goal, not the goal.

  • Baloney! Campbell’s a total pro-abort as his comment about personal freedom and the federal government intuding into our private life indicates. Typical pro-abort talking points. As for waiting for a consensus, under that logic blacks would still be treated like fifth class citizens. At least Campbell is logical. As a pro-abort he of course had no qualms about voting the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history. To attempt to claim that he is not a pro-abort, however, is simply risible.

  • More dissembling . . . “not within the specific context” simply means “pro-choice for the foreseeable future.”

  • This idea that Catholics can opt out of the struggle to make abortion illegal is contradicted by this provision in the catechism:

    “2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

    “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

    “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

  • Well,

    It seem to me that Mr. Campbell does make a number of valid points – however, none of them make the pro-choice position logically necessary. To point to the limitations of the political approach is one thing, to deny them altogether is another.

    For instance, there is simply no way to deny that Roe will remain in force for at least the next 4-8 years. Given that reality, it would be a tactical error to focus time and resources on a political fight that cannot be won. No general would fight a battle on principle alone. To choose an imprudent course of action is to put its success in jeopardy, which is also immoral (and that isn’t what I do on immigration, contrary to what some people may think).

    What the pro-life movement has often done, at least as I have seen it in action, is also fight for the lesser victories that have a long-term cumulative effect. Educational campaigns go a long way towards influencing not only voters but lawmakers themselves. Show a video of an abortion to a panel of state legislatures, and they become more sympathetic.

    I also have to agree that “pro-choice” is not always a sinister cover for “pro-abortion”. Some people genuinely believe that legal abortion is the lesser of two or more alternative evils; others believe it is a positive good. And that difference usually manifests itself in policy – the difference between those who are willing to restrict, if not outlaw abortion, and those who struggle against all restrictions. The enemy camp, in other words, is rife with exploitable dissent.

    The problem on the pro-life side is that it has lately been using the language of slavery and the Holocaust to compare abortion to – PETA does the same thing with respect to animal rights. In both cases it backfires, because like it or not, no one is forced by the state to get an abortion, and it is not a practice that is confined to less than 10% of the population. It’s something 1/3 of women will go through in their lifetime, and that also means 1/3 of men will be complicit. There’s no need to compare abortion to these things to demonstrate its evil. Evil is evil.

    That’s a lot of people and a lot of choices. And that’s really what we’re up against. So to me, real change begins at the level of community, and culture therein – the services and alternatives we can provide to women in need, sidewalk counseling, crisis pregnancy centers, educational campaigns, public prayer, adoption, etc.

  • Donald’s speaking to hear himself talk, as he did in the “Worthless Political Hack” piece…

    Yawn.

  • See Joe’s newest post. In one post, he’s already said more words in defense of the pro-life cause, and critiquing pro-choice logic, than Michael has managed in years of blogging.

  • Donald,

    Is there a reason you permit the humorless dissident Michael Iafrate to post here? He adds nothing to the conversation and insults you and your guests. In all his interminably verbose posts, I can’t recall a single point worth retaining.

  • Joe,

    It’s hard to pin down, because Gerald is very careful about how he says things on controversial topics, but I have the very strong impression from some of his more controversial comments on the topic that he thinks not merely that it’s not possible to substantially restrict abortion through legal means right now (which because of Roe and the political status quo is indeed very hard) but that it’s actively not a good idea to restrict abortion period. He argues that it is a moral decision which, in a theologically diverse society such as ours, should be left up to individuals.

    In this regard, I think he is very, very wrong, and quite arguably outside the bounds of where a Catholic ought to tread. If we think that positive law should reflect moral law at all, then we should support restricting abortion — even though right now we know that we can achieve only small and incremental steps.

    Mark,

    On the contrary, Donald is speaking in order to voice the truth, which is always a worthy effort — though occasionally one with a sort of tragic futility.

    Rich,

    We tend to each make the rules on our own posts, and I generally take a pretty libertarian approach to the whole thing. However, I think we’ve indeed reached the point of total futility on this thread with him. I’m going to go ahead and close comments on the thread, which among other things give me the benefit of the last word. ;-)

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