Archbishop Chaput Weighs In Again

Friday, October 17, AD 2008

Tonight Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput gave an address at a dinner for the national Catholic women’s group ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women), in which he critiqued the arguments of Prof. Doug Kmiec in favor of voting for Senator Obama, despite his stance on abortion. A condensed and adapted version of the address can be found online here at the Witherspoon Institute’s website (the same place one can find the essay by Prof. Robert George on Obama’s abortion extremism which other contributors have previously mentioned).

14 Responses to Archbishop Chaput Weighs In Again

  • I don’t think Kmiec is pro-life, certainly not anymore. Anyone who could vote for Obama obviously doesn’t care a fig for stopping abortion.

  • I agree that it stretches charity to the point of dishonesty to say that Kmiec, Cafardi, and their ilk are voting for Obama in spite of his position on abortion. Their circumlocutions around the issue are indicative of, at best, a near-complete disinterest in the issue of abortion, as well as a total disregard for the teaching of the universal church and the American bishops (except insofar as they can take a quote out of context to support their point) on the question.

    This might actually be the case, but the observed facts are much better explained by positing the theory that Kmiec, Cafardi and the rest are simply pro-abortion. Occam’s Razor, and all that, you know.

    That Kmiec previously supported Romney for President, to my mind, merely serves now to reinforce my earlier mistrust of Romney’s alleged conversion to the pro-life side.

  • Donald & Paul, I see your point, but at this point, I still take Kmiec at their word that they are pro-life.

  • I don’t take Kmiec at his word. I think he’s just a grubby sellout. Or campaigning for a Deputy Attorney General job. Somewhat contagious this time of year. Like our PA Governor Fast Ed Rendell begging pleading imploring the state legislature to agree to a universal health care plan in the Commonwealth. Seemed to me a pursuit of HHS Secretary in the Obama Administration. The legislators in their wisdom broke camp and went home with the matter left on their desks. Oh dear. Eddie may have to complete the full final two years as governor. Such a burden to maintain one’s responsibilitiesw.

  • It vexes me. I am terribly vexed.

    A Gladiator reference?

  • 🙂 You got it, Kyle. No connection with the post… just felt like using the line to describe my puzzlement.

  • “A Gladiator reference?”

    And I didn’t get it! My mind is in neutral today.

  • I agree with Chris that while one may disagree with Obama supporters’ arguments in favor of Obama, one should not therefore dismiss their pro-life convictions. First, to do so is illogical. The conclusion that Obama Supporter X isn’t pro-life does not follow logically from the premise that he supports Obama. For example, having bad arguments or misapplying principles doesn’t necessitate having no principles. Second, I think we should strive to understand others as they understand themselves. That’s a prerequisite for honest dialogue and debate. Assuming the worst motives for people with whom one disagrees hinders the goal of persuading them.

  • I respectfully disagree with both you and Chris, Kyle. It is a trite saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”, but also a true one. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Someone who voted for a pro-slavery candidate in the 1850s forfeited the right to be called an opponent of slavery. Someone who voted for Hitler in the 1920s in Weimar Germany forfeited the right to be considered to be a foe of anti-semitism. Someone who voted for McGovern in 72 could not be considered to be a hawk on Vietnam. To talk in one manner and then to act in another tells us that the talk is only talk.

  • Donald, I plan to vote for McCain. Will I thereby lose the right to be considered a foe of ESCR?

  • I agree with Chris.

    Neither political party truly encompasses all the “right” positions. Now someone may be sincerely pro-life and decide to vote for a pro-choice candidate for what they believe to be “proportionate reasons.” We certaily (and I think we all do) believe they’re profoundly mistaken, but we cannot objectively judge the convictions in their heart solely based on their actions. Though we can say that their attempts to paint Obama as a more pro-life candidate that Catholics ought to be supporting is intellectual suicide.

  • Donald, to be clear, my previous comment wasn’t meant as a “gotcha”… as is obvious, I don’t buy the logic which would lead a pro-lifer to vote for Obama, but — as my comment indicates, and as catholicdemocrat notes — I think it’s an error to conclude that someone who votes for Obama is therefore actually in support of abortion rights. Archbishop Chaput notes that it is technically possible to vote for a pro-abortion rights candidate as a pro-lifer in good conscience, although perhaps with erroneous reasoning.

  • I don’t mind “gotcha” resonses Chris, after all I am an attorney! “Gotcha” questions and “gotcha” responses are the common coin of my profession. I do not view yours as a “gotcha” response. We simply disagree.

    I vote for McCain not because he is perfect on pro-life issues. I too deplore his stance on ESR, for instance. I vote for him because he is infinitely better than Obama on abortion and euthanasia. I am a pro-lifer as you are. For pro-lifers abortion should be a make or break issue when it comes to voting. “Pro-lifers” of the Kmiec stamp, in spite of all their talk about the evil of abortion, cast their votes for a man who will do his best to ensure that the abortion on demand regime of Roe is strengthened and made permanent. That is why I view the protestations of such people that they remain pro-life with complete disbelief.

  • Pingback: To The “Traitor,” Go The Spoils? Kmiec & The Ambassadorship « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective

Catacombs or New Jerusalem?

Friday, October 17, AD 2008

There are two poles, I think, to Christian attitudes towards the state. 

At the one pole is a catacomb mentality.  Here Christians think of the state as an unrelievedly secular force, and they seek to render what they must unto Caesar while keeping themselves aloof from its corrupting influence. 

At the other pole is what might be termed the New Jerusalem mentality, in which the Christian sees the state as a means to achieve a more just and loving society which will reinforce virtue.

3 Responses to Catacombs or New Jerusalem?

  • I think the categories you construct here are very helpful for Catholics thinking about politics. It helps to organize our thoughts and to see that the political good is somewhere between these two extremes.

    The New Jerusalem mentality makes me think of Plato’s perfectly just regime in the Republic. In seeing the absurdity of the requirements of perfect justice, Plato helps us to realize that perfect justice is not possible in this world, and so what we should work for is much more limited. Justice in the polis first requires justice in the soul, and this is a lifelong battle every individual fights.

    I think one of the other flaws with the Catacomb approach is that it is not right for everyone. As Catholics, we cannot isolate ourselves from the world. There will be some of us who will be politically engaged, others not. We must be “for the world but not of the world”, as someone maybe said somewhere. In short: we can’t all be hermits, but hermits are important too.

  • This is well put, and captures something I have been thinking but haven’t been to express as well as you have had. The New Jerusalem approach seems to me to be the theological equivalent to the secular quest for perfection. It disregards human nature and really, in a sense, deifies man.

    I guess the follow-up that we should all pursue is how to find a happy medium between these two attitudes. Or is there a happy medium? Is the correct approach something different altogether?

  • Yeah, I really needed to have some coffee today. That’s what I get for eating meat on a Friday instead. Anyway, that first sentence was butchered, but hopefully you caught my drift.

    Thankfully the weekend begins in about ten minutes.

The Lighter Side

Friday, October 17, AD 2008

I have always admired Al Smith, the Democrat who was the first Catholic to run for President on a major party ticket in 1928.  Each year the Al Smith dinner is held in New York to raise funds for Catholic Charities.  It is traditional each Presidential election year for the major party candidates to appear and give humorous speeches.  Senators McCain and Obama observed the tradition last night and I thought both their speeches were well done.

6 Responses to The Lighter Side

13 Responses to Culture of Life

  • Thanks for a good post on Palin. For what it’s worth, I seem to have been banned by Henry over at Vox Nova, because I dared to say that he had no evidence for his claims that Alaskans “realize they had been had with [Palin]; when looking for a way out of corruption, they got someone WORSE.” Oh well, it’s all for the best; commenting there is like trying to wrestle with a pig.

  • You are more than welcome to comment here SB.

  • Don Mac- ad multos annos to you and your homies. When I sniffed out at Dale’s blog that you were part of this dance party, I rejoiced. Your wisdom and uncompromising nature on All Matters Life-Oriented have always been of great admiration by me. May you and the boys continue to cry aloud and spare not. 48.5 million lost souls are counting on us.

  • High words of praise Gerard for which I thank you. I have always stood in awe of your skill in whipping mere words into elegant creatures of your will in comboxes! We will win the struggle for the unborn no matter how long the road or how uphill the fight.

  • Dear Donald,

    Please don’t t think ill of me for saying this, but Sarah hasn’t always been a friend to the “special needs” community.

    Shortly after she took office, she slashed the SN budget by 60%.

    Perhaps, blessing her with a special needs child of her own was God’s way of making her see that our children really do matter.

    Based on her change of heart, I’d say that His plan is working beautifully.

    Sincerely,

    Adonya Wong

    Author/Autism Warrior
    “In My Mind: The World through the Eyes of Autism” (Tate Publishing, 2008)

  • Actually Ms. Wong she didn’t. Here is the truth of the matter:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/09/newest_palin_smear_she_cut_spe.asp

  • Humorous post.

    My wife and I just had a kid yesterday under the Canadian system. Feel free to email me for details on what a “culture of life” really looks like. I’m willing to share.

  • Congrats on the new birth, Michael! Meant to say something at VN, but this works, too.

  • Congratulations on the child Catholic Anarchist! Kids, in my humble opinion, really do put so much zest in life! I know mine do, and I can say that even after my daughter, and youngest, tied with me in a “bowling for babies” event yesterday to raise funds for the crisis pregnancy center in my county. I figure that next year when she is 14 she will complete my humiliation on the bowling lanes!

  • What kind of sick mind dismisses this post as “humorous”?

  • Come on SB, give the Catholic Anarchist some slack. Anyone who can attempt to mix Catholicism and Anarchism with a straight face obviously is engaged in some sort of comedy enterprise that we in this frame of reality find difficult to comprehend.

  • What kind of sick mind dismisses this post as “humorous”?

    The humorous part is the insinuation that Sarah Palin is pro-life.

  • To insinuate that Palin is pro-life is not inherently any more humorous than insinuating that you are pro-life, Michael.

    You are in no lesser need (indeed, given the pride your studies give you — perhaps somewhat more) than far right wing pro-lifers of recalling that the definition of pro-life is not “agrees with me on every conceivable issue”.

Federalist vs. Pro-Life

Thursday, October 16, AD 2008

The quixotically named Catholic blogger Morning’s Minion has a post this morning in which he (yet again) tries to make the case that the pro-life issue is basically a wash between Senators Obama and McCain. Now, I know that many of our readers already agree that MM’s conclusion is wrong, and deeply wrong, but I want to focus on why this particular argument is wrong, because I think it’s an important question for Catholics living in our republic. So I’d like to ask that people avoid basic “I don’t see how any good Catholic could vote for Obama” comments in favor of discussing whether federalism can be a pro-life position, or is simply a passing of the buck.

MM says:

Basically, neither candidate can be called “pro-life”….
OK, abortion. The starkest difference here is not related to the need to grant legal protection to the unborn child. No, the candidates instead indulged in a quaint little constitutional debate. Obama: “the constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum”. McCain: “I think decisions should rest in the hands of the states. I’m a federalist”. Sorry, but neither position qualifies as pro-life. It is a debate about which level of government has the right to strip legal protection from the unborn child…

17 Responses to Federalist vs. Pro-Life

  • He’s also quite stupid, given that he’s had it explained to him on more than one occasion that American pro-lifers see the overturning of Roe not as the end game, but as the first and necessary step — sine qua non of making any further progress.

  • The argument here might have more merit if McCain opposed making abortion illegal at the state level. He does not. It’s not even the case that he’s indifferent on the matter. When South Dakota had a referendum on whether to ban abortion a couple of years ago, McCain supported the ban, and he’s on record as saying that states should ban abortion once the issue was back in their hands (some states, of course, wouldn’t have to ban abortion if Roe were overturned, as their anti-abortion statutes are still on the books).

  • Nah, I shouldn’t say that . . . MM isn’t stupid. He seems to be perfectly intelligent. It’s just that everything he says about politics is driven by one overriding goal: to defend Democrats. Thus, on the abortion issue, he’s very good at making the case that Democrats are better than they are and that Republicans are worse than they are. He can then pretend that both parties are roughly equivalent.

  • MM is highly intelligent in my opinion judging from his postings. However his attempt to equate McCain’s return it to the states policy on abortion with Obama’s abortion now, abortion forever enshrining of Roe in federal statutory law per the Freedom of Choice Act is ridiculous. Overturning Roe will simply do exactly what McCain wishes to accomplish: leave the abortion issue up to the people of each state through their elected representatives. If MM wishes to push for a federal Human Life Amendment to the Constitution I will give him every assistance that I can, but judging from his support of Senator Obama, the most ardent pro-abortionist to ever run on a major party ticket for the White House, I doubt if pushing for such an amendment is high on MM’s list of priorities.

  • S.B.,

    Your comments are greatly appreciated, though please refrain from such language. We want to be an open forum for constructive dialogue.

    I agree with what your comments say, but I disagree with the tone.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • I’m not really thrilled by the appeal to federalism as a cornerstone the pro-life movement, but I understand it as a strategic political choice. Similarly, I’m not really thrilled by the fact that much of the dissenting opinion on abortion jurisprudence from the SCOTUS is based on strict constructionist objections to the “right of privacy” rather than an appeal to natural law. I guess we have to make do with what we have for now, and try to make the case that there is something universal at stake here.

  • Great rejoinder. I especially like this:

    “Now some Catholics (and perhaps MM falls in this category) are not at root comfortable with the moral implications of a democratic form of government. “Error has no rights” as the old saying goes — and perhaps MM feels it is a grave moral compromise to allow abortion laws to be settled on a democratic basis. Perhaps he would prefer to imagine a world in which a court or autocrat could simply impose a complete abortion ban without all this messing about with debate and voting and compromise.”

    I have perceived a very authoritarian streak in many of the arguments offered at Vox Nova. What I have yet to see is any of them consider the historical and social fact of pluralism in their politics. This, I think, is a glaring omission.

  • J. Christian & Zach,

    It does strike me that one is legitimate in being a bit uneasy about federalism and liberal democracy when applied to moral issues. There’s a dangerous modern tendency to equate majority consensus with moral rightness: “The majority wants this, therefore it must be the right thing to do.” Clearly, this is not the case. The majority can very well be wrong, and one can point to tragic examples of this going right back to Athens.

    However, I think that we as Catholics should (especially in the modern world) recognize that liberal democracy can be as much a protection from immoral rule as a tool for it.

    One can make arguments back and forth as to whether one should impose good laws without the consent of the ruled if one had the ability to do so — but the fact we have to face in the modern world is that most people do not agree with the Church as to what is “good” and so we can either appeal to a fantasy oligarchy in which all the right laws would be enacted by fiat, or we may throw ourselves behind liberal democracy as the best way of at least getting the government most of them ask for, if not actually the one they ought to have.

  • Darwin: I will respond I get a bit of time. But on that last point, democracy is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

  • “Mornining’s Minion” is the first reference to the falcon in Gerald Manley Hopkins’ classic poem, ‘The Windhover.’

  • MM,

    I do agree with you that democracy is a means, not an end unto itself. (In fact, I think that’s pretty much what I said in my comment directly above yours.) However, it seems to me that it is the only realistically available means in this case. And since in any readily imaginable modern US those “in charge” are unlikely to fully share our worldview, we would be wise to remain strict adherants to liberal democratic principles (rather than oligarchic ones) so that our moral, cultural and civic views can have _some_ voice at the table, instead of none.

    That said, clearly I would not be advocating federalism on the issue if there had been a Supreme Court decision ruling that abortion was invariably illegal — just as I don’t advocate an overturn of Brown vs. Board of Education even though it seems to me that was another example of judicial isogesis in place of exegesis.

  • Darwin,

    I would take your starting point about the limits of constitutional democracy, and push it in another direction. It is my firm belief that if Roe is overturned using current tactics (and it could easily be), the states will codify the same rights– at least the largest, most populous states, that account for the vast majority of abortion. Sure, some states will not and some that do will introduce European-style restrictions. This is certainly better than the current condition. And yet it is a most imperfect outcome. But it is by far the best that can be done under the current strategy, and it will come with great cost (those “pro-life” justices have a habit of ruling rather poorly on other areas).

    I would argue that Catholics must address the culture, by affirming the consistent ethic of life. I know from personal experience that the advocates of “abortion rights” detest those who oppose abortion from the narrow Republican angle (which they deem hypocritical), and yet remain more open to the consistent ethic of life argument, which frames the abortion issue not as part of the useless “culture war” but as part of a “culture of life”, based on the ultimate dignity of the human person. Christians can persuade only by example. I find the current strategy completely self-defeating, which is waht frustrates me. Look, support for the death penalty has gone down in recent years. Part of it is lower crime, but part of it is the influence of Pope John Paul and the US Catholics that followed his lead. Unlike gay marriage, which I really think is a lost cause, the younger generation remains quite squemish about abortion. They can be influenced. They will not the influenced by the outmoded take-no-prisoners culture-war rhetoric.

  • FOCA goes well beyond “codifying Roe” — as bad as that would be, FOCA is MUCH worse. The USCCB has an action page about in on their site: usccb.org/prolife/issues/FOCA/

    McCain wants to overturn Roe and make it possible to end abortion state by state.

    Obama wants to pass FOCA and make it impossible to end abortion. He wants abortion to become a taxpayer-funded unlimited “right”.

    Those don’t sound at all the same to me.

    On what exactly have those pro-life justices ruled badly? Are they prudential issues or intrinsic evils?

  • In looking at any particular issue, there is the pragmatic view and the theoretical view. (I’m very well acquainted with these, because as a mathematician and theoretical computer scientist, I’m very much on the theoretical, and as an engineer, my wife is very pragmatic.)

    We have, as Catholics, the following:I cannot support any candidate that is not pro-life because the life issue is fundamentally the most important. Neither viable candidate is 100% pro-life. Therefore, I have a dilemma. Who should I vote for?

    There are two options, really: either cast a vote for a non-viable candidate (or throw it away completely), or pick the lesser of the two evils.

    The theorist affirms that anything less than 100% pro-life is not really pro-life. If you can make excuses in some places (such as embryonic stem cell research), you’ve missed the point, and we can’t trust you on any other issue. To pick the lesser of the two evils then is to discard the life issue altogether and look at other hot topics.

    The pragmatist, hopefully, also recognizes that anything less than 100% pro-life is leaving a candidate wide open to error, but he says that there is a gradation. Someone who only supports ESCR is a lesser evil than someone who supports ESCR and abortion. Thus it makes sense to keep the life issue number one, especially when there are wide differences of error between the candidates.

    The thing to note is that either viewpoint–the theorist or the pragmatist–runs the risk of scandal. The theorist risks scandal because by calling a tie on the life issue and looking at others, he gives the impression that the life issues are not as important. The pragmatist runs the risk of scandal because he gives the impression of hypocrisy by claim that life is the most important issue and then not voting for a candidate that is 100% pro-life.

    In truth, I start to feel that Mark Shea is right in voting third party. Does the need to keep Obama out of office outweigh the need to have a clear, consistent message that life is the most important issue there is? (Of course, I say this with the sinking feeling that Obama’s election is pretty much inevitable. Ask me if I still say this if Obama faces a crushing October surprise…)

  • MM,

    Thank you for the courteous and substantive response.

    There are, however, several areas in which I think it’s important to highlight some disagreement with what you say.

    You observe that if Roe is overturned in the near future, that many states would move to allow abortion to a great extent, and while you say this would be better than the status quo, you say it would be an imperfect outcome. However, I’m unclear why we must avoid this “imperfect outcome” in the short term by preserving the far more imperfect status quo. That the federalist solution would be less that perfect is something I would not question — but it would allow our republic to begin sorting the issue out and experiencing what different restrictions are like in different parts of the country. I think that for the first few months people would be very, very unhappy about this in the pro-choice camp, and even in the “middle” but as time passed we would be able to move into a phase where people argued nearly sanely in the public square about these issues.

    You say that pro-life constructionalist justices tend to rule poorly in other areas — I’m certainly aware this is your opinion, since you are very progressive in your politics and strict constructionalists are unlikely to legislate progressively from the bench. There are, of course, a number of very disturbing trends among the liberal justices ranging from their rulings on eminant domain to “separation” of church and state to restrictions on the free speech to moral issues like gay marriage and euthenasia. While there are areas I might quibble with the results of a strict constructionalist approach to the constitution, the great advantage is that such justices rule on what the constition _says_ not what they wish it said. And so, if we wish our laws to be different, we can change them. According to the more extreme “living constitution” theories, it really doesn’t matter _what_ our laws say, because the justices will rule on what they _ought_ to say instead.

    Now I absolutely agree with you that the primary area in which change on abortion can and must take place is cultural — however I fail to see how this is some sort of either/or question. Shocking as it may seem to one of your persuasion, even many of us who vote conservatively have many friends who think differently and to whom we talk about these issues when possible — not to mention the quiet witness of a life lived in keeping with Catholic principles. But we can’t silo our live from our principles when it comes to the public square. To insist that the right to life _ought_ to be protected while insistantly voting for incredibly pro-abortion candidates woudl be like insisting one wanted racial justice but only voting for rabid segregationalists.

    I commend you for holding back from the excesses of the “culture war” mentality. I don’t think we need more people screaming “baby killer!!!” at their opponent any more than we need more people wearing “Abort Bush!” t-shirts. But you’ve chosen not merely to silently pull the lever for a pro-abortion extremist, but to publicly endorse him on a Catholic blog and to post constantly in his support. I think that’s highly misguided.

  • I would argue that Catholics must address the culture, by affirming the consistent ethic of life.

    This is just the usual false dichotomy. There is absolutely no reason that trying to overturn Roe is inconsistent with also working to “address the culture.” And by the same token, there is absolutely no justification for claiming that you are going to “address the culture,” and then joining sides with politicians who are dedicated to affirming the choice of abortion.

    I know from personal experience that the advocates of “abortion rights” detest those who oppose abortion from the narrow Republican angle (which they deem hypocritical), and yet remain more open to the consistent ethic of life argument, which frames the abortion issue not as part of the useless “culture war” but as part of a “culture of life”, based on the ultimate dignity of the human person.

    Pro-choicers might accept your eager political support when you announce that you are liberal on most other issues and don’t really care about the legality of abortion, but that does not mean that they have themselves become more open to opposition to abortion.

  • And again, it’s right that letting states decide is an “imperfect outcome.” But you completely fail — even after having been reminded of this fact — to recognize that overturning Roe is just a first (and necessary) step, and that by addressing the “culture” at the same time, the larger states would hopefully change over time.

    In any event, it’s a bizarre non sequitur to claim that because it would be “imperfect” to reach a situation in which some states (but not all) restricted abortion, therefore one is going to vote to preserve abortion everywhere and at all times.

The Root of All Abortion

Thursday, October 16, AD 2008

While sitting down with a group of friends for an afternoon of games, the issue of pregnancy came up. My friends, which are of a liberal bent, had the following things to say about pregnancy: “the most contracted STD”, supporting a “parasite”, like “having cancer”, and a few other clever remarks we’ve all heard hundreds of times over. When the issue of abortion came up, you can bet they were all in support of a woman’s right to “choose”.

23 Responses to The Root of All Abortion

  • Excellemt commentary.

    There’s a big difference between ‘Christian humanism ‘ and ‘secular humanism’, and that difference is really the ‘big divide’ in the abortion discuassion.

    (In Canada we’re not even allowed to discuss it!)

  • Phenomenal.

    You’ve exploded the lame duck excuses into smitherines. God bless you for it.

  • It makes me almost laugh when someone says they accidently got pregnant. I have always wanted to answer with, “did you have sex?” When you have sex (the purpose of which is both unitive and procreative – not getting into this that is a whole other issue) and do not get pregnant it is more like you accidently did not get pregnant. When you flip on a light switch you do not say I accidently turned on a light — that is the purpose of the switch.

  • Ryan, you need new friends. They say these things in front of you? Maybe you can hand out this fine essay of yours to them as a way of explanation.

  • Ryan,

    Phenomenal.

    J. Christian,

    I’ve always struggled with that once I embraced the full teachings of the Church. In my opinion, and it’s only an opinion, maybe Ryan by his faithful witness to Christ may be able to sway their opinions. Maybe even have them convert!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Tito,

    There is always the possibility that by his witness Ryan will win them over one day, and I certainly hope this is true. It would take a person made of much stouter stuff than I. To have “friends” who think of children as a disease… Well, Christ be with you, Ryan!

  • J. Christian,

    It is very difficult. Especially when comingling with my secular friends. When certain subjects come up I’m uneasy as to correct my buddies or let it slide.

    It’s never easy.

    Though in these instances one can learn humility and patience well.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • I was struggling with the Precious Blood Chaplet, in which you say 33 Our Fathers while reflecting on text from Evangelium Vitae. Sounds good, right?

    But repeating the Our Father that many times got tedious, and I wanted to pray it with my heart (I know, this shouldn’t be a struggle for someone praying the Rosary).

    I feel like this post was the answer to my unspoke prayer. At this time in history, on the cusp of an Obama presidency, we need to pray the Our Father more times than we think we ought. “Thy will be done!” must be our constant refrain as we submit to the rule of Choice, as we watch more of our tax dollars pile into the hands of abortionists, as we watch cloned embryos treated as waste products, as we watch the right to life lobby get beaten to a pulp.

    No, we will not stop our outcry. But God have mercy! Thy Kingdom come~

  • Is comment moderation in effect?

  • Sorry–wasn’t getting through for some reason. Please delete or ignore the above.

    Good post.

    For good pro-life discussion of the rape issue, see
    http://www.feministsforlife.org/Q&A/Q2.htm and the linked articles.

    For a thoughtful scientific response to the “parasitism” analogy, see
    http://www.l4l.org/library/notparas.html
    The author, a biology professor, taught courses in both embryology and parasitology. The library page of the parent site (Libertarians for Life) has links to many well-written articles:
    http://www.l4l.org/library/index.html

    I’d like to add clarification to your remarks on Church teaching. The Catechism states:

    “Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…” (#2271)

    In other words, an intentional attempt to kill or dislodge the embryo/fetus before it can reasonably be expected to survive independently violates moral law. A medical procedure necessary to save the mother’s life may be used even if fetal demise occurs as an unintended secondary effect. An example would be the removal of a fallopian tube in imminent danger of rupture from an ectopic pregnancy. (Of course, in the given example the baby would have no chance of survival even if the tube were left alone.)

  • Sorry for the above inanity; I think the combox was just refusing my urls. I can email them if anyone is interested, but I suppose Google will do.

    Good post.

    For good pro-life discussion of the rape issue, check out the topics page at Feminists For Life’s website.

    For a thoughtful scientific response to the “parasitism” analogy, go to Libertarians for Life’s website and look up the article, “Why the Human Embryo or Fetus is Not a Parasite.”
    The author, a biology professor, taught courses in both embryology and parasitology.

    I’d like to add clarification to your remarks on Church teaching. The Catechism states:

    “Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…” (#2271)

    In other words, an intentional attempt to kill or dislodge the embryo/fetus before it can reasonably be expected to survive independently violates moral law. A medical procedure necessary to save the mother’s life may be used even if fetal demise occurs as an unintended secondary effect. An example would be the removal of a fallopian tube in imminent danger of rupture from an ectopic pregnancy. (Of course, in the given example the baby would have no chance of survival even if the tube were left alone.)

  • I|remove the word abortion and consider the human emotions and it is a question we all face. Will we be selfless or will we be selfish? The rest is just chatter.

  • I don’t think it’s wrong to expect justice for oneself.

    The problem is that people don’t expect justice for the unborn!

  • Exactly. What gives those embryos the idea that they have the right to come into this world uninvited? We need to dispense justice on the unthinking potential-humans that unfairly take advantage of people who make love in a certain way!

  • I certainly hope that I will have a positive effect, a good Catholic influence, on my friends. One of them is a homosexual, and has made it clear how grateful he is that I don’t simply condemn him out of hand. He knows that I feel his acting on his sexual preference is sinful, but he also knows that I still offer friendship and support. We sit down and talk amiably about issues of religion and particular viewpoints from time to time, and I don’t know if I’ll have any effect, but at least he’ll be more informed.

  • CMinor,

    Moderation is not in effect.

  • Suzanne,

    No, there’s nothing wrong with expecting justice for oneself. The problem is, we tend to expect preference for ourselves, and to justify it we try to wrap it up as justice. I doubt any one of us really wants what we truly deserve (outside the sacrifice on Calvary, of course).

  • CMinor,

    No we are not moderating, but our spam detection system marked your posting as spam.

    I apologize for this, but I believe that it was because you had a link in your comments. This shouldn’t happen again. Everyone can place a link in their comments, it just takes time for our spam detection system to discern what is and is not spam.

    Comment away CMinor!

  • My apologies–as no message came up when I hit the “Submit” button I figured my comments had evaporated into the ether. Boy, do I feel stupid!
    Would somebody on the site please just delete my multiple post attempts and just leave the last one? There’s no reason anybody should have to plow through my repetitions.

  • CMinor,

    No apologies needed.

    It wasn’t you (I think), it was our spam detection program. It thinks you’re a spammer.

  • A good commentary. I know we talked about it a while ago but I just wanted to mention that it looks like overpopulation theorists (whom I think we all agree contribute to a culture of death) are starting a new fundraising and organizing drive.

    Here is a link.

    http://gpso.wordpress.com/gpso-letter/

    Some of those who signed the letter I recognize like Albert A. Bartlett. This is the same person speaking in a set of youtube videos that a believer of his put online as “The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See” in 8 parts.

    The first is in the above link.

    About the Bartlett videos, I watched them all and wrote up a list of the things that were questionable. It ended up being 3 or 4 pages long. Maybe I write using too many words but (in spite of being a math lesson on a specific type of equation) it has many errors (that I’m willing to point out if someone is interested in listening and noting them, and also notice how little he actually talks about ecological damage).

    As Tito may know already, I don’t view those who advocate better care of the environment as foolish or encouraging others to act badly. I think they are trying to deal with a serious topic that should be taken as such.

    But I’m not sure if this misuse (in my opinion) of environmentalism is likely to end soon. And I don’t want to see a movement that is intended to do good turned into a cheerleader for the culture of death-especially when real world attempts to deal with “overpopulation” have resulted in no improvement in environmental conditions (sometimes things have gotten worse) and a sizable number of people dying.

    One last thing makes me curious (and I apologize in advance if this makes me seem ignorant to someone who can explain). Why is it that people like Bill Gates are actively listed among those invited to join?

  • I can’t cite chapter and verse re Gates’s charitable work, Nathaniel, but it seems to me this won’t have been the first time he’s promoted population control through his foundations.

Joe the Plumber?

Thursday, October 16, AD 2008

For those of you who were wondering during the debate last night, who the heck is Joe the Plumber?, here is a video of his encounter with Senator Obama.

Here is Joe’s reaction to the encounter:

I have run a small business, my law firm, since 1985.  It provides the entire livelihood for my family.  The first decade of the business we scraped by.  Now it provides a pretty good living, and, God willing, will allow me to pay for college for my kids.

18 Responses to Joe the Plumber?

  • Of course Obama is going to view any successful business as a cash cow. His very words implied as much when he says, “When you spread the wealth around, it helps everyone.”

    What Obama does not realize, fundamentally, is that having successful businesses that create jobs IS spreading the wealth around. Everyone who has ever attempted the experiment of heavily taxing the rich to “spread the wealth around” has discovered that there is far less wealth to spread around in the end. I don’t know what they think people do with profits. I guess they think rich people hide all their money under the bed, because:

    1) Spending profits on necessities and peripherals helps support jobs that are existing

    2) Reinvesting profits in the business helps the business grow, offering more jobs

    3) Lending the money to banks for long term investments allows banks to then in turn lend money to other people to start up new businesses.

    When you place huge taxes on the wealthy, what is the result? Less money going to existing jobs, which means people laid off. Businesses stagnating, which means no new jobs. Less money for loans to start up businesses, which means fewer jobs created.

    Where do new jobs come from, then? Well, maybe a bunch of private citizens come together to start up a new business, or someone starts a business really small, already within his financial means, and that is a hard climb up. We certainly cannot expect the government to provide new jobs (except for those jobs created to feed the ever-expanding bureaucracy) with the money it receives in taxes. Maybe the fact that we’re running a $400 billion/yr deficit escaped Obama’s attention, and that all those taxes he raises are going to have to go to cover that deficit if he’s at all serious about balancing the budget.

  • This is where Obama’s complete lack of understanding of the private sector shows through.

    Obama’s take is simply, “Joe used to be middle class, but now he’s saved up a lot of money and can afford to buy a business, and so we need to tax him and give the money to those ‘behind him’ who haven’t yet got as far.” What he doesn’t seem to understand is that if he taxes Joe sufficiently heavily, Joe won’t be able to buy and run that business, which means other people won’t have jobs. Getting a $500 tax credit at the end of the year is no substitute for having a job all year round.

  • The guy lacks a professional license…

    He was probably a plant; the McCain campaign needs all the help it can get.

    Also, it turns out–as the major networks have ably reported–that Samuel (His real name) would not be affected by Obama’s plan.

    G-I-M-M-I-C-K!

  • A plant! Give me a break! Yeah, the Republicans must have used mind control to cause Obama to have a conversation with him.

    Plenty of unlicensed plumbers work for plumbers who have licenses.

    The Obama plan will hurt him if he buys his bosses’ business.

    The Senator made a potentially fatal mistake with his “spread the wealth” meme.

  • Mark’s comment perfectly encapsulates what is wrong with this electorate. He takes at completely face value a media report, and completely apes it because, well, it confirms his preconceived notions of who Joe must be. He sits there watching CNN, and decides that he doesn’t actually have to do any research, but instead will just parrot the media talking points. And of course Mark will turn around and say that I am the one who is narrow-mindedly ideological. No, I am just intellectually curious enough not to snookered by the MSM.

  • crankycon,

    How mavericky of you…

  • He was probably a plant

    I hear he’s an illegal immigrant.

  • Mark, speaking of tools and potted plants. It sounds like you are one for the Socialist Utopia. Obviously, if the state says you aren’t a plumber you aren’t one. I am sure Marx would be proud of you. Not far from me, Amish men build homes and women set up to sell their crafts and food stuffs. Perhaps, I will remind them that according to you they don’t know what they are doing, because the “state” doesn’t sanction them.

  • Mark,

    I hear he was on special leave from Guantanamo for good behavior.

  • Mark should read the relevant Ohio law instead of parroting Obama talking points. Amazing. This man asks a POLICY-RELATED question of a candidate, and the Mark Ds of the world feel the need to try to destroy him.

  • Hey Mark, I’m a plumber. Guess what? Any decent Dad can who remember righty-tighty, lefty-loosy is a beginner plumber. I can cut and weld pipes without any government functionary sanctioning my actions. The real definition of a plumber to Obama is someone dumb enough to give money to a corrupt union that will funnel money to the Dem party coffers.

    Bottom line: I’ve gotten help from plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc. I don’t get help from politicians.

    Also, Mark please tell us you are not so foolish as to think we plant people in their own front yard to trick Obama into saying ridiculous socialist BS.

  • Mark DeFrancisis’ World: Ask an unloaded, straightforward question about Obama’s policies and get the politics of personal destruction visited upon you. We’ve had more media investigations into Joe in the past 36 hours than we have about Obama during the entire campaign.

    Moral of the Story: Only ask questions that lead to a scripted moment with Obama. Got it.

    That’s change you can believe in!

  • Pingback: Obama, ‘Joe the Plumber’ and Catholic Social Teaching « American Catholic
  • Have any of you read the Obama tax plan?

    If there is a one-man or two-man plumbing business whose owner ( and worker) are each clearing a quarter million dollars in net profits per year (or taxable income for the employee), then I have to wonder how much that plumber is charging his customers per hour. That plumber also must not have many business expenses (business expenses are not taxed as income.)

    $250,000 / 2080 hours = $120/hr
    note: the nominal work week is 40 hours x 52 weeks per year = 2080 hours) So, this is 40 billable hours of work per week (i.e. no travel time to the job sites) with no vacations, no expenses, no sick days, no vehicle costs, no gasoline, no tools, no holidays at all (ie. can’t take a break for Christmas day unless it falls on Saturday or Sunday), no plumbing supplies, no phone bill, no advertising costs, no insurance premiums, no state taxes, no sales taxes, no office supplies, no utilities expenses, no FICA expenses, no half-days off to meet with the children’s teachers, no business expenses on any sort etc.

    In the real world, a plumber netting $250,000 per year, probably has to bill, at a minimum, somewhere between $250 – $300 per hour, and probably more likely $400 per hour. (I know that I won’t hire a plumber at that rate.)

    Then, only the income /profit above that level will be taxed at the higher marginal rate.

    I hope this clarifies the impact that the Obama tax plan will have on Joe the plumber in Toledo, OH

    (note: many small businesses don’t turn any profit for the first couple/few years of existence and only after time begin to show small profits. The tax code is set up to allow this in order to give small businesses a chance to grow and improve their bottom line as they become established.)

  • Larry, a plumbing business often has several plumbers as employees. One of my plumbing clients has seven other plumbers working for him. Last year he netted over half a million.

  • Donald, I think that is great. And, if he (or she) is truly clearing over a half a million a year, I don’t have a problem with that. I also think that the marginal increase on the second quarter million of their net is not going to cause them to lay off one of their employees. (But if they do, I guess that is on them.) If, the seven other plumbers all have taxable income over $250,000, then I also don’t have a problem with each of them paying an increased rate on the amount of taxable income above that quarter million. Let’s not conflate small business revenues with profits or with taxable income.

    I was writing about Joe the Plumber and the Obama tax plan effect on his hopes to own a one-man or two-man business.

    By the way, what was the gross for that 8-man business?

  • The gross I don’t recall. I remember his net only because of a legal matter where that fact was rather important. I also don’t recall Joe the Plumber indicating to Senator Obama how many plumbers he ultimately hoped to have working for him. As for the 250,000 threshhold, I suspect that would vanish as quickly as did the middle class tax cut in the Clinton administration in 1993. Some members of Congress are now calling for a second New Deal, and even confiscatory tax rates on earners making over a quarter of a million dollars a year wouldn’t raise enough revenue for spending of that magnitude, assuming that a President Obama would agree with such an agenda.

  • Pingback: A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain « American Catholic

Final Debate: Obama Lied (Once Again) On BAIPA

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2008

As Weekly Standard notes, Obama lied regarding his motivation for voting against the Illinois born alive infant protection act:

Questioned about his vote against the born-alive infants protection act, Obama said: “There was already a law on the books that required lifesaving treatment, which is why … I voted against it.” Obama and his colleagues never cited this law as a reason for opposing the bill in the Illinois Senate. More importantly, that 1975 law only protected “viable” infants–and left the determination of viability up to the abortionist who had just failed to kill the baby in utero.

17 Responses to Final Debate: Obama Lied (Once Again) On BAIPA

  • The debate starkly showed the difference between the candidates on abortion. If you think that abortion on demand is good social policy, and you wish to remove any restrictions on abortion and have abortions paid for the poor out of public coffers, Obama is your man. If you believe that abortion is an unmitigated evil and that abortion on demand must be fought against, McCain is your candidate.

  • Senator McCain: I will pick judges based on their competency. Roe v. Wade will not be a litmus test.

  • “Senator McCain: I will pick judges based on their competency. Roe v. Wade will not be a litmus test.”

    Yep and Obama does have a litmus test for justices.

  • But I guess in both cases we will not get judge #5.

  • No, if McCain is elected I think he would nominate someone in the mold of Scalia and Roberts, who he supported in the Senate. Obama voted against both of them, largely because he feared that they may vote to reverse Roe.

  • Could McCain even get the judges necessary to overturn Roe past an oppositional congress?

  • Mark,

    You can justify all your want about your decision for Obama; but you know that you are being disingenious with your comment… he said he would support a justice that goes against Roe v. Wade in the dabate.

  • He said….just like Reagan said… with Kennedy and O’Connor as the result , and Bush 41 said, with Souter as a result.

  • Mark,

    Perhaps you missed the line right afterwards when McCain said, “But a judge with a proper understanding of the constitution would not support Roe.”

    It was during the overtalk after McCain’s litmus test comment. Anyone have the exact quote on that for did they skip the overtalk in the transcript?

  • He noted for Breyer (sic?).

  • Mark,

    He said, “I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications…”

    Look at 1:45 – 2:03 on the video….

    Besides why did we get Kennedy? Was it Reagan’s fault or the Democratic Congress’ fault? We would should have gotten Justice Bork if wasn’t for the Congress.

  • Reagan buckled.

  • Though I will agree thus far: I honestly don’t know if we’d get Justice #5 from McCain. I don’t think he has a terribly coherant judicial philosophy.

    But we know that Obama’s justices would be absolutely terrible. In every respect.

    (And it doesn’t help that Obama would doubless manage to prolong the recession with his tax policies.)

    Overall, I thought McCain brought up a lot of the right stuff in this debate. But Obama was simply teflon — even when he had no principled answer he just smiled and said something glib and for a moment even I would find myself forgetting the guy is a hard leftist with virtually no experience.

    I suspect that with many who haven’t already made up their minds, Obama seemed like the winner.

  • Mark,

    He put two justices up there… and both were shot down by a Democratic Congress…. but you want a Democratic Congress with Abortionist President.

    Who is buckling?

  • Bret, thank you for pointing out the details! McCain did miss one opportunity, for all Obama’s talk on supporting abortion restrictions with the “health exception”, he did pledge to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would effectively eliminate all restrictions. Clearly this guy is not in the mainstream on abortion.

  • That is why we need Sarah Palin debating this stuff 🙂

    Because Sarah Palin Rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alan,

    I did watch the interview with Margaret Sanger on your blog… pretty interesting stuff… really scarry stuff…

    especially about Philip Morris 🙂

Robert George On Obama's Pro-Life Defenders

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2008

(via Pro Ecclesia) Over at Public Discourse, Prof. Robert George has an article entitled “Obama’s Abortion Extremism” which is very much worth reading:

I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama’s self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama’s abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as ”pro-abortion” rather than ”pro-choice.”

6 Responses to Robert George On Obama's Pro-Life Defenders

  • This article is devastating to the ‘Catholic’ case for Obama.

  • THere really *is* no “catholic case for Obama”. Those who support him based on his war position, or on his promises of economic benefits to “the least of these”, are just practicing another form of cafeteria Catholicism.

    As clergy, I would never tell anyone for whom they should vote; vote for whom you like. But please, please, please don’t try to call it anything other than what it is when you vote for the Democrats: it is a compromise with the devil. You might (emphasis on *might*) get what you think you want, but the millions of children who will die becuase abortion becomes enshrined in law even more than it is today willcertainly not get what *they* want: a chance to draw breath outside their mothers’ wombs.

  • I don’t know how Christian can claim to support Obama because of his war position. Obama has pledged to defeat the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan and in southern Afghanistan. Obama has several times he wants to send 10,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Obama repeated his threat to hit at al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan unilaterally. This sounds like the expansion of war in the world not reduction.

  • Something that seems to be missing in all the abortion arguments, and the one that I hope to cover tomorrow in a post, is the “inconvenience factor” that leads women to have abortions. When the primary reason to abort a child is because it is “inconvenient” to have a child at a particular time (due to career choices and financial matters and so on), how are economics going to solve that issue? Yes, I understand that poverty is often an excuse for abortion, as exemplified by the large number of abortions among low-income black women. But at the same time, many women have abortions not because of poverty, but because they’re on track for high-paying jobs (either going to school or working up the ladder in a business) and they don’t feel they can wreck their careers with a baby.

    Fixing the economy won’t end abortion. Having good foreign relations won’t end abortion. Having universal health care won’t end abortion. Raising our science and math scores won’t end abortion. Nothing will end abortion unless people realize why abortion is always, always, always a grave evil: because it puts self above all other considerations.

  • Nathan, you may be under-appreciating the subtle intelligence of the Catholic Democrat voter. Catholic Democrats know that Obama isn’t really serious when he says he will sign the FOCA, or fund embryonic stem-cell research on a large sale, or advocate irresponsible militaristic approaches foreign policy (that’s just election-year rhetoric).

    Conversely, they know what Obama is serious about – doing all of the good things with health care/education/ redistribution that they want him to. Obama is to be contrasted with McCain who hides how evil he really is (he wants to attack Iran!) with more moderate statements, and he doesn’t really intend to help anyone or appoint pro-life judges. It’s a level of subtlety that, I confess, I am not able to appreciate.

  • This article is an outstanding summation about the dangers of Obama’s clearly stated intentions and goals.

Father Duffy and the Fighting 69th

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Father Francis P. Duffy, pastor of Our Savior parish in the Bronx, was appointed chaplain of the 69th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard in 1914, he was already an old hand at being a military chaplain, having served as one in 1898 during the Spanish American War, although he never saw  duty overseas during that brief conflict.

4 Responses to Father Duffy and the Fighting 69th

  • Pingback: The Divine Lamp » Blog Archive » Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day, Rememberance Day, Poppy Day
  • Pingback: The Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg « The American Catholic
  • The first husband of my grandmother, Alice Cregan, was Charlie Chambers (otherwise Joseph Chambers). I understand that he was killed in the first world war when fighting with the fighting 69th. Where can I get any information on his involvement with the fighting 69th?

  • Dear Paul, If you would be so kind as to wait a couple of weeks, i will forward to you what information I can with regard to Charlie/Joseph Chambers. I am the grand nephew of George Patrick McKeon, who sailed off to france as a member of the 165th NY Infantry (Old 69th) and was KIA at the second battle of the Marne on July 16, 1918. I have done a great deal of research on the men of the 69th and should be able to tell you something once i consult with volumes of source material and records. Presently my computer died, but I will try to get back to you as soon as i can. Please give me your e mail address so that i can forward to you what i have. -michael

What Palin Reads

Tuesday, October 14, AD 2008

Some may recall that there was an episode of media hysteria a couple weeks ago over fears that the GOP vice presidential nominee couldn’t read — based upon Governor Palin’s failure (or refusal) in an interview with Katie Couric to name magazines and newspapers that had “formed her worldview”.

8 Responses to What Palin Reads

  • I hope you’re right. But the elitist in me still wishes she was able to name some magazine or thinker or journal she reads to inform herself. It’s not essential, but wouldn’t it be nice?

    At the time I imagined she was told not to say anything for fear of incriminating herself. But who knows, maybe she doesn’t read much. With 5 kids, it’s certainly understandable.

  • Exactly what magazines or journals produced by pagan modernity are worth basing one’s world views on? The Christianity that imbues works by CS Lewis and the life of George Sheehan is sufficient (and the ONLY thing on which we ought to base our world views). The great St. Paul was an apostle for Christ first and foremost, and a Roman secondarily. Liberal elitism that demands a pagan substitute for Christian virtues must be defeated – and in the end, it will be defeated, for we know the conclusion of the story – Christ wins, not some politician, left or right.

  • Zach,

    My impression from her picks (and how she described them) is that she is probably not an extensive or deep reader. I’d guess that like several Christian executive types that I know, she reads books and articles about Christian living (I’d bet she’s read Purpose Driven Life) and about her hobbies. She probably doesn’t read any particular newspapers or magazines all the time, but reads a lot of individual articles that get pointed out or emailed to her.

  • Ross Douthat has been on fire lately in his comments about the necessity of elites and the directions of anti-intellectual, populist party politics.

  • On fire he’s been, though I only agree with about half of what he has to say.

    I do certainly think that a party needs intellectuals (and to listen to its intellectuals — though I think many of the pundits streaming towards the exits of the conservative building have in fact failed, and long failed, to provide a coherent intellectual case for conservatism) but I’m not at all clear that the vice presidential or even presidential candidate need be intellectuals themselves.

  • I’ve been impressed with how swifty she has improved as the campaign has gone on. Her stump speeches are some of the best I’ve heard since Reagan rode into the sunset. She probably isn’t well read, but I believe she has a quick and agile mind. At 44 she is going to be a power in Republican politics and the nation for a long time to come.

  • But Darwin, certainly there is a difference between being an intellectual and being able to answer simple interview questions coherently. Palin’s inability to answer questions like ‘what kind of periodicals do you read?’ or ‘why have you cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia….?’ or questions on the bailout or Supreme Court cases suggested an ignorance deeper than ‘not being an intellectual.’ George Bush is no intellectual and he could have easily handled those questions.

    Douthat is simply acknowledging that Palin came across as woefully unprepared in those interviews. She has other talents, and, with time, she may develop her own voice and a coherent political philosophy. Nevertheless, she’s similar to a very talented high school basketball player at this point. She could be Kobe Bryant or she could be Kwame Brown.

  • Actually — it’s not so much Douthat’s assessment of Palin that I disagree with (I get the impression he’s still basically rooting for her but feels she was pulled national four years too early, which may be true) but his assessment of the important of figures like David Brooks and George Will and Christopher Buckley in the wider conservative movement. While I agree with Douthat that the movement needs its intellectuals, I don’t think those are necessarily important ones for the movement (nor that their departure on this campaign or even permanently is a bad sign) because I don’t think they agree with the modern conservative movement on many key issues.

2 Responses to Deliberately Omitted? What's Missing From The Debates

  • Those one minute debate recuts are high-larious.

    It could only be better if they were done in thirty seconds with bunnies…

  • I caught CNN’s live coverage of a McCain-Palin town hall meeting last week. One questioner asked:

    “I wanted to ask you about — about the issue of abortion, and specifically about the debate a couple of nights ago. The moderator cleverly never brought this — the question up.

    And with the debate coming up again, I would ask if you’re going to find a way to bring the subject up, even if it’s not asked about, because I firmly believe it’s an issue which you have the advantage.”

    Before McCain could answer CNN speedily cut away, changing the topic to the national debt clock before going to commercial.

    Who decides which issues are important?

    How much are the issues Americans say they care about determined by what issues news editors care and report about?

    I know I’m affected by how the news frames the debate. When answering the pollsters bombarding Colorado phone lines, I’ve had to remind myself to add cultural issues when asked what top issues were of concern to me.

13 Responses to Guilt by Participation

  • Keep it up, Mr. McClarey.

    It will be an Obama landslide.

  • I hope you are a poor political prognosticator Mr. DeFrancisis. In any case, if the American people choose not to think it important before the election that Senator Obama had no problem working with an unrepentant terrorist as a politcal ally, I have no doubt that in time they will find that it is very important indeed.

  • “What is that spirit we want to connect to? That spirit of rebellion. The spirit of resistance. The spirit of insurgency.”

    Finally. This is what has been found wanting in all the Ayers talk. McCain, Palin and their supporters have failed to articulate this properly, and have finally done it using Ayers’ own words (contemporary words nonetheless). Much ado has been been made about the association with a terrorist, leaving the opposition to narrowly view this as a guilt by remote association thing. I have a lot of problems with both candidates, but much more so with Obama, and this being one of them. The problem for me isn’t so much that Obama served on boards with a guy who planted bombs 40 years ago, it’s that the guy is still a subversive trying to move the nation to despotism. The tactics have changed, one of which is to support fellow revolutionaries get in office and work from the inside out as well, this is the concern over Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

    Now granted, some people, and apparently a few Catholics, might think an Ayers sort of revolution a good thing, but I think the common man, including some who might currently be supporting Obama, would balk at such a thing. The question is, is Obama part of the Ayers movement, a willful agent of sorts, or are the two just equally opportunist?

  • The problem with the Ayers connection is that his blatant terrorist activities are long in the past. Why else would the pundits on the left keep referring to the fact that Obama was only seven or eight when the bombings occurred? It is because they know that the American populace doesn’t have the attention span to care about something an individual did thirty or more years ago. The fact that he hasn’t bombed anyone else in that time (that we know of) must indicate some amount of reform, right? Who cares about his education policies. Everyone “knows” that the religious nuts on the right are trying to indoctrinate our youth, whereas Ayers is just giving them another viewpoint, as legitimate as any other that doesn’t mention the whole G – O – D word. This point is crucial. While independents may not see it this way, the left certainly sees Ayers as having done nothing wrong in all the time since the bombings.

    In my opinion, Rick, the answer is that both are just opportunists. The association isn’t as deep as I think pundits on the right are trying to make it seem. I think they both thought they could use each other, and perhaps they have to the mutual benefit of each. I could be wrong, though.

    While I do think the Ayers connection casts a stain on Obama’s record, it isn’t something worth pursuing in the campaign setting. McCain’s focus should be on how Obama’s plan will further destroy the economy, and how McCain himself intends to fix it. McCain needs to spell out loud and clear where the problems came from, and he must not spare even his Republican allies who share in the responsibility; he must spell out loud and clear how Obama’s health care plan is the equivalent to shooting ourselves in the foot; he must spell out how his economic plan is the best option. And he’d better be sure it is the best option.

  • Apparently McCain is announcing new economic proposals today:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/14/mccains-new-economic-plan/

    A good thought experiment in regard to Ayers Obama is to imagine if a person McCain had associated with during the same time period were an unrepentant Klansman who had bombed churches during the Sixties or someone who had bombed an abortion clinic. Imagine then if the bomber were now teaching at some evangelical college and had become an authority on homeschooling and was well thought of within his academic community. Somehow I think the coverage of the mainstream media in regard to that type of connection would not be as blase as their coverage of the Ayers Obama connection has been.

  • The problem for me isn’t so much that Obama served on boards with a guy who planted bombs 40 years ago, it’s that the guy is still a subversive trying to move the nation to despotism. The tactics have changed, one of which is to support fellow revolutionaries get in office and work from the inside out as well, this is the concern over Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

    Sol Stern has a series of articles in City Journal examining Ayer’s “education reform”:`

    Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.) For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for “the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chávez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.” Ayers concluded his speech by declaring that “Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education—a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation,” and then, as in days of old, raised his fist and chanted: “Viva Presidente Chávez! Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta la Victoria Siempre!”

  • Donald,

    I see you are an alumnus of U of Illinois. Have you attended alumni functions recently or received such newsletters? If so, you are indeed palling around with…

  • “I see you are an alumnus of U of Illinois. Have you attended alumni functions recently or received such newsletters? If so, you are indeed palling around with…”

    Pretty weak Mr. DeFrancisis. I am an alum of the U of I Champaign-Urbana. I of course had no say in the decision of the U of I Chicago in hiring Mr. Ayers. If my opinion of the hiring decision had been requested, it would have been unprintable.

  • Nr. McClary,

    It was a weak joke. 🙂 Sorry.

    BTW, McCain looked today like the man I voted for in the 2000. Relatively impressive!

    Hopefully, BOTH campaigns rise somewhere remotely close to the seriousness that our representative democracy deserves in these trying and important times.

    Unfortunately, I see only glimmers of hope.

  • Sorrry about my butchering your name so badly–someone interrupted me while I was typing…

  • No problem Mr. DeFrancisis. I butchered your name initially so badly when I made my last comment that I deleted it in order to correct the spelling of your name! In regard to the candidates, I have never been a fan of McCain, although I do respect the courage he displayed as a POW, and I think I have made my policy differences plain as to Obama. Whichever of these men is elected, I hope God will grant him grace and wisdom. I am afraid the nation is in for a rough few years no matter who wins come election day.

Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

“Catholic Answers: Two books for voters who take their faith seriously”– Doug Kmiec, who has lately become something of a poster-boy and spokesman for ‘Catholics for Obama’, reviews Archbishop Chaput’s Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (Doubleday, 2008) and A Nation for All How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America from the Politics of Division , by Chris Korzen and Alexia Kelley.

As to be expected, Kmiec finds a sympathetic ear in Korzen & Kelley, given their assertion that Catholics have become ‘preoccupied’ with abortion to the subordination of peace, the environment and welfare:

5 Responses to Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

  • I cannot help but believe that these guys simply have no interest in abortion as an issue. I don’t believe their insistence that they are somehow pro-life, nor can I believe that they honestly think that Barack Obama will cure war and poverty in the same way that they criticize Republicans for not having ended abortion.

    At best, these guys may think that they’ll be pro-life later, when there ain’t-a gonna be no war no more, and when the poor are no longer with us. But I can’t help my suspicion that, even if they could achieve these things, they’d still want to uphold the “right” to an abortion.

    Their refusal to be taught by the bishops and the Holy Father on this issue is most telling. They are desperate to justify their vote for Obama and the new ardently pro-abortion regime he promises. Maybe they can sleep at night after spending their days giving such scandal, but I couldn’t.

  • I believe it is utter rationalization to vote for Democrats, who champion the culture of death in all its forms, because the Republicans haven’t eliminated abortion themselves. Congress operates on coalitions, and, Bush has only been able to get two Supremes through…both pro-life.

    Simply put, it is the ONLY issue this year…everything else pales next to the sacred duty of all Christians to uphold “personhood!” The Natural Law, upholds the dignity of each human life, but, for Christians, it is the Holy Trinity, ie., “three Divine Persons in communion,” which bestows ultimate dignity on human personhood. “Personhood” is the ultimate victim in every abortion.”

  • “Of course, voting for a “prolife” candidate does not guarantee that he will appoint Supreme Court justices who accept the church’s natural-law arguments against abortion. Nor does it mean that anti-Roe appointees will be approved by what is sure to be a Democratic Congress.”

    Is Kmiec trying to say that only “natural law” jurists will be anti-Roe?

    One of Kmiec’s arguments that really concerns me holds that we’ve been counting anti-Roe justices wrong.

    First, because the GOP is unwilling to make openly the case for overturning Roe, we have to judge anti-Roe justices by circumstantial evidence, like whether his wife is a strong pro-life woman.

    Even if a justice is putatively anti-Roe, he or she might not completely overturn Roe but only make minor piecemeal changes. The justice might be more committed to stare decisis or schools of jurisprudence that would mitigate his or her desire to fully overturn the decision.

    As for FOCA, I’d like to know if it has a realistic chance of passing even under a predominantly Democratic Congress.

  • But why is the GOP unwilling to openly make the case for overturning Roe?

    I think it is because this type of campaigning is easily misunderstood; people may misunderstand the Constitution and the law. It also might not be a very winning issue politically.

    I don’t think this is a good excuse, but it’s probably why they’re not doing it.

  • Kevin – FOCA has been attempted in the past. However, there is more support for it from members of Congress than ever more. The current legislation was introduced April 19, 2007. Planned Parenthood is actively campaigning for the bill. See: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/issues-action/courts-judiciary/support-foca-14393.htm

    Given our country’s political climate at this time in history, it would be imprudent for Catholics to assume the FOCA is too radical to ever be passed.

    The house bill has already more than 107 cosponsors (106 Democrats, one Republican). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click here for the current list: http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=9653451&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL

    The senate version introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.), had more than 19 Democratic cosponsors, including presidential candidate Barack Obama (IL) plus Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), and independent Joseph Lieberman (Ct.). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=9668701&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL.

    This bill is so dangerious that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat has urged clear, vigilant, and persistent advocacy against the “Freedom of Choice Act” (or FOCA). The Pro-Life Secretariat has expressed grave concern to state Catholic conferences that FOCA would, if enacted and signed into law, sweep away hundreds of pro-life laws and policies at the state and federal levels! Check out the USCCB-approved alert released September 24, 2008: http://www.nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=263

    For a careful legal analysis of FOCA by the USCCB’s Office of General Counsel, see: http://www.nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/pl-foca.pdf

    Cardinal Rigali recently warned “if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket.” See the September 30, 2008 press release from USCCB about FOCA: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-141.shtml

Sarah Palin and Small Town America

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

When Sara and I were working through our marriage preparation last fall, Fr. Gallinger warned all of us that we should make sure to have the marriage license ready before the ceremony. After all, there’s nothing like reaching Saturday and finding out that the courthouses are closed. I assume this is a general cautionary for people getting married elsewhere, for he continued in a humorous vein: “Of course, in Wyoming, if you can’t get into the courthouse, you know someone who knows someone who has the keys to let you in.”

One Response to Sarah Palin and Small Town America

  • Dear Ryan,
    Very good!! I was amused by the small town “keys of the courthouse”:) story. I think you may be right about the small town factors. I like living in Wyoming, too.
    Take good care.
    Sincerely yours,
    Lisa
    p.s. Because of your giving me the Catholic websites, I realized that it was the debate tonight, and I ran over to the Newman Center and saw the entire final presidential debate. Thank you so much for that!

Preferential Option for the Middle Class?

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

In discussion with my more politically progressive Catholic brethren, I’ve had it put to me that the American political party which receives by preference has at its heart a “preferential option for the rich.” Supporting a Democrat such as Obama may mean compromising on the abortion issue (while hoping that the economic miracle that will spontaneously occur when a Democratic posterior inhabits the chair in the oval office may in fact do a better job of “decreasing the incidence of abortion” than actual restrictions) but at least we can be sure that there will be an end to senseless war mongering, a “preferential option for the poor”, health care for all, an end to the cruelty of capital punishment, restriction of those murderous pieces of inanimate metal called “guns”, etc.

This long list provides the “proportionate reasons” to vote for the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history, not merely with a sense of reluctant necessity, but with a moral righteousness that scorns all others.

16 Responses to Preferential Option for the Middle Class?

  • One of Obama’s ‘advisors’ is economist James Galbraith, author of the recent book, “The Predator State”.

    Read that expose of this administration’s decimation of our economy and intentional tranfer of wealth upwards, and you will understand where many of us are coming from.

  • Mark,

    Why don’t you look at the wealiest 10 people in Congress? And look at campaign contributions from the Fortune 500 Companies… it is telling picture of the lies liberals spread about helping the poor.

  • With many on the left, the issue is power and not to the people.

  • Money, money, money,

    All that talk about money. This argument that Mr. Obama is acually the real pro-life candidate, robin-hood of change comes, in my opinion from a mis-informed conscience, not an informed conscience.

    Mr. Obama’s stance on abortion, in all extremes in very evident from his factual voting record, yet there seems to be a denial of these records for one of Hope and Change.

    We HOPE his election will equal less abortions, although he will continue to advocate for them with those in power in congress.

    We hope he will be able to CHANGE the taxation of the middle class and 95% of the people disspite the 700 Billion bailout and any future billion dollar bailouts to the States and Auto industry and whatever else comes up.

    All empty promises again in my opinion with a trillion dollars of new proposed expenditures. Just doesn’t add up.

    Church teaching is not as grey as many catholics are claiming it to be and all the twisting to rationalize the “Means Justifies the Ends” arguments just don’t add up to a well informed conscience.

    “I’m voting for a pro-choice candidate in HOPE that there will be less abortions”

    Wow…

    I’d rather meet my maker with a life of an unborn life saved and empty pockets rather than an extra dollar in my hand and pocket full of empty hopes and changes.

    WCC +<

  • Folks,

    While I agree that support for legal abortion is a dealbreaker for me as a voter in any readily forseeable circumstance, I’d like to see us as Catholics be able to discuss policy without always falling into a “Yeah, but abortion!” discussion. Mark brings up an economic point which I disagree with (and I’ll get to that in a moment) and which is tied to an Obama advisor, but disagreement with the economic point need not (and indeed in the interest of civil conversation probably should not) be tied in with the abortion issues — even though Obama is clearly terrible on the abortion issue and that’s one of the (many) reasons I would never vote for him.

    Mark,

    Actually, I agree (to an extent) with Galbraith’s complaint that we are often not pursuing fully free market (or free trade, come to that) policies. That’s been a huge frustration of economic conservatives, especially from 2000 to 2006 as DC insider-ism really went to the GOP’s head. (Keep in mind, conservatives and Republicans are sets that overlap but are not at all identical. The fact that we have no other options as regards to political party does not mean that we approve of everything the GOP does.)

    However, I think he goes seriously off the rails in asserting that the solution to our current situation, in which we have a semi-free market but lots of corrupt seeking of advantage by large corporations, is to move _more_ in the direction of a command economy.

    Further, it seems odd and a little scarry that he several times takes inspiration from the Chinese combination of government control and economic growth. Many would argue that it is precisely the centralization and state control of the Chinese economy that results in so much waste and poverty there — while developing nations such as India which have moved farther in a free market direction have done much better than China.

    So while I agree with his point that corporate favoritism has too much traction in our country, I think his proscriptions are almost entirely wrong.

  • DC,

    Thank you for the thoughtful response.

  • I am not as skeptical of government intervention as DC generally, but it is odd that many people who argue for the expansion of government spending/regulation seem shocked when expansion leads to increased corruption and/or more concessions for the dreaded ‘special interest groups’. It seems fairly obvious that the expansion of government control provides higher incentives for individuals to influence government, and that an increase in corruption and inefficiency is a more or less inevitable consequence of government expansion. That is one of the reasons why I am strongly opposed to the type of cap-and-trade programs advocated by McCain and Obama. This doesn’t mean that we should never increase the size of government or scope of government regulation, but it does mean that we should approach such expansion cautiously.

  • First off I’l like to say that my comments were not directed at any one individual in the comments.

    Mark, my appologies if that was your impression.

    However, I do stand by my comment. In the body of the original post both abortion and economics were linked together and as such I responded more to the post than an individual.

    Thanks DC though on your ‘civil discussion’ reminder.

    I do believe sparating the two can and does lead to a disservice to both issues. It’s like separating politics and religion in the public forum. but as DC pointed out one can make a specific point about one or the other.

    Caution: the following statement is on economics. 😉

    I don’t believe the current efforts of Mr. Obama to frame his economic plan as “I’m helping the poor and to heck with the rich” will end up actually helping the poor at all. At least not in the long run. Nor will it punish the rich (if that’s the goal).

    We all know that greed and corruption are existant but a re-distribution of wealth doesn’t in my mind seem to resolve the matter. It, in my opinion doesn’t give any incentive to achieve and overcome adversity.

    Peace

    WCC +<

  • WCC,

    Yeah, sorry to semi-single you out there. (If I’m coming off as a hard-ass in the comments latey, it’s partly in trying to work towards what will hopefully be our normal tone around here.) It’d been striking me on the more general level we were experiencing a lot of loop-back-to-abortion, and so I took the opportunity to comment on it when it sort of showed up on this thread. (And you’re right, I linked the two in my post.) It’s a hard balance to hit because it really is true that the Dems are pretty much closed off in my view because of that issue — and yet one wants to be able to talk about other issues as a Catholic as well.

    On the economics: I think you’re right.

    Obama’s plan to tax the top 5% hard and keep high corporate taxes (he claims that our corporate taxes aren’t functionally high compared to the rest of the world because of loopholes — but then he promises to fund his programs by closing loopholes so go figure) strikes me as unlikely to help much in the final analysis — and it may actually do quite a bit of harm.

    Getting a tax credit at the end of the year is going to be precious little help if you get laid off in the meantime. And Obama’s pledge to start off a big public works program strikes me as way too warmed-over-1930s.

    (On a side note, I would sure love to see someone use this opportunity to make a serious proposal for cutting government spending by means testing Medicare and Social Security.)

  • Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, issued in November of 2007, offers clear guidelines (at least in my understanding) for how to deal with the abortion issue, that so many people seem willing to view from a ‘proportionate’ perspective. So if I may, I took the liberty of quoting below, a few KEY paragraphs from this document, put forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I can not, in good conscience, put any other issue above that of human life – particularly with regard to abortion which is BLACK and WHITE no matter the angle from which it is examined. And if I am wrong, then I hope that some good bishop or priest out there will correct my thinking – abortion is an intrinsic evil, and I do not believe that there is any other issue of this campaign that trumps that fact or that can be relegated to the category. Not taxes, not immigration, not the War in Iraq, and not the bail out. If you’ve not taken the time to read this document – you can find it here http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/fcstatement.pdf

    22. There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed thatthey are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. In our nation, “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the
    destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

    27. Two temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life and dignity:
    28. The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.3

    34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.
    35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan
    preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.
    36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely
    to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.
    37. In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions.
    These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.

  • Mary,

    I agree with your judgement that there simply aren’t any proportionate reasons that outweigh abortion on the table in this election — but if we bring every conversation around to that we’ll never get to talk about any other issues.

  • DC,

    You’re right that it’s important to discuss other issues and exchange ideas and opinions about them. However I think Mary’s main point (and I agree) is that although there are other issues, as soon as a candidate adopts a hard pro-choice stance, those other issues become (for our purposes) moot. Sure, you can discuss them, but they’re going to have little or no impact on who we can in good conscience vote for.

    This is a kind of clumsy analogy, so please excuse it, but…
    Imagine a scale, if you will. Each side represents a candidate. Each issue is represented by a marble (although of varying sizes). Well, abortion happens to be a boulder, none of the other issues coming remotely close in size. So yeah, you can debate and weigh the other issues, but they’re not going to tip the scale back the other way…so some might argue there’s no point in putting them down at all.

  • I have read comments on blogs this year where catholics are saying they will vote Democratic because they think the abortion issue is a “non-starter,” and Roe won’t be overturned any time soon; therefore, they justify voting on such grounds as immigration, etc.

    I find this utterly irresponsible in terms of a “catholic informed conscience.”

    I think the catholic Bishops are also conflicted by the immigration issue. They rightly show humane concern for illegals, but they fail to instruct the faithful that breaking sovereignty laws and the over-burdening of social structures, crime etc that that sin precipitates is also morally wrong.

    What results from this “selective” moral position is that many catholics end up voting pro-choice because they sympathize with illegal immigration.

    Sorry, if this seems off topic–I just thought of it as I was reading the arguments for discussing other issues even though abortion is pre-eminent.

  • -as soon as a candidate adopts a hard pro-choice stance, those other issues become (for our purposes) moot.-

    At times in my life I have been practically a socialist, now I am a free market type. I would readily admit that I can be convinced in either direction. Economics is not doctrine. My mind is open.

    But abortion is always murder. I can’t get around that. Others have said it: if the Democratic party wasn’t pro-abortion, these dialogues would be much different (and likely more civil).

  • I do agree with folks that a pro-choice stance is a deal-breaker as far as voting.

    In that sense, I think I see now that I framed my post rather poorly. I’d primarily wanted to make the case that, even setting the abortion issue aside, the Democrats are not currently a party primarily focused on aiding the poor and oppressed, but rather on providing centralized benefits to the middle class.

    However, since I brought up abortion (and the argument about “proportionality”) people naturally addressed themselves to the question of whether there are in fact “proportional reasons” to vote for a pro-choice politician at this time.

    As Rob says: Things would frankly be a lot more interesting politically without the abortion issue, because the votes of serious religious people would be much more in play.

    So I’ll make sure that I frame things more clearly in future if I’m attempting to do a post dealing with issues in separation from the abortion question.

    Which, incidentally, I think it’s important to do. After all, even if the GOP remains the only party open to pro-life candidates at the national level, as we’ve seen with candidates ranging from Huckabee to Ron Paul to John McCain, there’s room for a huge amount of diversity in the GOP as regards economic policy — and I think that sorting out new balances of power on those issues will be very important over the next 2-4 years, whoever wins the election. And who knows, perhaps we will even see a resurgence of the pro-life wing of the Democratic party some day, or a viable Christian Democrat thirty party. While I’m myself conservative to libertarian on most issues — it seems to me that the forced marriage of economic conservatism and traditional morality is often an uneasy and unhappy one, at least for some people.

  • I agaree with what you’re saying DarwinC. I too think the debate would be less volatile if abortion were not THE issue.

    The fact that, with “feminism, for example, it’s really all about abortion, ie. see how Sarah Palin is being mistreated, shows us the ultimate spiritual truth which is at stake regarding that issue.

    Generally, the economic argument revolves around bigger government vs. smaller government. Aside from Bush’s inability to veto spending and ear mark corruption run rampant in both parties, I side with conservatives, against the inordinate dependency and victimhood culture that big government engenders. But, the lines are not always easy to define in terms of policy.

    Our founding fathers would “turn over…” to see the large hand of government, taxes, etc. to which we have succumbed.

    Career politicians are a big part of the problem. No one should be allowed to make a career out of congressional service. We should go back to citizen government servants…who serve for a short time…then, go back to private life. That would end “earmarks” which are really just re-election bribes, and it would prevent the odious naked corruption.