12 Responses to Dedicated to Douglas Kmiec

Ross Douthat: Not Backing Down

Monday, November 10, AD 2008

Today, regarding Kmiec (et al.):

But to claim that a candidate who seems primed to begin disbursing taxpayer dollars in support of abortion and embryo-destructive research as soon as he enters the White House somehow represented the better choice for anti-abortion Americans on anti-abortion grounds is an argument that deserves to met, not with engagement, but with contempt.

He echoes my weekend frustration.

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5 Responses to Ross Douthat: Not Backing Down

16 Responses to Let's Get Started!

  • He didn’t support an executive order either… Obama is going to bypass the legislative branch to kill human life….

    yea, now I know I was misinformed about the ONE… no wolf in sheep clothing here.

  • i meant to say that the One is going to support an executive order.

  • Time to organize and fight back against this. Pro-lifers were beaten in a battle last Tuesday, but if the pro-aborts believe they have won the war they are deluded.

  • To use a phrase fron The One/That One, I’m fired up and ready to go!

  • Wow, you can hear crickets in the background.

    Where are Michael I., Mark DeFrancisisis, Radical Catholic Mom, and MZ Forrest now that their ‘pro-life’ candidate is ready to begin the wholesale mass slaughter of humans?

  • Did those who supported Obama somehow not think that things like this (and the Mexico City policy change) would happen, and happen virtually immediately? These are the consequences of an Obama presidency, and they were foreseen, at least by the pro-lifers who opposed Obama’s election.

  • The “Mexico City Policy” denying funding to NGO’s which perform / promote abortion will likely be reversed as well.

    This is hardly a suprise. It was instituted by Reagan, rescinded under Clinton, reaffirmed by Bush Jr., and now will likely be repealed, allowing for taxpayer promotion of abortion overseas.

  • Walter,

    Are you ready to get in their face… to use the language of That One.

  • And in addition to the slaughter, women being exploited as livestock for egg harvesting.

    Some champion of women’s rights.

  • I’m glad to see that our new president — who is ever conscious of a variety of positions, reflective, and inclusive — has mused over the “difficult” issue of embryonic stem cell research and has decided that the best course of “common ground” with pro-life Americans is to make them pay for it.

    We’re off to a very bipartisan start of 4 years of Unity……….

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  • Okay – Obama is our next president, like it or not. Let’s stop whining about and pouting that we lost. Our marching orders are clear: Pray for Obama and our country, work with him where possible to achieve the common good, and fight like a Maccabee when he oversteps his bounds — all the while remembering that November 2010 and 2012 will be here quicker than we think. There is much we have to do.

    What about us supporting at a local level pro-life politicians (democrats and republicans) who are willing to take the abuse from the pro-abortion side? The reason we have few to no strong pro-life politicians on the national scene is because of the lack of local support. Maybe we should be encouraging people to support pro-life PACs to get these candidates some visibility and support. I would love to hear what catholics on doing to to courage pro-life politicans in the cities and states.

    What about praying and fasting for President-elect Obama to have a change of heart (maybe like St. Paul – it is the Year of St. Paul) and courage to stand up to his own party leaders on matters of the sanctity of life (abortion, ESCR, euthanasia and death penalty), of marriage, and of expanding the war in Afghanistan? If he is as reasonable and open to the views of pro-lifers as his Catholic proponents claim him to be, then I’m sure he will appreciate those prayers.

    Let us go into the world and make a difference in our own lives, families, and work. That is the leaven the first century Christians brought to the Roman Empire, with its debauchery and hedonism similar to our modern society, and that changed the world. They put their faith in the concrete reality of Christ’s promises and the example of his life not the promises of any man or the pleasures of the world. We need to do the same!!

  • Katerine,

    I love your enthusiasm.

    “Fight like a Macabee”.

    I’m all the way in on this revolution.

    Maybe we should start with our own churches and purge them of cafeteria Catholics?

  • Thank you, Tito. Yes – praying for and encouraging our priests and bishops to be strong and courageous and being good role models of what the “pro-life” movement can and should be in our own churches is key.

    There is too much to do to waste time being depressed or maudlin or self-righteous. I intended on living my life in obedience to God and each day is filled with choices, many of them having nothing to do with whoever was President.

    I believe our mission as Catholic hasn’t changed–and wouldn’t be any different if McCain had been elected. We have a lot of work ahead of us for the culture of death in all its forms has a strong foot hold in the United States.

  • I dont know why all of you rely on just ‘faith ‘ to decide what is right ffor the human race. i mean come on. if you think about it yeah the whole stem cell thing is sort of wrong but it could save alot of lives. all of those people who have terminal illnesses , think of how they feel. they had no hope whatsoever about living and now they know that they may still have a chance at life. everything happens for a reason and if you want to drag Christ into this then fine. He put us here and created our destiny so what has happened has hapened because He wanted it to. it was bound to happen one way or another.

Douthat Puts Kmiec in His Place

Thursday, November 6, AD 2008

Many of us on the conservative side of the spectrum have been sounding a tad cranky the last couple days.  Still, occasionally this frustration is channeled into well deserved directions.  Commenter and fellow Steubenville alumnus FUS01 pointed me towards a great piece by Ross Douthat, part of an open discussion on the future of the GOP over on Slate.  In response to Kmiec’s now familiar comlaint that GOP pro-lifers are unrealistic in wanting to defeat Roe, and his claim that Obama is a natural for pro-life voters, Douthat dishes it out to him in a way that Kmiec richely deserves:

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20 Responses to Douthat Puts Kmiec in His Place

  • Ross nails issue big time. Not sure who is more worthy of my contempt- the anonymous McCain staffers dropping info about Sarah The Trailer Park Shopper or Kmiec The Useful Idiot. Time was that I thought Dougie was angling for some fancy gig like Deputy AG. Might well be he was ideoligically motivated to twist and turn the Church’s position on abortion like a South Philly pretzel maker. Makes him all the more pathetic. No more of his ilk in either U.S. Catholicism, Sharper More Focused More Battle Ready Pro-Life Movement, or a GOP free of impediments like the leakers, seeking a More Moderate America. Moderate- bleh. Armadillos get smushed in the middle of the road. Go back to Pepperdine, Dougie, and leave the heavy lifting to others.

  • “embarrassing shill”

    An accurate assessment of Kmiec.

  • A pretty hyperbolic diatribe. I can understand how distraught we all are, but this may have been unconstructive.

    I don’t want to be a party pooper and I certainly agree where the emotions are emanating from, but maybe we should all get this out of our system now and quickly so we can return to the issue at hand.

    Protecting the unborn, reversing Roe v Wade, ie, promoting a culture of life.

    I for one will be having a pint or two and vent with friends this weekend, after that, full steam ahead with the Pro-Life Movement!

  • Ordinarily I would agree with Tito’s sentiments. In the case of Kmiec, however, I am willing to make an exception.

  • Tito, I did not find this hyperbolic. It was accurate. In my mind, Douthat should be credited for having the courage to say what he said in a hostile forum like Slate. George Weigel, Robert George, Ramesh Ponnuru, legal scholars John Breen, and Rick Garnett have all made the same point. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Kmiec was acting deliberately in bad faith. See, for instance, Kmiec’s endorsement of the pro-choice position in this LAT op-ed:

    “Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on abortion, the common political ideal may consist only of that space. This does not, of course, leave the right to life undecided or unprotected. Nor for that matter does the reservation of space for individual determination usurp for Caesar the things that are God’s, or vice versa. Rather, it allows this sensitive moral decision to depend on religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual’s voluntary embrace of one of many faiths.”

  • I understand that the pro-life position on abortion does not command majority support in the United States and that people of good will can disagree on the subject.

    I disagree that informed and thoughtful people of intelligence and goodwill can disagree on the question of abortion, any more than they could on questions like slavery or the Nazis’ “final solution.”

    Science teaches us that human life begins at conception. Theology teaches that human life has inherent dignity and rights. Just law must take this into account.

  • Two items of context that may help:

    1) Douthat is normally such a moderate voice that hearing him put the hammer down like this is both fun and gives his words more impact than if they came from someone who was a fire breather by habbit.

    2) Kmiecs essay yesterday in the same round-table which Douthat was directly responding to was so weasley and indeed bordering on incoherant I figured he deserved it in the immediate as well as the general sense.

    That said, I do agree that wallowing in recriminations at this point would help no one but our opponents and I’ll try to avoid falling into that.

    Lord, make me irenic… But not quite yet.

  • This is a topic that is going to keep coming up, but we can be both forceful in our opposition as long as we’re fair. While hyperbolic rhetoric is not helpful, at the same time I don’t think we need to walk on eggshells every time we open our mouths or write a post or column. And as DC said above, this is pretty stark rhetoric considering the source, much as it was shocking to see Byron York – also normally reserved – really take it to McCain’s staff.

  • I agree with how we are characterizing Kmiec.

    Let’s get this out of our system, but let’s get prepared come Obama’s inauguration.

    I hope I wasn’t too harsh. It is not a reflection on anyone at all.

  • I hope I wasn’t too harsh. It is not a reflection on anyone at all.

    No prob. I think we’ve established pretty well over the last couple days that a bit of mutual criticism is fine around here. 🙂

    And I do agree with you about not wanting to become nothing but a grudge-central — though I flatter myself there’s little long term danger of it.

  • Mutual criticism is fine and welcome by me (and hopefully others).


    I don’t want a grudge-central as well and share your sentiments et al.

  • …a bit of mutual criticism is fine around here.

    Refreshing. Nothing says you can’t be on the same team, so to speak, and have some genuine disagreement, and most importantly argue it publicly. That’s far more respectful than silently circling the wagons or just being snarky and quarrelsome to one another.

    People generally quarrel because they cannot argue. -GKC-

  • I had the same thought when I read Ross today… I’d read his initial piece (along with Manzi’s and Kmiec’s when Ross linked all of them the other day) and then saw his link today… his description of the post is as follows: “The Slate dialogue continues, and I say some very unkind things about Douglas Kmiec.”

    As DC noted, for Ross Douthat to get that strong in tone is unusual, and says something in itself.

  • Who is this Douthat guy and why does he think that people of good will can disagree on the subject of abortion?

    It has been fully resolved that if you buy abortion, you don’t have an intellectual pulse.

  • I see P. Diddy has beaten me to the punch here. The statement that leaps out is:

    “I understand that the pro-life position on abortion does not command majority support in the United States and that people of good will can disagree on the subject.”

    That’s a huge concession from Douthat isn’t it? And yet we obviously look at Robert E. Lee and other southerners before the abolition of slavery as men of good will. But right about now I don’t think at pro-choicers that way.

  • “That’s a huge concession from Douthat isn’t it?”

    Not really, unless you think that 70%-80% of the country is not only wrong, but of bad will. Presuming bad faith on the part of anyone outside the pro-life movement is counter-productive to the goal of enacting abortion restrictions. If we are going to make progress, we have to recognize that many Americans are conflicted about abortion, and continue to work to persuade them about the importance of protecting human life in the womb.

    Even limiting abortions to the first tri-mester (which would be supported by a majority of Americans) would reduce abortions by around 10% (saving roughly 100,000 lives a year). These types of modifications in the law are not the end goal, but they are worth aiming for – and in that process we need to presume good faith on the part of people in the mushy middle on abortion.

  • I’m unimpressed with a strictly numbers approach to determining whether a group is of good will. That’s part of the reason we don’t have a democracy but a representative form of gov’t. Should Germans during the Nazi regime be let off the hook?

  • “I’m unimpressed with a strictly numbers approach to determining whether a group is of good will.”

    You are free to presume bad faith; good faith and bad faith are difficult to prove, and I will certainly not try to persuade you one way or the other about a group as diverse as 70-80 Americans. Only honest discussions with people who are pro-choice will do that. As I said, however, it would be disastrous for the pro-life movement as a whole to presume bad faith. People who are not of good will cannot be convinced to support abortion restrictions, which makes argument useless. Similarly people who are of good will do not like to be addressed as if they are not. We should nearly always presume good faith rather than bad when we are trying to extend legal protection to the unborn.

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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).

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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.

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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:

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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