The Baby and the Quarterback

Wednesday, January 27, AD 2010

My ignorance of sports is vast.  However, I believe I now have a favorite quarterback.  Focus on the Family has paid for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl featuring former University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam.  When Pam was pregnant with Tim she contracted amoebic dysentery.  Harsh antibiotics were administered to her to rouse her from a coma.  She was counseled to have an abortion, being warned that her baby would be stillborn or live only a few hours.  She refused to have an abortion and Tim Tebow came into the world.

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6 Responses to The Baby and the Quarterback

  • Excellent point made about the hypocrisy of the “pro-choice” protests of the Tebow commercial. Meanwhile Obama’s war against the unborn continues with his re-nomination of Dawn Johnsen to run the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Dept. Check out link at American Thinker.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/01/obama_gives_proabortion_antica.html

  • Before you favor him too much, read about his father’s missionary work to convert the pagan (Catholic) Filipinos. That said, her certainly does deserve praise for the unjustly criticized advertisement.

  • I sincerely hope that this ad would bring hope and healing to women and not the type of condemnation and ridicule that so many have cynically come to expect. That would be the kind of thing that could truly bring people together instead of politicizing this issue and dividing us further. Anything less would be a disappointment.

  • I disagree w/ you, Donald, on the notion that his monetary value will go down because of this ad. I think he may lose one or two potential endorsements in the future, but then again, he wouldn’t want to advertise for any product whose makers support abortion or similar issues. Moreover, I think it’s likely he may just become better known because of this ad, and in a good way, attracting more attention to any team he plays for or product he endorses. Then again, it’s football, and this whole flap may have absolutely zero effect on Tebow’s pocketbook either way.

    At the very least, airing the ad during the SuperBowl, the most watched American TV event every year, will at least raise awareness of the issue and spur discussions among friends and families.

    The pro-abortion groups and supporters are on the ropes in American society and they know it, so they continue to blubber and scream that CBS should censor this ad. Culture War Notes has up a video clip from MSNBC yesterday of the presidents of NOW and a pro-life organization debating the issue. It was extremely telling to me to watch the faces of the two women as they debated–the NOW president appeared to be so obviously angry, bitter, and unpleasant that she eventually realized that wouldn’t play well on camera. She tried to force a smile, but it looked like her face just wouldn’t allow her to smile. Tells us a lot about pro-abortion beliefs and proponents, doesn’t it?

    I’m a Florida alum, and Tebow is not only the finest college football player ever to play the game (OK, I’m biased, but just ask Bobby Bowden and Tony Dungy!), but more importantly, he’s a hero and awesome role model to millions of people for his beliefs and his life, as well as his talent. Even his football rivals praise him to the skies after they get to know him personally. GO GATORS!

  • I’ll give you that he is a better role model, but he is not a better college player than inVINCEable Young was.

    I’m glad he is doing the commercial – I don’t think it will affect him much financially one way or the other. The Ben & Jerry’s crowd isn’t brimming with sports fans.

  • Oh c matt, and here I was beginning to trust your judgment w/ your good taste in BBQ, then you have to go and compare Tebow and Young! Young was one of the greats, no doubt about it (and I don’t particularly like the Horns, despite living here in TX now, although I would have loved to have seen the Gators play them last January instead of overrated Oklahoma for the nat’l championship!), but Young would rank perhaps in the top 5 or 6 players of all time at the college level. In terms of leadership, heart for the game, and even overall physicality, I have to give the edge to Tebow here, and by a comfortable margin.

    Alas, not everything that comes out of Houston is logical, including c matt’s football preferences! ;-p

Res et Explicatio for AD 8-7-2009

Friday, August 7, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York commended President Obama and the Democratic Party efforts inArchbishopDolan reforming Health Care.  He said this during the Knights of Columbus Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.  But his Grace gave this caveat that if reform…

“…leads to the destruction of life, then we say it’s no longer health care at all – it’s unhealthy care and we can’t be part of that.”

To accentuate this sentiment and as a warning to well meaning Catholics, Cardinal Levada explained that those that want to reform health care at any cost:

“[W]e do not build heaven on earth, we simply prepare the site to welcome the new Jerusalem which comes from God.”

2. Catholic convert Joe Eszterhas of Hollywood screenwriting fame, will be writing the screenplay for a movie aboutVirgen of Guadelupethe Virgin of Guadalupe.  Though no director nor a green light has been given on the go ahead of this movie project, the fact that Joe Eszterhas is writing the screenplay is newsworthy in itself because of the author himself is enough to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

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One Response to Res et Explicatio for AD 8-7-2009

"Is There a Common Ground on Life Issues?" — A discussion with Robert P. George and Doug Kmiec, moderated by Mary Ann Glendon

Friday, May 29, AD 2009

Robert P. George and Doug Kmiec engaged in a discussion of the topic, “The Obama Administration and the Sanctity of Human Life: Is There a Common Ground on Life Issues? What is the Right Response by ‘Pro-Life” Citizens?” at Washington, D.C.’s National Press Club, Thursday, May 28, 2009. The discussion was moderated by Mary Ann Glendon.

You can watch the video on CUA’s website here; or on C-Span here.

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8 Responses to "Is There a Common Ground on Life Issues?" — A discussion with Robert P. George and Doug Kmiec, moderated by Mary Ann Glendon

  • You can find the transcript of George’s opening remarks at Public Discourse: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/viewarticle.php?selectedarticle=2009.05.29.001.pdart

  • I’m into the first 20 minutes and Kmiec is clearly showing his true colors by believing in the farce of global warming and embracing the radical environmental agenda. He’s now belly-aching about being denied Communion.

  • Kmiec is complaining about Chaput and Burke and accusing them of not being Catholic. He’s sounding more and more like Deacon Kandra where he holds his conscious above that of the teachings of the Church.

  • 30 minutes into the “discussion” he is still belly-aching about being denied Communion.

    He finally stopped. He finished with pretty much saying he’s still a good Catholic.

    He doesn’t even believe his own lies.

  • Robert George just finished a very well articulated pro-life position for opposing Obama’s anti-life policies. Unlike Kmiec, he spoke confidently, he didn’t belly-ache, and he spoke with purpose.

    Kmiec on the other hand spoke as if he had the wind knocked out of him. You could plainly see the difference between the two in how they spoke and carried themselves. Kmiec has obviously felt the burden of supporting evil. Kmiec’s speech was that of “intent”, ie, his intentions are pro-life even if he supported Obama.

    George spoke with substance on where we can find common ground and where we differ. Completely different from Kmiec’s narcissistic diatribe.

  • Kmiec just denied that science supports that life begins at a very early stage. He’s clearly gone off the deep end. I believe he’s so vested with the most pro-abortion president that he has reconciled himself to his fate.

  • Kmiec fielded a question about why he calls denial of Communion “intimidation”. Kmiec basically belly-ached that he is pro-life and called those bishops that deny Communion and I quote, “wrong-headed”.

    What arrogance.

  • Wow. Kmiec has admitted that ESCR is ok. WOW! He is a regular Richie Rich. Kmiec is going against Church teaching. He rests his case on “intent” and “conscious”. Pretty sad.

    It was a pretty good panel discussion.

Nat Hentoff takes President Obama to task

Friday, May 29, AD 2009

Nat Hentoff’s characteristically blunt and ‘no b.s.’ columns used to be one of chief attractions of the Village Voice, before they made the foolish mistake of letting him go. Politically he’s not one you can apply a label to — in 2003 he supported the removal of Saddam Hussein’s murderous dictatorship on humanitarian grounds, but as a supporter of the First Amendment and civil liberties, harshly criticized the more excessive measures taken by the Bush administration.

Unapologetically pro-life, he is a staunch opponent of the death penalty and abortion (the latter apparently causing some tension with his liberal colleagues at the Voice) and vigorously opposed the court-ordered murder of Terry Schiavo.

Not surprisingly, he established a rapport with the feisty John Cardinal O’Connor, about whom he wrote an appreciative biography.

A self-described “member of the Proud and Ancient Order of Stiff-Necked Jewish Atheists,” he is also one who might merit the attribution: “on the side of the angels.”

Now, he takes aim at President Obama’s faux-support for “dialogue” at Notre Dame:

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5 Responses to Nat Hentoff takes President Obama to task

  • “No matter how much we want to fudge it … the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable”

    – I have to agree with that.

  • We rejoice in seeing that the esteemed Mr. Hentoff has found a place to hang his polemical hat- the Cato Institute, no less. His former employer, the usually Marxist Village Voice, recently terminated his 50-year relationship. So gratifying to see he is not mellowing in his golden years. Also gratifying to see that this Support Pregnant Women Bill is sponsored in the Senate by our own PA Senator Bob Casey Jr. No doubt communing with the ghost of Pop who is saying remember the family tradition and support the women and babies. Not surprising that no record exists of Dear Leader’s support for the bill- tends to shy away from those messier intramural skirmishes, like supporting La Pelosi from the Intelligence Community’s wrath. So bravo to Prof. Dr. Hentoff and ad multos annos and many more years of comforting afflicted and afflicting comfortable. In a word, embarrassing the young sellout whippersnappers holding sway in the MSM these days.

  • Oh might I add that fewer Americano writers have been more insightful on the topic of American Jazz- AKA A Legit Americano Art Form. Also worth examining from the esteemed Dr. Hentoff.

  • Nat Hentoff, my favorite liberal atheist! If one had to give an award for an unending dedication to the pro-life cause in a hostile environment, I would unhesitatingly give it to Mr. Hentoff.

  • The word “Dialogue” seems to be the latest sacrificial victim on the altar of ideological codespeak.

    Dia-logos, opening-words, seems to take for granted a hope in the existence of objective truth buried in the words of another and a sincere desire to find it.

    Doesn’t really apply to what happened at Notre Dame’s commencement, but it sounds really good.

Tortured Credibility

Friday, May 22, AD 2009

It has become an oft repeated trope of Catholics who are on the left or the self-consciously-unclassifiable portions of the American political spectrum that the pro-life movement has suffered a catastrophic loss of credibility because of its association with the Republican Party, and thence with the Iraq War and the use of torture on Al Qaeda detainees. Until the pro-life movement distances itself from the Republican Party and all of the pro-life leadership who have defended the Iraq War and/or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on detainees, the argument goes, the pro-life movement will have no moral authority and will be the laughing stock of enlightened Catholics everywhere.

Regardless of what one thinks about the Iraq War and torture (myself, I continue to support the former but oppose the latter) I’m not sure that this claim works very well. Further, I think that those who make it often fail to recognize the extent to which it cuts both ways.

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42 Responses to Tortured Credibility

  • I don’t think being “pro-life” will lose credibility because the position is True, but “pro-lifers” who associate with other violations against human dignity might.

    Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    The decision was not only an act of aggression, it was unconstitutional and a strategic blunder. It put us on the road to bankruptcy and rather than secure our safety I believe it to be contributing to an environment for further violent conflict. The truth is, almost a decade out from 9/11 and we were given Saddam Hussein on a platter instead of Osama bin Laden.

    The fact of this occurring under a Republican administration is rather irrelevant. If party actually mattered the war funds would have been taken away by the Democratic congress at any time after 2006. Now, half a year into Obama’s tenure and the line on withdraw is “give us three years”.

    The fact that this messy war has tainted other Republican “values” is not surprising. Look at everyone suddenly crying out that capitalism has failed!

    I would expect that if Obama does not end the war in a satisfactory way by the next election, or if there is a new conflict in Pakistan or Africa… leftist values too will begin to be dragged down. Voters will become sick of everything he says, just like Bush. The anti-war left would likely be as deflated and the pro-life right.

    If you ask me its the insanity of tribalism at work. If you take the “us vs. them” two party system and combine it with the general ignorance… well what do you expect? And besides, its not as if people on the genuine left and the genuine right really make it into power, is it?

    The war was never about securing the American people. It was however, about securing the American federal government; it dominance and control. Thats something both center-left and center-right can agree on. Ironically, they are losing both bit by bit, British-style.

    To this day I believe that the path to regain power is within Republican hands: all they have to do is repudiate the war. Maybe change their name, too. 🙂

    As far as the pro-Life movement is concerned… I do indeed think it is in their best interest to grow beyond the party. I think they have to if they are looking to build majorities that can withstand the back-and-forth of American politics.

    Most libertarians seem to be pro-choice, which is mind-boggling. There’s room there to grow a little bit.

    Pro-lifers do not need a majority of Democrats on their side. Just enough to make the larger party think twice when it comes to abortion legislation. They have to consider which piper they are going to pay. If abortion were more often argued in terms of the civil rights movement, perhaps left-leaning politicians could be persuaded.

    I guess, Darwin, my broader point is – none of it matters. Its tit-for-tat politics and none of the influential players are interested in moral consistency, just majority-building. By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    Or, perhaps I made no sense, even to myself.

  • Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    Well, I think I can at least claim to have been sober, in that I’d supported forcibly removing Hussein from power ever since 1991. I considered it profoundly immoral for Bush Sr. to have called on the people of Iraq to rise up against their dictator, with the implicit promise that the US would support them, and then leave them to die in the hundreds of thousands instead. I would have supported an invasion at any time since then, and I considered it to be justified, given that Iraq had never satisfactorily obeyed the 1991 cease fire anyway. If Clinton had been willing to get rid of Hussein at any point during his term, I would have supported that.

    I do think that the WMD justification was poor at best. Yes, there was a general belief (even among Iraq’s military) that they had chemical weapons. But they were not a great threat to us. However, given that I’d been in support of deposing Hussein for over ten years already, I didn’t consider the punitive justification a major obstacle to what seemed long overdue already.

    But, I can certainly understand why other Catholics would believe differently.

    By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    I don’t know that I’m so much defending the status who as pointing out that it’s hardly surprising to anyone. There are parts of the GOP platform that I absolutely disagree with (I’d support open borders) but I don’t think anyone does himself any favor by getting all worked up over where the current alignments are. It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. All are known to be highly partisan agendas with established bases of support, and pretending that’s news to anyone does not strike me as doing one credit. Even if one would appreciate realignment.

  • “It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. ”

    I suppose it would depend on how you see credibility. The movement is philosophically credible by being moral and constitutionally correct. But politically I can see how some would say they’ve lost credibility in terms of their ability to win elections, win court cases and influence legislation. If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues. Only the thick-headed would exclusively equate political success to intellectual legitimacy.

  • Anthony,

    If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues

    the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?

    The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

  • The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

    This is due to american historical amnesia, of course.

  • Rather a reaction to the coming Obama Crash. Unless there is a major terrorist attack, and I wouldn’t rule that out, the economy will be the overriding issue in 2010 and 2012 and the signs are not good currently for Obamanomics.

  • Michael I,

    what Donald said. But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well. Their disatisfaction was almost entirely due to the poor state of affairs until it was rectified by the surge which President Bush (R) ordered at the recommendation of General Petreus (R?), and the urging of Senator McCain (R), and the majority of the Republican party. The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over, or that Obama snapped defeat from the jaws of victory, very unlikely since he kept on the Robert Gates(R) to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.

    Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.”

    I think the point is not whether or not the choices, in the short-term, of what seemed best for the survival of the movement is correct. After Roe v. Wade, the Democrats became increasingly dominated by pro-choice politicians, supported by the abortion-minded groups, etc. The GOP was very welcoming.

    I think the point of the criticism (right or wrong) is that possibly unforeseen affects are what we’re experiencing now.

    I think he is saying that the pro-life movement by making itself dependent solely on the success of a single party has made its own success contingent on that party. If positions predominantly accepted by that party are, largely down-the-list, against one’s best judgments of what better achieves justice then despite their pro-life convictions, some will feel disenfranchised and/or uncomfortable or even alienated by the rest of pro-lifers, some, not all, of which give a blind stamp of approval to the platform because of the party’s stance on life issues.

    And because this issue has divided itself across party lines, it appears to be a partisan issue when it really should not be.

    I posted a link from a story in the Human Life Review a while back talking about trouble pro-life Democratic candidates had in receiving funds, despite their records, from pro-life groups; other problems included Republican candidates being endorsed over pro-life Democrats with untainted abortion records — though, as far as I know, this hasn’t happened so much on the federal, rather than, state level. It’s why people — rightly or wrongly — say that some pro-life groups might as well be Republican PACs.

    Another problematic case is the fact that pro-life Democrats are so “diaspora” and not collectively organized at the local levels that it makes it rather difficult, even for principled, pro-life Democrats to actually launch a campaign. They don’t have the resources, even for those who are unequivocally pro-life. Some settle and work in the trenches for pro-life groups or other justice causes. Others simply — and I imagine this happened during the Reagan years — became Republicans.

    As a result, it is very very difficult for the pro-life movement to enter the realm of the Left because fellow pro-lifers are suspicious, perhaps with valid reason, to suspect “double talk” or false pro-life credentials.

    However, this very reality, I think makes the pro-life movement a house divided against itself while the pro-choice movements is moving in lock-step and that’s the source of their temporal victories.

    Now, I’m sure no one is saying that a one-party pro-life party is the way to go to. Some are hesitant, I’m sure for valid reasons, that it is difficult, or even counter-productive, to support self-described “pro-life Democrats.” Perhaps they’re right.

    However, here are my criticisms — some valid, perhaps some not. Everyone will have to judge for themselves.

    When Reagan was the president, the pro-life movement gained quite a bit of ground. Yet, the Clinton Administration quickly turned the direction of abortion and bioethical policies the other way. The Bush Administration was eight years of undoing the damage done by the Clinton Administration and restoring and adding new pro-life policies. Now we’re in another reversal.

    This tit-for-tat can keep going, or the other party can be infiltrated from within. There has not been much ground on this made, necessarily, but the organization Republicans for Choice (http://www.republicansforchoice.com/) are all but invisible. After the election, I’ve read a many articles and seen many people claiming that it was the “values-sector” of the party driving out moderates with their alleged extremism and litmus tests. I’m not making their argument; I am simply stating their assertions. The GOP, as seen, has no problem recruiting pro-choice Republicans to run for office (more than likely in liberal districts) to win office. I suppose the thinking is that it’s better to have someone with you 90% of the time then 0%.

    This reality tried to manifest itself in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries. The pro-life movement responded forcefully — not for the best candidate in my view — but responded nonetheless. Yet, I cannot help but wonder: what if?

    What would happen if the GOP with its new RNC Chair, Mr. Steele, so committed to “inclusion” and diversity and non-application of litmus tests went in a different direction? What if, God forbid, at some point, the pro-life movement split between viable candidates and all pro-choice and socially moderate Republicans concerned with fiscal conservatism, not cultural values, line up behind a single, less-than-pro-life candidate?

    I think that’s the bind. What is a pro-life person to do in this situation? Surely, a hypothetical, cynical GOP strategist might ask: would they really go to the other party? If this did occur: what would you do? Some I imagine would put a protest vote and not vote at all. Others would vote for the GOP, take what they can, and work to change the case next time. But it would surely be a source of division and debate: a house divided against itself. It seems that if voting is a moral obligation, then, one can’t simply sit at home and let good pro-life Republicans lose their seats and more pro-choice seats be taken in Congress by the Democratic party. What about pro-life Governors? What about the Presidency? The latter of two who appoint judges (depending on the State) and can realistically set a judicial seat in the pro-choice camp for perhaps a generation. Right now, that’s the scare with Obama’s SC nominee coming. Surely it would be better — and on this no one disagrees — that power can exchange between the parties and there would be little concern over nominee’s abortion positions.

    It seems that the success of the pro-life movement rises and falls with the GOP. I think it’s problematic.

    I don’t think it’s nonsense per se to envision Republican strategists, pure pragmatists, to realize that abortion is a potent electoral tool and not so much a human rights issue. This isn’t to say that there are several candid and sincere pro-life Republicans serving in public office.

    In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    This goes back to the question of pro-life Democrats. I think many Democrats who are pro-life cannot garner the resources or support to make it to office. The Democratic party won’t fund pro-life candidates, but rather would search for pro-choice candidates — anyone — to run in opposition to such candidates in primaries. That’s the key. A pro-life Democrat might do fine in a general elections against a Republican. In recent decades, they usually win. But rather it is the Democratic primary is an incredible challenge because of a lack of resources to compete against their fellow party-members who are singling them out surely over abortion. The GOP doesn’t hesitate to fund it’s pro-choice candidates: primaries are fair game. Let the voters decide.

    The list of pro-life Democrats who had high political ambitions who realized this reality is growing. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, and many more were all at one point pro-life.

    Now certainly there change of conviction is morally incorrect and a reflection of poor character and courage. Many of such candidates do so for political expediency; others remain “pro-life,” but compromise their position and “moderate themselves” to win some base votes that they otherwise cannot win office without. Some later become explicitly pro-choice; others try to uphold the pro-life facade. Surely, the cooperation in evil doesn’t justify such actions. However, I think the fact that this occurs reflects a support that is not there, not just for cowards who will compromise, but for those who genuinely will seek office and never win it because they aren’t willing to sell out their principles.

    Yet, it just makes me wonder, if a pro-life Democrat launched an exploratory committee to seek the presidency and actually made it onto the ballot for the Democratic primary, how many pro-life groups or pro-life Americans, might actually extend help in resources for such a candidate to survive the assaults of NARAL, Emily’s List, and Planned Parenthood which is without a doubt the most organized, financed political movement in the U.S.? I’m skeptical of the number of people who would cross over from the GOP and cast their vote to ensure the pro-life candidate wins. I’m sure they have their reasons for it as well.

    I’m not sure anything I’ve said is valid or just my jumbled, ramblings.

    Perhaps, my most controversial thought is this…

    I won’t say it is a double standard.

    I just will say I dislike the reality. It seems that to be authentically a pro-life Democrat you must support Republican candidates, even with the most strident conviction that these candidates will not work fervently, or even with passion, to curtail the horror of abortion — but are rather giving you lip service. Right or wrong, I believe this to be the case. Yet, if you vote for or support pro-life Democratic candidates, some, again, not all, will see this as a moral compromise and support for “pseudo-pro-life” candidates. To such candidates, much scrutiny is given; but this same critical eye is not extended to the pro-life politicians in the GOP; it seems to me, perhaps, I’m wrong, they get quite a bypass. Nor do such individuals see any sort of necessity in helping such candidates win and defeat pro-choice candidates in a party direly in need of pro-life presence.

    Pro-life Democrats can never achieve leaders seats on committees and roles of leadership if they aren’t greater in number to be a force not to be thrown around.

    So, at the end of the day, pro-life Democrats seem to have a responsibility to ensure that Republican candidates beat pro-choice Democrats; yet, the issue of pushing their party in a more pro-life direction, seems to be an issue that is sort of “their problem” — and I cannot see how this current reality doesn’t lend itself to helping the Republican party politically. It maintains its hold on a crucial voting bloc.

    So, not so surprisingly, I agree, at least, in part with critics that the pro-life movement in some respects behaves like a Republican PAC.

    As it so happens, two parties that are pro-life forces competition, competition produces results. It seems then that pro-life Democrats are a potent tool for pro-life success. Even from 2000 to 2006, not a piece of pro-life legislation could pass through Congress without the remaining pro-life Democrats to neutralize and overcome pro-choice Republican votes.

  • But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well.

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?”

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    There has to also be a way that makes the pro-life cause and Democratic political interests better partners. Recall that after 2004, some Democrats began to wonder aloud (perhaps not seriously, but still) of becoming more friendly to the pro-life side of things. I had hoped the “Blue Dog” Democrats might be a moderating force, but not so it seems..

    Though, a third party would always be welcome in my view, however unlikely. It will never happen until enough disillusioned but still caring individuals decided to organize and work to breakdown election rules.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    And in the not-to-distant future they will see that Obama is carrying on that proud tradition, just in a lefty, Oprah-y way with nice posters and logos. Whether they have the courage to see past it remains to be seen.

    “The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.”

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Don’t get me wrong… the Democrats are guilty of all that too!

    “Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).”

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008”, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Will inflation be the issue? Of course, thanks to the billions spent, borrowed or created at the start of Bush’s term and exponentially increased under Obama.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

  • Anthony, I agree. Despite my own previous assumptions, I’m not so sure I’ll be crossing over and helping the GOP in 2010; maybe not in 2012.

    I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.

  • “I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.”

    My mind is being tragically torn into a million pieces that the very thought of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome… and POTUS!

    Thomas Jefferson would be very, VERY disappointed!

  • If you say you won’t support pro-life Republicans in 2010 or 2012 for office against pro-abortion Democrats… what’s the logical conclusion?

    If you say you don’t want the Republicans back in power any time soon, and you’re not insane enough to think that somehow a magical third party will take sweep the congress in 2010 and the presidency in 2012, then the only conclusion is you prefer the RADICALLY pro-abortion Democrats.

    If you don’t see the strategy of supporting the Republican party straight ticket, then vote your conscience on each legitimate candidate on his own merits. That’s the ONLY moral option.

  • I said I’d write in candidates.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

    Of course it’s true, 70% of the population supported the invasion, and both parties with a very few exceptions.

    Relevence? It’s relevent to the point of what will happen in 2010/2012.

    Anthony,

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    I agree, we should patiently pursuade the luke-warm to be on fire for pro-life, and for the pro-abortion to be pro-life or at least luke-warm. THis applies to either party of course. Franly though, you can have a much greater influence on Republican platforms that you like or don’t like than you will on dropping abortion from the Democrat platform. THere is just a lot more tolerence for dissenting views in the Republican party.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    I don’t think most people really have as short a memory as you do about the invasion (bipartisan and popular support), if their memory is short they’ll probably only remember that we won (unless Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, and that they’ll REALLY remember. Expensive? In 2003-2008 terms perhaps, but it is so small compared to Obama’s spending sprees it will not really factor on the decision.

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue. 40 million murdered innocents and counting… no comparison.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Shame on you.

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008?, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    That’s my point, Iraq war, initiated under popular support, waged by the Republicans (poorly at times, but later brilliantly and successfully) from 2003-2008. The wrap-up is Obama’s to screw-up, it will not help him if he lets the job be finished properly, but it will devastate him if he screws it up.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

    are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.

  • Eric Brown,

    I said I’d write in candidates.

    let me get this straight. You consider your objections to the Republican platform to be on such a morally equal level to abortion, even when balanced against the alternative’s incredibly immoral policies… that you would vote AGAINST a viable and authentically pro-life candidate in your congressional district, or for president?

    Think about your position here, it’s untennable. If there is a viable and authentically pro-life candidate you have a moral obligation to support him. In the case of two less than authentically pro-life candidates the Church leaves your conscience to measure the best course, but not when one of them is authentically pro-life.

  • Well, I voted for quite a few Republicans in 2008 and not without a lot of hesitation.

    However, the problem is, that I don’t take at face value that the GOP and Republicans are “authentically” pro-life. Better on abortion than Democrats by far, but not per se…

    And I am not sure if it is a Catholic moral obligation to vote straight ticket Republican.

    I might have reservations to cooperate in the scheme, but I’m not opposed to doing it.

    Read my earlier post.

  • “Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue.”

    Killing is killing. Maybe you’re capable of making value distinctions between innocent, unborn children and innocent Iraqi lives (unless you’re convinced none are innocent), but I’m not.

    The “bigger picture” you refer to is only a numbers game. But the result is the same: death, unintended consequences and damage to human dignity.

    “Shame on you.”

    I’m going to explain myself rather than take that personally. This is the internet after all.

    Our intervention in Japan and Germany is not over. We’re still there, in one capacity or another. And we shouldn’t be, regardless of whether the Germans or the Japanese wish us to be. Here it is 60 years after a terrible and bloody war and American treasure is still being sent abroad to places in which the native peoples are more than capable of taking responsibility for themselves.

    Oh yeah, and dropping two atomic bombs? Morally reprehensible. Nothing to be proud of about that. I can’t imagine Christ doing anything other than weeping.

    So sorry, I’m not going to take The History Channel view of American “victory”.

    “Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.”

    Its a trillion dollar war now, Matt. Plus untold losses on the Iraqi side and an incalculable amount lost in terms of productivity. Who cares about percentages at that point?

    If that money had to be spent, it would have been better but towards meeting our burdensome domestic obligations. The bills are adding up…

    By other “foreign policy” spending… do you mean wasted things like… diplomats?! Linguists?! Negotiators?! You know, the guys that try to resolve problems without killing someone. 🙂

    I’ll give you one thing, if you’d get us out of the U.N. I’d back you up. Thats some prime property here in Manhattan I’d love to see sold off.

    “are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.”

    I don’t consider myself a pacifist. I do however, believe that the threshold for a just war is extremely high and rarely reached. Additionally, in cases where it is justly reached rarely is it justly executed. I have the same attitude towards the death penalty.

    The American Revolution and The Southern War for Independence to my mind were justified. (I also want to include The Texas Revolution, but my memory is a bit faded on it) Our involvement in WWII was justified, but I think we should have no delusions about the politics that lead up to our entering the war. I also believe portions of how WWII was executed were unjust.

    The Spanish-American War, WWI (a special shout-out here), the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War I and II etc. are unjust wars in my view.

    The current war in Afghanistan should have been formally declared after 9-11, with victory clearly defined. My opinion has been that it should have been declared specifically against Al-Qaeda, since they did the same to us in the late 90s. War against the state of Afghanistan should only have been declared if they chose to continue material support to Al-Qaeda.

  • I think the issue is less guilt by association than it is the fact that association can draw you into defending things that really shouldn’t be defended. Over the past month, for example, folks at EWTN, First Things, Inside Catholic and the American Life League have defended the use of torture (or enhanced interrogation, or whatever they’re calling it these days). They didn’t have to do that, and I suspect that if the sides had been reversed (with Dems largely supporting these methods and Repubs opposed) that they wouldn’t have done so. But there’s something about politics that makes people feel that they need to “defend their team” regardless of the system.

    To some extent this may be inherent in the nature of politics (if it weren’t for this political ‘team spirit’ I doubt you could get very many people to participate in the political process or even vote). And it certainly applies on the left as well as on the right. But the danger is real.

  • Blackadder is correct.

  • In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    In the interests of precision it should be that George Bush – pere made just two appointments to the Court, one of which worked out badly. Please also note that Republican presidents have had to maneuver eight of their last 12 court appointments past a legislature controlled by the political opposition. This reality has been salient with regard to the tenure of Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. One might also note the list of registered Democrats who have sat on the Court since 1969 (one of which was nominated by Gen. Eisenhower):

    1. William O. Douglas
    2. William J. Brennan, Jr.
    3. Byron White
    4. Thurgood Marshall
    5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    6. Steven Breyer

    Not one of them had to run an obstacle course erected by a Republican Senate. Only one of these (White) ever showed much resistance to enactment by judicial ukase of whatever the prevailing ethos was in Georgetown (and it is doubtful that Mr. Justice White’s most controversial acts of refusal would have been regarded as remarkable either in the legal professoriate or among politicians at the time he was appointed in 1962). Seven of the twelve Republican appointments have been failures, in part because of negligence (Gerald Ford’s and George Bush-pere’s), incompetence (that of Richard Nixon, John Mitchell, and John Dean), and in part because (it is reasonable to surmise) of successful deception by the candidate in question (Sandra Day O’Connor).

    What is a more interesting question is why Mr. Brown would have more than a laconic interest in the competition between the two parties with regard to any other nexus of issues. Both parties are promoters of some version of the mixed economy. The Democratic Party is a reliable ally (the Republicans merely acquiescent) in the promotion of the designs of the social work industry, the organized appetite of academia, the teacher’s colleges, and the public employee unions. Certain subcultures within the population appear to be tribal Democrats). Why should these distinctions excite Mr. Brown’s loyalty?

  • Anthony, I think a lot of it depends on whose ox is being gored. Being partly of Cuban ancestry, I would take issue with your statement that the Spanish American war was unjustified–or at least, that element within it that consisted of Cuban citizens fighting to rout their foreign rulers. And while my Southern creds are impeccable, I confess that I remain deeply divided about the legitimacy of the Wah of Nawthun Agression–particularly the nasty little bit of Confederate adventuring in Charleston Harbor that set off the whole powder keg.

    I am glad to see, however, that you have no false illusions about WWII. Though there is no doubt in my mind that it was justified, I have often reflected recently that the brutality inflicted by all sides–Allies included–in that conflict, makes the sturm und drang about the Iraq War seem doubly ridiculous.

  • Art,

    Then it seems then that more careful vetting would be something GOP presidents should work on and pro-life advocates should strongly affirm that they desire anti-Roe judges and won’t settle for compromises.

    Even in the 1980s, the Democratic party was markedly pro-choice, but there were still a few pro-life Democratic votes in the Senate and I don’t think it was filibuster proof. I’d have to look into that; I’m not so sure if compromise and “moderate” candidates was so necessary.

    Agreed, however, that O’Connor was successful. I must say that I’ve been disappointed with the most recent women firsts — Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, to be particular. They were all pro-choice…so sad.

    On another note —

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform. And I feel that I simply wouldn’t fit in with the GOP. I practically diverge away on every issue.

    In regard to competition, my only point was that if the Democratic Party had a pro-life plank, the GOP couldn’t half-ass deliver on its promises or fail to give abortion the priority it deserves because pro-life advocates could find a home and place in the Democratic Party. Therefore, competition would increase and the party’s would try to out do each other — but the effect of that is real progress in stopping abortion.

    In other words, the tit-for-tat of pro-choice vs. pro-life means one Administration puts in place pro-abortion policies, another Administration rolls it back, then again, and again. Progress is very slow; if this were not the case, then progress would quicken.

    My feeling on this is that the pro-life movement because of the grave evil of legalized murder doesn’t have the luxury to make up strategy as it goes. I happen to think our current strategy is too tied up in one party. People can disagree; but I think my reasons are valid. Thanks.

  • cminor – Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    What I object to in my list of unjust wars is the element of military intervention. Its one thing to philosophically support foreigners, or offer them peaceful-oriented material support (food, medical aide, etc. – mostly for civilians). Violent intervention is a bridge too far. I’m one of those guys who think neutrality is a legitimate and respectable response to foreign wars, especially ones at great geographical distance.

    Eric –

    I’m of the personal view that if the Democrats did have a pro-life bench they would be wildly successful and almost impossible to defeat.

    Granted I’m not a Democrat and never will be. The concerns that their platform addresses I might have heart for, but their solutions more often than not have unintended or misunderstood consequences. LBJ’s Great Society, for example, was anything but. FDR’s social security has contributed ironically to making us less financially secure. These policies, sold to the American public as being in line with liberty, over time make the population dependent – and I would even say pawns or slaves – to the state.

    The Democrats are in essence the party of social and economic intervention. The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism. When politically convenient or necessary, both parties will swap philosophies.

  • Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    Interesting. In most ways, I think I would tend to say the exact opposite.

    Indeed, one of the American wars I have more difficulty justifying is the Revolution. And my sympathies in the Civil War are definitely with the North.

  • The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism.

    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.

    Eric,

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform.

    Wow. That’s quite a statement since many of their platform items are contrary to Catholic teaching.

    – abortion
    – contraception
    – secularism
    – limiting the rights of parents to educate their children

  • Matt,

    Last time I checked, party platforms are quite long lists.

    National security policies (which covers an array of issues), foreign policy (again an array of issues), health care, public funding of education, energy, taxes, fighting poverty through private and public sector solutions, and the list goes on.

    If you consider the whole of the platform, I agree with the vast majority of the points.

    Lastly, I don’t think anywhere in the party platform does it state we support “secularism.”

    I’m not saying that many Democrats have a wonderful understanding of the idea of separation of Church and State, but that’s flat out not in the platform.

    I didn’t say I agree with every point of the platform.

    If we had a point list and went down the party platform of each party and I had to respond ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ — the Democrats would win. Ask me to vote between candidates and probably not.

    Matt, could you really work on not being so overly aggressive and condescending as a commenter? Seriously. It’s not really in this post, but there are more charitable and engaging ways to address people.

    You could have said quoted my comment and asked:

    “Eric, could you clarify what you mean here? A few tenets of the Democratic platform contradict Catholic teaching.”

    That’s very charitable and not so assuming.

    I’m sure we’re all guilty, but we argue on this blog so much about “good” Catholics and “bad” Catholics, let’s strive to actually imitate Jesus.

  • Darwin –

    Perhaps living in Texas will influence your outlook. Certainly myself having been born and raised in Houston I experienced a subculture in America that took pride in its republican sovereignty as a historical footnote. However, Texas by and large is mostly just ‘bark and no bite’ when it comes to independence. Post-Civil War they’ve been properly beaten into submission and made to feel guilty (like the rest of the South) for ever daring to give Washington the screw.

    In the case of both The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy but merely her expulsion. If the South succeeded in gaining independence, perhaps the war would have been known as ‘The Southern Revolution’ or ‘The Second American Revolution’. Had both the above conflicts been genuine ‘civil wars’ I would think the endgame would involve usurping power in London and Washington D.C.

    Thats all I’ll say… I’m already too far off topic.

  • The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy

    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.

  • ****
    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.
    ****

    Matt,

    Maybe I’m being dimwitted, but I think you just responded to my ‘talking points’ with your own set.

    The Republican record is atrocious, especially when it comes to the litmus test of a strict reading of the Constitution and following what I can only presume are Jeffersonian principles. On matters of free speech, spending, declarations of war, states rights and social/government programs they have not lived up to their speeches. They pick and choose which rights and which liberties and which kind of justice just as much as Democrats.

    Our politicians are ‘Cafeteria Constitutionalists’ if I can paraphrase.

    Clinton might indeed have more military interventions (Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq immediately spring to mind), but the cost was no where near that of Bush II. My ‘militarism’ reference is more geared toward the current state of the party and the cultural attitudes attracted to it.

    Like I said above, those described philosophies are also quickly swapped depending on the political weather. Right now, for instance, the Republicans have become much better on a variety of issues. The problem is they have zero credibility.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.
    *****

    I’d love to debate all these points, but it is another topic thread. Unless we have permission to go free-for-all. 🙂

  • Anthony,

    Following the self-indulgent principle of “it’s my thread so I’ll take if off topic if I feel like it”, because this strikes me as an interesting topic:

    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good. In the case of the American Revolution, it strikes me that the injustices being imposed by the British were arguably very small compared to the evils of a drawn out war. Though the political philosophy of the American founding fathers strikes me as sufficiently far superior to that of the British empire that I an strongly tempted to say it was worth it anyway.

    In the case of the Civil War, I’m mildly sympathetic to states rights, but the stand was only being taken over states rights in order to insist on slavery. In that regard, I would happily have carried a rifle for the Union.

    Still, interesting conversation. I hope you’ll be around next week when I post my review (possibly multi part) of Empires of Trust. That should generate some interesting conversation.

    Blackadder,

    I think you’re right on tribalism. The temptation seems to have been too strong for some pro-life advocates to defend what they should not. Though at the same time — I don’t necessarily see the mistakes of those people as discrediting the movement as a whole. Or at least, it should not do so in the eyes of people who have long been used to swallowing the bitter pill of abortion support in the leaders they look up to on various “social justice” issues.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.
    *****

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone argue that the British crown was illegitimate, just tyrannical. The grievance, as I remember, was basically that a.) the crown’s actions were unjust and economically destructive, and b.) there was not sufficient representation in Parliament for the American colonies to voluntarily submit if they wanted to.

    Had those matters been better negotiated I would not have seen much cause for political separation. But they weren’t, so in my view it was justifiable to expel the threat to life, liberty and property and replace it with a better suited form of governance. It was time, as they say, to ‘appeal to heaven’.

    With regard to the war between the states its messier and more complicated, but similar to the situation with Britain.

    Let me first say that slavery is as reprehensible as abortion, contrary to any conception of liberty and should be rejected at all times and by all peoples. Were I living in America circa the 1850s, 1860s I would have been anti-slavery, but at peace with Southern secession.

    I often wonder if perhaps by allowing the South to secede, in time slavery could still have been done away with; particularly if Southern states sought to rejoin the Union at a later date. That way we could avoid the half million American deaths and a century of racial and and cultural resentment that is the Civil War’s sad legacy.

    I do not believe that slavery was the exclusive issue at stake in the Civil War. Not every individual fought for the same reason. If truly the war was one of liberation and not one of radically changing our Union’s understanding simultaneously, then permitting secession followed by an invasive mission to free slaves would have made more sense. Abolishing slavery in those states that did not secede would also have been more consistent on the part of the Union. Buying slaves and freeing them would also have made more sense. But both sides dug in… there had to be more to it than the lone moral debate over slavery.

    The South, in my view had a natural and popular desire to dissolve a political arrangement; no matter how imperfect or disgusting their own house could be. (Slavery, if I recall rightly, was enshrined in the CSA Constitution).

    Also I believe there to be legitimate historical and philosophical arguments over Lincoln’s goals at the war’s outset and the role tariffs and taxation played in further aggravating the conflict. Pro-Union historians who concede certain points about Lincoln usually argue that the president grew into being ‘The Great Emancipator’ over the course of the war thus legitimizing the “it was all about slavery” view. But if that is to be allowed then it could also be allowed that for the South what began as a wrong-headed defense of slavery grew into a larger and legitimate cause for political liberty.

    Its a real historical shame that the principle of ‘state’s rights’ – or rather a deference to local government – is tainted by the stench of slavery. Perhaps its only fitting that large, federal government is duly being connected to the stink of abortion, euthanasia, war and economic foolishness.

    *****
    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good.
    *****

    I’m not certain there is much to say from the Church’s perspective and I only have a few, sketchy thoughts here.

    For one, after life, liberty is a natural and necessary condition in order for mankind to pursue good. I tend to think that if liberty is abridged (either by a state or individual) it further complicates pursuing a moral good via moral means. An individual or a people placed in a desperate situation they’re likely going to react desperately I’d imagine. The slave is legitimate in his revolt against the master, just as the South had legitimacy in its desire to no longer be under Washington’s growing power.

    Second, and perhaps more telling, concerns the general attitude towards ‘the State’. Where as I see the Church as a ‘higher’ form of institution that teaches and loves (however imperfectly some times), the State is considerably lower or lowest in my estimation. Indeed, I find it positively parasitical and unproductive.

    I would note that this does not mean I am not patriotic. I love my country. I love its peoples, my family, my friends, its lands, its culture and even its intellectual traditions. I cannot transfer that love to the State, indeed I find love of state to be dangerous and inescapably competitive with the things I ought to love (my neighbor, my God, etc.).

    Were I to run for office, my platform would likely be to tie the federal government’s hands as much as possible and follow the Constitution to the letter – even when inconvenient.

  • As has been remarked, parliamentary representation in Britain prior to 1832 was quite haphazard – – rotten boroughs, pocket boroughs, dominacy of Lords over Commons, &c. The lack of assignment of representation to the colonies was an aspect of that. (To this day, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the residuum of overseas colonies do not have such representation). Why a series of excise taxes should spark a territorial revolt is an interesting question, from a sociological standpoint. Excises on paint and paper and tea may be good or bad policy. Such does not ‘tyranny’ make.

    Lincoln’s original motivations are an historical question. My purpose was to make a rough and ready statement as to why I would conceive of the use of force in that circumstance as legitimate.

    Personally, I think the U.S. Constitution is manifestly defective and should be scrapped.

  • I did not know about the sketchy representation in Parliament. Huh… the more you know!

  • Anthony

    As to Lincoln and the Civil War

    As a Southern one hears that often the Victors write hisotry. However as to the Civil War I often find the losers(we southerners) have often wrote it or “rewrote it” with amazing success. This was whiched one of its climaxes when Woodrow Wilson was elected and suddenly that horrid film he screened became the offical line

    First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away. It seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds in Texas. That was once a Catholic NO SLAVE STATE. It is without a doubt that SOuthern Leadership wanted a slave empire. Their constant designs on Cuba and Central America a prime example. In fact a slave Manifest Destiny with desgins on California. I suspect if things had gone differently if DC had been captured and even Philly I am not so sure that areas like New Mexico and Arizona to say the least would have been given back. There was consideravle Confederate action in New Mexico for example and the COnfederate recognized a Arizona Seccesionist Govt

    As to the “growing Federal Power” if you look at the Seccession Declarations of the States SLAVERY was the issue. While a few threw in talk of light houses and the occasional tariff this was the prime concern

    Southerners had used Federal Power quite a bit. They imposed a gag rule on Slavery in Congress, the mails could be censured of anti slavery things. Also what they wanted in the end was a Federal Slave Code. That would have been the largest exapnsion of Federal Power ever. In fact it was largely on this that the SOutherners broke with the Democrat party on that fateful day in Charleston at the Democrat Convention

  • First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away.

    Counter-factual speculation is somewhat idle. However, it ought be noted that the abolition of slavery in the United States was appended to the abolition of hereditary subjection all over Europe and Russia over the period running from 1789 through 1864. (Admittedly, serfdom is a qualitatively different institution). Also, I believe that the abolition of slavery in Brazil was enacted just a few years after the close of the American Civil War.

  • Well, the boll weevil would have done in the cotton industry one way or another, so retaining large quantities of slave labor would have become considerably less profitable for one major export at least. Importing new slave labor would also have become increasingly difficult and unprofitable, considering that standard practice on the big plantations in immediately antebellum Georgia and the deep South was to work slaves more or less to death over several years and then replace them. Slave escapes would likely have largely emptied border states (maybe we’d have a wall down the middle of the continent!) There might still be slavery, but not to the same extent as before; likely the system would have gotten extremely draconian before finally starting to fizzle, however.

    Currently I live in a South that, all things considered, is in pretty good shape. If a war (that we started) is what it took to bring the abomination that was slavery to an earlier close and my Confederate forefathers had to lose it so that this corner of the country wouldn’t degenerate into a demagogue-ridden third world state, though they haunt me for saying it, it’s just as well.

    For the record, I got the full Southern version of history in grade school. The victors didn’t write it all.

  • BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.

  • My favorite history of the Civil War was written by Shelby Foote, and the best study of command in the Civil War, Lee’s Lieutenants, was written by Douglas Southall Freeman. When it comes to the Civil War, the Southern viewpoint has produced myriad first class histories.

  • “BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.”

    I never said slavery was not part of it. My view has always been that the debate over slavery poured into a lager crisis over the meaning of the Union.

    I merely reject the argument that the Civil War was exclusively over that acute issue. The question of both liberty for slaves, political liberty for the Southern States and the Union’s meaning under the Constitution.

    You can’t disconnect the slave issue from its Constitutional aspects, its economic aspects any more than you can its moral ones. I’d also add that as one who leans rather libertarian the lens through which I’m viewing things is liberty itself. Questions of authority are antithetical. Why can’t one believe that slaves should be free and Southern states free? It seems rather “American” to me.

What does President Barack Obama actually MEAN?

Wednesday, May 20, AD 2009

For consideration: an excerpt from President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved.

The question, then — the question then is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

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18 Responses to What does President Barack Obama actually MEAN?

  • I didn’t interpret the president as naively asking us to put aside our differences and just get along. His point in these words was 1) to acknowledge that we do have serious differences – conflicting and irreconcilable differences – in how we understand justice and over what means we advocate in building a just society and 2) ask how we can work through these conflicts without putting aside our differences or demonizing the other. His answer to this question is implied in the first quoted paragraph: we work through these conflicts while recognizing that the other really is concerned for justice, even if we think that the other’s conception of justice is gravely wrong. To be sure, this is a difficult road in our pluralistic and postmodern society. We disagree not only about particular actions and behavior, but over the very meaning of justice and how justice should be applied.

  • The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm.

    this is a none to subtle slur against those who offer their lives to protect our nation. It is implying that the soldier is a war-monger, and the lawyer a peace-monger. Soldiers do not make policy, they do not decide when war is necessary. When war is necessary then all who are able must fight.

    In fact, without soldiers, efforts at peaceful conflict resolution are completely useless.

  • I can see the soldier and lawyer disagreeing on the steps necessary to protect the nation. I just think that when the lawyers mess it up they join the soldiers in the fight. Solidarity and all.

  • Phillip,

    and I can see the tinker and the tailor disagreeing. So what? There’s nothing about the profession of soldiering that makes one pro-war, and that’s what Obama is implying. Lawyers resolve problems “peacefully”, soldier’s resolve them “violently”.

    It’s a false dichotomy.

  • Kyle,

    Thanks for commenting. I comprehend the President’s advice about ‘not demonizing the other’ and call for a civil discussion. Those familiar with my own blog will understand I’ve long been an advocate for a more civil and charitable discussion.

    But I admit what gets to me — not only here but throughout the campaigning — is the talk of “working through these conflicts” and “join hands in common effort”. What does this actually mean with respect to abortion and ESCR?

    Granted, we can perhaps say that our President may want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare’ — but he will maintain that the “right” be preserved to commit abortion and will strive to repeal any legal restriction put up by those who conscientiously stand for protection of life.

    We can concede that those advocating embryonic stem cell research are motivated by a noble aspiration (to end sickness and suffering); but our President has insisted nonetheless that embryonic stem cell research continue — and at the financial expense of those who believe it to be a grave evil.

    What “common effort” can actually be accomplished with respect to these matters, when two clearly conflicting principles are at play?

  • Let’s not forget that this president at the same time as he authorized funding of baby-killing embryonic stem cell research, he cut off funding for actually successful and non-baby-killing adult stem cell research…. common ground? Give me a break.

    While in dialogue we at times must be “diplomatic”, we need to speak truth to power as it were and not allow the opposition to dehumanize the victims by conceding to their erroneous language.

  • I do not believe that Obama has any interest in justice for the unborn. He regards their lives as worth less than nothing if their mothers decide to abort them in the womb. His idea of a compromise is hot air for the pro-lifers and “abortion now, abortion forever” for the pro-aborts. His calls for dialogue on this issue are deeply duplicitous and purely an attempt to divide and weaken the pro-life cause.

  • Matt,

    Chill. My point wasn’t that soldiers were pro-war. Most I’ve known,(and I was in the Navy for seven years active and 14 reserve) are not. My point was that lawyers (and others) are quite capable of screwing up the safety of the nation and that soldiers were then obliged to suffer to restore it. I just wish that those lawyers would have to bear the suffering along with soldiers.

  • Phillip,

    You’re right, but I don’t believe that’s what Obama is thinking.

  • Oh I don’t either. I think he’s a Chicago politician and and first-rate liar. But there you have it.

  • “I think he’s a Chicago politician and and first-rate liar.”

    As an Illinois downstater I was brought up to believe there is no difference between those two categories!

  • I defer to your experience Donald.

  • Chris,

    Good questions. Obama seems to think that we can work through these conflicts while he implements policies that don’t just require us to tolerate what we hold to be evil, but require us to participate in those evils. That doesn’t strike me as a common ground approach. Either we as a society fund ESCR through our taxes or we don’t. There is no middle ground there. Regarding abortion, each side can at least work to reduce the number of abortions, but here as well we see issues with no middle ground: funding abortions, for instance.

    Personally, I think a good place to start is for both sides in these difficult conflicts to approach the conflicts and those involved assuming good motives, namely, a shared concern for justice. I’m of the opinion that legal victories in these conflicts last only as long as there is a consensus in the public to support them, so if we want to outlaw abortion and other practices, then we have to build that consensus. In my view, that consensus cannot be built when we’re demonizing one another and assuming the worst motives.

    Of course, there’s no magic trick to building consensus. I don’t expect it to happen, actually, but I hope for it.

  • Either we as a society fund ESCR through our taxes or we don’t. There is no middle ground there. Regarding abortion, each side can at least work to reduce the number of abortions, but here as well we see issues with no middle ground: funding abortions, for instance.

    Precisely. My concern is that sometimes this “come, let us dialogue together” is, whatever the noble motives of the advocate (in this case our President) is tantamount to an embrace of relativism.

    And it makes me wonder if Obama’s truly considered that the Church’s teaching that “no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” is as absolute as, say, opposition to slavery.

    It’s simply not something that a Christian will negotiate away through dialogue, no matter how civil. We can “dialogue” about this conviction with President Obama or NARAL or whoever until we’re blue in the face, but when it comes down to practical policy — something’s got to give.

    In my view, that consensus cannot be built when we’re demonizing one another and assuming the worst motives.

    I’ll concur with you there. Thanks for responding!

  • Kyle,
    Civil rights laws and the judicial decisions that advanced them were forged without a social consensus. They were necessary anyway, because they were right. While they certainly did not serve to immediately alter hearts and minds, they did contribute to that phenomena over time. Indeed, Roe itself was a lawless judicial decision that flew in the face of laws reflecting popular opinion; and over time it contributed to public acceptnce of abortion. In any event, social consensus is legally irrelevant as long as their is a constitutional barrier, however contrived and phony, to legal change

  • Mike,

    I don’t deny the effect that law can have on shaping people’s beliefs, but for laws to remain on the books in a democratic society, they must, in the long run, have the support of the people. If the people remain divided or against a law, then that law is not long for the world. Consider how easily President Obama swept away recent pro-life legislative gains. On the abortion issue in particular, we are going to see a lot of back-and-forth until the country generally comes to see the issue one way or another.

  • Kyle, the back and forth you describe is minor because of Roe. Roe stacks the deck against the democratic process. While that process would produce very imperfect results, those results would be far superior to those that Roe permits at this time. More specifically, the state of the abortion laws in this country is far more pro-abort than is the state of public opinion, precisely because Roe does not allow public opinion to be expressed in law via the democratic process.

    I fully agree that persuasion is important and that persuasion requires that one normally assumes good faith on the part of opponents. But it does not follow that repealing Roe would be feckless or unimportant. That simply could not be more wrong.

    Finally, it is naive to assign good faith to all. What Obama did in Illinois to sabotage the state’s Born Alive Act cannot be explained away as simply good faith disagreement. He lead the effort to ensure that children born as a result of an attempted abortion procedure would not be entitled to ordinary care unless the attending physician pronounced the child “viable.” In other words born children, who in the eyes of a single doctor are not viable, may lawfully be discarded as trash. He justified this effort by citing his concern for Roe, a concern that in this context is so stupid on so many levels that it must be regarded as insincere. Sincerity is a prerequisite to the good faith you value. It is not universally present.

  • I didn’t say that we should always assign good motives; I said we should assume them when we approach these conflicts. Of course, our assumptions may be later proved or disproved.

    For the record, I don’t think overturning Roe would be feckless or unimportant.

Gallup: More Americans Identify as "Pro-Life" Than "Pro-Choice" For First Time

Friday, May 15, AD 2009

This is only one survey, but it is encouraging all the same. The denial of legal protection to an entire class of human beings is one of the most serious human rights issues of our time. Here’s an excerpt from the article, with some thoughts below:

A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42% “pro-choice.” This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

Gallup1

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27 Responses to Gallup: More Americans Identify as "Pro-Life" Than "Pro-Choice" For First Time

  • I’m going to put the comment I left on this same survey at Inside Catholic here.

    Of course it is always encouraging to see pro-life numbers on the increase.

    The problem is that these numbers tell us nothing about what is likely to happen in the future. Not only can one be ‘personally’ pro-life and politically pro-choice – one can even be politically pro-life, in theory, and have higher priorities than abortion.

    I suspect this is a major reason why, in spite of such numbers, there aren’t enough pro-life politicians to push through a serious pro-life agenda. When was the last time abortion ranked anywhere near the top of the list? Not any time recently, if this list of polls can be trusted:

    http://tiny.cc/wQPX6

    Time and again, the economy is at the top of the list, and abortion, when it even makes the list, is at the bottom (you may have to scroll down to see some of those polls). Given these priorities, it makes no difference if one is pro-life or pro-choice. The status quo wins.

    As some have suggested in a discussion over the plausibility of a pro-life Democratic campaign at American Catholic, we basically need a pro-life Obama – someone who people will vote for on the economy, who also happens to be pro-life. It doesn’t need to be the Obama brand of neo-Keyensianism, but it had better not be laissez-faire, give the top .01% a massive tax cut supply-side nonsense either.

    In the end, the average hedonistic American has his priorities, and we have ours. If ours are important to us, and we are in the minority, then we have to find a way to attach our priority to the majority. The pro-choice lobby isn’t that strong. If abortion is a low priority for Americans, radical feminist ideology barely registers. Give them the choice between ‘guy whose economic policies I like, and who is pro-life’ and ‘guy whose economic policies I don’t like, but who is for a woman’s right to choose’ and the contest is over.

  • I agree to a certain extent, Joe, but with the following caveats (disagreements are more interesting anyway):

    1) I think you overstate the importance of the economy. While any time we are in a severe recession the economy takes precedence, the 2000 and 2004 elections really had very little to do with the economy. When we aren’t in a recession, other policies can matter an awful lot, and politicians generally try to cobble together an attractive menu of positions. The level of pro-life sentiment is important in shaping politicians views. If, like Tim, you want to see pro-life Democrats, well then one of the most likely ways for that to happen is for a majority of Americans to be pro-life.

    2) Some judges are heavily influenced by opinion polls. Justice Kennedy is a good example; he changed his mind on overturning Roe at the last minute, but he upheld the popular Partial Birth Abortion Ban. As Constitutional Law scholar Michael Klarman observed, “Any court on which Justice Kennedy is the median voter will never do anything to provoke dramatic backlashes.” On these and other issues, his opinions seem to track neatly with public opinion polls.

    3) Additionally, your assertion that “the pro-choice lobby isn’t that strong,” is simply false, at least with regard to the Democratic party. Name a prominent Democrat who says they are pro-life, and is willing to vote against their party on judicial nominees or even on something less significant like the Mexico City Policy. The pro-choice lobby is extremely influential in the most influential party in the country, and the status quo is in their favor; I’d say they are operating from a position of strength.

  • It’s fun to disagree. As long as you’re not E. I’d rather go to the dentist in that case.

    1a) The economy is always somewhere near the top. And in an economic system with a boom-bust cycle, you never know when it is going to be at the top.

    1b) But even if it were nowhere near the top, abortion rarely is. The real point here is that an affirmation of the pro-life position doesn’t necessarily translate into a prioritization of that position. This time it was the economy, next time it may be something else. Strategies must be formulated accordingly.

    2) I don’t know if that fact makes me cringe or not. Opinion polls can’t always be trusted. I just pointed out one reason why. But hey, if a judge wants to misread to poll to our advantage, that’s alright by me.

    3) I wasn’t speaking in regards to the Democratic Party. What “is” the party? If it is the party politicians and functionaries, you have a point. If it includes registered Democrats, the power of the point diminishes. If it includes all people who might be inclined to vote Democratic, it is irrelevant.

    Party loyalty and even basic party identification is diminishing. People didn’t vote for a Democrat, they voted for Obama. The average voter doesn’t give a rats behind what Planned Parenthood thinks. Sync up pro-life politics with whatever their concern is at the moment, and you will have a pro-life victory. That’s how Casey won PA. A real pro-life candidate could do it too.

    The point is, they have no real power or influence over the American voter. Let them huff and puff. They know as well as we ought to know that the battle over abortion will always take a backseat to some other issue for most Americans. With things the way they are now, and are likely to be for some time to come, its going to stay in the backseat, maybe even the trunk, indefinitely.

    The good news is that means they will let their guard down. 2010, mid-terms, lets get guys like Tim on the ballot in districts where there are pro-choice Democrats or Republicans, promoting a pro-worker, pro-family, pro-second amendment agenda.

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  • Though obviously polls can deviate a bit based on sample, it seems like an encouraging point in that it shows people prefer the “pro-life” label.

    The challenge will to be to come up with a pro-life agenda which can successfully capture this sentiment, which I would imagine is in many cases a rather soft sentiment and not ready for bruising clashes.

  • John Henry,

    I like this bit: fourth grade biology.

    Hilarious!

    DarwinCatholic,

    Yes, a pro-life agenda is needed to capture this sentiment.

  • I love seeing Prof. Klarman quoted.

    😉

  • Yeah, he was my 1L con law prof. Great guy. I was sorry we lost him to Harvard.

  • I didn’t realize he had left UVA. That’s bad news.

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would leave the cozy confines and laid-back atmosphere of “Whithers High” for snooty Cambridge.

  • Agreed, although Klarman is an ardent Red Sox fan; love for Fenway can make people irrational. Plus, I think his kids were heading off to college so it was a good time to make the move.

    Did you know Stephen Smith ’92? I think he was there around the same time as you; he’s leaving for Notre Dame this year. I’m sad to see him go, but glad that Notre Dame is attracting high-quality Catholic faculty.

  • Yeah, Steve and I are friends (although, since moving to Ohio, I’ve been out of touch with him for a few years). We got to know each other in the Federalist Society when we were at UVA together.

    I hate to see him leave UVA as well, but if he has to go somewhere, I’m glad it’s Notre Dame. One more good guy (solid Catholic, a member of the K of C, and politically conservative) on the faculty will go a long way.

  • My favorite Steve Smith story:

    Shortly after Justice Thomas was confirmed, the UVA Federalist Society went to visit the Supreme Court for oral arguments and to have an audience with the newly minted Justice.

    Justice Thomas was still vocally bitter about the confirmation hearings, especially the racial component of his being unacceptable because he was a black conservative. The Justice saw Steve amongst our group and told him how glad he was to see a “young brother” who could think for himself, and told him to look him up if he was ever interested in clerking.

    Of course, Steve went on to clerk for Justice Thomas after he graduated.

  • Small world. I didn’t realize you and Prof. Smith knew each other. He is a student favorite; I had dinner with him a few weeks ago as part of a conservative group at the law school. Very funny and insightful guy.

    I hadn’t heard the Justice Thomas story, although it’s not surprising that he stood out in a crowd; he and his sons (also tall) are hard to miss at Mass.

  • His height, yes, as well as the fact that he was the only African-American in a group of mostly white conservatives and libertarians. Given what Justice Thomas had just gone through, I’d have been surprised if he hadn’t noticed Steve (and seen him as a kindred spirit) in that particular setting.

  • Yes, that was an ugly, ugly confirmation battle, and it’s not surprising that Justice Thomas noticed Prof. Smith in a group of Fed Soc students – of course, Prof. Smith’s excellent credentials (law review, order of the coif, etc.) certainly didn’t hurt his SCOTUS clerkship chances either. It is tough to be a conservative African-American.

    During the Dartmouth Board of Trustees battles a couple years ago, I read articles which devoted several paragraphs to describing his selection as a huge setback to campus efforts for diversity and inclusiveness (because he was conservative); curiously omitted from the narrative was the fact that Prof. Smith was himself African-American and had a fairly inspiring personal story.

  • In my humble opinion, Steve Smith and his fellow Federalist Society, Law Review, and Order of the Coif cohort, Adam Pritchard (now at U. of Michigan), were the most intelligent people with whom I went to law school. And I say that not to take anything away from people like Laura Ingraham, Prof. Todd Zywicki, etc.

    I apologize that I’ve taken this thread off track, but I’ve certainly enjoyed having done so.

  • “I apologize that I’ve taken this thread off track…”

    Not at all. I’ve enjoyed it as well, and, for once, I’m taking one of my own threads off track rather than someone else’s. 😉

    I didn’t realize that Todd Zywicki, Adam Pritchard, and Laura Ingraham went to UVA. It will be interesting to see who goes where in the next twenty years…

  • Hey, I don’t mind either but I also wouldn’t mind continuing our friendly disagreement 🙂

  • I heard this poll mentioned at the end of a drive-time newsbreak on one of the local radio stations in Springfield today… could be getting some MSM attention soon.

    Gallup says one explanation for the shift could be that the sharp leftward turn in Obama’s policies have moved what most people think of as “pro-choice” farther to the left. IOW, “real” pro-choicers believe in virtually unrestricted abortion, and those who think abortion is morally wrong and favor at least some restrictions (no partial birth, no taxpayer funding, etc.) are starting to think of themselves as more pro-life than pro-choice.

    While we may think of them as the “mushy middle” and not consider them truly pro-life, politically speaking, they will probably be the key to reversing or at least halting the damage now being done by the Obama administration and a liberal Supreme Court.

    Still, it appears that the number of people who think abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances” is up slightly as well.

  • Notice also the really significant shift toward pro-life since the early to mid 1990s, which some observers attribute to the publicity surrounding partial-birth abortion. In some ways, the partial-birth controversy turned out to be a blessing in disguise for pro-lifers as it called attention to just how gruesome the method (and by extension, all abortions) really was. Perhaps the various Obama-related controversies (Mexico City policy revocation, the threat of FOCA, Canon 915, Notre Dame scandal) have had a similar effect.

  • Being a black conservative is difficult.

    The same can be said of latino conservatives (I don’t care what we’re called, I’d prefer to be called a Castillian-Portuguese-Mexican, but that’s my axe to grind… and mock Politically-Correct liberals).

    The name-calling from the hispanics on the left are downright rude and inappropriate. The b*%$ing sessions amongst active latino conservatives concerning how their treated by latino liberals that I witness really paint most liberals (at least in the city of Houston) in the political arena in a very bad light. The vitriol and hate is disturbing.

    Sorry to jump in the thread that way, but I had to let it out to show our “superior”, “tolerant”, and “open-minded” liberals how demeaning they can be.

  • Hey, I don’t mind either but I also wouldn’t mind continuing our friendly disagreement

    Apologies, Joe. I owe you a response – it will have to wait an hour or two, but I will respond soon.

  • 3) I wasn’t speaking in regards to the Democratic Party. What “is” the party? If it is the party politicians and functionaries, you have a point. If it includes registered Democrats, the power of the point diminishes. If it includes all people who might be inclined to vote Democratic, it is irrelevant.

    Well, from a pro-life perspective, what I care about is how the pro-choice lobby is able to influence policy and judicial appointments. And, along those lines, I find your assertion that “the pro-choice lobby isn’t that strong” puzzling. There is a pro-choice litmus test for any prominent national Democratic politician. Is there any doubt that Obama’s SCOTUS nominee will be a strong pro-choicer? That is the type of influence that matters in the legal/political realm, and it seems to me the pro-choice lobby is very influential from that perspective.

    Party loyalty and even basic party identification is diminishing.

    I think your assertion that party loyalty is diminishing is unsupported by the evidence. If anything, party identification is hardening. It’s difficult to imagine a better recipe for a landslide defeat than the 2008 election (unpopular incumbent, unpopular war, crashing economy), and Obama’s margin of victory was around 6%. Contrast that with Reagan’s 18% margin of victory in 1984, and consider the close elections in 2000 and 2004, and it’s hard to conclude party loyalty is waning.

    People didn’t vote for a Democrat, they voted for Obama. The average voter doesn’t give a rats behind what Planned Parenthood thinks. Sync up pro-life politics with whatever their concern is at the moment, and you will have a pro-life victory. That’s how Casey won PA. A real pro-life candidate could do it too.

    I agree that an attractive spokesperson is essential for the success of any party, and many voters aren’t going to base their vote on abortion. That does not necessarily mean, however, that public opinion polls are unimportant; they have a very real effect on the bundle of policies politicians use to market themselves, and, as I suggested above, judicial, journalistic, and academic perceptions of the popular will.

    The point is, they have no real power or influence over the American voter.

    Again, I would say a lobbying group doesn’t need influence over voters if they have a litmus test veto over national candidates; the NRA doesn’t control voters – no lobbyist does directly. To influence policy it’s sufficient to have an institutional presence, and the support of a vocal portion (and preferably large) of the party’s base. As the pro-choice lobby has both of these things, they are quite influential.

    Let them huff and puff. They know as well as we ought to know that the battle over abortion will always take a backseat to some other issue for most Americans. With things the way they are now, and are likely to be for some time to come, its going to stay in the backseat, maybe even the trunk, indefinitely.

    Well, that’s certainly not the case with judicial appointments (the most significant legal/political tool for protecting the unborn), and possibly not for conscience protections and perhaps some of the more palatable components of FOCA, if they are enacted piecemeal. I am not sure in what sense it’s ‘staying in the trunk’ when the pro-choice lobby is basically checking off the wish-list items it has received and is likely to receive from the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats.

    The good news is that means they will let their guard down. 2010, mid-terms, lets get guys like Tim on the ballot in districts where there are pro-choice Democrats or Republicans, promoting a pro-worker, pro-family, pro-second amendment agenda.

    As I’ve said before, I would love for this to happen. It would be great to have pro-lifers in both parties, and even better to have some legitimate pro-life European style-social democrats; nevertheless, I think the reality is that the pro-choice lobby is very effective in establishing litmus tests, that the Democratic base, by and large, is heavily pro-choice, and that these factors provide the pro-choice lobby with a lot of influence.

  • John,

    I don’t think we should mistake political polarization for party polarization. It’s similar but not identical. Obama’s 6% is considerably larger than either margin Bush won, and not much smaller than the ones Clinton commanded. The country has become more polarized since Reagan, so I don’t think you can go that far back for a comparison for today.

    Bottom line is, I think people voted for a man, and against the GOP.

    As for the power of the pro-choice machine, again, I want to restate that it depends on what level of the process we are talking about. Holding the levers of power is one thing; winning the hearts of the people is another. I think there are enough people who would vote for a pro-life Democrat to make the abortion lobby irrelevant. I think that is why Casey won, and why any pro-life Dem could stand a chance. The key is to have the people driving the process, like they did for Howard Dean, like they did for Obama, instead of letting the party grandees control everything.

    Call it my instinct. If you have a pro-life Dem promising pro-worker economic reforms, relief for families and expecting mothers, second amendment rights, and other issues near and dear to the hearts of the American worker, no one is going to care what NARAL says. No one. You will hear the crickets chirping. The voters are who count. The voters elect people who appoint judges and form policy.

    The DNC wants to win. It is a party machine first, an ideological apparatus only second, like any other political party. Parties shift all the time. Sometimes slowly, sometimes more quickly. They shift because they want to survive, they shift under pressure. At the start we may have to rely on more grassroots means of support, but a few victories will convince the national party of the merits of pro-life Dem candidates. Pragmatism will trump radical feminist ideology and pro-life Dems will emerge in greater numbers. It could happen.

    I meant, also, ‘in the trunk’ for voters, as long as the economy is as bad as it is.

    In the end if you want to change the status quo you have to win the support of the people, not judges and party grandees. And it is among the people that the abortion lobby has less influence. The key is to find districts where a pro-life Dem could more easily defeat an incumbent Republican than a pro-choice Dem, and go to town.

  • Another thing this poll indicates to me is that when some “teachable moment” occurs that forces people to seriously think about abortion — instead of simply ignoring the issue as most do during times of war, economic crisis, etc., — a distinct shift toward pro-life usually takes place.

    My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that most people who don’t take the abortion issue seriously, who haven’t studied it or been taught anything about it one way or the other, or who prefer not to think about it at all, will say they are pro-choice, simply because it sounds good to them. After all, having a choice is always a good thing, right? It is only when they are confronted with the true nature of the “choice” they are defending that some (not all) will reconsider their position.

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Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-1-2009

Wednesday, April 1, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. I recently received confirmation from Lila Rose to post here on American Catholic that a little over two weeks ago she converted to the Catholic faith on March 15 in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Deo gratias!

Lila Rose is an impressive young lady.  A few weeks ago she was the keynote speaker for the Houston Coalition for Life Benefit 2009 dinner.  She has an excellent grasp of the history of the pro-life movement and to my nice surprise she is also very knowledgeable of the role of Catholics in the Pro-Life movement from Mother Teresa of Calcutta to Fr. Frank Pavone.

I had the opportunity to speak with her briefly at the benefit dinner and I came away deeply impressed.  She is a talented and motivated young lady and she’s only a junior at UCLA.  She began getting involved in the pro-life movement as a sophomore in high school by founding a pro-life newspaper!  She now runs a production company, LiveActionFilms.org, and is editor-in-chief of the pro-life newspaper at UCLA, The Advocate.

She is the newest crop of Pro-Life warriors that will contribute to the end of abortion on demand nationwide.  With the growing strength of the Pro-Life movement being energized more and more with babies, toddlers, children, teens, and young adults, the days of Roe v. Wade are numbered.

2. There is a wonderful story of how two Catholics met online using Ave Maria Singles.  The adventure begins when Katie and Devin, for different reasons, chose Ave Maria Singles to search for a spouse.  Katie three years out of college saw slim pickings at work, at church, and definitely not at a bar.  Devin had been looking online for a spouse for four fruitless years, yet still carried a positive attitude.  After an initial ‘dust off’ by Katie and a close call by Devin, the two, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit were able to find their sacramental partners for life via Ave Maria Singles.

It’s a sweet and compact romantic love story that spans two articles, so for the introductory portion click here.  For the final encounter and happy ending click here.  To learn more about Ave Maria Singles click here.

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One Response to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-1-2009

MoralAccountability.com

Saturday, January 24, AD 2009

A new website: MoralAccountability.com. This is their mission statement:

In the course of the 2008 presidential campaign, a small group of Catholic and Evangelical Protestant intellectuals and activists, while saying that they personally support legal protection for the unborn and oppose the redefinition of marriage, promoted the candidacy of Barack Obama, who made no secret of his intention to wipe out the entire range of laws restricting or discouraging abortion and embryo-destructive research, or of his opposition to all state and federal initiatives (such as California Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act) to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These men and women assured their fellow Christians and other social conservatives that Obama’s economic policies would reduce the incidence of abortion, and they promised that Obama was being honest when he said that he was opposed to “same-sex marriage.”

Despite these assurances, we fear that the Obama administration will swiftly begin an assault on pro-life laws and pro-marriage policies.

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2 Responses to MoralAccountability.com

To Pray, To Engage, and Fight Like a Maccabee.

Friday, November 21, AD 2008

I confess I am disappointed to see one of my colleagues at American Catholic dismiss the “Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama” as only so much “fruitless and pointless rhetoric”.

In response, permit me to explain what led to my own signature of the letter in question.

Readers of Catholics in the Public Square are no doubt aware that I have emphatically disagreed with Henry and those contributors at Vox Nova who supported Barack Obama throughout the 2008 election.

At the same time, to say Catholics shouldn’t have cast their vote for Obama is not the same thing as asserting that they were prohibited from doing so. This, at least, seems to be the conclusion drawn from the USCCB document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”:

There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position [on abortion] 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.

Suffice to say I was among the those who did not believe a “grave moral reason” existed that warranted voting for Obama. And if some members of Vox Nova disagreed, I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt, and trust they thought about it as long and hard as my own decision to vote for Senator McCain.

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8 Responses to To Pray, To Engage, and Fight Like a Maccabee.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    I respect you more than you know. I also agree with most of your posting.

    I do want to say that if the letter emanated from an orthodox source say like Fr. Zuhlsdorf or even Mark Shea, I would not have regarded the “open letter” as fruitless and pointless.

    I want to say that the letter, because of the source that it is emanating from, is pretty much Dead On Arrival. Not that President-elect Obama would not respond positively, which I am sure you and I agree that he does, but basically that people such as Henry Karlson, Michael Deem, and their ilk have done everything possible (with some even advocating AND voting for Obama) to confuse Catholics, obfuscate the issues, and undermine the Faithful Citizenship document to the point of allowing faithful Catholics to be confused at best, disoriented at most.

    I also agree 100% with Dale Price, and I do pray often each day and for our new President-elect, that we as Catholics should engage in dialogue with our new President. But I do not believe the sincerity and genuiness of a certain group of Catholics that did the maximum possible harm to the efforts of preventing Senator Obama from being elected President of our great nation.

    Christopher, I do not doubt for one moment your sincerity and honesty or Fr. Z’s, Mark Shea’s, Deal Hudsons, and the many other orthodox Catholics that signed. You and the other orthodox Catholics did not do anything wrong, in my eyes.

    To those that misled the faithful, the following quotes from holy scripture come to mind:

    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

    — Romans 1:22-23

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

    — Isaiah 5:20-24

    Again Christopher, I don’t fault you for you signing the document. I believe your sincerity to the fullest.

  • Christopher,

    I like the “fight like a Macabee” title. I heard it before from another poster on another blog. Is this a common refrain? If it is, I haven’t heard of it until recently.

    Again, I don’t discount the letter by itself, just that it came from certain Vox Nova bloggers, just seems very disingenuous to me coming from them.

    Tito

  • Christopher,

    A very reasoned and fair engagement on your part.

    Your philosophical mentors are/would be proud, I am sure!

  • Still a nice letter. Always good to keep the door open until it gets slammed shut. If I could guess and I will that our President Elect will be totally preoccupied with ecnomic stuff and being the Wizard of Oz who suddenly makes everything better. Meaning- FOCA and Fairness Doctrine and that other messy stuff may get pushed to back of the attic. Of course this could change in blink of an eye. But still fun to speculate.

  • Wonderfully written Christopher; I agree entirely.

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  • A very charitable and reasoned post. Like you, I thought that the minority of bloggers at Vox Nova who supported Obama were wrong to do so, and I never missed an opportunity make that known in many of my posts there.

  • This is a cool blogging platform. Which is it?

A Call to Arms for God, Life, and Country

Friday, November 21, AD 2008

With the election of the most anti-life president in this nations history, Christians across America will soon be facing a daunting gauntlet of attacks on the sanctity of life.  We need to now follow Jesus more than ever, embrace His teachings, practice our faith, evangelize our friends and neighbors, and pray.  Pray and strive for prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance with faith, hope, and love.

st-michael-the-archangle-by-raphaelThis is spiritual warfare on a massive scale.  We need to win the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans in order to push back against evil.  What is at stake are unknown millions of innocents that will be slaughtered for Mammon’s sake.  Not since World War II and maybe even the French Revolution has human civilization been faced with such dark forces arrayed against it.  The time for fruitless and pointless rhetoric ended on November 4th.  We now cannot stand by the wayside and negotiate the nonnegotiables with those that intend to do harm to the most vulnerable among us.  No equivocating, no complacency, and no compromise.

Pray and fast for President-elect Obama and our glorious nation.

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13 Responses to A Call to Arms for God, Life, and Country

  • “We must make choices.”

    Amen!

  • Mahalo Tito for sharing! I’ve posted it on my blog and am sending it out to others.
    God bless,

  • I think it is unfair to call the open letter ‘pointless rhetoric’. Even if all it does is help people in the Catholic blogosphere focus more on FOCA, it will have done an important service. Additionally, it’s always possible that it will get picked up by a news outlet and help shape the discussion.

    I am skeptical that FOCA is a priority for the Obama administration, but if it does come up, it is very important that people call and write letters to their Congressional representatives. Raising awareness about FOCA is a good thing, and even if the open letter is not particularly successful, it is worth a small amount of effort at a chance of a larger payoff. To paraphrase Paschal, a potentially large payoff is worth a small expenditure of effort.

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  • Vox Nova invites the devil into their midst and then sends it a note asking the devil to not act devilish.

    The first act was foolish, the second is absurd. The letter is pointless when ‘point’ is understood to mean that which is directed to a final end. Because the letter has virtually no more chance of success as would a letter to the devil himself.

  • John Henry,

    I respect where you’re coming from and I understand why you feel the way you do. I am certainly one for constructive dialogue, but when the open letter comes from one that openly cooperates in disparaging and hindering the efforts of those wanting to end abortion, then I find it disingenuous at best.

    Christopher Blosser,

    Fr. Z may have signed it, but it is my opinion, not Fr. Z’s, that this open letter will help. But I want to reiterate that I do respect your feelings and thoughts on why the letter is important. Had it come from any other source, it would have had a different meaning to me and many others out there.

    But since it has eminated from a known anti-life blog such as Vox Nova (and yes, they are anti-life, when some bloggers openly endorse to vote for the most anti-life president in U.S. history), then it pretty much lost most, if not all, moral credibility.

    I don’t disparage those like Fr. Z, Deal, and yourself for signing it, but I do think it highly disingenous from the likes of Henry Karlson, Policraticus, and Michael Iafrate.

    Tito

  • skeptical that FOCA is a priority? Obama has just recently appointed Ellen Moran (no pun intended) director of communications at the White House. She is exec director of ‘EMILY’s List’, a group that supports and promotes female candidates that are pro-abortion.

    the guy voted that a baby may be left to die when surviving an abortion attempt (in case you forgot). O is a monster

    Christ promised the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church. He never made such a promise to America.

    i hope i’m wrong but i think the prophesies of Akita, Japan 1973 may be coming true soon on American soil.

    i’ve made my choice – getting out of here. ay mate!

    it didn’t have to be this way but America has made her choice.

  • Superb to point this out about Ms. Moran. Much like the Department of Chicken Protection appointing Mr. Fox as Chief Security Guard. More like Moran is good Dem soldier getting sweet job and preoccupied with White House briefings, official statements, and babysitting Helen Thomas. As for splitting the scene…..come on….stay where the action is, Ed…….

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  • Dude get over yourself, he’s not anti – life he’s pro- choice. there is a large difference. its just that you guys are so caught up in your own beliefs, you don’t consider the rights and beliefs f your neighbors.

  • Razz,

    I’m not sure what you were trying to explain, but this is a free country and we Christians have fundamental rights in the constitution that allows us to practice our faith and exercise those rights.

    ‘Being caught up in our own beliefs’, I’m not sure what you were trying to express, but try again. Do you mean we aren’t allowed to express our opinion?

  • “you don’t consider the rights and beliefs f your neighbors.”

    Ah but that is the problem. Unborn children are our neighbors, our most weak and vulnerable neighbors, and it is unjust to allow them to be put to death.

5 Responses to Friend of the Unborn

FOCA meet the USCCB

Wednesday, November 12, AD 2008

images3obama

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have made fighting against the Freedom of Choice Act a high priority in their current meeting.  The Catholic Church and the incoming Obama administration are on a  collision course in regard to abortion.  For every American Catholic the choice couldn’t be starker:  which side are you on?

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3 Responses to FOCA meet the USCCB

  • The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

    Will our shepherds lay down their life for their sheep, or will they flee and leave us to the wolves?

    For decades they’ve acted as hired hands and squandered their authority.

    How many will see this through, and give their all so that, martyred their witness may provide the moral authority to their successors that they received from so many of their predecessors?

  • About time. For too many years, our shepherds tapdanced around controversy. They allowed most official documents to be wrapped around the blanket labelled Social Justice. When none of the sort meted out to around 50 million unborn children. Now awake, they speak pretty boldly for such an august body. Hope they’re ready for whatever level of persecution may be dished out by the new administration. So they were going to avoid that abortion/election/citizenship stuff at this meeting. Events dictated otherwise.

  • Pray for our bishops.

Marriage Looks to Win in California

Wednesday, November 5, AD 2008

While there is generally little to rejoice at in the results of yesterdays elections, there is a glimmer of light on the West Coast for those who believe in Christianity and Western Culture: As of this morning California Proposition 8, which would amend the California state constitution with the words “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” looks to be winning out after a hard fought campaign. The LA Times refuses to call it yet, but with 91% of precincts reporting, Prop 8 leads by 350,000 votes, 51.9% to 48.1%.

President Elect Obama had opposed the measure calling it “divisive”, but although Obama won California by 2,400,000 votes, Californians refused to allow to stand to a court ruling earlier this year in which 2000’s Proposition 22 defined traditional marriage by statute.

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13 Responses to Marriage Looks to Win in California

  • Hope for the future. I assume culturally conservative Hispanic votes made up the margin of victory.

  • Yes, not to underestimate the impact of Prop 8, but CA Proposition 4, the “parental notification” law for minors seeking abortion, has been knocked down, yet again. I left California in 2006, but the pro-life movement has worked very hard for notification. Parental Consent would be the next hurdle. This is the most common sense restriction you could have. A child needs permission to be given an aspirin at school, but she can get an abortion, no questions asked. It boggles my mind to see how Prop 8 could pass, yet Prop 4 fail. It is a severe blow to the pro-life movement in California.

  • Traditional marriage passed with something like 61% of the vote last time in CA; now it’s a much thinner margin. I don’t see this as much of a victory anymore, when it’s stood next to the failure of parental notification (Prop 4) and all the other abortion and euthanasia measures in other states. Add to this the possibility of something happening at the federal level on these matters….?

    Really, what hope is there for America if parents think it’s okay for their daughters to get an abortion without their knowledge?

  • It’s becoming my mantra… politics is downstream from culture, politics is downstream from culture. Things like the failure of 4 and the smaller margin of victory for 8 in CA confirm the view that we need to be focusing *as much* on cultural transformation as on political transformation… I generally accept the view that elections merely hold up a mirror to the electorate, and that we get the politicians we vote for, in the obvious *and* more subtle senses.

    I live in South Dakota, where two years ago a comprehensive ban on abortion failed by 10% at the ballot box. Pro-lifers came back with a ban that included exceptions, just to get *something* passed, and guess what? It failed last night, again by double digits. And this is South Dakota, for goodness sake, which hasn’t voted for a Dem president since hometown boy McGovern!

    The law is a great teacher, and there is a feedback loop in the culture-politics relationship (politics can amplify cultural trends), but I think the electoral trends call for a greater focus on cultural transformation, *while maintaining* efforts wrt political transformation.

    But all of that requires evangelization & catechesis, so I’d better get back to work. 🙂

  • Whoopee. Only slightly less than half of Californians think men and women are interchangeable…

    Sorry to be so grumpy. This victory really is worth celebrating. But I don’t see the end in sight for this issue.

  • but I think the electoral trends call for a greater focus on cultural transformation, *while maintaining* efforts wrt political transformation.

    Completely agreed, Chris.

  • And please don’t take down the Obama-Messiah blog!

  • It’s going to get worse before it gets better. We need to realize that internet pornography is the greatest propaganda machine for the sexual revolution. For the dedicated pornography customer, sexuality really is just a consumer choice.

  • Wow, what’s the weather like in the land of the out of touch? I assume quite gloomy. Why don’t you people relax and let people live their lives without you always trying to impose your will on them…

  • Hey Obamabot,

    That was you imposing your will on us… I never tried to redefine marriage. Get the facts straight.

  • Wait till Obama’s Supreme Court choices invalidate Prop 8.

  • Hey jack christian,
    Me simply asking why you do cannot just leave folks alone and let them live their lives is me “imposing my will on you”? Wow, what a weird way to twist that—let me understand your logic, you impose your will on others, someone requests that you stop, you then feel like someone is imposing their will on you for asking you to not impose your will? Yikes.

  • How did I impose my will on others? I didn’t. But then you said….

    Why don’t you people relax and let people live their lives

    …Huh, that certainly sounds like someone trying to impose his will on another…

    And my name isn’t jack, Obamabot.

Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

Election fever is catching everybody these days, even bishops, and since it’s so fashionable to issue clarifying statements about the 30+ page Faithful Citizenship document, Cardinal Justin Rigali (chairman of the USCCB* Committee on Pro-Life Activities) and Bishop William Murphy (chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development) have issued a clarification about clarifications of Faithful Citizenship.

Though my tone in stating this is flip, there’s some very good material in the two page letter:

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5 Responses to Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

  • Darwin,

    I’m getting around to a post about universal healthcare, what I think are many common misconceptions about it, and particularly what is wrong with the American health care “system” and try to get a general consensus of what we can all rally around.

    In my research of healthcare, I have found that not all models or notions of universal healthcare mandate that the government actually run hospitals nor be the delivery system of healthcare. Rather it’s creative ways — some good, others bad — of how we can cover everyone, or at least have the possibility there. The best version of a universal healthcare I have seen (and of which I agree) is put forth by the group “Republicans for Single-Payer,” which is a group that posits a single-payer universal healthcare system (not government-run) while maintaining their committment to a free-market economy.

    In regard to the statement itself, I think the Bishops may being acknowledging charges made at groups like Catholic Answers who advocate applying a litmus test on candidates. You take two candidates: candidate A and candidate B and you look at their views on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and gay marriage. If candidate A, supports abortion, then you’re morally obligated to vote for candidate B. If both candidates support abortion, then you look at the other four, and if they support all, then you’re allowed to look at other issues and make your decision from there.

    In essence, while I do sympathize with that view, I do think that such a rigid litmus test is not what the Bishops recommend. Though, I’m not at all defending for voting for pro-abortion candidates. In essence, what I’m thinking is this, Republicans are often charged with legally restricting abortion, but not supporting “progressive” policies that would lead women to choose abortion. While there is much folly to that proposition, there is some truth. SCHIP — the child healthcare program — that provides healthcare to socio-economically disadvantaged children allows many families to have their children covered with basic healthcare, while the parents cannot afford it. Republicans (and some pro-life Democrats) have fought tooth and nail to get unborn children covered in this program so that pregnant women feel they have an option. Republicans also routinely vote against expanding coverage, or redirecting funds toward something else, which seems to me a contradiction of their own principles. Why cover unborn children, if you’re going to redirect the funds to something else, thus limiting the recepients and thus limiting the number of unborn babies potentially saved?

    I think that’s what they’re getting at. Then again, I could be wrong.

  • haha…I meant “lead women to NOT choose abortions”

  • I figured that was basically it — but it still strikes me as something of a straw man dichotomy, though perhaps a necessary one in order to get both sides to listen to your critique.

    I’ll be curious to read a piece by your about health care. I would certainly agree that we need some outside the box thinking about it. A while back I did a somewhat unrealistic thought experiment on it focusing heavily on subsidiarity. And I’d be interesting to brainstorm some more realistic ideas.

    In this particular election, I don’t think McCain’s health care plan is all that great — though I don’t like Obama’s either.

  • Health care… what an interesting topic. Personally, I’ve been employed by companies with stellar benefits for the most part. The exception being a temp position at a major firm that Darwin surely remembers. 🙂 Currently, my employer offers several medical packages, one of which is a zero contribution plan (i.e. no payroll deductions, for the whole family). With this, I am truly blessed.

    My sister, on the other hand, is employed by a school district somewhere in north Texas and the medical benefits do not even come close. Her coverage is less than $100 per month. When adding her husband to the plan, the employee contribution jumps to over $500. My brother-in-law recently jumped onto his employer’s plan. In effect, it’s a $400 “raise” a month for them. Others aren’t so lucky.

    Another friend from back in TX is in a similar predicament with insurance. Covering his family is just too expensive, so they pay for some other insurance.

    Looking forward to your piece, Eric.

  • Please consider posting this video and passing it along, it’s amazing. It’s great at showing the distinction between MaCain and Obama in regards to the abortion issue. Please pass this along to everyone you know. We have to get McCain elected… E

    http://americaschoicenow.com/

    Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.
    Ronald Reagan

Palin On Abortion In Johnstown, Pennsylvania-October 11

Saturday, October 11, AD 2008

For years pro-lifers have dreamed about a national candidate who is not only pro-life, but who actually talks about it, and not just to pro-life groups.  We have such a candidate in Sarah Palin.  Here is the text of the relevant portion of her remarks at a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania today:

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13 Responses to Palin On Abortion In Johnstown, Pennsylvania-October 11

  • One of my favorite quotes from Governor Palin:

    “as defenders of the culture of life”.

    One of the most despicable quotes I’ve heard from Senator Obama:

    “punished with a baby”

    This is the far left position that Senator holds that can be summed up nicely by the late “Senator Moynihan, a Democrat, described partial-birth abortion as “too close to infanticide.” Barack Obama thinks it’s a constitutional right, but he is wrong.”

    For a full disclosure, I’m voting for the McCain/Palin ticket.

    With that, I believe this rally today is the turning point of the election right now for the Pro-Life ticket to pull ahead of the Pro-Abortion ticket for the POTUS.

  • If McCain wins, and in the teeth of adverse polls I believe he still has a decent chance, it will be because he was dragged across the finish line by Sarah Palin.

  • Donald,

    I have no delusions of the predicament that the McCain/Palin ticket find themselves in. I agree, if McCain wins, it’s because Palin dragged him across the finish line.

    Regardless of the outcome, we need to remember not to make the mistake of nominating McCain (of course if we can nominate the Democrat, we would try, but it isn’t happening because of the party’s embrace of the culture of death). We should definitely follow up with Palin as a nominee. And ram it through the primaries in 2012.

  • I’m really glad to see some solid words out of Palin on this topic. Goodness knows, if there is someone who has the standing to say them, it is she. And I hope they win — though if the stock market doesn’t stabilize fast I don’t see how it’ll happen.

    But I’ve got to admit that I’m not clear yet how Palin would be as presidential material. We’ll have to see how she develops on the national stage over the next four or eight years — win or lose.

    Certainly, we’re desperately short of solid conservative talent on the national scene right now, but right now she strikes me more as a potentially solid number two than top of ticket material.

  • What if…..Palin were Catholic? Would she have been in this? And if still chosen, how roasted would she have been? A pro-life Catholic candidate would not be allowed…..? As far as ever being #1, who’s in support would be the deal maker or breaker.

  • -What if…..Palin were Catholic? Would she have been in this?-

    That is an interesting question. I think the answer is absolutely not. There is no way any candidate would have picked a pro-life Catholic to run with him. Palin’s selection was surprising enough, but a pro-life Catholic would suggest the “bowing to Rome”, which would drive away liberals as well as conservatives.

  • Actually two pro-life Catholics were seriously considered for Veep: Governor Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Brownback of Kansas. Jindal is quite impressive, only 37, and I think he will ultimately be not only the GOP
    nominee for President, but will one day hold that office. A Palin-Jindal or Jindal-Palin ticket would be my idea of political heaven!

  • Criticism of Senator Obama’s record on abortion is needed, but we also need pro-life leaders who can effectively negotiate the twists and turns of politics in their representation of the unborn and who will make building a culture of life a top priority. We need pro-life leaders who will give the life issues the kind of attention that President Bush has given to terrorism and the Iraq War. How precisely would a McCain/Palin administration defend the unborn when faced with a Democratic controlled congress and a culture that largely celebrates choice? What priority would they give to ending abortion?

  • Donald,

    That would be the strongest ticket ever! I pray for that day!

  • This is one of the many reason this woman rocks!!!!!!!!!

    http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/16/your-spirit-lifter-of-the-day/

31 Responses to Palin on Obama and Abortion

  • Mr. Echevarria, I deleted your comment in this thread. Although you and I agree about about abortion and further agree in supporting McCain-Palin, the vehemence with which you expressed your sentiments are not acceptable.

  • Of course, Palin’s ugly anti-intellectualism warms the most rabid in the “pro-life” base.

    But, most likely, her Father Coughlin-ism–if allowed to run its full course– would set back tremendously the effort at really advancing politically a true “culture of life” in America– repelling the middle like never before done since ’73…

  • Mark, Gov. Palin certainly isn’t an intellectual, but it seems that “not being an intellectual” is being conflated with “being anti-intellectual”. If this isn’t so in your case, can you explain why you think she’s actually anti-intellectual?

  • Witness her rallies….

  • “Of course, Palin’s ugly anti-intellectualism warms the most rabid in the “pro-life” base.”

    Completely untrue Mr. DeFrancisis. Since you have no evidence to back up your claim I will not ask you to cite any.

    “her Father Coughlin-ism–”

    Hurling epithets is not an argument. Palin has as much in common with Father Coughlin as you do with Bugs Bunny.

  • “Witness her rallies….”

    A good response to this mantra of the Left was made by John Leo:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2008/eon1009jl.html

  • Donald,

    About comment 1 :I do not need evidence on this thread. It’s provided.

    About comment 2: “He does sot see America like you and I do, so much so that he palls ’round with terrorists.” I call a spade is a spade.

    And who is the real Donald McClarey? I would not wish that you be subject to such ridiculousness…..

  • Mark,

    Your are being a little ridiculous.

    Obama does pall ’round with terrorist’…

    Ayers and Odinga are two that come to mind…

    so to say that she is hurling epithets would be incorrect.

    Palin has facts to back her statement up.

  • I am so out of here….

    No need to ban me Tito…

    You poor fellows are willing slaves to the fallen human desire to scapegoat…

    I bet that’s why a large majorityof you chanted with Bush in ’02-’03 during his unjust invasion of Iraq and still do not admit fault in your judgement…

  • Mark,

    What are you talking about? Scapegoat?

    You make these accusations….. you don’t back them up… and you get mad?

  • I suppose it’s frustrating for Mark to post in a forum that is unreceptive to his opinions, but I am surprised by his reaction. One can debate how relevant it is that Obama had fairly lengthy relationships with people like Ayers and Wright, but it’s certainly true that he did. I do not know why Mark finds it surprising that Obama’s political opponents would use these relationships to question his judgment.

    Obama has a very liberal background and record; Columbia, Harvard Law, Chicago. He has presented himself as a moderate, which is both essential for a candidate running for President and in tension with some of his prior positions and associations. Making voters aware of these associations is part of politics. Obama certainly has showed no reluctance to return the favor with his comments about Keating, or his (deplorable, race-baiting) spanish-language ad disingenuously linking McCain to Limbaugh.

  • Listen, I think that taking the Ayers association tack is poor strategy on McCain’s campaign’s part… I agree with Ross Douthat that McCain should be focusing on addressing the needs, concerns and fears of the middle-class, for whom Ayers and earmarks don’t mean a heck of a lot right now, right or wrong.

    Having said that, it’s also true that Ayers is unrepentant about his actions and views as a Weatherman, and Obama exercised extremely poor judgment in associating with him. To point this out may be poor strategy, but it isn’t inaccurate.

  • Agree completely Chris. Terrible political strategy, but not unfair or inaccurate.

  • Chris,

    I think you can lump Ayers with Obama’s poor judgement of men… and show also that poor judgement in this Financial Mess… with his support of Fannie Mae and their support of him, Franklin Raines being on his campaign staff, and how the Democrats let Fannie Mae get away with it….

    He needs to show that De-regulation wasn’t the problem… it was the lack of oversight by the Democrats.

    But If I was McCain….

    I would attack him on the following (not in this order):

    1) Ayers
    2) Odinga
    3) Fannie Mae
    4) Acorn
    5) Rev. Wright
    6) Franklin Raines
    7) His Economic Policy of Taxation

    He must repeat this… over and over and over… he should do what his ads do, and not what he does in debates.

  • Chris & FUS01,

    Indeed. And (not to overuse my own terminology) I think that’s where the tribalism in politics becomes apparent. I don’t think we need to doubt that if a Republican presidential candidate had launched his political career in the living room of a member of the John Birch Society, much less someone along the lines of Timothy McVeigh (which is perhaps a more exact analogy) where would be a perception that the association was “fair game” — even if said Republican candidate had never showed any interest in political violence himself. (And clearly, if someone suggests that Obama actually approves of political violence, that would seem to be complete slander. The problem is, he doesn’t seem to see it necessary to distance himself from those who do.)

    That said, I agree that the McCain Campaign’s choice to focus on Ayers rather than the economy right now is deeply foolish and in danger of loosing them the election. (Which is unfortunate, because if Obama keeps his campaign promises promptly he’s in serious danger of making the economy even worse.)

  • I also wish he would talk about a Culture of Life, but I think that is Palin stick…. not McLame’s

  • I am so out of here….

    No need to ban me Tito…

    You poor fellows are willing slaves to the fallen human desire to scapegoat…

    I bet that’s why a large majorityof you chanted with Bush in ‘02-’03 during his unjust invasion of Iraq and still do not admit fault in your judgement…

    Who needs The Cafeteria Is Closed? Looks like all of Gerald’s former readers have found a new home for their orgy of hate.

    This blog had interesting original goals, if eyebrow-raising. Seems it’s already gone down the tubes.

  • Thank you for your opinion of the blog Catholic Anarchist. We shall carry on nonetheless.

    Being against Obama because he is pro-abortion is an orgy of hate? We shall have to agree to differ on that point as on all other points.

  • Michael,

    Let’s see, the post starting this thread pointed out that Palin is anti-abortion while Obama is pro-choice — that’s not exactly a surprising contention given that Obama has one of the most pro-abortion records of any politician and Palin proved via her actions that she accepted life in a situation where 90% of parents choose abortion.

    Donald delete a comment in which a commenter accused Obama of being a Muslim.

    And then several of us differed with Mark DeFrancis’ claim that Palin is anti-intellectual and a quasi fascist.

    Based on this you conclude that we are hosting an “orgy of hate”.

    I can understand that you resent our opposing Obama, but “orgy of hate” I’m not seeing.

  • Darwin,

    If you look at his links at his blog, you would understand why he came to that conclusion.

    Vive le Vende!

    That’s for you Tito

  • Oh, I know…

    Michael and I have gone the rounds over the years. But, you know, this Dante-loving Classicist is such an “americanist” that he can’t quite follow Michael’s thinking. 🙂

  • ‘Orgy of hate’? Is that a joke? It seemed like rather mild criticism to me.

  • Mark & Michael,

    You do your perspective a disservice by refusing to see through a discussion with those you disagree with and leaving in the manner you did.

    I urge you both to reconsider and rejoin the conversation. Have confidence in the power of reason to persuade, whatever the odds seem to tell you. 🙂

  • -orgy of hate-

    I’m getting real tired of this accusation from people who support a child murderer.

  • Obama is not a child murderer, and Catholics in good conscience can support him. I can’t, but it’s not fair to write somebody off simply because of their conclusions on the difficult issue of selecting a candidate to vote for.

  • Fus,

    Would it be better to say that Obama supports child murderers?

    I can’t imagine anyone with a good conscience voting for Obama… now I can understand voting Third Party who doesn’t support abortion (because of Mclame’s support of e. stem cells), but let us be real…

    good conscience should never be used in the same sentence with voting for Obama.

    I will definitely argue that their conscience is misinformed… BIG TIME!

  • I agree with Archbishop Chaput:

    “8. So can a Catholic in good conscience support a “pro-choice” candidate? The answer is: I can’t and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics — people whom I admire — who will. I think their reasoning is mistaken. But at the very least they do sincerely struggle with the abortion issue, and it causes them real pain. And even more importantly: They don’t keep quiet about it; they don’t give up their efforts to end permissive abortion; they keep lobbying their party and their elected representatives to change their pro-abortion views and protect the unborn. Catholics can support “pro-choice” candidates if they support them despite — not because of — their “pro-choice” views. But they also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.

    9. What is a “proportionate” reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life — which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.”

    I also agree with Archbishop Nauman and Bishop Finn:

    “Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason. ”

    http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=29432&page=2

  • You can’t go wrong with Chaput.

  • Well, I couldn’t vote for Obama, and I don’t want to create a strawman, but I could see some combination of the following assumptions leading one to the conclusion that a Catholic could vote for Obama in good conscience:

    1) McCain has never shown great affection for social-issues voters; there’s little evidence it’s a top priority for him personally.
    2) McCain would be able to do little to impact the legality of abortion with a Democrat Senate majority voting on his SCOTUS appointments.
    3) McCain and Obama both support ESCR.
    4) As there is little chance of change in the current abortion regime, and even the FOCA would only have marginal effects (arguendo), the other issues become more salient.
    5) Obama’s proposals to expand health care coverage, his initial opposition to Iraq, his willingness to expand programs that care for the poor etc. are more in line with many parts of Catholic Social Teaching than Obama’s.
    6) Obama shows the type of temperament and intelligence that we should look for in a President.
    7) As many conservatives have noted (e.g. Will, Noonan, etc.), McCain appears to react instinctively, finding ‘bad guys’ rather than reflectively. Given the challenges the next President will face, it would be best to have a President more adept at analytically addressing problems.

    I don’t agree with many of these assumptions, but I think someone reasonably could hold them (or others) which make Obama the lesser of two evils.

  • I think (and I could be wrong) that what we are discussing when we argue whether a good Catholic could vote for Obama is really about interpersonal relations. What I mean is how do we rationalize a dear relative or a good friend supporting and voting for a candidate that we find personally abhorrent? For example, my aunt & god-mother is a wonderful Catholic woman, she raised 12 children, she is active in her parish, volunteers at the local hospital, etc, etc. However, she grew up in the 20’s and 30’s when most Catholics leaned to Democrats politically because of the sense that they “cared.” Whether they cared or not didn’t matter they conveyed a sense of caring which was well received. Even past 80 years of age she still votes the party ticket. There is no doubt in my mind that she does not support the evil that that party now defends. When we rationalize some people voting Dem despite the evidence of their complete support of abortion on demand it is to acknowledge some don’t fully make the connection between the vote and the result.

    Bottom line: I could never understand a Catholic voting for Obama or others of his ilk. However, I can’t reconcile that with my love for my aunt. That is what makes this issue more confusing than it ought to be.