Skip to comments.The Battle for Catholic Voters
Posted on 07/03/2008 7:34:00 AM PDT by NYer
Douglas Kmiec is the kind of Catholic voter the GOP usually doesn't have to think twice about. The Pepperdine law professor and former Reagan Justice Department lawyer (Samuel Alito was an office mate) attends Mass each morning. He has actively opposed abortion for most of his adult life, working with crisis pregnancy centers to persuade women not to undergo the procedure. He is a member of the conservative Federalist Society and occasionally sends a contribution to Focus on the Family.
He is also a vocal supporter of Barack Obama. Kmiec made waves in the Catholic world in late March when he endorsed the Democratic candidate. But Kmiec insists that while he still considers himself a Republican, his choice is clear this election year. "I have grave moral doubts about the war, serious doubts about the economic course Republicans have followed over the last seven years, and believe that immigration reforms won't come about by Republican hands," he says. "Senator McCain would not be the strongest advocate for the balance of things that I care about."
A new Time poll of Catholic voters reveals that Kmiec is part of a broader pattern. Although Obama was thought to have a "Catholic problem" during the Democratic primaries, in which Hillary Clinton won a majority of Catholic votes, he has pulled even with John McCain among that constituencyObama now polls 44% to his GOP opponent's 45%.
There are 47 million Catholic voters, and while they are too numerous and varied to speak of as a monolithic Catholic bloc, they have long been a kind of holy grail for presidential candidates.
(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...
“Douglas Kmiec is the kind of Catholic voter...”
Who has abandoned his Catholicism.
Doug Kmiec is an apostate.
All those McCain haters have wrought this...and the country will suffer.
Excellent link! Thanks. Francis Beckwith has it right on target:
“The truth is that Doug Kmiec does not have a conceptual grasp of what the prolife position actually is. It is not about reducing the number of abortions, though that is certainly a consequence that all prolifers should welcome. Rather, the prolife position is the moral and political belief that all members of the human community are intrinsically valuable and thus are entitled to protection by the state.”
One might consider that the abortion issue is like a comet that comes back only every 4 years during Presidential elections and is absent in all interim elections slackens interest.
This issue does not grab Catholics like it used to. Choice is now included in the GOP big tent. Guiliani was once the leading contender and GOP governors are not challenged.
Catholics are also interested in economic family issues like jobs, health care and education costs. On social issues, helping the poor brings more recruits at Church than abortion clinic protests.
The abortion issue has to have a life span in politics greater than a Presidential election or fade as a wedge issue.
They were generally New Dealers. Even on this thread one can see Catholics are most interested in the abortion issue. Of course abortion is an abomination, but socialism is a larger abomination, tearing at the fabric of family which RESULTS in sexual atrocities like abortion, homosexuality, and the welfare state in general.
Socialism is the Catholic weak spot. This is how the Dems will exploit them.
This is one Catholic Conservative that is both a fiscal and a social conservative.
I am anti-abortion, support the war in the middle east, think taxes are way to high, see the need for people to get training/ education to get off welfare, and if they don't want that then kick them off. I am all in favor of the Second amendment and think that guns are not the problem, but one part of the solution, along with stiff sentences including the death penalty.
Here is the real kicker I teach at a public High school
This is not my experience. I believe this is coming to the forefront as it should have been from the beginning.
The issue of abortion is one that many devout Catholics fight throughout the year, not just every four years at election time.
Throughout the year, we are providing assistance to pregnancy aid centers, writing letters to state and federal politicians, participating in marches for life (and for many of us, the annual March for Life in January in Washington, DC, or in our state capitals).
The Knights of Columbus recently launched a new program to help pregnancy aid centers acquire the latest and greatest in ultrasound equipment. Folks have found that 80% - 90% of women who see a sonogram of their baby do not then procure the killing of their baby. To promote the acquisition of ultrasound equipment, the Supreme Council (that's the Knights of Columbus governing body) will match dollar-for-dollar funds raised by local Councils, Assemblies and Districts to buy the equipment.
We Catholics (at least actual, devout Catholics who accept Catholic Faith without compromise) are pro-life, and we're pro-life every day of the year, not just on Election Day.
But we are especially pro-life on Election Day.
That Mr. Kmiec would defect from the pro-life cause by endorsing the most pro-death presidential candidate to ever run is an indication of defection from the Catholic Church.
He is an apostate.
Sorry. I believe you missed the point that abortions only become an election issue during presidential elections and not other elections. All you pointed out is true but still there are still more efforts to help the poor rather than in pro-life projects in Churches that I have attended. Abortion is not the only issue now that Catholics consider in their candidate choice.
The public abortion battle seems to have been lost by the preachers just as the battle on shacking up. And depending on politicians to ‘fix’ something will be disappointing. If the public can be persuaded that ‘choice’ is not acceptable, then the politicians will follow. The horse is before the cart.
“Sorry. I believe you missed the point that abortions only become an election issue during presidential elections and not other elections.”
I've seen abortion as an issue in any number of state and local elections.
“All you pointed out is true but still there are still more efforts to help the poor rather than in pro-life projects in Churches that I have attended.”
You haven't been to a wide variety of parishes, then.
I've seen parishes very much dedicated to the pro-life cause, and others where generally assisting the poor is more important. I've seen parishes where neither is particularly poor, and the life of the parish and its parishioners seems paramount. I've seen parishes that are pretty moribund where there isn't any particular emphasis on anything, other than getting Mass said, getting folks baptized and funeralized, and getting 2nd or 3rd graders to First Confession and First Communion, and getting 8th or 9th graders confirmed.
“Abortion is not the only issue now that Catholics consider in their candidate choice.”
That's true, but if you break out Mass-attending Catholics from Mass-non-attending Catholics, you'll find that Mass-attending Catholics vote predominantly pro-life.
Part of the problem is that significantly less than half of those who call themselves Catholics no longer darken the door of a Catholic church on Sunday (or Saturday evening, as the case may be) on a regular basis, but nonetheless, these non-practicing Catholics are still considered “Catholic” when pollsters poll.
“The public abortion battle seems to have been lost by the preachers just as the battle on shacking up.”
I couldn't disagree more. Polls show that support for severe legal limitations on the abortion license has never been higher. Most folks want to ban nearly all abortions under nearly all circumstances. Most of the rest of folks want to restrict abortion considerably from what we have now.
And younger people are becoming increasingly pro-life in their political views.
“If the public can be persuaded that choice is not acceptable, then the politicians will follow.”
Actually, the public at large is now far more pro-life, politically, than politicians on the whole.
However, none of this was relevant to my initial post, to which you responded.
Real Catholics are pro-life every day, including on Election Day.
Douglas Kmiec is an apostate.
Maybe in your area the pro-life issue is in local elections. I know the NY, NY and PA area and it is not. What local elections can you refer to from your area?
Do they discuss shacking-up from the Pulpit also?
I agree with your opinion that people attending Mass are much stronger pro-life. Maybe when the Church figures out why that is so then Mass attendance will increase. What I see is people coming back to Mass when they have children but then again that is also diminishing. Heard any contraception talks at Mass?
Regrettably, Maryland is a pro-abortion state. However, the Knights of Columbus and the Maryland Catholic Conference of Bishops have jointly run voter registration drives with the intent of registering pro-life Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates in state elections in Maryland. Last year, thousands of voters were registered.
As well, we're dealing with a variety of pro-life issues in our legislature, including reducing or ceasing state support for embryonic stem cell research, homosexual marriage, and state aid for crisis pregnancy centers to provide women with options other than abortions.
In response to the request from the bishops, the Knights mobilized a letter-writing campaign on the homosexual marriage issue, which generated 39,000 letters to legislators and the governor. By an order of magnitude or so, this legislation drew more mail than any other piece of legislation that anyone can remember. Going back decades. Regrettably, the legislature and the governor passed and signed a “civil union” bill, but there is political movement to put it to referendum. The Church, especially throught Knights, is working for this.
At the local level, many Democrat legislators in the state are actually pro-life. Maryland is a heavily-Democrat state, so it's tough for folks who label themselves Republicans to get elected. But I know that my own state senator is pro-life, as is my own state delegate. In some parts of Maryland, in some districts, it helps to be pro-life to get elected. My parish resides in Bowie, Maryland, and the local state delegate of that legislative district is also pro-life.
Thus, although we pro-lifers are in the minority here in Maryland, we are still fighting politically for pro-life politicians and pro-life issues.
Sorry to hear that the “pro-life” folks where you live seem to have abandoned the battlefield.
“Do they discuss shacking-up from the Pulpit also?”
Non sequitur. I don't think I ever brought up or addressed the topic.
“Heard any contraception talks at Mass?”
Again, non sequitur. I didn't bring up or address the topic.
We agree that the country should be pro-life. We just disagree on the best way to do that. You want to rely on politicians, government laws, etc. I want to rely on the parish preaching. Convert the public.
I mentioned shacking up [co-habitation] and contraception as also moral issues which are avoided in NY, NJ and PA churches. Because the Church seems to have given up the battle in these areas also. Are they mentioned in MD?
“You want to rely on politicians, government laws, etc.”
You don't seem to have any idea of what I want to rely on.
I believe that we must win back the society at the cultural level.
But I believe we must simultaneously continue the political fight, on a variety of levels, because in part, the battle IS political, and in part because the politics influences culture and society.
Part of what holds back the cause is Roe vs. Wade. And winning presidential elections has brought us within one vote of overturning Roe.
Without overturning Roe, the pro-life will of the people that already exists will continue to be frustrated on the political level. The fact is that clear majorities in the United States believe that abortion should be legally restricted to cases or rape, incest, life of the mother, and severe fetal abnormality.
In that those cases represent less than 4% of all abortions, that means that majorities of Americans support outlawing, banning, 96% of abortions.
But that will is frustrated by the fact that such laws would conflict with Roe.
Thus, we must continue to fight on the political level, as well, at the margins with issues like partial birth abortion,parental notification, parental consent, waiting times (all of these are state-level political issues, and can be used as wedge issues to help change hearts and minds of folks), and then at the presidential and senatorial levels, so that we can get one more seat on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe.
About 20 states already have restrictive abortion laws on the books that would immediately take effect upon overturning Roe, and more states would follow.
And then the real political battle could begin.
It's not “either/or,” either fight culturally and socially or fight politically. it's “and/both,” fight culturally and socially AND politically. Because both need to be done, and because each reinforces the other.
“I mentioned shacking up [co-habitation] and contraception as also moral issues which are avoided in NY, NJ and PA churches. Because the Church seems to have given up the battle in these areas also. Are they mentioned in MD?”
It's irrelevant to me, really. I don't expect leadership from the priests and bishops. It's up to the laity to change the culture, the society, and the politics of life and death. The bishops, and many priests, prove over and over again how deeply disappointing they are. They are certainly within the Apostolic Succession, proving it continuously by acting like St. Peter at the time of Jesus’ Passion.
But, yeah, we do hear homilies on these topics from time to time. It depends a lot on the individual priests. Some priests make a habit of preaching on these topics at least a few times per year. Others, they never mention them.
However, all the priests I know:
1. Won't marry you if you're co-habiting. And if you DO want to get married, you'll have to live apart for at least six months.
2. Won't baptize your baby if you're co-habiting. If you're co-habiting and have a baby together, you have to promise to live as brother and sister for six months, then marry in the Church, and then your baby will be baptized.
After you take several months of baptismal preparation classes.