Skip to comments.Roman Catholics for Obama '08
Posted on 07/18/2008 9:19:41 AM PDT by rrstar96
The first time I learned about the practice I was horrified. It was the mid-1990s. The source was Sharon Dunsmore, a nurse in a hospital NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) who wrote a small booklet about the experience. One day on the job she had been summoned stat to the delivery room to deal with an oops abortiona failed abortion in which the baby unexpectedly survived, or, as Dunsmore quoted the pediatrician on the scene, had the audacity to survive.
The team struggled as to whether to continue intubating the childnow a little boy, not a fetuswho clearly was not going to make it, mangled and destroyed as he was. He gasped for air as the doctor left the room, allowing nature to take its cruel course, leaving the boy with Dunsmore. No further medical care would be administered.
Typically in these situations, the infant is left aloneon a cold metal table, in a corner, on a bare bed, in a trash can. Dunsmore did not have the heart to do that. She stayed with the boy.
In her account, Dunsmore went into painstaking detail about what happened nextthe breathing, the wettingwith such vividness that I, a mere distant reader, couldnt decide whether to cry or vomit. Recalling the scene she described never ceases to make me sad. She wrote of how she named him Tiny Tim, took him in her arms, held his little hand, and sang to him: Jesus loves the little children . The little boy fought as best he could, but to no avail. She whispered goodbye to him, and told him he did matter to someone.
I have never forgotten that story and since then have even met some of these abortion survivors, one of whom visited Grove City College to speak before a spellbound group of our students at the campus chapel a few years ago.
OBAMAS STANCE ON ABORTION
The United States Congress has also learned about this grisly reality, and finally, in 2002, passed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, requiring that babies like Tiny Tim who survive abortions receive medical care from the medical professionals in their midstmedical professionals who suddenly must morph from killers to their traditional roles of healers and helpers.
The bill was so obviously necessary and became so popular that it faced no real opposition, even from the most fanatical of Congress pro-abortion extremists, including Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Ted Kennedy. Even NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, supported the legislation.
Indeed, who could ever oppose such legislation? Actually, there is someone: Barack Obama, who appears as of May to be the frontrunner for the Democratic Partys presidential nomination, and possibly the next president of the United States.
Obama was not a member of the US Senate at the time that the Born Alive Infants Protection Act passed unanimously through both chambers of Congress. But he was a member of the Illinois state legislature, where similar legislation was introduced at the state level. There, Obama twice voted against the legislation, in 2002 and 2003, and as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee blocked another attempt to bring the legislation to the floor of the Illinois Senate.
The pro-life community in the state of Illinois was aghast, and pro-life Catholics were horrified. Yet today Catholics around the country are lining up to endorse Barack Obamas candidacy for president of the United States. They are stumping hard for Obama, who, if elected, has promised to do whatever he can to appoint justices and support legislation guaranteeing decades of protection for Roe v. Wade.
CATHOLICS IN HIS CAMP
Who are these Catholics? They are an eclectic bunch, from politicians like Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Democratic Governor Tim Kaine (Va.), Democratic Governor Bill Richardson (N.M.), Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-Mass.), Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.
The support of the Kennedys and Kerrys is no surprise; they are pro-abortion party hacks. But the endorsement of Dan Rooney, known to be a daily communicant, is bizarre. Among other reasons, his teams brutal Steel Curtain and Blitz-burg defenses do not call to my mind the image of the man that National Journal ranks as the most liberal member of the US Senate.
There are also, of course, the predictable Catholic colleges that, in defiance of repeated warnings by the bishops regarding Catholic institutions and pro-abortion politicians, have offered platforms to Obama in the form of on-campus political rallies: St. Peters College in New Jersey (in January) and Loras College in Iowa (in March).
But no group of Catholics seems quite as odd as the one titled Roman Catholics for Obama 08, which dubs Barack Obama the best and right candidate for Catholic voters. The group asserts: [W]e, as Catholics, believe Catholics can and should vote for Barack Obama because his platform aligns well with Catholic Social Teaching.
Their website (www.romancatholicsforobama.com) leads with a long quote from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which states, The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of the moral vision for society In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia.
But the group completely ignores the fact that Obamas record contradicts this statement, instead underscoring Obamas stance on the death penalty, terrorism, Iran, American diplomacy, regional diplomacy, nuclear weapons, the 21st century military, gun policy, global poverty, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, new partnerships in Asia, Darfur, and the culture of secrecy. In short, the group focuses on everything except the primary moral principles taught authoritatively by the Catholic Church.
Navigating ones way around the website of Roman Catholics for Obama 08 is a dispiriting immersion in inanity, moral equivalency, and delusional thinking. This is likewise true for another (ecumenical) website, www.faith.barackobama.com, which has posted a number of endorsements from Catholics like Tamara S. of Roswell, Georgia, who says, Im disturbed by the hijacking of the Republican party by far-right Christians. Or take this one: I have no interest in living in a theocracy, writes Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, who is most concerned with issues of poverty and issues of justice and equal access and opportunity, especially when dealing with children and education and healthcare.
CASEY SUPPORTS OBAMA
Many of these Catholics dismiss or downplay the Churchs teachings on the sanctity and dignity of human life. But what about the explicitly pro-life Catholics who are supporting Obama? The two most high-profile, Catholic pro-life endorsers of Barack Obama for president are Bob Casey, Jr. and Doug Kmiec.
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. is the son of and heir to the great pro-life stalwart, Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania. It was hard to find a pro-life Democrat as principled as the late governor, who was named in the title of the 1992 court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The late Casey was shocked by the abortion stridency of his party, so much so that in 1996 he considered a run for the presidency against the incumbent president from his own party, Bill Clinton. In 2006, the younger Casey, who is likewise considered a pro-life Catholic Democrat, unseated the strongest pro-lifer in the US Senate, Senator Rick Santorum. Since then, Casey has been a grave disappointment, not at all picking up the torch from Santorum.
Consequently, it was not surprising to learn that in the thick of the crucial Pennsylvania primary, Casey endorsed Barack Obama for president. He then announced he would be touring Pennsylvania cities with Obama, including, incidentally, those small towns in rural areas that Obama said were comprised of bitter folks who cling to God and guns out of frustration at the federal governments failures.
If Obama had won Pennsylvania on April 22 rather than losing to Hillary Clinton by 10 points, he would have been propelled to the Democratic Party nomination in Denver. So, Casey jumped into the fray to do his part.
Casey was also there with Obama at the April 13 Compassion Forum at Pennsylvanias Messiah College, broadcast by CNN. Abortion rights fell into the category of compassion for Obama, who fenced a question about whether he believes life begins at conception by saying, I dont presume to know the answer to that question. Earlier in the campaign Obama had made the stunning remark that if one of his young daughters got pregnant out of wedlock, he would not want her to be punished with a baby.
THE CASE OF DOUG KMIEC
If any of this bothers Casey, he hasnt expressed it. Caseys endorsement of Obama demonstrates that he is first and foremost a Democrat who places party loyalty above moral principle. The same cannot be said, however, of the endorsement of Obama by Douglas W. Kmiec, who has long been thought to be a conservative Catholic Republican.
Kmiec, a former counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, was the dean of the Catholic University of America School of Law. He is currently chair of constitutional law at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He recently was an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Kmiec calls Obama a natural for the Catholic vote.
Today I endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States, announced Kmiec in a March 23 statement posted at Slate.com. I believe him to be a person of integrity, intelligence, and genuine good will.
Unlike other Catholics who ignore the issue altogether, Kmiec addressed his difference with Obama over abortion. But he deals with the difference unconvincingly. Kmiec acknowledges that he believes life begins at conception, and it is important for every life to be given sustenance and encouragement, then renders this stance meaningless with a vague hope about Obamas openness: In various ways, Sen. Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced, based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing, that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of views and, as best as is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.
To which public pronouncements is Kmiec referring? Recall Obamas remarks to a screaming Planned Parenthood crowd last July, to whom he promised, The first thing Id do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would overturn state pro-life laws nationwide and make abortion the supreme law of the land. In that speech, he told the appreciative women that Planned Parenthood was a safety net provider that needed to be given discounted drugs so that all women would have access to affordable contraception. In the speech, he hailed Margaret Sangereugenicist, racist, and Planned Parenthood founderas a voice in the struggle for equality.
Amazingly, Kmiec read this speech and points to it as an example of Obamas alleged flexibility. Kmiec sees the speech as lacking the vituperation of so many speeches by pro-choice Democrats to abortion groups, an interpretation that mistakenly assumes that style and tone trumps substance and policy for Obama.
Behind Obamas smile is an uncompromising advocacy for unfettered abortion rights. Obama is committed to appointing strictly pro-abortion judges to the US Supreme Court. As for Reaganesque pro-life judges recently promoted to the court by President George W. Bushnamely, Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both of whom Kmiec commendsObama boasts of his votes against these two judges.
Obama has said that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most stalwart abortion crusader on the high court, is his ideal justice. Kmiec, given his expertise as a legal scholar, knows this.
To be blunt, Kmiecs perception of Obamas openness to accommodation on abortion is pure projection. There is absolutely no reason to conclude that a President Obama would be receptive to a pro-life message. Obama himself has repeatedly made it clear that his stance on this issue will be unyielding. As president, he might say he is open to pro-lifers and that he respects them, but he would not be expected to join them on any meaningful pro-life action.
There is a psychological-emotional attraction to Obama that goes beyond the traditional reasons explaining why people, Catholics included, support certain candidates. Whats more, the Roman Catholics in Obamas camp are largely typical of the religious left generally and left-leaning Catholics specifically who identify with and support a liberal Democrat for president. The abortion issue simply loses out to a wider swath of social justice issues that for them take precedence.
The Church continues to exhort Catholics to reject this moral equivalency in their voting, but Obamas Catholic supporters dont care, and from this atmosphere of dissent Obama hopes to ride a wave of millions of Catholic votes all the way to the White House.
Paul Kengor has most recently published God and Hillary Clinton (HarperCollins, 2007) and The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagans Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007). He is professor of political science at Grove City College.
Roman Catholics for Obama '08
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Obamas director of Catholic Outreach dodges opportunity to reach Catholics
Barack Obama Slams John McCain For Opposing Abortion, Activist Judges
Catholics and Obama
COMMENTARY: Quandry for Catholics At Election Time
The Latest Refinement (Obama on Abortion)
CNN Runs Biased News Story Covering Up Barack Obamas Pro-Abortion Record
Jill Stanek: Obama's biggest lie about supporting infanticide
The Battle for Catholic Voters
New Report Indicates Voters Most Interested in Barack Obamas Position on Abortion
Deal Hudson: Obama and Infanticide?
Ad asks Obama: If fatherhood begins at conception, when does life begin?
Embryonic stem-cell research immoral, unnecessary, bishops say
Catholics should not vote for Obama
Catholic Caucus: It is a sin to vote/support Obama/DNC [abortion]
More Catholics leaning towards Democrats, poll reports (really not Catholics)
The Catholic-Obama Problem (Pope Benedict XVI instructs Catholics about pro-abortion candidates)
Obama's Abortion Bombshell: Unrestricted Abortion....
NARAL Catholics Line Up for Obama
Editorial: Disagreeing with Doug Kmiec One More Time
State-Funded Embryo Research "Makes Taxpayers Complicit in Killing", say Bishops
McCain Meets Privately with Fr. Pavone - Says Constitutional Right to Life Applies to Unborn
Faithful Citizenship: Catholic Vote is very sought after
Has Obama dissolved his Catholic advisory council?
Commentary: Faithful Citizenship and the Formed Conscience
Catholic League: Where's Obama's 'Catholic Advisory Council'? [Not to be found!]
Right-wing Christians beginning to lean left (Misleading headline)
Catholics Debate Obama Vote
US Bishops Urge Voters to Give Priority to Life [Ecumenical]
Corralling the Catholic vote: Political necessity or pipe dream?
DOUG KMIEC: Catholic Reasons for Hope in the General Election
EDITORIAL: Why This Catholic Dreads the Campaign
The Catholic-Obama Problem (Pope Benedict XVI instructs Catholics about pro-abortion candidates)
Thoughts On Roman Catholics For Obama
How Obama's Catholics Will Dodge the Infanticide Question
Catholic Pro-Life Leader Feuds With Barack Obama's "Catholic" Backers
McCain and the Pope: McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote (Reagan re-visited?)
Catholics Cannot Vote for Pols Who Support Abortion, Except for Morally Grave Reasons: KY Bishops
We live in Davenport, and a lot of the Catholics in that diocese are pro Obama and pro choice. Every sermon I have heard there has at least one mention of being anti war and how horrible business is. They have also had more sex scandals per capita than just about anywhere else.
That is why my bride belongs to the Peoria diocese. The priest has a taste for English sports cars (with their horrible wiring), but is other wise a very orthodox guy
Should also say that the pro Obama crowd is big in other churches that should know better.
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