Saturday, October 18, 2008

Paul Says It All

At his blog Thoughts of a Regular Guy, Paul has written one of the best things I've seen yet addressing the problem of the squishy pro-Obama Catholic voters. Do read it all; but I especially liked:
So to the Doug Kmiecs and Nicholas Cafardis of the world, the Morning's Minions and the Radical Catholic Moms, and even the Joe Bidens, Nancy Pelosis, and all the others so proudly proclaiming "I'm Catholic and I'm supporting Obama, and you should too!" if you want to support the Infanticide Champion for president, I won't call your faith into question.

If you want to vote for the party that holds ordinary people like Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber and me in contempt, go ahead. If you want to stand with those who consider Christians to be rubes and fools, feel free. If you want to vote for the party that fought to kill Terri Schiavo, be my guest. If you want to support those who support recreational embryo-destructive stem cell research -- but not adult stem cell research -- that's your legal right. If you want to support the party that promises to replace our capitalist economy, which has been the engine that has enabled America's unequalled-in-history levels of charity within its own borders and throughout the world, with a socialist system that will make all of us poor, I'm sure I can't dissuade you. If it floats your boat to vote for the guy who'll repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, thus spreading gay "marriage" across the land, who am I to say anything? [...]

If you're this sort, I have only two requests of you: either don't come to my blog and try to show that your support for the Party of Death is consistent with your Catholic faith, or else, after you've won, that you spend even half, even one-quarter, of the energy you've spent on convincing Catholics to vote for abortion this year on getting the Democrats to turn away from their enthusiastic support for abortion next year.

Republican pro-lifers have been vocal in policing the failures of Republican leaders in living up to our pro-life standards. But we have seen no such activity from Catholic Democrats towards their own candidates or officeholders. As Bishop Naumann wrote, if every Catholic Democrat wanted to eliminate the abortion plank from the Democratic Party national platform, it would be gone tomorrow. But there is no credible pro-life movement within the Democratic Party. [Emphasis addded--E.M.].
Many of us who generally vote Republican aren't happy with the party generally or this election particularly. Some of us will decide, in the end, to subject the oft-abused olfactory organ to yet another squeezing as we vote reluctantly for party of most lives (embryonic lives used in stem-cell research not included; some restrictions may apply; void where prohibited). Some will decide they can't support McCain, or that since their state isn't in any danger of going to Obama they shouldn't increase his overall popular vote tally given the various things McCain supports that they don't. Some have already decided that doomed quixotic third party candidates are the only way to go this time around, and are trying to convince the rest of us that this is the only truly sane and/or truly moral option. I can easily see a thoughtful Catholic voter making a case for any of these options, and so I can easily see a thoughtful Catholic voting (or not) in any of these three ways.

But to decide to vote for Obama means, in effect, that as a Catholic you believe one of these things:

1. That it is neither desirable nor necessary for a Catholic in a non-Catholic nation to work for just and moral laws which promote the common good by protecting human life from conception until natural death if your fellow citizens appear to have decided they'd rather live in an atheistic/agnostic secular materialistic/deterministic/relativistic society which contains no such protection for innocent human life; that, instead, it is only necessary that you voice these principles while promising not to "impose" them on the rest of society, and confine any action on your part to whatever efforts in volunteering to aid in crisis pregnancies remain legal in a post-abortion-opposition society.

2. That while it might theoretically be desirable and necessary for a Catholic in a non-Catholic nation to work for just and moral laws which promote the common good by protecting human life from conception until natural death, it is not practically possible at the present time, and will not be again for the foreseeable future, thus mandating that you make your peace with the most vocal advocates in favor of the killing of the innocent unborn by supporting them and working with them in every way possible so as to escape the marginalization of this person's opponents that will occur as soon as he rises to power; the end game, of course, would be to be a generally good influence, though a terribly weakened one giving that a person in this situation has already revealed the extent to which he will compromise.

3. That abortion, troubling though it may be, is still a complex and multifaceted issue that can't be solved, especially not by banning it outright; and that in the grand scheme of things, it is not as troubling as hostility toward illegal immigrants, the prosecution of an unjust war, the delay in providing free universal health care to all in America, poverty generally, or any one of a number of other issues, on which you find yourself lining up completely with the Democratic Party. This convinces you that abortion isn't really your problem or America's problem so much as it is the problem of all those single-issue activists out there; sure, in a perfect world, there wouldn't be abortion, but as we don't live in a perfect world and as the already-born deserve the lion's share of our attention and concern, the idea that people would throw their votes away on the Republican candidate solely because of abortion seems disproportionate, and wrong.

Now, there are probably tons of variations on these three themes, but I've heard some version of them from more than one pro-Obama Catholic who insists that he is pro-life. But as several bishops have reminded us in recent days, none of these ways of thinking is really in line with justice: the unborn, some forty-eight million of whom have perished in the years since Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton made abortion on demand until birth (and, in Obama's America, possibly even after), cry out to heaven for that justice, and woe unto us as a nation if we don't hear their cries, or find them less interesting than the calls for hope and change from the candidate who, as far as I can discover, has not even said that he is personally opposed to abortion.


Anonymous said...

Another excellent post and an outstanding article that you linked to. I wish that our priests were as determined as these pro-life bloggers in getting the word out. I sincerely believe that many Catholics are ignorant of these points and are not receiving the thorough teaching regarding the upcoming election. Many churches I go to don't include literature on the five non-negotiables. Keep up the good work, folks. We can't give up but must fight all the way to Election Day. Too much is at stake.

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Erin, thanks very much for the link, and for your very kind words, as well as your own spot-on comments on the topic.

My experience arguing with these folks is simply this: they want to be able to claim to be "pro-life," and even anti-abortion, while at the same time placing other issues as higher -- even much higher -- priorities. These are people who claim to oppose abortion, but they won't vote that way until war and poverty have been eradicated. By that definition, one could claim to old any political position at all on any topic, but never have to act on it.

It's much like the alleged pro-lifers last year who told us that fighting terrorism was more important than abortion last year, and so we had to support Giuliani.

We're not wrong on the abortion issue, nor are we wrong to make it such a high priority. This is not a topic on which reasonable, well-informed people of good intention may differ.

Their guy should oppose abortion. So must ours. And any Catholic has to be working -- or at least voting -- to bring abortion to a speedy end.

Anonymous said...

Not so fast, Red.

While it takes a while to read run-on sentences, I disagree, that I, as a Catholic must fit into one of the 3 categories listed.

I simply feel that of the two choices of presidential candidate, and the two choices of political parties, two (of the 4) says one thing but is more likely to make a decision in the way of Pontius Pilate (and, in some ways, Mr. GW Bush with his Iraqui war decision).

Whereas the other (one of 4 choices), while there is consistency, and a line of logic, could be intelligently brought into the way of thinking that inducing abortion of fetuses, beyond age 4 weeks for the amoral, is hopelessly wrong, and morally requires more in-depth education of society especially those of us that would induce abortion for those fetuses less than 4 weeks.

Whether or not someone believes that Catholicism can flourish in a socialist US may actually be an interesting question.

As a healthcare provider working on the front lines in the US, it is frightening that folks will condemn a national healthcare insurance system that provides this basic necessity using the derogatory terminology of 'socialism' (though, it is interesting that those without money that want to purchase an abortion will probably have the means to do so) yet, will generally support the government 'bailout' from the perspective that it is 'good for the country', because there is no alternative. Do we have to wait until the level of healthcare compared to the rest of the world, as measured in several indicators, is at a crisis, before national programs that ensure something for everyone kicks in? And, the same might be said for the educational level in this country.

As a provider in my young family years ago, I have 'been there' with no health insurance, i.e. several low-paying jobs without benefits as students, (maybe that in itself was the impetus to finish school as quickly as possible to work for the big bucks). Had my child, spouse, or I suffered a serious illness, it would've been inconceivable that we could finish school, carry on, and been able to contribute to the community as we have been able to do.

What ifs are interesting, but as a Catholic, I feel that we need someone with basic intelligence in the White House, and not someone that plays by the rules of being in the pockets of Daddy's riches/cronies.

Journey of Truth said...

Why remain annon. when commenting, I'll never understand that. Anyhoo - SPOT ON y'all! Keep it coming!!

matthew archbold said...

The more I look at politics, the more I'm convinced that it's all about abortion. Everything else is tangental.

Scott W. said...

Heath care whether under a capitalist system or a socialist one doesn't mean much when you are the one being killed. Free hay, a barn, and all the medicine you is meaningless when humanity has been reduced to the level of livestock.