Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

6/27/2008 (7 years ago)

Inside Catholic (www.insidecatholic.com)

"There's no way to nuance this: Barack Obama's record puts him on the extreme wing of the abortion movement."

The stark reality of Senator Obama's strong support of the current approach to abortion on demand, his endorsement by organizations which promote abortion, his failure to even back a ban on Partial Birth Abortion are making many Catholics pause and reflect on whether they can support his candidacy. Even Catholics who are unhappy with the alternative and hungering for major change.

The stark reality of Senator Obama's strong support of the current approach to abortion on demand, his endorsement by organizations which promote abortion, his failure to even back a ban on Partial Birth Abortion are making many Catholics pause and reflect on whether they can support his candidacy. Even Catholics who are unhappy with the alternative and hungering for major change.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Inside Catholic (www.insidecatholic.com)

6/27/2008 (7 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


WASHINGTON, DC (Inside Catholic) - For the past six months, I have commented regularly on Barack Obama's outreach to Catholic voters.

Looking over what I have written, I realized that taken together these articles serve as a one-stop reference for Catholics who want to know where Obama stands on the non-negotiable Catholic issues.

Before I get to the problems with the senator's candidacy, let me say that Obama strikes me as a likable man with a great deal of personal charisma. I'm making a case against his political positions, and not against him personally. That's an important distinction to keep in mind.

With that said, there's no way to nuance this: Barack Obama's record puts him on the extreme wing of the abortion movement, and has already been labeled by one critic as the "infanticide candidate." Despite this, polls show Obama gaining traction with Catholic voters, and Catholics in general are trending toward the Democratic Party.

Barack Obama's stances on life and marriage issues are simply antithetical to Catholic social teaching. From the beginning of his candidacy, this has been Obama's greatest vulnerability in attracting Catholic voters ("Why Barack Obama Will Not Win the Catholic Vote," 1/7/08). In the primary fight against Hillary Clinton, for example, Catholic resistance to Obama's candidacy was obvious from the election numbers.

Only with the departure of Senator Clinton from the campaign has Obama picked up steam with Catholic voters. Clinton will surely use her clout with Catholics to help the Democratic nominee, which will help break down the resistance of blue-collar white Catholics to an Obama candidacy.

Obama's breakthrough moment with Catholics came with the surprising endorsement of Prof. Doug Kmiec, a well-known pro-life Catholic jurist who served under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Kmiec's reasons for supporting him echo those of Obama Catholics in general -- the positions of the GOP on the war in Iraq, poverty, health care, and immigration are so objectionable that they feel justified in supporting Obama .

Kmiec's position has been picked up by various Obama-friendly organizations devoted to influencing Catholic voters.Their strategy is obvious: Obama's Catholics will do everything they can to avoid the infanticide question -- along with all that it symbolizes -- and will try to foster a moral equivalence between their positions on prudential matters and the non-negotiable life issues.

The debate among Catholics, then, is whether this list of prudential policy issues trumps the obligation taught by the Church toward protecting unborn life and families based upon the marriage of a man and a woman.

In the past two national elections, there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of Catholics who voted for the GOP. Exit polling suggested life and family issues made the biggest difference.

But in 2008, the Iraq War has destabilized the dynamics of the Catholic vote -- the steady migration of Catholics out of the Democratic Party to the GOP has stopped. Many Catholic voters are just too angry at Bush and the GOP over Iraq.

Oddly, when Obama's list of high-profile Catholic supporters was announced, Kmiec's name was not on it. That may have been due to the fact that nearly all of the 25 governors, senators, and congressmen on the list had a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record from NARAL.

It's very likely Kmiec was asked to serve on the advisory council, but may have demurred when he saw the list of solidly pro-abortion Catholics. Former White House speechwriter Bill McGurn called them "NARAL Catholics" in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, made national news when he called for the disbanding of Obama's Catholic committee because its membership was so overwhelmingly pro-abortion. One of its members, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS), had just been warned by her bishop, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, to refrain from taking communion.

Interestingly enough, not long after Donohue's appeal, all references to Obama's National Catholic Advisory Council disappeared from the campaign's web site. Perhaps the campaign realized that branding Obama's Catholic outreach with a Who's Who of pro-abortion Catholics was not a good idea, especially after the warning shot fired by the bishop of Kansas City.

The last thing the Obama campaign wants is a replay of 2004, when John Kerry was dogged by story after story of bishops who said they would deny communion to politicians who obstinately support abortion rights.

Several bishops have already shown their willingness to address this issue publicly in 2008. In addition to the statement of Archbishop Naumann, Boston archbishop Sean O'alley said in an interview last November that Catholic support for Democrat pro-abortion candidates "borders on scandal as far I am concerned."

Various pro-Obama Catholic organizations are working effectively to draw attention away from their candidate's weaknesses on fundamental issues. They are well-funded and led by people with extensive experience in the Democratic Party and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

They are not shy about selling their candidate through official channels. For example, pro-Obama e-mails are now regularly sent to the executive directors of state Catholic conferences (several have been forwarded to me).

Probably the most sustained drumbeat of Obama's Catholic circle will be their support for building a "Culture of Life" in spite of their candidate's position on abortion and infanticide. They will argue that reducing poverty and improving health care, among other things, will bring down the number of abortions more effectively than passing laws outlawing the procedure.

In response to this, Catholic voters should be reminded of what Archbishop Chaput said to Obama's Catholics. On May 19 he rebuked a group called Roman Catholics for Obama who quoted him out of context to justify voting for the pro-abortion nominee. The group had seized upon the following quote: "Catholics can vote for pro-choice candidates if they vote for them despite -- not because of -- their pro-choice views."

Roman Catholics for Obama deliberately left out the paragraph following where Chaput added that he could think of no "proportionate reason" to support abortion. "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."

Archbishop Chaput also pointed out that the emperor had no clothes when it came to Obama's candidacy benefitting a culture of life. He himself was a politically active Democrat as a young man at the time when Catholic politicians began invoking the "personally opposed to abortion" mantra. Chaput writes:

"For most, their personal opposition was little more than pious hand wringing and a convenient excuse -- exactly as it is today. In fact, I can't name any "pro-choice" Catholic politician who has been active, in a sustained public way, in trying to discourage abortion and to protect unborn human life -- not one."

Likewise, if Obama is elected, he has pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act during his first week in office, making it difficult for Catholic supporters of Obama to keep a straight face when talking about a culture of life.


Deal W. Hudson is the director of InsideCatholic.com and the author of Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States (Simon and Schuster, March 2008).

---

The mission of InsideCatholic.com is to be a voice for authentic Catholicism in the public square.We believe that truth is both attractive and compelling and that in the marketplace of ideas, it will invariably win out.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Politics & Policy

SCOTUS PROTECTS - Religious institutions in Pennsylvania protected from HHS mandate Watch

Image of The Pennsylvania-based religious groups are among hundreds of plaintiffs challenging the federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to offer coverage of sterilization, contraception, and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order protecting a group of Pennsylvania religious institutions from being required by the federal contraception mandate to violate their faith. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Doesn't our government have something better to do ... continue reading


DUMP TRUMP? NO WAY. Some brave Hispanic leaders call billionaire 'terrific' and 'brash' Watch

Image of Other presidential contenders have disregarded Trump's comments. It's seen as a setback for many Republicans, who wish to court the widely growing Hispanic population.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Multi-billionaire, Republican candidate for President has always been known for his outspokenness. In a speech to announce that he was throwing his hat into the ring, Trump said Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. ... continue reading


Obama declared 'amateur' and 'Marxist' by Center for Disease Control (CDC) official Watch

Image of Countless Central Americans, piling through the U.S. southern Border States along the border with Mexico has brought an influx of unvaccinated people with diseases that have since been eradicated in the U.S.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States President Barack Obama's unchecked influx of unvaccinated child immigrants across the U.S. - Mexico border has an official with the centers for Disease Control denouncing him as a "Marxist" and "amateur." An email from the official called him the ... continue reading


Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks out on Obama's gay pride light show and the legalization of gay marriage Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In celebration of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, President Obama lit up the White House with rainbow colors, which garnered a response from Republican, former Arkansas governor and now presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Huckabee was noted as saying that ... continue reading


Supreme Court 'unwrote laws of nature' GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saying that the Supreme Court tried to "unwrite the laws of nature and the laws of nature's God" when it legalized gay marriage across the nation last week, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also pointed out the fact that President Barack Obama himself ... continue reading


'They will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won't stand behind people that tell it like it is': Donald Trump fired from NBC for controversial immigrant statements Watch

Image of Donald Trump retired from The Apprentice after announcing his presidential bid.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

NBC has made the decision to cut ties with Donald Trump, over his political view and controversial statements regarding immigration made during his presidential announcement. Donald Trump and NBC have had a relationship, including Trump's produced Miss USA and Miss ... continue reading


When is the best time to take out Social Security? Watch

Image of 100-year-old woman.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Financial advisers usually advice their clients to take Social Security benefits at the age of 70 for maximum growth. However, it is found that most people don't take that advice, as they are likely to withdraw what they have saved up as soon as they hit retirement. A ... continue reading


IT'S NOT OVER: Freedom of Religion may trump same-sex marriage victories Watch

Image of

By Matt Hadro and Adelaide Mena, CNA/ETWN News

Friday's Supreme Court ruling against the traditional understanding of marriage may pose huge obstacles to the free exercise of religion and conscience across the U.S., the nation's bishops have said in response to the decision. Washington D.C.(CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


Decisions on same-sex marriage, power-plant emissions now in the hands of Supreme Court Watch

Image of Six major cases, all of them affecting the American Way of Life are in front of the Supreme Court.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Six major cases, all of them affecting the American Way of Life are in front of the Supreme Court. Decisions regarding same-sex marriages, power plant emissions and execution methods will all be rendered by either Friday or early next week. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett's family has strong communist roots, files prove Watch

Image of Valerie Jarrett's father, pathologist and geneticist Dr. James Bowman, has been found to have had extensive ties to Communist associations and individuals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Does the apple truly fall far from the tree? Recently uncovered files show that Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama and trusted confidant has family ties with those with communist leanings. These uncovered files prove that Jarrett's ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:19-22
19 So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 117:1, 2
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, all nations, extol him, ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:24-29
24 Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Thomas
July 3: St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter