Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

6/27/2008 (6 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 (6 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

House of Representatives may subpoena Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server Watch

Image of Asked to evaluate Clinton's chances of being elected the next president of the United States, Boehner said Hillary Clinton could be a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House of Representatives may subpoena Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server if she does not voluntarily surrender it for examination by an independent party, John Boehner revealed this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I've not made any decisions ... continue reading


Eating at the government's table: 353,000 refugees on food stamps, 55,000 receiving SSI Watch

Image of They come from faraway lands to the United States in search of a better life - all on the taxpayer's dime.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They come from faraway lands to the United States in search of a better life - all on the taxpayer's dime. It has been learned that at least 350,000 refugees in the U.S. are on food stamps, according the Congressional Research Service, or CRS. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Bill and Hillary Clinton have been 'disorganized and greedy,' analyst says Watch

Image of Regardless of Bill Clinton's personal feelings about Obama, it did not take him long to see the advantages of an Obama Presidency. More than anyone, he pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, along with his wife Hillary - who has her eyes on the presidential seat come 2016, reportedly have a "web of connections between Bill's private work, Hillary Clinton's public role as secretary of State, the Clintons' ... continue reading


Loretta Lynch makes history as the first African-American female U.S. attorney general Watch

Image of Loretta Lynch is the first African American female attorney general in the history of the United States.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Loretta Lynch has been confirmed as the new U.S. attorney general last Thursday. History is made as she became the first African-American woman to occupy such a crucial and distinct government position. Lynch was not present during the Senate confirmation, however, her ... continue reading


Have they found their man? Koch brothers offer audition to Jeb Bush Watch

Image of Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, may be the candidate likely to receive support from the Koch brothers and their network of extensive political contacts.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Koch brothers, Charles and David, the wealthy political donors who have dipped their hands and massive fortunes into U.S. politics for years, may have upped their involvement, considering for the first time whether to lend their wealth and organizational ... continue reading


Will one book ruin Hillary Clinton's entire presidential campaign? Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton's campaign takes a big hit with new book.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A controversial "tell all" book about the Clinton Foundation's funding habits, titled "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich," is set to enter stores and rock Hillary's campaign next month. ... continue reading


Social Security numbers issued to more than half a million illegal immigrants in U.S. Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The cornerstone to lawful employment to labor in the United States, it has been recently revealed that more than half a million illegal immigrants - or 541,000 illegal aliens. This disheartening statistic has been revealed by Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner ... continue reading


Hillary Clinton caught in shameful lie on family's history Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Hillary Clinton continues to shape her platform for presidency, she is reported as boasting her family's immigration history. During one of her first speeches as an official candidate, Clinton said that "all her grandparents had immigrated to the United States," ... continue reading


Federal government sets all-time record for tax revenue Watch

Image of We will not know how much additional tax revenue the Treasury pulled in until it releases its next daily statement tomorrow afternoon. Every dollar of it will add to the new record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tax day has arrived - and with the close of business on April 14, the Treasury brought in a record $1,477,901,000,000 since fiscal 2015. Began on October 1, 2014, these figures are courtesy of the Daily Treasury Statement. Despite this record tax revenue, the ... continue reading


INSANE: U.S. federal tax code is 74,608 pages long! Watch

Image of If the tax code continues to grow at the same pace it did over the last century, it will pass 100,000 pages in 2050.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you had your taxes professionally prepared this year, you may now fully appreciate what your accountant or cleric did for you this year. The U.S. federal tax code is a whopping 74,608 pages long! Try to imagine trying to digest all the nuances that go along ... 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, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2015 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... 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