Thursday, February 28, 2008

Deal Hudson: "Barack Obama's Catholic Problem"

Deal Hudson writes on "Barack Obama's Catholic Problem" at InsideCatholic:

In early January I wrote a column arguing that Barack Obama "will not win the Catholic vote." Although Obama has won eleven primaries in a row, his "Catholic problem" is emerging in voting patterns and early media skirmishes.

And yet, on the heels of his relatively poor showing among Catholic voters, came the
remark of well-known Catholic jurist Douglas Kmiec that Obama is a "Catholic natural." Evidently, Catholic voters are slow to recognize him as such. It's hard to blame them when Obama has voted against a law that would have protected a child once it was born and outside the womb -- the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

... it comes as no surprise that Obama was
endorsedby one of the nation's leading abortion advocates, Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for a Free Choice. Calling Hillary Clinton "not radical enough on abortion," Kissling praised Obama as the man who could complete "the social transformation that Roe began but did not solidify."

Joe Feuerherd, who once wrote for the National Catholic Reporter (a newspaper that supported Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004), is also helping to define Barack Obama in the eyes of Catholic voters. This past Sunday, Feuerherd published an
op-ed in the Washington Post in defense of his vote for Barack Obama in the Maryland primary.

... the exchange between Feuerherd and the USCCB brings to the surface the core of Obama's Catholic problem, and why Catholic voters are already sensing a disconnect with the charismatic young senator from Illinois. Feuerherd is all too aware that Obama, as Catholic League president Bill Donohue
puts it, promotes a "culture of death."

Feuerherd evidently does not want to go through the exercise of spinning the bishops' and Vatican's documents on the issue of voting for pro-abortion candidates and platforms. He saw that such efforts didn't work in the past two elections, where George W. Bush did surprisingly well with Catholic voters. Feuerherd's message seems to be: If the bishops are getting in the way of electing Obama, then "the bishops be damned."

It's doubtful that such a strategy to gain Catholic support would be successful. Catholics often disagree with their bishops, but they do not take kindly to expressions of outright disrespect.

McCain is in fact vulnerable to Obama on both abortion and the war. If the Arizona senator wants to win in November, he must convince Catholic voters that he's not a lukewarm pro-lifer. A good running mate could help him significantly on that score.

On the issue of the Iraq, McCain must become conversant, if he isn't already, in Catholic Just War teaching so he can discuss the war and occupation in terms Catholics will understand.

[Read the whole thing]
My Comments:
Definitely worth a read.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
USCCB Responds to Feuerherd

"Why American Catholics are Supporting Barack Obama"

Reactions to Feuerherd's "Bishops Be Damned"

Catholics at the Ballot Box

How the Catholic Left Will Tackle McCain

National Catholic Reporter's Joe Feuerherd to U.S. Catholic Bishops: "Go to Hell"

Deal Hudson and Fr. Thomas Reese on Obama and the Catholic Vote

Deal Hudson on "Douglas Kmiec and the Lure of Obama"

Douglas W. Kmiec on "The Moral Duty to Inquire"

Former Head of "Catholics for a Free Choice" and So-Called "Philosopher of Abortion Movement" Says Obama A Better Choice than Hillary

Professor Bainbridge: "Will Catholic Reaganites Go for Obama?"

Deal Hudson: "Preacher Man: Barack Obama and the the Gospel of Liberalism"

"Sorry, Doug Kmiec, But This Catholic Isn't Buying Obama"

Ramesh Ponnuru on Douglas Kmiec and "Catholic Reaganites for Obama" [UPDATED]

Romney Advisor Says Obama "a Natural for the Catholic Vote"

Catholic Democrats Going for Clinton Over Obama?

InsideCatholic on Democrats and the Catholic Vote

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