Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Curt Jester: "Shameless Garment" [UPDATED]

Jeff Miller writes:
... But there is no lack of people for who party trumps everything else. There were the pro-life Catholics who thought that Rudy Giuliani was da bomb and of course Casey's predecessor Sen. Santorum decided to support Sen Specter over an actual pro-life candidate.

Now I am sure that Senator Casey would explain himself using some variation of the seamless garment argument. Though I think for accuracy sake this should be renamed the shameless garment argument since many people who use it are quite shameless in how they justify supporting pro-abortion politician and measures. Democrats who manage to see infinite shades of gray for most moral issues see life issues as one solid color and minimum wage can be of equal value as protecting the unborn. If hospitals treated people like the shameless garment argument then people who stubbed their toe would be as likely to get immediate attention as someone who had already lost near a gallon of blood. What we need is triage when it comes to the pro-life cause and the unborn come first...


[More]
My Comments:
I keep hearing that opposition to abortion isn't a partisan issue, and that there are plenty of Democrats who are pro-life just as there are plenty of Republicans who are "pro-choice". No doubt. In fact, I agree with that overall assessment.

Nevertheless, it's a shame that pro-life Democrats can't (or won't) band together to demand that their party reverse its pro-abortion course in the same way that pro-life conservatives and Republicans banded together to demand the GOP not nominate pro-abortion Rudy Giuliani as its presidential nominee. People like me threatened that we would stay home or vote 3rd party (and I certainly would have followed through on that threat) rather than vote for a pro-abort like Rudy. As a result, Giuliani went from sure-thing frontrunner status to also-ran in about the same amount of time it took Steve Dillard to type the words "Catholics Against Rudy".

Where's the similar effort on the part of Catholic Democrats and liberals? Pro-life Democrats, instead of always asking "Where's the beef?" in regard to the GOP's progress on ending abortion, should instead be putting their pro-life money where their pro-life mouths are and start doing something substantive to turn their party around (and I don't mean this "working behind the scenes" nonsense - I've seen little evidence that such "efforts" are anything more than keeping a low profile and perhaps biding their time).

But to actually jump on board the campaign bus with a guy who

(1) voted against protecting babies born alive during botched abortions;
(2) said that his "biggest mistake" in the U.S. Senate was voting to help Terri Schiavo;
(3) pledged to Planned Parenthood that he "will not yield" on the "fundamental issue" of abortion;
(4) criticized the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban, calling it "part of a concerted effort to roll back women's rights";
(5) stated that he has a pro-abortion litmus test for Supreme Court nominees; and
(6) vowed that his first act as President will be to sign the "Freedom of Choice" Act

just ain't cutting it, and belies your claims of being "pro-life" in any meaningful sense.

If you must vote for him because you believe "truly grave moral reasons exist" for supporting him over the other guy, I might disagree with you, but I can understand that decision. But actively campaigning in support of such a candidate? That I cannot understand.*


* IF - and that's a big "if" - I come around to agreeing to vote for John McCain, I can assure you that the extent of my efforts on his behalf will be going the few blocks over to the polling station on Election Day, holding my nose, and pulling the lever.


UPDATE (31 March)
M.Z. Forrest is providing the sort of justification I'm looking for from pro-lifers who are considering a vote for Obama. See also here.

M.Z., while acknowledging that he is leaning toward a vote for Obama, is under no illusions as to the fact that there is little if any practical significance between being "pro-choice" and being "pro-abortion" and what that means for the unborn. You get the feeling from him that his vote for Obama would be one of reluctance (or perhaps even sad resignation), which should be contrasted with the irrational exhuberance that many pro-lifers are exhibiting when it comes to their full-throated support for the man.

That's the sort of thing I'm looking for. If you believe there are "truly grave moral reasons" that are leading you to support a pro-abortion rights candidate like Obama, I can respect that; but at least be willing to acknowledge that there will be short-term (and probably long-term) negative consequences where the effort to end (or even hold ground on) legalized abortion is concerned.

That's a far cry from the sort of delusional glorification of Obama's ability to "change" the culture to such an extent that abortion will no longer be "necessary", which we are hearing from some pro-life Catholic quarters, to the extent they address the pro-life issue in regard to Obama at all (see, e.g., Douglas Kmiec and Gerald Campbell - the latter even goes to far as to defend the "pro-choice" position).

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6 Comments:

At 3/30/2008 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is my opinion, as a practicing Catholic husband and father of 5.

I believe the Republican establishment would have made abortion illegal or restricted it greatly if that were really their desire and priority. The same goes for drug smuggling, money laundering and financial fraud, or pornography, all the things they say they are against. They have had the Presidency for 20out of the last 28 years, and had control of the Senate and House as well during that time. I believe they spout the pro-Life position to get the pro-Life vote, and that is it.

What is more, I see the terrible injustice of the Iraq invasion and occupation, violating just war doctrine and leading to death and suffering on a massive scale. That and the total lack of law enforcement against white collar crime has ruined the economy.

I believe the best use of one's time and energy in the pro-Life cause is prayer, donating to motherhood shelters and pro-Life ministries, and helping at an individual level in oyur community. Yes, it would be great if politicians and prosecutors would advance the pro-Life cause with real lawmaking and real judicial bravery, but I sincerely do not believe that will happen based on decades of precedent. For these grave reasons, I can morally consider voting for a candidate like Obama or any other candidate who is not pro-Life, because I believe that "morally grave" is an appropriate way to describe the Republican (Neocon) drive to dominate the world through massive military spending and unjust war. I will probably not vote for the Republicans for Senate and House races because in my district they are rubber-stamps for the Republican military industrial complex. I deeply disagree with anyone who says that a Catholic can only vote for the "pro-Life" candidate or else commit a sin. That negates the freedom of a well-informed conscience to choose the good they know. I think voting for a Republican means at least 4 and possibly 8 more years of terrible war and death and lawlessness and bankruptcy, and that is a fairly certain outcome. The chances of McCain passing a Constitutional ban on abortion are literally zero, barring Divine intervention. And Divine intervention can happen if a Democrat wins as well, so that is not a legitimate factor for one's decision. Again, abortion is terrible and should be outlawed, but before elected representatives do the people's will, the people's will has to change. Every woman rescued from abortion by counseling or shelter becomes an advocate for pro-Life. One day I think that is what will change things, when all these women lead their generation and their children and families and politicians start to reflect the will of the people. Now, the will of the people is split, and in that case, politicians play games rather than take effective stands. The fight for life is at the local and state level.

 
At 3/30/2008 9:15 AM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

"I believe the Republican establishment would have made abortion illegal or restricted it greatly if that were really their desire and priority."

What total rubbish. The Democrat party, no doubt the party to which brave Anonymous gives his fealty, has fought tooth and nail every pro-life initiative that the Republicans have undertaken. When Bill Clinton was President he appointed only judges who viewed Roe v. Wade as sacred writ. The Republican party is far from perfect on abortion, but it is light years better than the wholly owned subsidiary of Planned Parenthood known as the Democrat Party.

 
At 3/30/2008 9:31 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"I deeply disagree with anyone who says that a Catholic can only vote for the "pro-Life" candidate or else commit a sin."

I agree with you there, albeit only insofar as the principles laid out by the Bishops in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship are met(i.e. not voting for a pro-abortion candidate because of that candidate's views on abortion, and only voting for a pro-abortion candidate in the presence of truly grave moral reasons - I agree with those Bishops like Blair, Chaput, and O'Malley who have stated that this is a very high bar to overcome and should invlolve "serious moral soul searching").

Nevertheless, for the sake of my own conscience, I will not vote for any candidate who supports abortion, just as I would never vote for a candidate who espouses racist views or is a Holocaust denier. Such a candidate has disqualified himself or herself from receiving my vote.

 
At 3/30/2008 12:33 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

And, Anonymous, you didn't address any of the 5 points where Obama has shown himself to be an enemy of the unborn. Support him if you must, but at least be willing to actually explain to us what pro-lifers who support Obama hope to do to keep him from actually FURTHERING the culture of death.

Read up on what the "Freedom of Choice" Act (which Obama vows will be his first priority on day 1 of his Presidency) would do. It would enshrine Roe v. Wade in a federal statute and would reverse any gains that have been made at the federal and state levels - such as the PBA ban, parental consent / notification laws, informed consent laws, waiting periods, laws mandating ultrasounds before abortion, and the ban on federal funding of abortions. And, if I understand the law correctly, it would eviscerate laws providing for professional conscience clauses for Catholic hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, etc.

So, instead of railing against Republicans for "not doing enough" to end abortion, perhaps you should take a long hard look at the guy you're supporting and the complete opposite direction in which he would take us with respect to abortion.

 
At 3/30/2008 9:33 PM, Blogger Kyle R. Cupp said...

Your argument that pro-life supporters of Obama need to explain their support for Obama given his steadfast devotion to furthering abortion rights is more than fair.

 
At 3/31/2008 8:08 AM, Blogger Darwin said...

Adding on to Jay's questions: The one argument I've heard which is supposed to inspire pro-lifers to support Obama is that Republicans have fostered a greedy national culture while Obama will bring in a culture so selfless that people's eyes will become open to the sacredness of unborn life.

Certainly, a universal moral awakening is an attractive idea, but this seems to me to suggest not merely wishful thinking but some degree of denial. Obama has made it clear that he considered abortion a fundamentally important "choice" in American culture. As such, how can we deceive ourselves into imagining that he will usher in a culture in which people recognize that abortion is a fundamentally destructive act?

Whatever sort of culture Obama seeks to inspire, it is clearly a culture in which the actualization of the self is sometimes considered to require the destruction of the other. Under all the glowing rhetoric, his vision of America is still deeply self and greedy -- it's just a greed that focuses on having the government prevent the "other guy" from getting ahead of you, and making sure that you get a wider variety of government benefits, as opposed to the Republican ideal which has generally emphasized one's property rights and ability to succeed on one's own. Obviously, the "work to get ahead" Republican mentality can lead to selfishness as well, but we should not fool ourselves for a moment about what Obama is proposing.

 

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