Thursday, April 03, 2008

Deal Hudson: "Catholics Organize to Elect Barack Obama"

Deal Hudson writes at InsideCatholic:
Lately there's been much talk about the endorsements for Sen. Barack Obama made by two Catholic leaders: Republican pro-life jurist Doug Kmiec and Democratic pro-life Senator Bob Casey Jr.of Pennsylvania.

But these endorsements are just the tip of the iceberg. A well-organized effort is advancing behind the scenes to create a coalition of Catholics -- dissatisfied with the Iraq War, angry toward George W. Bush, and pushing "social justice" issues -- to win the Catholic vote in November 2008.

To know who the players are in the Catholic push for Obama, one has only to look at a brochure for "The Convention for the Common Good" to be held in Philadelphia during July 11-13. Organizers have already invited both presidential candidates to speak to what they estimate to be 600 attendees.

The brains behind the convention are Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and NETWORK, a national Catholic social-justice lobby. Sponsors include a who's who of progressive Catholic organizations: Pax Christi, USA; Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns; Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities; Catholic United; Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice; and the University of San Francisco, Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought. (Also listed as a sponsor is the AFL-CIO.)

The goal of the convention is "to move politics beyond selfishness and division to the common good." The convention will propose and ratify a "Platform for the Common Good" and ask the candidates, presumably Senators Obama and McCain, to sign it. The final morning of the three-day meeting, they will discuss how to "mobilize for action for Election 2008."

***
Look for Catholics in Alliance with the Common Good to take a leading role in gathering Catholic support for Obama. Led by co-founder Alexia Kelley, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, CACG has been steadily gaining visibility since its founding in 2004. Kelley worked for nearly ten years at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development of the USCCB. She raised some eyebrows by taking the job of religion outreach director at the Democratic National Committee during the Kerry campaign while still leading CACG. Like Kelley, the other seven staff members are impressively credentialed for their tasks.


[More]
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
I think M.Z. raises a valid point in his comment to my previous post, while "respect[ing] people's horror at his record on abortion", that discussions of Obama's record often "degenerate[s] into commentary on abortion rather quickly" at the expense of discussing "other parts of his record". I can agree with that. There is more to debate regarding Obama's fitness to be President than just his record on that particular issue, but discussions often get bogged down with name calling and excommunications over whether it is ever permissible to vote for a "pro-choice" candidate, etc.

But when I read something like "The goal of the convention is 'to move politics beyond selfishness and division to the common good' ", I can't help but think that those organizing such a convention want to move beyond the "divisiveness" of the arguments over legalized abortion and focus instead on policies that allegedly eliminate the "necessity" of abortion, all the while ignoring the fact that there is nothing more "selfish" than supporting the "right" to abort a child for what usually amounts to economic reasons.

Legalized abortion is sort of like the elephant standing over in the corner of the room. It's a little difficult not to want to address it, despite the attempts of those organizing the "Convention for the Common Good" to "move beyond" it.


UPDATE
M.Z. raises another valid point:
One could have fun with this I suppose. We could say that Mr. Hudson is organizing to elect Republican candidates. Maybe I could make the allegation sound more nefarious for fund raising purposes. I have no issue calling transparent political fronts what they are. Alexia Kelley I'm sure was aware that she would invite such criticism. One needs to hold off on the indignation a little when the shoe is put on the foot then, like (fair of unfair) criticism of Catholic Answers Action's guide. I tend to avoid it myself, because I dread fairness debates, which is what these things become. Suffice it to say there are advocates for everyone, some with better arguments than others.
Certainly having worked in the Bush Administration, Mr. Hudson isn't exactly one who should be casting stones regarding Ms. Kelly's political allegiances and her experience of having worked for Democrats.

Nevertheless, were Mr. Hudson organizing a convention similar to that being organized by Catholics in Alliance, his detractors would be the first to point out his connections. And no doubt any such effort on Mr. Hudson's part would not be for the purpose of benefiting those with whom he disagrees politically.

I think it's fair to raise the issue of where one's political allegiances may lie (on both sides) when one is organizing such an event with the alleged aims of "moving beyond" partisanship.

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9 Comments:

At 4/03/2008 12:57 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

Abortion is the slavery issue of our time. It isn't going away and it must and shall be dealt with. Those who seek to ignore it for political profit are just as blind as those in the 1840s and 1850s who simply hoped the slavery issue would go away.

 
At 4/03/2008 2:24 PM, Anonymous M.Z. said...

One could have fun with this I suppose. We could say that Mr. Hudson is organizing to elect Republican candidates. Maybe I could make the allegation sound more nefarious for fund raising purposes. I have no issue calling transparent political fronts what they are. Alexia Kelley I'm sure was aware that she would invite such criticism. One needs to hold off on the indignation a little when the shoe is put on the foot then, like (fair of unfair) criticism of Catholic Answers Action's guide. I tend to avoid it myself, because I dread fairness debates, which is what these things become. Suffice it to say there are advocates for everyone, some with better arguments than others.

 
At 4/03/2008 3:34 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

M.Z.,

Certainly having worked in the Bush Administration, Mr. Hudson isn't exactly one who should be casting stones based on Ms. Kelly having worked for Democrats.

Nevertheless, were Mr. Hudson organizing a convention similar to that being organized by Catholics in Alliance, his detractors would be the first to point out his connections. And no doubt any such effort on Mr. Hudson's part would not be for the purpose of benefiting those with whom he disagrees politically.

I think it's fair to raise the issue of where one's political allegiances may lie (on both sides) when one is organizing such an event with the alleged aims of "moving beyond" partisanship.

 
At 4/04/2008 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Deal is going to end up correcting so much of what he wrote. The affiliations are incorrect according to an article on Catholic Online today. Deal also has a correction his website. Hope it gets straightened out. Deal is a great guy, but somebody must have given him bad intel.

 
At 4/04/2008 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/update/bn081904.htm

I think anyone reading this will have reasons to question Deal Hudson as being a "great guy." He may or may not get things right (because, of course, one's sins doesn't make one's positions right or wrong), but I think one must be cautious when saying he is a "good man."

 
At 4/04/2008 11:33 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I'm going to let that last comment (and the link to NCR) slide. But you should know that my outrage over Feuerherd's piece exposing the sin of a fellow Catholic is what got me interested in blogging in the first place.

Whatever Mr. Hudson's failings, he paid a heavy price for that particular one. It is reasonable and charitable for us to believe that Mr. Hudson has probably already addressed it in the confessional and leave it at that.

It is also reasonable and charitable to believe that a particular failing in the past doesn't mark one definitively as not "a good guy".

 
At 4/04/2008 7:51 PM, Blogger Michael J. Iafrate said...

Abortion is the slavery issue of our time.

Slavery is the slavery issue of our time.

 
At 4/05/2008 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody remember why Hudson was forced to resign from the Bush campaign? Why do so many still seek his insights on moral issues? Just as bad as Dems celebrating Bill Clinton as a great moral leader.

 
At 4/05/2008 10:13 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Anybody remember why Hudson was forced to resign from the Bush campaign? Why do so many still seek his insights on moral issues? Just as bad as Dems celebrating Bill Clinton as a great moral leader.

To "anonymous", who didn't have the courage to even register his identity -- at this point, the incident reported in the National Catholic Reporter happened more than a decade ago.

Was it horrible and morally repugnant? Yes. But as Jay said, presumably Hudson -- a committed Catholic -- has brought this matter before the Confessional and is forgiven by the blood of Christ.

Whatever Hudson's faults, he is no less committed to the culture of life, and if he speaks out on abortion, ESCR, gay marriage or whatever, I daresay one is better off tackling the strength of his arguments than dredging up his past history for something to smear him with.

(Incidentally, right now we're commemorating the life of Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights hero but also a known philanderer. Should the sins of the latter prevent us from listening to what he had to say on moral issues?

 

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