Did Doug Kmiec Just Now Catch On That Obama and NARAL Are Politically Conjoined? [UPDATED]
Erstwhile "Reaganite" and now Obamolochite Douglas Kmiec writes at Catholic Online:
Having been drawn to Senator Obama’s remarkable “love thy neighbor” style of campaigning, his express aim to transcend partisan divide, and specifically, his appreciation for faith ("secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square"), I did not expect to be clobbered by co-religionists.(emphasis and editorial commentary added)
On the blogs, I have been declared “self-excommunicated,” and recently at a Mass before a dinner speech to Catholic business leaders, a very angry college chaplain excoriated my Obama-heresy from the pulpit at length and then denied my receipt of communion. [ED.: Daaaaaaaamn. That's one rebuke that must've stung. UPDATE: And the denial of Communion part appears to have been inappropriate - see UPDATE #3 below.]
It won’t help now that the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) has endorsed Obama over Clinton. This is an endorsement that is deeply troubling unless the good Senator Obama intends to match it with the sobering acknowledgment that abortion is less “right,” than avoidable tragedy. [ED.: WTF? Are you seriously going to pretend to be "troubled" or surprised in any way that Obama was endorsed by this group after he promised the abortion lobby that he "will not yield" on their pro-abort agenda? Kmiec's dissembling attempts to make Obama come off as representative of some sort of pro-life middle ground become more and more insulting to the intelligence and common sense of pro-lifers with each new defense he writes.]
Catholic instruction provides that “a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.”
That obviously would preclude a Catholic voter from supporting a referendum providing public funding for abortion, but what about a candidate like Obama who is not pro-abortion, but of the view that the civil law best leaves this question to the mother in consultation with their own clergyman and doctor? [ED.: And there we have it, folks. He finally comes out and adopts the Gerald Campbell position that "pro-choice" really isn't "pro-abortion" - which is at odds with the view taken by the Bishops*, by the way - and officially baptizes "pro-choice" as a legitimate postition for a Catholic to hold and vote in favor of. Professor Kmiec has now become an apologist for the "pro-choice" position. "Consultation with their own clergyman and doctor" my ass! As if that somehow gives someone license to kill people. I suspect that next you'll be adopting the "safe, legal, and rare" rhetoric.]
But there's a deeper question: Are Catholics -- indeed people of all faiths and no faith -- who address the wrenching economic or social circumstances or misinformation that pressure a mother into believing she has no alternative but to take the life of her unborn, really pro-abortion? [ED.: Excuse me while I choke on my own vomit!]
Here's how one Hot Air contributor responded to Kmiec's drivel:
... Kmiec’s solution to the NARAL dilemma is to have Obama propose a “fulsome initiative” to promote adoption; evidently that would restore his anti-abortion bona fides to a level worthy of a pro-life voter’s vote. If you believe abortion is murder, though, why would some sort of hortatory measure like that suffice? It’d be like if Obama proposed letting family members euthanize Alzheimer’s patients so long as there was some “fulsome initiative” to inform them of the virtues of letting them live. Some behavior is immoral to a degree that we merely cajole, other behavior is immoral to a degree that we prohibit. How did abortion end up in the former category for anti-abortion advocate Doug Kmiec? And what on earth does it mean to say that Obama “is not pro-abortion,” as though that’s some mark of distinction? There isn’t a single mainstream pro-choice politician I can think of, left or right, who doesn’t load up his/her abortion rhetoric with lip service about what a tragedy it is, how it should be safe, legal, and hopefully rare, etc. Anything less would be ghoulish. As such, Obama’s hesitancy isn’t evidence of virtue, it’s evidence of his being barely sentient enough to know that he’d better be sober in how he talks about this lest those independent voters he needs head for the hills...(emphasis added)
To be honest, I'm beginning to wonder if Kmiec is having second thoughts about his decision to go over to Obama, but feels "stuck" and has the need to intellectually save face. That might describe the increasing incoherence and illogic on display in each new justification he issues.
Or maybe he's just defending the indefensible and there's no logical or coherent way to do that. Either way, Kmiec's become a total embarassment to Catholic legal scholarship.
* "... While it is always necessary to work to reduce the number of abortions by providing alternatives and help to vulnerable parents and children, Catholic teaching calls all Catholics to work actively to restrain, restrict and bring to an end the destruction of unborn human life..." From “Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life”, March 10, 2006.
Darwin highlights another disturbing aspect of all this - Kmiec's Obama exists only within Kmiec's own imagination:
The other mildly disturbing thing about all this is that Kmiec seems to be dealing almost entirely with an Obama that exists entirely within his own head. A couple weeks ago he was excited about Obama supporting the 95-10 initiative -- except that Obama does not support that.
Now he says Obama should prove he's not really pro-abortion by advocating adoption -- but Obama doesn't show any signs of being disturbed by NARAL's endorsement.
This seems to be another case of a smart (perhaps too smart) person treating Obama as the tabula rasa on which to write out all his own concerns, without ever actually consulting the real Obama.
Feddie and M.Z. add their takes.
UPDATE #3 (16 May)
Canon lawyer Ed Peters opines that the priest was wrong to deny Kmiec Communion:
... But to deny Kmiec holy Communion for his actions to date? No way. In the face of Canons 18, 213, 843, and 912, Canon 915 indeed authorizes withholding Communion from those who (a) obstinately, (b) persevere in (c) manifest (d') grave (d'') sin. But about the only thing Kmiec is (so far) is manifest.
I have been urging for years that greater respect for Our Lord in the Eucharist be shown by, among other ways, withholding holy Communion from certain figures who fail to meet the requirements set out in canon law. I suppose it's inevitable that, with steps finally being taken toward the enforcement of Canon 915, some hotheads are going to misapply the law. But that's not the law's fault; that's bad catechesis, something over which even priests can stumble.
In short, by my read, Prof. Kmiec is owed an apology.
UPDATE #4 (16 May)
A must-read comment by one of Feddie's readers at Southern Appeal.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Deal Hudson on "How Obama's Catholics Will Dodge the Infanticide Question"
Kmiec's Dishonesty [UPDATED]
Catholic Teaching and Political Risk Taking: When Credit Isn't Given Where Credit is Due [UPDATED]
Kmiec's Wishful Thinking on Obama and Abortion
The Curt Jester: "Shameless Garment" [UPDATED]
So-Called "Catholic Reaganite" Doug Kmiec Endorses Obama [UPDATED]
"No'bama for Me, Thanks"
Can a Catholic Vote for Obama?
Obama's Pledge to Planned Parenthood: “I Will Not Yield"
Deal Hudson: "Barack Obama's Catholic Problem"
"Why American Catholics are Supporting Barack Obama
Catholics at the Ballot Box
How the Catholic Left Will Tackle McCain
Why Does Kmiec Criticize McCain for Positions on Which He Gave Romney a Pass?
Deal Hudson on "Douglas Kmiec and the Lure of Obama"
Douglas W. Kmiec on "The Moral Duty to Inquire"
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"
Obama "Post-Partisan"? Ask John Roberts
Obama and the "Pragmatic Center"