Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pro-Life Democrat Calls Being Pro-Life and Voting for Obama "A Psychological Impossibility"

David R. Carlin, lifelong Democrat, former majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate, and author of the book, Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?, writes at InsideCatholic:

Recently, [Catholic League head Bill] Donohue came across a list of members of Sen. Barack Obama's National Catholic Advisory Council and let out a very loud yelp. For it turns out that more than 15 members of the Council are also members of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives, where they all have strong pro-choice voting records. In response to Donohue's barking, on May 8 members of the committee -- not just congressional members but those from the academic and other worlds as well -- sent a letter of protest to Donohue, telling him how wrong he is and how strongly compatible with Catholic social teaching Senator Obama's policy stands are.

Although the letter was written by a very distinguished list of politicians, academics, and others, and although it was written in a very sophisticated (or should I say "sophistical"?) manner, it contained little more than the usual drivel that Catholics (or should I say "Catholics"?) trot out when they wish to justify their support for a pro-abortion political candidate.

What it boils down to is this: Abortion isn't the only issue of concern to Catholics; there are many other issues as well (war, poverty, racism, torture, immigration, etc.); and when we weigh all these things together we see that Obama's Catholic quotient, despite his not being perfectly correct on abortion, is much higher than Sen. John McCain's, even if we concede that McCain is more Catholic on the narrow issue of abortion.

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It doesn't puzzle me that many people believe in abortion... It doesn't even puzzle me that many sincere Catholics are pro-abortion despite the fact that their religion condemns abortion as a very serious sin.

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What does puzzle me, however, is that there are intelligent and well-educated Catholics (like those, I presume, serving on Senator Obama's Advisory Council) who say that they agree with the Church on abortion, yet support a pro-abortion candidate (Senator Obama) for president. How can a sane person who has reached the age of reason believe on the one hand that abortion is unwarranted homicide, yet on the other support a presidential candidate who makes no secret of the fact that he wants to protect and even extend this homicide "right"? Unless you are a moral monster, you can't possibly hold these two things at once, for they contradict one another. It is psychologically impossible both to agree with the Catholic teaching on abortion and to support a pro-abortion candidate for president.


[More]

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
National Catholic Register: "Obama and Abortion"

Deal Hudson on "How Obama's Catholics Will Dodge the Infanticide Question"

Obama Catholics Blast Bill Donohue, Blame Conservatives for Failing to End Abortion

Kmiec's Dishonesty [UPDATED]

The Curt Jester: "Shameless Garment" [UPDATED]

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7 Comments:

At 5/14/2008 8:04 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

How can a sane person who has reached the age of reason believe on the one hand that abortion is unwarranted homicide, yet on the other support a presidential candidate who makes no secret of the fact that he wants to protect and even extend this homicide "right"? Unless you are a moral monster, you can't possibly hold these two things at once, for they contradict one another. It is psychologically impossible both to agree with the Catholic teaching on abortion and to support a pro-abortion candidate for president.

Exactly what you've been saying here for years, Jay, what I've been saying, what many of us have been saying.

And faced with this contradiction, I find that cannot believe it when someone tells me that they are pro-life and support Obama. Both of those assertions cannot be true, so one must be a lie.

I find I react with unusual (even for me) hostility when faced with this contradiction, and I now realize that this is because not only is the person in question lying about himself, he's trying to persuade me to lie about myself, to give up my pro-life beliefs and support Obama, just as they have evidently given up theirs.

 
At 5/14/2008 10:30 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Paul,

I'm not sure I take as hardline a view on that as you and Carlin. I can envision a pro-life liberal voter who doesn't believe, for example, that McCain is strong enough or will make a difference on social issues like abortion and same-sex "marriage", who detests McCain's position on ESCR, who abhors what they believe to be an unjust war in Iraq, who is aghast at globalization, who believes in economic populism and government-funded healthcare, etc., and who believes that adding all of this up constitutes "truly grave moral reasons" to vote for a pro-abort like Obama in spite of his abortion stance.

Now, I would completely disagree with their assessment that any or all of those priorities is enough to overcome Obama's radically pro-abortion position, which includes a promise to sign the "Freedom of Choice Act" as his very first action as President and a commitment to nominate only pro-Roe Justices.

Nevertheless, while I question their judgment, I don't question the good faith or the veracity of people who have examined their consciences and come to the conclusion that "truly grave moral reasons" exist to vote for Obama despite his record on abortion.

Clearly, the Holy Father and the U.S. Bishops contemplate that such circumstances might exist, which is why they mention the possibility. Again, it's a prudential judgment, and my own view is that one SHOULD NOT vote for Obama. I think it goes too far to say that, morally, one MAY NOT.

 
At 5/14/2008 10:33 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Nonetheless, I think it incumbent upon those of us who recognize the complete disaster for the unborn that Obama represents to continue to make the "SHOULD NOT" case. Clearly, those who have the unborn as one of their top priorities SHOULD NOT vote for Barack Obamoloch.

 
At 5/14/2008 5:03 PM, Blogger RobK said...

" It is psychologically impossible both to agree with the Catholic teaching on abortion and to support a pro-abortion candidate for president."

It may be a logical impossibility, but it is clearly not a psychological impossibility. That is exactly how this happens. Compartmentalization is psychological not logical. These people have separated their faith and reason in a way that makes sense to neither faith nor reason.

 
At 5/15/2008 8:36 AM, Blogger matthew archbold said...

It's heartbreaking that self-confessed followers of Christ would vote for such atrocities. It really makes me fear for our country and Western Civilization.

 
At 9/19/2008 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last I checked abortion is not the only life issue in this election. There are also the following life issues which weigh heavily in favor of Obama: the death penalty, unjust wars, lack of health care and those who will die because of that lack, children who will die of malnutrition while rich people get richer and richer due to the greed of the Republican economic agenda.

In addition, there are many quality of life issues and prevention of loss of life issues that favor the Democrats: investment in economic growth, jobs, better public education, focus on crime and gang reduction through alternative programs and outlets, all of which can prevent death and abortions in the future because people with hope for their futures do not go out and kill other people or get abortions.

Furthermore, there is the important issue of restoring America's standing as a bastion of democracy and freedom, a country that only participates in just wars. Over the last 8 years the world has come to see us as an agressive nation that goes about the world trying to impose its will on others, the land of the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib. Such international respect, if revived, can foster positive beliefs toward our country and prevent future wars and attacks and loss of innocent lives.

 
At 1/23/2009 3:01 AM, Blogger Birth Mom of Adoption said...

Thisa is a response to anonymous's comment about their being more than one abortion is not the only life issue. Frist off, duh. but if you place protecting a criminal from the death penalty up at the same level as protecting an unborn child, your not really pro-life in my opinion. And secondly, it is fundamental. If we take away like from those before they ever get to breathe, how can we expect to change anything else! mother Teresa said it and it still hasn't caught on,
“The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?” (Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 3, 1994)

 

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