Saturday, June 07, 2008

Give It a Rest Already, Prof. Kmiec! [UPDATED]

(Hat tip: Feddie)

It's the weekend, and I don't want to spend my family time or yardwork time having to fisk this piece of nonsense. I'll go ahead and post it now, and promise to get back to it with a vengeance first thing on Monday.

Suffice it to say for now that it's the usual incoherent, ill-reasoned, and overwrought worship of an Obamessiah that exists only within Prof. Kmiec's own imagination that we've come to expect from this "eminent Catholic legal scholar". Here's a snippet:
DOUG KMIEC: Catholic Reasons for Hope in the General Election

... However, in raising “other considerations,” Deacon Fournier comments that “the next occupant of the White House will choose at least one Supreme Court Justice. That choice will, at least in this Constitutional lawyers mind, determine whether the current ‘culture of death’ hiding under the profane precedent of Roe v Wade will take another generation of our children before they are able to breathe our air and be welcomed into our family.”

Those are heart-felt words, but for the reasons discussed below, they assume – mistakenly – what the overturning of Roe would actually mean. Given that abortion is an intrinsic evil without justification, thinking the overturning of Roe “solves” the abortion problem, when it does not, can mislead Catholics into the erroneous conclusion that any candidate unwilling to pledge reversal of Roe is categorically unworthy of support. I suspect that this is why the Deacon “dreads” the beginning of the campaign since both of the major candidates fall short of the Catholic ideal on the issue of the protection of human life.

So let’s examine the nettlesome tragedy of abortion and the insufficient approaches of both candidates to date. Senator Obama’s position accepts the existing legal regime which leaves the abortion decision with the mother as a “constitutional right.” Senator McCain's position would leave the decision with the individual states. Neither position is fully pro-life, both are pro-choice, with the former focused on the individual and the latter focused on the right of the states. Senator McCain's position is sometimes described as pro-life, but in truth, it is merely pro-federalism (states being free under the McCain position to decide to permit or disallow abortion as they see fit).

Independent of my Catholic faith, as a constitutional law teacher, I respectfully disagree with both Senator Obama and Senator McCain since the Constitution was intended as a means to enforce and guarantee the unalienable right to life recited in the Declaration of Independence, where of course it is explicitly traced to our Creator. Since neither candidate presents a position fully compatible with Catholic teaching recognizing abortion for the intrinsic evil that it is, Catholic teaching asks us to work for the reduction of the incidence of abortion through the most prudent way possible.

There is no single answer on the most effective manner to reduce abortion either. My experience, and that of others whom I greatly respect for their tireless efforts in parish work and with Project Rachel and Catholic pregnancy centers, suggest that Senator Obama’s emphasis on personal responsibility (conveying especially to young people the need to understand the maturity and commitment needed for sexual intimacy) is the course most likely to make a difference.

I respect the views of my fellow Catholics who would place greater emphasis upon new legal prohibition or restriction, but my experience is that the more effective way to actually protect life is to work directly face to face with someone facing the awful thought of taking an innocent life. This is imperfect I know, but this path calls upon us – personally – to meet as best one is able the social and economic and religious reassurance needed by the individual children of God (mother and unborn child) that touch our lives.

Again, it is my own conclusion that Senator Obama would be more open to these considerations since he is more dedicated toward reducing the partisanship of the past, has very responsibly and very consistently called upon our better natures, and has articulated -- long before he sought the presidency -- a genuine appreciation for the importance of faith in the public square...

Which ever candidate ultimately merits our approval, we should break out of the complacency of the past that seems to be inspired by thinking that we are merely one vote away from protecting life if only the right candidate “controls” the composition of the Supreme Court.

First, I think it's wrong to understand court appointments in this fashion as it indulges the pernicious notion of the rule of men rather than the rule of law. But, putting that law teacher's objection to one side, in truth, there is not a single member of the present Court willing to affirm the unalienable right to life from the moment of conception, as opposed to merely reversing a single court decision such as Roe, which, as best as I can tell, would directly save no unborn life.

Thus, we are actually nine votes away from the Catholic position, and that in itself is enough to convince me that change on the Supreme Court, after 20-some long years of working for and praying for such change, cannot be the only way in which respect for life is expressed.

My unfortunate experience of being denied communion
[ED.: Give it a rest, already!] by a well-meaning, but theologically mistaken, college chaplain is the exception, not the rule. The present thoughtful discussion has been inspired most directly by the American Catholic bishops and their very helpful discussion in a “Call for Faithful Citizenship,” which is recommended reading for all Catholics in the United States before they exercise the franchise.
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
As a preview, I'll raise 4 points that stick out to me, which I will expand upon on Monday:

  • First, did you catch Kmiec's all-or-nothing moral equivalency between McCain's and Obama's respective positions on Roe v. Wade? According to Kmiec, since neither candidate is talking about appointing Justices who will adopt the Natural Law position that the Constitution protects the unalienable right to life of the unborn, there is therefore no qualitative difference between McCain's view that Roe should be overturned, thereby giving the democratic process room to operate in the area of limitations on abortion and Obama's view that Roe is to be protected at all costs - "On this fundamental issue, I will not yield" - so that abortion-on-demand remains the constitutionally protected law of the land. Nope. Absolutely no difference between those two positions whatsoever.

  • Second, did you catch Kmiec's either/or reasoning when it comes to the appropriate means of ending abortion, which follows from his all-or-nothing abortion jurisprudence? It boils down to this: since we aren't going to have 5 Justices anytime soon who will find a constitutional right-to-life for the unborn, we might as well forego any legal means to restrict abortion and instead work on policies that lower the frequency of abortions by eliminating the so-called "need" for abortion. But he never gives any reason why we can't work to do that AND work to provide legal protection for the unborn. Apparently, Kmiec has never walked and chewed gum at the same time, but I find it surprising that a lifelong Catholic would be so wholly unfamiliar with the concept of "both/and".

  • Third, did you catch how Kmiec still hasn't connected the dots for us as to how Obama is supposedly the man who will build Kmiec's either/or version of a "culture of life". Kmiec has made lots of assertions about Obama's bona fides in this regard, but to date has posited no actual documentation of Obama's tendency to "reach out" that might ground Kmiec's assertions in something resembling reality. So far, Kmiec's Obama exists only within Kmiec's own imagination.

  • Fourth, did you catch how Kmiec, once again, harps on his wrongfully being denied Communion? It looks like we're going to hear Kmiec touting this from now until November.

  • Again, more on Monday.

    Or not. Since beginning this post, I have now been made aware of Cranky Conservative's excellent fisk of Kmiec's piece. Definitely read that, and maybe I'll add more on Monday. Or not.

    UPDATE (9 June)
    I've decided I'm not going to give this thing the full fisk since my efforts would likely be duplicative of what The Cranky Conservative has done.

    But I do encourage you to read the comments to Kmiec's piece at Catholic Online. My favorite thus far is the one that points out the sophistry and "athletic mind" involved in Kmiec's claiming that McCain's support for overturning Roe v. Wade is evidence that he is "pro-choice", while claiming that Obama - who voted against protecting children born alive during botched abortions, has promised Planned Parenthood and NARAL that "On this fundamental issue [the so-called 'right' to abortion], I will not yield.", and who has promised that his first act as President would be to sign the "Freedom of Choice" Act, which would overturn all restrictions on abortion in every state and the federal government, including bans on partial-birth abortion - is somehow "more open to [pro-life] considerations".

    "Athletic mind", indeed. As Regular Guy Paul frequently notes, Kmiec is lying to himself and lying to us in the process.

    Finally, Deacon Keith Fournier has responded to Kmiec's latest Obamalotry, albeit in a kinder fashion than Kmiec's sophistry deserves.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Deacon Keith Fournier: "No More ‘Left’ or ‘Right’, Time for a New Catholic Action"

    Doug Kmiec's Newfound Celebrity Status Among Those on the Left

    Doug Kmiec Soon To Be Sorely Disappointed

    E.J. Dionne on Kmiec Being Denied Communion [UPDATED]

    Deal Hudson on Prof. Kmiec and Blurring the Lines Between "Pro-Choice" and Pro-Abortion

    Did Doug Kmiec Just Now Catch On That Obama and NARAL Are Politically Conjoined? [UPDATED]

    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"

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    At 6/08/2008 12:20 AM, Blogger matthew archbold said...

    When I say something stupid (which is often) I find the next best thing to do, at least for a little while, is just shut up.
    Kmiec should take that advice.

    At 6/08/2008 9:05 PM, Blogger Literacy-chic said...

    Senator Obama’s emphasis on personal responsibility (conveying especially to young people the need to understand the maturity and commitment needed for sexual intimacy) is the course most likely to make a difference.

    If Obama DID emphasize personal responsibility, I might find it difficult to disagree. But his reason for upholding the legality of abortion is directly related to SHIRKING personal responsibility: that is, so that his daughters (for example) won't be "punished with a baby" for making a mistake and acting sexual irresponsible. He might promote birth control as a means to prevent that end, but he does not disallow abortion as a back-up plan, as far as I can see. At any rate, Planned Parenthood doesn't think that he disallows abortion as a back up plan.

    Of course, the point of upholding or overturning Roe v. Wade is either to force states to keep abortion legal even if the voters of a state vote to make it illegal, or to allow those same voters to decide to outlaw it regionally. The fear that keeps Roe v. Wade from being overturned is the fear that on a smaller-than-federal scale, people might actually prove to be more pro-life than pro-choice. If people were deprived of the "safety net" of abortion, they might actually be forced to evaluate their actions from the perspective of personal responsibility both before AND after they act. Children learn this from their parents. But God forbid we force so-called adults to GROW UP!

    At 6/08/2008 9:12 PM, Blogger Literacy-chic said...

    *ahem* "acting sexually irresponsibly" (darn cut & paste)

    At 6/08/2008 9:14 PM, Blogger Literacy-chic said...

    Notice I say "people" and not "women." In no way do I feel that abortion--either the decision to abort or the decision not to abort--is only a women's issue.


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