Monday, September 22, 2008

Deacon Fournier: "Doug Kmiec’s ‘Can a Catholic Support Him?’ Asks the Wrong Question"

(Hat tip: Thoughts and Faith to Share)

Deacon Keith Fournier writes:

On Wednesday I received a personal copy of my friend Doug Kmiec’s latest book entitled “Can a Catholic Support Him?” The book is subtitled “Asking the Big Question about Barrack Obama”. I appreciate being mentioned in his Acknowledgement of the book with these words “Deacon Keith Fournier’s writing and editing of Catholic Online is courageous and wise”. So, I write this review to be faithful, to a friendship I value, to the claim in the acknowledgment of this book and to the truth. Doug asks the wrong question. The proper question is not “can” but “should”. The word “can” addresses the issue of capacity and ability. Any Catholic can exercise their right to vote in any manner in which they choose. The Church to which Doug and I both belong does not tell people how to vote, in the sense of which candidate to choose. “Should” on the other hand examines the morality of that choice given our obligation to exercise our freedom with reference to the truth. In short, what is our duty? Sadly, in his argumentation in this book, Doug confuses or conflates the two. It is on this that I completely disagree with Doug Kmiec and am compelled to make that disagreement widely known.

Doug maintains that Senator McCain’s position in favor of the overturning of Roe v Wade is simply a "Federalist position" and not a truly Pro-life stance. He argues (contrary to his own past claims) that the reversal of Roe v Wade will not really affect the state of the current law protecting abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy as a “right”. He confuses position with application. John McCain’s quick response to Pastor Rick Warren’s question on when human rights attach to human persons (“at conception”), as well as his pro-life record, demonstrate that his position is Pro-life. He recognizes that the neighbor in the womb is a human person. Yet, he is a Federalist and believes that the decision to outlaw the killing should be returned to the States, that is application. I favor a Constitutional Amendment protecting the inalienable Right to Life and recognizing the personhood of our first neighbor. I am an abortion abolitionist. However, as an officer of the Court like Doug, I know that the reversal of Roe opens up the field to securing protection of the children and will at least slow the shedding of innocent blood while we work on outlawing the act. I think he does as well but has backed himself into a corner. Doug’s candidate promises to sign the “Freedom of Choice Act” as soon as he is sworn in to office. This will ensure the continued failure to recognize the child’s right to life. The best his candidate has to offer is a comment that abortion is a “moral issue”. His responses at the Saddleback forum on this issue were abysmal. As to the so called “changes” in the Democratic platform and his candidate’s comments on the need to decrease the number of abortions, it is meaningless in light of his stated position. Doug and I used to agree that Senator McCain was wrong on his support of stem cell research. After all, every so called “extraction” of stem cells from a human embryo takes a human life. But now it appears that Senator McCain is beginning to recognize this and is moving closer to consistency. His candidate is not.

Finally, throughout this little book Doug vacillates between acknowledging the existence of objective moral truths which should govern human behavior and contending that someone could deny their existence, claim that such a denial is a “deeply held religious belief” and we should form our positive law to accommodate them under some misguided understanding of religious liberty and pluralism. Doug, what if a group insisted that children were not persons until they were able to walk? After all, they maintained, mobility is what makes them truly autonomous and therefore “persons”. What if they also claimed that their position was a deeply held religious belief? Would you make the same argument? Well, the argument you now defend, that the child in the womb can be killed, without any protection against this objective violation of the Natural Law, is effectively the same argument. How can you take solace in the Senator from Illinois saying that he believes this type of killing is a “moral issue” but continuing to insist on calling it a “right”?

These two arguments are repeatedly presented in this little book as if repetition makes them more acceptable. It does not. Along with them we read Doug’s story of being wrongly denied communion, his story of how he came to admire and support Barrack Obama and the other articles he has written in the past trying to justify his endorsement. I refuse to join those who personally attack Doug or question the sincerity of his Catholic faith. I do however vehemently disagree with him. I just found out that he will soon speak all over the Country trying to persuade other Catholics and other Christians to his position. I know that Catholics can be wrong; witness Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Joe Biden as only two recent examples. However, I really did not expect Doug Kmiec to join with them in incorrectly stating the position of our Church...

(emphasis added)

Prof. Kmiec's snotty and condescending response to Deacon Fournier (in which he refers to Sen. McCain as Pres. Bush's "protégé" - and Kmiec has the nerve to note the "partisanship" of those he calls “Republican Faith Partisans”?) can be read here.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Ponnuru Raps Kmiec for Defending Obama's Born-Alive Vote

Whither the "Catholic Vote"? Some Interesting Posts at the Fidelis Blog

Darwin Catholic: "Douglas Kmiec, Master of Dissembling" [UPDATED]

Prof. Rick Garnett on Kmiec's "Missing the Point"

A Former Student of Prof. Kmiec Speaks Out ...

Prof. Kmiec Shifts the Goalposts

Kmiec's "Bridge Too Far"? Obama's Attacks on Justice Thomas

Without Further Ado: Doug Kmiec on McCain v. Obama at Saddleback [UPDATED]

Paging Prof. Kmiec ...

Doug Kmiec Claims Democrats Making "Steps Toward Honoring Life" in Platform

Prof. Garnett Takes on Prof. Kmiec ... Again

Casey Jr. to Get Prime-Time Slot in Denver to Appease Catholics [UPDATED]

Fr. Neuhaus Responds to Doug Kmiec

Deal Hudson's Open Letter to Doug Kmiec

National Catholic Register on Catholics, Kmiec, and Obama

Prof. Hadley Arkes: "Political Distraction Among the Catholics"

Doug Kmiec - What He Said Then vs. What He Says Now Re: Constitutional Jurisprudence

What is the "Pro-Life Position" Regarding Abortion?


Unrequited Love

Doug Kmiec: "After Meeting with Barack" [UPDATED]

Cranky Conservative: "But At Least He Says It with a Smile"

Doug Kmiec Again Places Platitudes Above Policy [UPDATED]

Prof. Bainbridge on "Obama, Abortion, & Catholics"

Prof. Rick Garnett on Kmiec's Latest Nonsense

Deacon Keith Fournier: "Why I Disagree with Doug Kmiec, Once Again"

Give It a Rest Already, Prof. Kmiec!

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"

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At 9/24/2008 7:42 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

Is Obama a true Christian or a Muslim?
Does he really believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ? Can Obama pass the Jesus Test?

Take the Jesus Test to find out if you are a true Christian at


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