Deacon Keith Fournier has reprinted (by permission) a letter sent by Doug Kmiec, the CUA professor of law who worked passionately to elect Obama because he believed — reasonably or un, and I have always thought “un” — that Senator Obama’s 100% NARAL approval rating would ultimately end up serving life. The letter (and this is just my opinion) reads like a kid tugging at his hero’s suit and pleading, “O, say it ain’t so!”; it’s the distressed cry of the hero-worshipper whose illusions are in the process of being shattered:
We still want you to succeed Mr. President and we are admiring of many things you have accomplished. I, for one, would like to extend your opportunity to address significant inequalities and divisions that unnecessarily exist in our country and the larger world.
Yet, this matter goes to the heart of who we are as a people. [...] You have already lost the votes of many individuals who stood as people of independent mind against those who sought to defeat your efforts to promote the common good.
Where is the common good, Sir, in not making room for the great Catholic traditions of education, health care, and meeting the needs of the least among us? Mr. President, I asked you some months ago to explain why you remained silent when our international inter-faith efforts were wrongly assailed. You did not respond.
Today, Sir, I ask you no longer as an Ambassador, but simply as a friend, why put the cold calculus of politics above faith and freedom? Please respond, for friendship will not permit me to disregard duty to faith and country. The Barack Obama I knew would never have asked me to make that choice.
Kmiec, a prominent and respected Catholic gave an enormous assist to Obama; he, along with several other very prominent dupes, played a key role in delivering 54% of the Catholic vote portside. I venture to say the “Barack Obama [they] knew” was exactly what Obama acknowledged himself to be: “a blank screen upon which they projected their own ideas” and saw them reflected back at them.
And if that letter is any indication, the effect of that self-reflection still has a hold on some hearts.
It’s very sad. I feel badly for Kmiec. But he should have known. A guy who votes against a law ordering medical care for babies born alive during attempted abortions — twice — is a guy who is not anyone’s good friend.
H/T to the great Kathy Schiffer, who posted the Fournier piece to FB
Mark Shea urges Catholics not to descend into cathartic nastiness over this letter:
Kmiec is, quite obviously, a lefty writing for the benefit of other lefties, attempting to make clear that he is not writing out of mindless hatred for the Prez, but out of a genuinely offended conscience. He is making the case that this is not merely some savages with sexual hangups getting offended about nothing, but a real issue of conscience that threatens actual American liberty. He is *far* more likely to get a hearing from from the sort of Catholic who (only getting information from the press) has been told that the HHS mandate is much ado about nothing. Such a Catholic (the majority in this country, recall) is not likely to understand immediately the gravity of the Administration’s assault because he is contracepting already and figures “No skin off my nose.” Kmiec’s letter, as well as people like Michael Sean Winters at the Reporter and the various bleats of protest at America and Commonweal, are the people who stand the best chance of speaking to the majority (there’s that word again) of Catholics who don’t grasp the gravity of situation.
So what are conservative Catholics doing? Attacking their allies who are trying to win the majority in the mushy middle over to their position for them. Because Kmiec is ritually impure. It is more important to punish and ridicule him for past sins than to let him do the right thing in the present. What matters is pure tribal identity, not the success of the struggle to defeat this atrocious attack on religious liberty. We don’t want to win converts or form alliances. We want to settle scores and gloat over heretics.