Obama May be Losing the Catholic Left…

Obama May be Losing the Catholic Left… February 7, 2012

…over his HHS tyranny. Here’s hoping.

The question for conservative Catholics is, “Are you willing to accept the help of Catholics who voted for Obama last time in defeating this draconian act of tyranny or are you so bent on settling scores that you would rather drive such people back into the arms of people like Pelosi and Patrick Whelan of Catholic Democrats, who will tell them they are being good Catholics by settling for this tyranny?”

The blazing, blindingly, stupefyingly obvious thing to do is to welcome the Obama supporter who opposes this tyrannical law. The stupid thing to do is to waste a lot of time on recriminations for his having voted for Obama. People respond much better to “Welcome! Let’s get to work!” than they do to “You stupid moron. How could you have voted for Obama?”

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  • Rachel

    I’d support them, whoever they are :). Its the right thing to do.

  • Confederate Papist

    So what you’re saying is welcome them in (which I agree), but don’t be surprised or angry when the go running back into the arms of the lefties when the fight is over.

    It’s all good…..I just do not believe this issue will be over. If this HHS tyranny is reversed before the election, it will be temporary. I never trust the Federal government to do the right thing….ever!

    If Tyrant Obama gets re-elected, it will be game over for faithful Catholics, conservative or liberal.

    • ck

      “If Tyrant Obama gets re-elected, it will be game over for faithful Catholics, conservative or liberal.”

      No, it will be game on. We’ll be surrounded by them, to which we’ve got ’em right where we want ’em.

      • kenneth

        The French tried that tactic at Dien Bien Phu.

  • I believe I once voted for Michael Dukakis. Thank God I was one of the only ones. Can I still post here?

    • Actually, it was Mondale. I had wised up by 1988, though in retrospect I’m not sure Bush Sr. was that much better. Same question applies tho.

    • Tim

      I voted for Kerry. I did some crazy things in college I’m not proud of.

      • Same here, on both counts.

      • Joseph

        In college, I actually said, “abortion is a woman’s right” and I didn’t see a problem with homosexual activity. I also had a 4.0. Makes sense.

        • Eli

          Not in today’s college system.

  • math_geek

    I was planning on voting for Obama before the HHS decision. I am, um, praying that he sheepishly reverses the decision so I can forgive him for being an idiot and move on. I’m not holding my breath. If I vote for Romney I’ll have to live in my shower for a week. That doesn’t mean I won’t do it if I have to.

    • MarylandBill

      I am not thrilled about Romney either, and may still vote for a third party candidate… but I think at this point, it is clear that Obama wants to reinterpret the First amendment to follow the French model; not freedom of religion but rather freedom from religion. I mean first his Justice department was trying to tell churches what ministers they could hire or fire (thankfully they got a rare unanimous smack down by the SCOTUS) and now this.

      This was not his first attack on religious freedom and it probably won’t be his last.

      • math_geek

        The ADA thing didn’t bother me because if nothing else, he was doing what the legal arm Executive branch is *supposed* to do, defending a law passed by a previous executive. And both of the justices Obama appointed ruled against the claim Obama’s administration was defending, suggesting that his administrations attack on religious liberty in that case was less than full-throated.

        I didn’t vote for Obama because I thought he was some kind of superhero that was going to fix all of America’s problems. I voted for him because I thought that America needed expanded health care coverage, a more restrained foreign policy and a break from government policy that believed tax cuts were the universal solution to all life’s problems. He’s obviously not perfect, but this HHS fiasco is still better than the loving embrace of torture by the previous administration. That, I believe, was the biggest attack on the idea of the dignity of human life since Roe v. Wade.

        Nevertheless, I dearly want to live in a country where my Church is allowed to conduct it’s own business without the State requiring it to act against it’s own teaching. If Pres Obama changed his decision tomorrow, I’d forgive him. Mistakes that are taken back before they do any damage are the very best kinds of mistakes. As it is, I can’t really vote for him in good conscience.

        • Patrick

          “The ADA thing didn’t bother me because if nothing else, he was doing what the legal arm Executive branch is *supposed* to do, defending a law passed by a previous executive.”

          While I’m inclined to agree, it’s curious that the Dept. of “Justice” wouldn’t bother defending the Defense of Marriage Act in Court, but *would* defend this. So the DOJ has some discretion over what it will defend in Court, and it chose to defend this and not DOMA, which is why people think the administration is hostile to religion.

          (By the way, I think DOMA is unconstitutional anyway.)

          • math_geek

            I disagree with the decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I thought it was a political decision unworthy of the office. I was thinking of that when I wrote the above comment. I’m not a constitutional law expert, but I’m also not a huge fan of DOMA. Nevertheless it’s the Executives job to defend federal law before the supreme court. If none of the DoJ lawyers thought they could do it, hire a GOP lawyer that thought he could.

            I will not however, expect an administration to balance one mistake with another one, which is why I remain unconcerned with the decision to support the ADA ruling.

            • sjay

              I agree with you on both counts.

        • MarylandBill

          With respect, I don’t think the ADA was simply the Obama administration doing what it is suppose to do. Certainly while not the final authority that SCOTUS is, the Justice Department is not simply a robot; it can and does act on its own interpretation of the law. In this case it clearly was interpreting ADA in a way that violated the First Amendment. That the Obama appointees to the Supreme Court did not agree with him, does not mean he backed SCOTUS’s decision (Justices often surprise and disappoint the Presidents who appoint them).

          I would also point out that there is no evidence that his foreign policy is any less restrained that President Bush’s (we have after all gotten involved in even more foreign wars, and seem like we are on a collision course with Iran!). And while he has reduced torture, I hardly say that offsets the attacks on religious liberty and the increased support for abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

    • Beadgirl

      Obama’s going to have to do a lot more than reverse this HHS thing for him to get my vote again. But then, Romney is going to have to have a change of heart about a lot of things if he wants my vote. So I will be voting for a third person, to be determined later. Which will have *such* a huge affect here in NY (eyeroll).

      • math_geek

        I can understand voting 3rd party, but I disagree with it. I believe I have a responsibility to use my vote to shape the public discourse, however meaningless my solid blue state vote statistically is.

        • Thomas R

          Despite things I’ve said here I may go third-party or write-in again. I don’t think that should be done very often, which I think Shea leans toward making it his default position, but I think there are times it is fair to take oneself out of the conversation. Or to just withdraw from the field. If it’s Romney vs Obama the “conversation” to me becomes

          GOP: Romney’s rich and we think he’s cute. As your party overlords we know you don’t trust him, but we don’t need your devotion just your obedience. (To paraphrase Deana Troi in Romulan-make-up)

          Democratic: If you don’t recognize Obama’s great it’s because you’re stupid or brainwashed by some idiotic religion.

        • MarylandBill

          With that sort of thinking, we would still be stuck with the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists.

  • Franciscan
    • Confederate Papist

      I’d only say it’s too late if she woke up after election day 2012….

    • Joseph

      Seriously, it’s a joke now. It should be clear as day. This is a game that’s being played.

  • Joseph

    You’re really pouring it on, aren’t you? Some people can just tell what the whole purpose of this exercise is, some people authentically are haters.

    • Tim

      Authentic haters? I don’t think we should encourage divisions in the hater community.

      Haters gonna hate, but not each other.

  • victor

    I had my “I told you so” moment, and I’m over it. I agree, let’s go to work!

    • Art

      Hopefully this will make liberal Catholics more Catholic and no longer liberal.

      I don’t see how any Catholic in good standing could have morally voted for Obama in the first place, but my told you so moment is over as well. That moment was his first week in office when he started funding money across seas for abortion.

      Come to Christ and His Church! We should be united, unfortunately people who claim to be Catholic will go off and vote for this tyrant again.

      • kenneth

        Yes, by all means, don’t vote for THIS tyrant. Vote for one of the others who support endless pre-emptive war as a national team-building sport, gleefully support torture, extrajudicial killing and indefinite trial without due process. How could this not be self-evident to any properly formed Catholic consciences? They must not be “real” Catholics.

        • Art

          By all means… I will not vote for him!

          Yes, by all means, don’t vote for “ANOTHER” tryant. Vote for this tyrant again who will strip every freedom you have, who supports endless abortion as a national team-building in the name of choice, gleefully support anything that is against the Church, extrajudicial killing of the unborn. How could this not be self-evident to any properly formed Catholic consciences? They must not be “real” Catholics.

      • Thomas R

        I think kenneth has a bit of a point. Some Catholics voted for Obama because they were concerned about torture, execution, war, and poverty issues.

        Thankfully under Obama no rehabilitated person is executed, poverty is down, and Guantanamo was closed. Err. Well at least we might be back to only US police, rather than US soldiers, torturing people.


        That’s something, right?

        • Chris M

          We THINK that’s why some Catholics were voting for him.. This year we’ll see if that’s true, or if it was merely a smokescreen to cover the fact that they’ll vote for anyone with a “D” after their name.

          ..or at least not an “R”

        • Art

          Thomas Kenneth’s point is moot, considering I don’t support either thing from either of those grave evil’s from either candidate, but the sad reality is that you have more of a fighting chance with a republican in office not infringing on religious freedoms. But Catholics who are more democrat or republican and not straight up Catholic will buy into this like Kenneth has.

          Nice try though Kenneth it was a great effort on your part to try and support the most pro abortion president the USA has ever seen.

  • I know that Planned Parenthood’s supporters spent a lot of time and energy last week scolding anyone who continued to support Komen after it had hired a VP but were protesting Komen’s defunding decision.

    Oh no, they didn’t do that. They were happy to have any and all support. And they got results.

  • Teri Love

    So well put. I’m grateful for your thinking. I’ve fantasized about getting to shout, “How do you like him NOW?” – but I get it- the “Welcome, let’s get to work,” sounds much better. More Godly. Less Kindergartener. 🙂

  • I’ll only point to this (not a plug, I’m not good enough for that – just easier than rewriting)


  • Rather than debate whether we should accept lefty Catholics with open arms, I suggest a truce. It seems that everyone who wished to voice his opinion on this prudential matter has had his chance. If no minds were changed, then let’s move on to more important things that we can do, and hope it’s one in which we all agree.

    Elizabeth Scalia calls out the need to TEACH and promote the Gospel of Truth.. The whole world sees the Church as an oppressive tyrant, rather than the Body of Christ which is the sacrament of salvation!

    This is a teaching moment. It’s an opportunity explain to the ignorant that the Catholic Church is true, right and good. There are so many Catholics and non-Catholics who are cursing the darkness. Now. Go. Teach,

  • Patrick

    You’re obviously right here, Mr. Shea.

    To think: after all of these decades, we *finally* have one issue of unity in the American Catholic Church, and we’re going to continue to insult each other instead of agreeing to work on this particular issue.

  • Tony

    This from someone who is constantly complaining about Catholic partisans of the “Thing That Used to be Conservatism.” Is the Catholic Left so insecure that Winters, Dionne, Kmiec, etc. will abandon their understanding of religious freedom if they are welcomed with arms insufficiently open?

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    I don’t disagree with you, Mark. I think getting some spite jollies off of the pain of some of these folks (like Doug Kmiec) is pointless, counter-productive and a waste of time. But I think there has to be a little room to say — albeit GENTLY and in a charitable way — “I’m sorry you’re hurt, but glad you finally see this; now, if he comes out tomorrow and says ‘I’ve changed my mind’ do you run back to him and vote for him again, and if so, are you ready to be stabbed in the back once more? Because that’s a genuine possibility.”

    All that said, this would be a lot easier for folks like Kmiec if the GOP could manage to run a more palatable candidate. I know a lot of Catholics are now running to Santorum, but he’s not very good at all on immigration, by my lights. I’d vote for him over Obama, but he is not what I’d call my ideal, and there is no way someone like Sr. Carol Keehan or Kmiec could ever vote for him. Rock/Hard place.

  • kenneth

    Liberal Catholics may well be calling Obama out on this principle, but I wouldn’t read too much into their dissent in terms of counting on them to switch sides come November. Other than Obama, where are they going to go come Election Day? Santorum? Gingrich? Romney? Guys who have all but pledged to start a new war as soon as they get their sock drawer in order after inauguration? I just can’t see any of them really letting this one issue decide the vote for them. If they took the bishop’s teachings that seriously that they would become a single-issue voter over it, they probably not ought to be considered liberal Catholics in the first place. The one exception I see to all this is those Catholics who are perhaps socially and doctrinally conservative who switched sides in 08 because of their anti-war feelings. Finding no real satisfaction in Obama’s actions since, and no mainstream Republican alternative, they might go for Ron Paul.

    • pol

      Read the new poll of Catholics on this released today. The President is on pretty safe ground although there has been some hint of a naunced compromise. And calling the President, “The Sun King” and a “Tyrant” etc, etc, only makes his Catholic opponents sound like wackos. My Protesant friends think that it’s wrong for Protestant employees to have to tow the Catholic line at Catholic institutions OR who have no other choice in health plans.

      • kenneth

        I have not seen anything to indicate Obama will pay a high price at all for this politically. Essentially all of the people angry enough not to vote for him over this are the same people who were convinced he was the Antichrist from the day he won his first primary. That said, strategically, it was probably not wise of him to do something that would incur ANY political cost this close to an election. The narrative that Obama is destroying all that is right and decent with America would have gone on with or without this policy, but it certainly gives his enemies fresh material to work with, and one that has much more general marketability than the tin-foil hat birther conspiracies or many other issues.

        • Mark Shea

          Michael Sean Winters was hardly convinced Obama was the antichrist. Obama is losing people on the left over this. You are deluding yourself if you think it’s only people who already hate Obama who are appalled by this draconian action.

          • kenneth

            It will be interesting to see how is plays out, for sure. Being “appalled” however won’t decide the issue.
            The only people whose outrage counts, from a purely strategic standpoint, are those voters who were poised to vote for Obama in November who truly would/will not do so over this mandate. I still think those folks are a relative sliver of the mobs raising the hue and cry over this issue.
            That said, a demographic sliver can well be the swing voters in a close contest. On any given day, Obama has something of a lead on Romney, the only serious challenger he would face in a general election. But it’s not a lead so large that Obama can afford to recruit lots more enemies.

  • Henry Karlson

    People should really read up and explore Scalia’s write-up to Smith (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZO.html ) and see that this interpretation is found in “conservative Catholic” SCOTUS writings as well. (http://moses.creighton.edu/csrs/news/S98-1.html discusses this case, too).

    Yes, the Obama administration decision is bad, but if you look at it only as Obama, you have blinders to what is going on in the US. The HHS can be seen as directly following the strict limitations put in by SCOTUS, which itself reflects the disease in society at large.

    I’m glad we are talking religious liberty. It’s been needed. I know many people now on board for religious liberty had a difficult time appreciating it for Muslims. Now maybe they will see the issues at hand. I hope.

    • sjay

      I don’t remember the issue being covered on this board, but there were certainly many in the conservative blogosphere who were excoriating the Muslim business owner who refused to allow a non-Muslim employee to eat bacon at his workplace and calling for EEOC action.

    • Joseph

      “Yes, the Obama administration decision is bad, but if you look at it only as Obama, you have blinders to what is going on in the US.”

      Obama certainly is not the only problem, but he’s a big part of the problem.

  • Obpoet

    Could this be a prodigal son moment, opening our arms to those who have finally seen the error in voting for this ideological madman? It seems a sound response.

    Will it prove to be decisive next fall? Who knows? How much do people really care about this issue, despite the fact that is it quintessentially important? But should gas reach $5 a gallon this summer, well then they will have his head on the end of a spear.

  • My (non-catholic) Catholic friends, most of whom are cradle catholic liberals will still vote for Obama. They adore him. Nothing will sway them, not even this.

    • Chris M

      Exactly. Obama could PERFORM an abortion in the Oval Office using the US Constitution itself as a hand towel and still get 40% of the vote just because he isn’t a Republican.

    • Joseph

      This is true. Most of the “we’re appalled” statements come with caveats: “if you change your mind on this we’ll take the tarp off the Obama shrines in our backyards”.

      For them to vote for anyone else would require the opposition to be an obvious beacon of perfection (in their eyes), and, certainly, none of his opposers are worth a damn either. They’ll vote for him anyway.

  • Thomas R

    All agreeing with you aside, yes we should be pleased to see Obama voters agree on this, Gingrich I believe raised this issue fairly early. Considering how personally hostile you are to him would you be willing to say he at least is right on some things? And if he or Santorum were to switch on torture/waterboarding would you be willing to compliment that, yet still not vote for them as I’m not asking about that, without sarcasm?

    • Joseph

      I was one of those who jumped on the “war or bust” bandwagon after 9/11. I even bought the WMD excuse and propagated it to my friends and family (who were also on the bandwagon). When I heard about “enhanced interrogations” and how harmless they were, I was part of the team that said, “good for them, do it”. About two years after my conversion to Catholicism, I began to see the error of my ways… but only having long discussions with fellow Catholics with their heads on straight (Shea, I have much to thank you for in that department as I was a lurker when you were battling the “torture is good” Catholic Republicrats in 2008 – 2009). So, I’m a living testament to the fact that people can eventually and authentically see the light. If Santorum abandon the carefully programmed script in his head placed there by his political party (by the way, “enhanced interrogation” is also proscribed by the Democrats), then it would give me more hope for him. But then there’s that “the nation of Israel is the Kingdom of God and they are always perfectly justfied in what they do” bit and the new set of WMD charges levelled against Iran that he’ll have to get over as well. That may not be politically expedient as his opponent Android, being half-man/half-robot, is easily programmable and will say anything and do anything to get elected. It’s hard to stay rigid against such a versatile political opponent.

      At this point though, I think I’m writing in The Leprechaun.

  • Roger Conley

    Do you really think that the Church needs pro-abortion support on this issue? If Nancy Pelosi changes her mind on this mandate, but nothing else, we should all vote for her?

    • Mark Shea

      What a silly question. Of course, the Church should take whatever support it can find it. How does that, in the slightest, mean we have to vote for that person? Sheesh!