Why Would a Pro Life Catholic Stay in the Democratic Party?

Why Would a Pro Life Catholic Stay in the Democratic Party? August 24, 2015
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Lobo https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Lobo https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/

Why would a pro life Catholic stay in the Democratic Party?

In my case, it was because, when I prayed about it, the direct and clear answer was that I had to stay. I didn’t understand it at the time. It was the exact opposite of what I expected, or at that moment in my life, wanted to hear.

But later on, I saw that God knew what He was doing. I was like a chess piece that someone moved into place for a design play and the play would only work if I was a Democrat.

Maybe God trusted me by leaving me in the lion’s den, trusted me not to cut and run, not to go all rubbery and waffle. Maybe He simply gave me an opportunity to make good the things I’d done wrong in my past. I only know that the way He used me was an extra measure of forgiveness that I did not deserve.

The point is that you can serve God from anywhere. You just have to be willing to do what He tells you, and then take the incoming flak for doing it.

I wrote about these issues for the National Catholic Register.

Here is a bit of what I said:

… That is the cautionary side of the story concerning Arkansas Representative Mike Holcomb. Representative Holcomb split with the Democratic party this week by changing his registration from Democrat to Republican. When you or I change parties, it’s just a matter of changing a letter on the voter ID. But when Representative Holcomb does it, he’s switching his entire House district, right along with himself. The next election will determine how his constituents feel about this.

Representative Holcomb’s reason for doing this this makes a lot of sense to any pro-life Democrat — he can no longer sit on the side of abortion. The Arkansas Democrats’ position on funding for Planned Parenthood is said to have triggered the move.

Arkansas Ds have been quick to announce that, so far as they are concerned, Representative Holcomb’s departure from their column is good riddance to bad rubbish. Their public statements are a classic case of “don’t let the doorknob hit you in the you-know-what on your way out.”

It’s easy for someone like me to read between these broadly-drawn lines to the personal acrimony and anger behind them. One article I read said that Representative Holcomb has been caucusing with the Rs, anyway.

I don’t know of course, but I can extrapolate from my own experience to what seems like an understanding of the name-calling, verbal hazing and threats that led to this situation. It can get ugly inside those caucuses, especially when one member paints a bulls-eye on themselves by refusing to do the due on something as explosive as abortion.

Nobody outside the inner world of elected officialdom can imagine just how personal and ugly the pressure can be on a pro-life elected Democrat.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/political-parties-have-group-think-but-we-have-the-mind-of-christ/#ixzz3jljChyd1


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19 responses to “Why Would a Pro Life Catholic Stay in the Democratic Party?”

  1. I left the party myself. Couldn’t justify staying. But then, I wasn’t an elected official.

  2. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I started to follow mainland US politics, so I didn’t grow up immersed in the whole R vs D divide. I find the way the parties are divided on the abortion debate quite paradoxical; they are like an ideological yin-yang of sorts.

    The Republican Party opposes abortion but the rest of their ideology runs counter to that stated goal. Meanwhile, the Democrats don’t oppose abortion but the rest of their platform is more favorable towards allowing families and children to thrive and prosper.

    So, as an outsider of sorts looking in, what I find bizarre is that your position as a pro-life Democrat is considered bizarre. To me, for a pro-life Catholic to be a Democrat is simply the most sensible and logical course of action if you actually believe in what you are doing; its the opposite that makes no sense to me.

    I mean, what’s the latest craze in the R-camp, “anchor babies”? Its unfathomable to me how they can within the same breath and without a hint of irony bemoan how much of a tragedy abortion is, only to turn around and treat children of immigrants born in the US as a plague that must be eliminated.

    Ultimately, I think you were better off staying in the Lion’s Den rather than trying to pitch your policy ideas to the Shark Tank, especially when you have a pretty fierce roar of your own.

  3. i don’t know much about Arkansas politics but I don’t think it it good to have a one party state. Look at California and how bad the government has gotten. You get an unchecked oligarchy.
    The Ds have climbed into a vat of far left policies that tie them to even farther out social policy to please their corporate masters.
    It’s up to the voters in his district but Holcomb will probably be fine.

  4. i hope you can change the Democratic Party from the inside. When it comes to abortion, I don’t want the political distinction. I just want the horror to end.

  5. Rebecca, I can see your side of the argument very well, but can also see Representative Holcomb’s side also. Before I explain let me give the disclaimer that I am a Republican, and that I have run for office unsuccessfully twice. Further, I have served on my local Republican County Executive Committee, so I think it’s only fair that you know these things so that you can put my remarks into some context.

    I have never voted Democratic in my life, I have also never lived in a constituency where a Democrat was running that I could vote for in good conscience. I know that these people exist, people in the party opposite who are pro-life, Christian, ethical people. I know some of them, I’ve made friends with a few of them over the years. I went to college with such a person, who also ran for office twice as a Democrat, and was heavily involved in his local Democratic Committee. I’ve just never lived where these people were running for office…

    I live in East Tennessee, which is one of the most heavily Republican areas of the nation. In fact, I know that we have Democrats who run in Republican primaries here because that’s the only way they’re going to get elected to anything. In Tennessee politics, it used to be that the Democrats dominated State level politics, Republican votes were regionalized in the East. That is now no longer the case, and State politics have become so dominated by the GOP that being a Democrat would have to be an ideological decision if you are running for office. You have to believe in it so much that you’re willing to risk the likelihood of defeat. The Democratic Party in this State has largely become a rump isolated in Nashville and Memphis. There aren’t even enough Democrats in the Legislature here to allow for legislation to move forward under the rules.

    I don’t think that has become like this because people have become rabid Republicans, or because the general voting populace here agree completely with conservative or Republican economics or policy in general. I believe that it has happened because the Democratic Party in many of these States has moved so far to the left that they are outside of the mainstream. They project an image to people of being a pro abortion, hard left, anti-religious party. That isn’t necessarily the reality on the ground, of course, but if you are a pro-life Democrat that is the party image you are dealing with. In the South these days that image does you less and less good politically. I have to believe, then, that Senator Holcomb may have weighed the political cost of switching parties, and might have wondered why he did not do so sooner.

    I agree with those who say that from a Catholic perspective neither political party suits our interests. One serves Beelzebub, and the other one serves Mammon, at least that is how it often appears. We all have to do what we believe to be right as people of faith in terms of choosing which political party to identify with the most. I think I don’t have to stand in judgement over people in that regard, because switch or not, in this day in age it is never an easy choice to determine with whom you should identify politically.

  6. Thank David. These are good points. I actually agree with you. Senator Holcomb had to made his own decision, and I am sure it was a tough decision to make. I’m not criticizing him.

    I do believe that the only way to go for a Christian is to convert the party you’re in, or failing that, change parties with the idea that you will convert them.

    As you rightly note, Christians are never fully at home anywhere in this fallen world. We are always called to the work of conversion, wherever we are.

  7. Not to mention that, as well as past issues with poverty (that certainly aren’t past issues actually), there’s also the harm done by climate change and other environmental issues that conservatives don’t even believe exists- much to the chagrin of people in, say, Rick Perry;s Texas-, and most recently the illegal war in Iraq, which the Vatican and (some) Democrats were right about and conservatives were wrong.

    It is all a bit of business

  8. Well said David. I’ve already approved (and replied to) this comment once Let’s hope it goes through this time. Disqus is tres wonky. 🙂

  9. I don’t think God is a Democrat, a Republican, a liberal, or a conservative. I think his interest is the Kingdom of God, and that should be our interest as well. Our interest in politics or in secular government ought to be only insofar as it furthers the interests of the Kingdom of God.

  10. I think we need a third party for those candidates who won’t line up with current party politics and party money. If people stopped voting for incumbants in either party, while still casting a ballot, it might send a message to Independents that there is a loss of 2-party support and they would have a chance if they came forward. I think Trump may be the best impetus for an Independent Party we’ve ever seen. He is no true Republican and they will kick him out as soon as they can. His ego is big enough and his pockets deep enough that he may just become an Indie to maintain his candidacy. While I don’t accept him as a serious presidential candidate, he is clearly enflaming the discontent of voters fed up with the status quo of the 2-party lies, corruption and stalemates.

    He has struck a cord with his withdrawal of birthright argument. Even people like me who favor immigration want a legal system that works and doesn’t favor law breakers, both immigrant and employers. That’s one of the least ‘violent’ solutions I’ve heard to apply some brakes on the immigrant side. I’d also restrict wire transfers of money (paychecks) out of the country. Mounting a serious Indie challenge and stimulating a 3-party system may be his best legacy.

  11. Climate change exists without a doubt – we have millions of years of geologic evidence of it. The vast majority laid down long before humans walked the Earth and the geologic millisecond since the Industrial Revolution. No, pretty much everyone believes in climate change, just not certain theories that it is human-mediated to any large extent. Which basically means we try to be good stewards but we don’t put people out of work and/or force them into poverty through dishonest and oppressive environmental policies to do it.

    Most of the time we have no clue what harm we do when we set out to try to manage the environment. The timber industry and thousands of jobs were decimated in my part of the country to try and save an evolutionarily weak little owl that is now being naturally bred out of existence by a stronger cousin. We’re getting some cracking good forest fires and extreme carbon emissions out of that ‘conserved’ timber resource though.

  12. If you want to talk about dishonest and oppressive policies, ask the suffering people in the countries of the southern hemisphere. Ask the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. Our brothers and sisters in less developed countries are the people who supply the raw materials to industrialized countries. They supply the labor for “job creators”. Flexible labor I think they call it. Keep the workers desperate and afraid is more like it.
    And if you want to stop illegal immigration – re-visit NAFTA, a collaborative effort between Republicans and Democrats.
    Google “maquilidoras” and take note of the string of factories along the Mexican side of the border that are no longer subject to environmental regulations, or labor laws – like they were in america.
    Any time our neighbors to the south try to improve their lot in life multi-national corporations stomp them into the ground and/or cut and run to countries even more desperate so people like you and me can enjoy cut rate prices on products that overflow on the shelves of american stores.
    Google “Killer Coke” and learn that the Coca-Cola corporation is being sued for human rights abuses around the world.
    In Columbia, for example, hundreds of people fighting for fair wages and humane working conditions have been disappeared, tortured and assassinated. Coke is fully aware of this and it’s very likely they’re behind it all.
    So let’s stop pretending that there’s a chasm between the D’s and the R’s.
    Both parties are complicit in the destruction of life on Earth – just in different ways.
    This tells me that our common enemy (the devil) is bi-partisan.
    Thank you.

  13. There are third party candidates. There’s the Green Party, the Justice Party…
    Donald Trump is a buffoon. He’ll have us at war with Canada if he’s elected.
    People really take him seriously? Wow.
    Restrict wire transfers out of the country.
    Do you really think that undocumented immigrants sit at home in their native country and think, “Ya know, we have it pretty good here, but it’s better up north. I think I’ll leave my family and friends, risk my life to go to a country where I’ll be demonized and have to live as a fugitive? Oh, and now after going through all this, I won’t be able to send back to my family the pittance that I make picking fruit and/or scrubbing toilets.
    Let’s look at the underlying reasons for illegal immigration rather than implement knee jerk solutions that might make us feel better.
    If nothing else, globalization should show us how interconnected our societies are.
    What happens here affects people around the world. It’s time americans acknowledge that and accept responsibility for the damage our hyper-consumerist society has inflicted on our brothers and sisters around the world.
    Thank you.