Frank Schaeffer: Pro-Life, Pro-Obama

Frank Schaeffer: Pro-Life, Pro-Obama February 8, 2008

 

Francis August Schaeffer (1912-1984), an American Evangelical Christian theologian, is most famous for his theological writings and the establishment of the L’Abri community in Switzerland.  But in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was a major catalyst that sparked a return to political activism among American Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists, particularly in relation to the issue of abortion. 

 

His son, Frank Schaeffer, helped broker an alliance between his father (Francis) and Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and other religious leaders.  This alliance came to be known as the Religious Right. 

 

Frank has since concluded, however, that these tele-evangelists “stars” were intellectually inferior and theologically sleazy, referring to them archly as “cobelligerents.”

 

In his book, Crazy for God, Schaeffer concludes that, “We will never find a ‘good’ solution to the question of abortion.”

 

In an editorial published only yesterday, Schaeffer explains why he is pro-life and pro-Obama.

Why I’m Pro-life and Pro-Obama

Frank Schaeffer

 

“I am an Obama supporter.  I am also pro-life. In fact, without my family’s involvement in the pro-life movement it would not exist as we know it.  Evangelicals weren’t politicized until after my late father and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, Dr. Koop (Reagan’s soon-to-be Surgeon General) and I stirred them up over the issue of abortion in the mid-1970s.  Our Whatever Happened to the Human Race? book, movie series and seminars brought the evangelicals into the pro-life movement.

 

“(Dad’s political influence persists.  Last week one of my father’s followers — Mike Huckabee — was interviewed by Katie Couric, along with all the other presidential candidates.  Couric asked the candidates if they were to be sent to a desert island and could only take one book besides the Bible, what would that that book be?  Huckabee answered that he’d take my father’s book Whatever Happened To The Human Race?)

 

“Fast forward…

 

“In 2000, we elected a president who claimed he believed God created the earth and who, as president, put car manufacturers and oil company’s interests ahead of caring for that creation.  We elected a pro-life Republican Congress that did nothing to actually care for pregnant women and babies.  And they took their sincere evangelical followers for granted, and played them for suckers.

 

“The so-called evangelical leadership — Dobson, Robertson et al. also played the pro-life community for suckers.  While thousands of men and women in the crisis pregnancy movement gave of themselves to help women and babies, their evangelical “leaders” did little more than cash in on fundraising opportunities and represent themselves as power-brokers to the craven politicians willing to kowtow to them.

 

Fast forward… 

  

“Today when I listen to Obama speak (and to his remarkable wife, Michelle) what I hear is a world view that actually nurtures life. Obama is trying to lead this country to a place where the intrinsic worth of each individual is celebrated.  A leader who believes in hope, the future, trying to save our planet and providing a just and good life for everyone is someone who is actually pro-life.

 

“Conversely the “pro-life” ethic of George W. Bush manifested itself in a series of squandered opportunities to call us to our better natures. After 9/11, Bush told most Americans to go shopping while saddling the few who volunteered for military service with endless tours of duty (something I know a little about since my son was a Marine and deployed several times).  The Bush doctrine of life was expressed by starting an unnecessary war in Iraq that has killed thousands of Americans and wounded tens of thousands more.

 

“The society that Obama is calling us to sacrifice for is a place wherein life would be valued not just talked about.  As he said in his speech delivered on February 6 in New Orleans, “Too often, we lose our sense of common destiny; that understanding that we are all tied together; that when a woman has less than nothing in this country, that makes us all poorer.”  Obama was talking about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but his words also apply to our overall view of ourselves.

 

“Regardless of the official position of the Supreme Court on abortion, a country in which all Americans are offered some sort of dignity and hopeful future would be a place conducive to the kind of optimism each of us must hold in our hearts if we are to welcome children into this world.  But if our highest aspiration is to be a consumer with no thought or care for our neighbor, we will remain a culture in which abortion is not only inevitable but logical.

 

“What we need in America is a spiritual rebirth, a turning away from the false value of consumerism and utilitarianism that have trumped every aspect of human life.  To implement this vision we need leaders that inspire but to do so they have to be what they say they are.  It’s not about policy it’s about character.

 

“Obama’s rivals for the nomination — the Clintons — do not inspire.  When the Clintons were in the White House they talked about humane values while Bill Clinton betrayed every single person who voted for him by carrying on an unseemly sexual dalliance in the Oval Office with a young woman barely out of her teens.  Since that time the Clintons have enriched themselves through their connections to a point where they’re able to make a $5 million personal loan to their campaign.

 

“For someone who says she has spent “the last 35 years of my life as an advocate for children” and/or “fighting for healthcare” that’s a lot of money to have collected through doing good works.  Presidential Mother Teresa wannabes shouldn’t be doing deals with uranium mining outfits in Kazakhstan while schmoozing with the likes of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and wealthy mining magnates — not if they want the moral authority to lead.

 

“Similarly the Republicans have also been hypocrites while talking big, for instance about their pro-life ethic.  But what have they achieved?  First, through their puritanical war on sex education they’ve hindered our country from actually preventing unwanted pregnancy.  Second, through the Republican Party’s marriage to the greediest and most polluting earth-destroying corporations they’ve created a climate (both moral and physical) that has scorched the earth for-profit, with no regard to future generations whatsoever.  The Republicans are to the pro-life movement what the Clintons are to selfless public service.

 

“The real solution to abortion is to change the heart of America, not the law.  We need to stop seeing ourselves as consumers.  We need to stop seeing ourselves as me and begin to think of we.  Our country needs someone to show us a better way, a president who is what he seems, someone with actual moral authority that our diverse population can believe in who has the qualities that make us want to follow him.  Obama is that person.” 

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  • T. Shaw

    The man’s got a firm grasp of the obvious (this is not a compliment). “We will never find a ‘good’ solution for the problem of abortion.” We won’t as long as YOU keep voting for uber-abortionists for the highest office in the land.

    “I can see clearly now . . .”

    Oh! I stand corrected. It’s more highly morally acceptable to continue to kill 45,000,000 unborn babies than to pour water over the faces of three terrorists for 30 seconds each.

    You intellectuals are so . . . so . . . cute!

  • T. Shaw

    The man’s got a firm grasp of the obvious (this is not a compliment). “We will never find a ‘good’ solution for the problem of abortion.” We won’t as long as YOU keep voting for uber-abortionists for the highest office in the land.

    “I can see clearly now . . .”

    Oh! I stand corrected. It’s more highly morally acceptable to continue to kill 45,000,000 unborn babies than to pour water over the faces of three terrorists for 30 seconds each.

    You intellectuals are so . . . so . . . cute!

  • Thanks for posting this good article.

    Unfortunately, it seems to me that many of the contributors to and readers of this blog would rather not worry about actually working together to create a world in which new life is welcomed. Rather than take on this collective responsibility, they want the government to just threaten and punish scared and lonely young women. Who cares about pregnant girls? Who cares about poor babies? As long as the government says abortion is illegal, and locks up poor people, or anyone who is lost and desperate, then no one has to worry about these complex issues.

    The fantasy that we can just “lock up the ‘pro-aborts'” is the same as the fantasy that we can just lock up the baddies and make crime go away.

    There seems to be no problem that, according to the would-be “conservatives” at this blog, can’t be solved by a few laws, a few police-officers, and some good old-fashioned “discipline.”

    “If we could just physically force people to stop doing bad things, then evil would be defeated.” That’s the level of thought at which the “conservatives” in America seem to operate.

  • Thanks for posting this good article.

    Unfortunately, it seems to me that many of the contributors to and readers of this blog would rather not worry about actually working together to create a world in which new life is welcomed. Rather than take on this collective responsibility, they want the government to just threaten and punish scared and lonely young women. Who cares about pregnant girls? Who cares about poor babies? As long as the government says abortion is illegal, and locks up poor people, or anyone who is lost and desperate, then no one has to worry about these complex issues.

    The fantasy that we can just “lock up the ‘pro-aborts'” is the same as the fantasy that we can just lock up the baddies and make crime go away.

    There seems to be no problem that, according to the would-be “conservatives” at this blog, can’t be solved by a few laws, a few police-officers, and some good old-fashioned “discipline.”

    “If we could just physically force people to stop doing bad things, then evil would be defeated.” That’s the level of thought at which the “conservatives” in America seem to operate.

  • RCM

    Wow! I am really surprised. I have met Frank Schaeffer via my pro-life work. I wonder how this is going to fly in the Orthodox communities?

    In any case, Frank expresses my own sentiments in a much more eloquent manner. The title should read “How the Republican Party has alientated its own.”

  • RCM

    Wow! I am really surprised. I have met Frank Schaeffer via my pro-life work. I wonder how this is going to fly in the Orthodox communities?

    In any case, Frank expresses my own sentiments in a much more eloquent manner. The title should read “How the Republican Party has alientated its own.”

  • Well, his problem is that he has a (perhaps fundamentally Evangelical) idea that doing the right thing here and now in the US will somehow result in an earthly paradise in which there is neither sin nor suffering. Any pro-lifer who imagined (thirty years ago or today) that it would be possible to achieve a world this side of Judgement in which no woman has an abortion is kidding himself. Abortion is a form of violence, and since Cain and Abel violence has inhabitted our families and our society.

    What pro-lifers do seek to change is, on the legal side, to make our laws reflect a respect for all human life, born and unborn, and on the active side, to make sure that women in crisis pregnancies are given the resources they need to bring their children into the world safely.

    Neither one of those is a goal with a clear end point. There will be no time when the points are totalled and we decide, “Okay, we’re done now. We don’t need to worry about abortion any more.”

    If Schaeffer imagined when he got into this struggle that there would be such a time, he does himself little intellectual or spiritual credit.

  • Well, his problem is that he has a (perhaps fundamentally Evangelical) idea that doing the right thing here and now in the US will somehow result in an earthly paradise in which there is neither sin nor suffering. Any pro-lifer who imagined (thirty years ago or today) that it would be possible to achieve a world this side of Judgement in which no woman has an abortion is kidding himself. Abortion is a form of violence, and since Cain and Abel violence has inhabitted our families and our society.

    What pro-lifers do seek to change is, on the legal side, to make our laws reflect a respect for all human life, born and unborn, and on the active side, to make sure that women in crisis pregnancies are given the resources they need to bring their children into the world safely.

    Neither one of those is a goal with a clear end point. There will be no time when the points are totalled and we decide, “Okay, we’re done now. We don’t need to worry about abortion any more.”

    If Schaeffer imagined when he got into this struggle that there would be such a time, he does himself little intellectual or spiritual credit.

  • Who cares about pregnant girls?

    I know. I think that abortion is a “fight” that has to be taken in parallel and as strongly by caring for these women who find themselves in this precarious situation. The Respect Life group that I am a part of in my parish gives out books to pregnant high-school girls on how to care for their babies and once we got a letter from the young mother where she wrote: “Thank you for the book. I didn’t know that somebody cared.” That is powerful. That is where we also need to fight.

  • Who cares about pregnant girls?

    I know. I think that abortion is a “fight” that has to be taken in parallel and as strongly by caring for these women who find themselves in this precarious situation. The Respect Life group that I am a part of in my parish gives out books to pregnant high-school girls on how to care for their babies and once we got a letter from the young mother where she wrote: “Thank you for the book. I didn’t know that somebody cared.” That is powerful. That is where we also need to fight.

  • bill bannon

    So…let’s draw a conclusion for future elections past this one… with another form of pain other than abortion…… if a candidate looks good physically and believes firmly in the legalization of water boarding but is a good speaker and a good writer, he will inspire us so much with hopefulness that we will not want water boarding while he fights to keep water boarding legal. So we should elect him while opposing water boarding ourselves because his charism of hopefulness will make us reject waterboarding while he fights to keep it legal. I think I got it now.

  • bill bannon

    So…let’s draw a conclusion for future elections past this one… with another form of pain other than abortion…… if a candidate looks good physically and believes firmly in the legalization of water boarding but is a good speaker and a good writer, he will inspire us so much with hopefulness that we will not want water boarding while he fights to keep water boarding legal. So we should elect him while opposing water boarding ourselves because his charism of hopefulness will make us reject waterboarding while he fights to keep it legal. I think I got it now.

  • Some other links discussing Mr. Schaeffer’s endorsement of Obama:

    What’s Wrong with the World
    “If I could proffer just a few words of counsel to Schaeffer, they would be the encouragement to Just. Go. Away. If you are bound and determined to make your peace with the liberal compact, the privatization of normative commitments which are properly public – and you know what these are – then do so quietly, and privately, causing no scandal by identifying my Church with the endorsement of Moloch-worship. Cease engaging in warfare with the past, as though you were still an adolescent rebelling against your father, and drop the pretense that your present views are so much more sophisticated and spiritual than those you held then – if there is any truth to the accounts of that past, the one constant is the need to stand on the corner shouting, ‘I thank Thee, O God, that I am not like those people’, in this case the fundamentalists, God-botherers, and people who actually understand Christian ethics.”

    Catholic and Enjoying It
    “I heard him speak once at an Orthodox parish here in Seattle about a decade ago. He struck me then, as now, as a man tormented by lots of inner demons, chiefly having to do with Dad. Anger and a sort of biting humor bleeds through everything he says. It made Portofino a hilarious novel, but I couldn’t escape the sense that he was a sort of Orthodox Protestant, having been drawn to Orthodoxy primarily because of what it is Not rather than because of what it is. It’s Not Evangelical (so he could bash all the Evangelicals he was leavning behind) and it’s Not Roman (so he could continue to bash Catholics as he had done for years). So much of what he writes seems to be informed, still, by being Not Mistaken For a Conservative Evangelical rather than ever really coming to embrace being for something.”

  • Some other links discussing Mr. Schaeffer’s endorsement of Obama:

    What’s Wrong with the World
    “If I could proffer just a few words of counsel to Schaeffer, they would be the encouragement to Just. Go. Away. If you are bound and determined to make your peace with the liberal compact, the privatization of normative commitments which are properly public – and you know what these are – then do so quietly, and privately, causing no scandal by identifying my Church with the endorsement of Moloch-worship. Cease engaging in warfare with the past, as though you were still an adolescent rebelling against your father, and drop the pretense that your present views are so much more sophisticated and spiritual than those you held then – if there is any truth to the accounts of that past, the one constant is the need to stand on the corner shouting, ‘I thank Thee, O God, that I am not like those people’, in this case the fundamentalists, God-botherers, and people who actually understand Christian ethics.”

    Catholic and Enjoying It
    “I heard him speak once at an Orthodox parish here in Seattle about a decade ago. He struck me then, as now, as a man tormented by lots of inner demons, chiefly having to do with Dad. Anger and a sort of biting humor bleeds through everything he says. It made Portofino a hilarious novel, but I couldn’t escape the sense that he was a sort of Orthodox Protestant, having been drawn to Orthodoxy primarily because of what it is Not rather than because of what it is. It’s Not Evangelical (so he could bash all the Evangelicals he was leavning behind) and it’s Not Roman (so he could continue to bash Catholics as he had done for years). So much of what he writes seems to be informed, still, by being Not Mistaken For a Conservative Evangelical rather than ever really coming to embrace being for something.”

  • I got into an argument about with Blackadder last week about Chesterton, an idol of American Catholic “conservatives.” Like Popes John Paul II and Ratzinger, Chesterton is idolized but not respected, because his so-called admirers don’t read him, or read him and pick and choose what they like without trying to see how it all fits together. Thus BA claims to have read 12 Chesterton books but dismisses his ideas about economics by saying the “math doesn’t add up” (though literally every single word Chesterton wrote was about economics–one long denunciation of abstract capitalist exchange and profit-making in favor of a mode of exchange that recognizes the specificity of objects and persons).

    Anyway, here is some Chesterton on eugenics and abortion, for anyone who cares. Note that his agenda is not “war on the abortionists” but something a bit more constructive:

    ‘I could fill this book with examples of the universal, unconscious assumption that life and sex must live by the laws of “business” or industrialism, and not vice versa; examples from all the magazines, novels, and newspapers. In order to make it brief and typical, I take one case of a more or less Eugenist sort from a paper that lies open in front of me … a man writes to say that the spread of destitution will never be stopped until we have educated the lower classes in the methods by which the upper classes prevent procreation … [He] concludes by saying, “When people have large families and small wages, not only is there a high infantile death-rate, but often those who do live to grow up are stunted and weakened by having had to share the family income for a time with those who died early. There would be less unhappiness if there were no unwanted children.”

    You will observe that he tacitly takes it for granted that the small wages and the income, desperately shared, are the fixed points, like day and night, the conditions of human life. Compared with them marriage and maternity are luxuries, things to be modified to suit the wage market. There are unwanted children; but unwanted by whom? This man does not really mean that the parents do not want to have them. He means that the employers do not want to pay them properly.

    … the turn of their mind is to tell the child he is not wanted, as the turn of my mind is to tell the profiteer he is not wanted. Motherhood, they feel, and a full childhood, and the beauty of brothers and sisters, are good things in their way, but not so good as a bad wage. ‘

    GK Chesterton, from “Eugenics and Other Evils” (1917)

  • I got into an argument about with Blackadder last week about Chesterton, an idol of American Catholic “conservatives.” Like Popes John Paul II and Ratzinger, Chesterton is idolized but not respected, because his so-called admirers don’t read him, or read him and pick and choose what they like without trying to see how it all fits together. Thus BA claims to have read 12 Chesterton books but dismisses his ideas about economics by saying the “math doesn’t add up” (though literally every single word Chesterton wrote was about economics–one long denunciation of abstract capitalist exchange and profit-making in favor of a mode of exchange that recognizes the specificity of objects and persons).

    Anyway, here is some Chesterton on eugenics and abortion, for anyone who cares. Note that his agenda is not “war on the abortionists” but something a bit more constructive:

    ‘I could fill this book with examples of the universal, unconscious assumption that life and sex must live by the laws of “business” or industrialism, and not vice versa; examples from all the magazines, novels, and newspapers. In order to make it brief and typical, I take one case of a more or less Eugenist sort from a paper that lies open in front of me … a man writes to say that the spread of destitution will never be stopped until we have educated the lower classes in the methods by which the upper classes prevent procreation … [He] concludes by saying, “When people have large families and small wages, not only is there a high infantile death-rate, but often those who do live to grow up are stunted and weakened by having had to share the family income for a time with those who died early. There would be less unhappiness if there were no unwanted children.”

    You will observe that he tacitly takes it for granted that the small wages and the income, desperately shared, are the fixed points, like day and night, the conditions of human life. Compared with them marriage and maternity are luxuries, things to be modified to suit the wage market. There are unwanted children; but unwanted by whom? This man does not really mean that the parents do not want to have them. He means that the employers do not want to pay them properly.

    … the turn of their mind is to tell the child he is not wanted, as the turn of my mind is to tell the profiteer he is not wanted. Motherhood, they feel, and a full childhood, and the beauty of brothers and sisters, are good things in their way, but not so good as a bad wage. ‘

    GK Chesterton, from “Eugenics and Other Evils” (1917)

  • Who care about pregnant girls? Who cares about poor babies?

    Okay, I think we need to speak up in defense of our fellow Catholics, Christians and pro-lifers a bit here. I don’t know about your diocese, but around here the priests get up several times a year a lay a good strong Catholic guilt trip on everyone for the collections that support our crisis pregnancy centers and aid to families with children. I have never once, on the other hand, heard someone get up in a church and ask everyone to support locking up the poor or throwing “pro-aborts” in jail.

    I remember helping out with events to raise money for places like St. Anne’s Maternity Home:
    http://www.stannes.org/

    and Angel’s Way:
    http://www.angelswayhome.net/

    back before I even knew what abortion _was_.

    And on the other hand, what exactly is being offered by the pro-choice side? They’ll happily charge a poor girl $800 to make the problem go away. Nice… Oh, and if they’re feeling really generous, they’ll campaign to have the government take the money out of our paychecks and have us pay the $800 instead. That’s the extent of their feelings foor the poor.

    So while I’m all ready to agree that it’s essential to give all possible support to poor women and their children — I’m damned if I’ll sit around listening to lectures about how conservatives “don’t care about born babies”.

  • Who care about pregnant girls? Who cares about poor babies?

    Okay, I think we need to speak up in defense of our fellow Catholics, Christians and pro-lifers a bit here. I don’t know about your diocese, but around here the priests get up several times a year a lay a good strong Catholic guilt trip on everyone for the collections that support our crisis pregnancy centers and aid to families with children. I have never once, on the other hand, heard someone get up in a church and ask everyone to support locking up the poor or throwing “pro-aborts” in jail.

    I remember helping out with events to raise money for places like St. Anne’s Maternity Home:
    http://www.stannes.org/

    and Angel’s Way:
    http://www.angelswayhome.net/

    back before I even knew what abortion _was_.

    And on the other hand, what exactly is being offered by the pro-choice side? They’ll happily charge a poor girl $800 to make the problem go away. Nice… Oh, and if they’re feeling really generous, they’ll campaign to have the government take the money out of our paychecks and have us pay the $800 instead. That’s the extent of their feelings foor the poor.

    So while I’m all ready to agree that it’s essential to give all possible support to poor women and their children — I’m damned if I’ll sit around listening to lectures about how conservatives “don’t care about born babies”.

  • TeutonicTim

    What a great way to make sure the problem of abortion stays unsolved. Vote for a definitively pro-killing-babies candidate for president.

  • TeutonicTim

    What a great way to make sure the problem of abortion stays unsolved. Vote for a definitively pro-killing-babies candidate for president.

  • TeutonicTim

    I forgot: “Yes, we can!”

  • TeutonicTim

    I forgot: “Yes, we can!”

  • TeutonicTim

    “Similarly the Republicans have also been hypocrites while talking big, for instance about their pro-life ethic. But what have they achieved? First, through their puritanical war on sex education they’ve hindered our country from actually preventing unwanted pregnancy.”

    This man makes no sense. Abstinence = no babies. Teaching kids how to make babies = babies. Going on and on about how we are all united and share a common destiny and griping about “unwanted” babies and un-Catholic ways to “prevent” unwanted babies.

    Sounds like a good fit for Vox-Nova to me…

  • TeutonicTim

    “Similarly the Republicans have also been hypocrites while talking big, for instance about their pro-life ethic. But what have they achieved? First, through their puritanical war on sex education they’ve hindered our country from actually preventing unwanted pregnancy.”

    This man makes no sense. Abstinence = no babies. Teaching kids how to make babies = babies. Going on and on about how we are all united and share a common destiny and griping about “unwanted” babies and un-Catholic ways to “prevent” unwanted babies.

    Sounds like a good fit for Vox-Nova to me…

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    I agree with DC. Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement. This caricature has been hoisted on us by our country’s manufacturers of consent by focusing exclusively on the fringe of the movement. Does anybody here involved in the pro-life movement recognize himself or herself in this characterization? I don’t.

    Another (newer) characterization is the ‘pro-lifer as useful idiot of scheming republicans’. To be involved in politics is to have a place at the negotiating table. While our goal at this table is to have all people’s most fundamental right protected by law, we know that this goal can only be reached incrementally and by a prudential give and take. We know some of the people we are bargaining with don’t share our concerns and worldview. Some probably secretly loathe us. But nevertheless we are given a spot at the table and we do what we can to reach our goal. And we have reached important goals, though we still have a long way to go. To condemn the pro-life movement because its foray in politics hasn’t yielded perfection is ridiculous. It’s like condemning the anti-war movement because its political work hasn’t resulted in world peace. The Republicans are not perfect. They do not perfectly mirror our Catholic worldview. They need to be challenged in many ways. But at least they have offered us a place at the table. The Democrats have not done this. I look forward to the day when they do. It looked, for a brief moment, like that might happen after the 2004 election, but my hopes were dashed. Rather, we are told that our work for just laws is actually a reflection of our hatred for pregnant women. That is unjust.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    I agree with DC. Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement. This caricature has been hoisted on us by our country’s manufacturers of consent by focusing exclusively on the fringe of the movement. Does anybody here involved in the pro-life movement recognize himself or herself in this characterization? I don’t.

    Another (newer) characterization is the ‘pro-lifer as useful idiot of scheming republicans’. To be involved in politics is to have a place at the negotiating table. While our goal at this table is to have all people’s most fundamental right protected by law, we know that this goal can only be reached incrementally and by a prudential give and take. We know some of the people we are bargaining with don’t share our concerns and worldview. Some probably secretly loathe us. But nevertheless we are given a spot at the table and we do what we can to reach our goal. And we have reached important goals, though we still have a long way to go. To condemn the pro-life movement because its foray in politics hasn’t yielded perfection is ridiculous. It’s like condemning the anti-war movement because its political work hasn’t resulted in world peace. The Republicans are not perfect. They do not perfectly mirror our Catholic worldview. They need to be challenged in many ways. But at least they have offered us a place at the table. The Democrats have not done this. I look forward to the day when they do. It looked, for a brief moment, like that might happen after the 2004 election, but my hopes were dashed. Rather, we are told that our work for just laws is actually a reflection of our hatred for pregnant women. That is unjust.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    Franky Schaeffer, as he used to call himself, reinvents himself every few years. He has been on a left-ward projectory for some time now.

    http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2005/05/there_was_a_tim.html

    That he considers Pope Benedict a “fundamentalist” says all you need to know about his judgment.

    Francis Schaeffer was a truly great man. His son is an embarrassment.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    Franky Schaeffer, as he used to call himself, reinvents himself every few years. He has been on a left-ward projectory for some time now.

    http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2005/05/there_was_a_tim.html

    That he considers Pope Benedict a “fundamentalist” says all you need to know about his judgment.

    Francis Schaeffer was a truly great man. His son is an embarrassment.

  • Blackadder

    Gerald,

    Could you provide a link for the article in question (or if a link is not available, let me know where the op-ed was published)? Thanks.

    For the record, I didn’t say that Chesterton’s economic ideas should be dismissed because his “math doesn’t add up.” That’s a completely fabricated quotation.

  • Blackadder

    Gerald,

    Could you provide a link for the article in question (or if a link is not available, let me know where the op-ed was published)? Thanks.

    For the record, I didn’t say that Chesterton’s economic ideas should be dismissed because his “math doesn’t add up.” That’s a completely fabricated quotation.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    “Who care about pregnant girls? Who cares about poor babies?”

    If he ever is in Livingston County I will be happy to bring him to the crisis pregnancy center of which I am Chairman of the Board. Of course it is largely staffed by women who he would consider “fundamentalists” so perhaps he wouldn’t enjoy his visit.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    “Who care about pregnant girls? Who cares about poor babies?”

    If he ever is in Livingston County I will be happy to bring him to the crisis pregnancy center of which I am Chairman of the Board. Of course it is largely staffed by women who he would consider “fundamentalists” so perhaps he wouldn’t enjoy his visit.

  • blackadder,

    Here’s the link to where I saw the article:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/why-im-prolife-and-pro_b_85636.html

  • blackadder,

    Here’s the link to where I saw the article:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/why-im-prolife-and-pro_b_85636.html

  • Donald R. McClarey

    Oh, and Franky Schaeffer isn’t pro-life in any meaningful sense of the word. Here is an exerpt from an interview:

    “JW: Do you believe life begins at conception?

    FS: Yes, I believe life begins at conception, both technically and morally. But I also think that in terms of the present American climate, we are not going to be able to have all the abortions outlawed. It is totally unrealistic to push for that. What we need to do is rethink Roe v. Wade. But we don’t need to roll it back in the sense of getting to a place where all abortions are illegal. Thus, my view on the legality question of abortion has changed. But I don’t think my view on the morality of abortion has changed. ”

    http://www.rutherford.org/Oldspeak/Articles/Interviews/oldspeak-frankschaeffer.html

    I am glad that Mr. Schaeffer is supporting Obama. He fits in nicely in their ranks.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    Oh, and Franky Schaeffer isn’t pro-life in any meaningful sense of the word. Here is an exerpt from an interview:

    “JW: Do you believe life begins at conception?

    FS: Yes, I believe life begins at conception, both technically and morally. But I also think that in terms of the present American climate, we are not going to be able to have all the abortions outlawed. It is totally unrealistic to push for that. What we need to do is rethink Roe v. Wade. But we don’t need to roll it back in the sense of getting to a place where all abortions are illegal. Thus, my view on the legality question of abortion has changed. But I don’t think my view on the morality of abortion has changed. ”

    http://www.rutherford.org/Oldspeak/Articles/Interviews/oldspeak-frankschaeffer.html

    I am glad that Mr. Schaeffer is supporting Obama. He fits in nicely in their ranks.

  • “Francis Schaeffer was a truly great man. His son is an embarrassment.”

    Yep. That sums matters up nicely.

  • “Francis Schaeffer was a truly great man. His son is an embarrassment.”

    Yep. That sums matters up nicely.

  • Does anybody here involved in the pro-life movement recognize himself or herself in this characterization? I don’t.

    Another (newer) characterization is the ‘pro-lifer as useful idiot of scheming republicans’.

    Br. Matthew — I addressed that here with an examination of what “scheming Republicans” have actually done:

    Countering the “GOP / Bush ‘duped’ Pro-Lifers” Smear

    and I consider this an insult not only to the pro life movement in general, but to committed legislators who struggle to get legislation passed against (by and large) Democratic opposition.

    The Democrats, incidentally, push just as hard (legislatively), so now is not the time to roll over and surrender. Case in point:

    … The US Congress began consideration this week to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a $50 billion pot of money. The draft bill, sponsored by Tom Lantos (D-CA) guts funding for abstinence programs and shifts the focus of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to family planning which will open up the proposed $50 billion program to abortion groups now barred due to the U.S. Mexico City policy. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has launched a campaign to block all amendments and any proposals to reinstate funding for abstinence programs in the bill. …

    (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute: “US Congress Considers Billions to Fund Abortion Overseas / Block Abstinence Programs”

    Policy matters.

  • Does anybody here involved in the pro-life movement recognize himself or herself in this characterization? I don’t.

    Another (newer) characterization is the ‘pro-lifer as useful idiot of scheming republicans’.

    Br. Matthew — I addressed that here with an examination of what “scheming Republicans” have actually done:

    Countering the “GOP / Bush ‘duped’ Pro-Lifers” Smear

    and I consider this an insult not only to the pro life movement in general, but to committed legislators who struggle to get legislation passed against (by and large) Democratic opposition.

    The Democrats, incidentally, push just as hard (legislatively), so now is not the time to roll over and surrender. Case in point:

    … The US Congress began consideration this week to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a $50 billion pot of money. The draft bill, sponsored by Tom Lantos (D-CA) guts funding for abstinence programs and shifts the focus of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to family planning which will open up the proposed $50 billion program to abortion groups now barred due to the U.S. Mexico City policy. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has launched a campaign to block all amendments and any proposals to reinstate funding for abstinence programs in the bill. …

    (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute: “US Congress Considers Billions to Fund Abortion Overseas / Block Abstinence Programs”

    Policy matters.

  • Thanks for that link to Insight Scoop, Donald.

    “It is perhaps not coincidental that Cardinal Ratzinger, the most fundamentalist Roman Catholic cardinal, was chosen as the new pope.”

    “The final irony of fundamentalism, and the scholastic Catholicism represented by the new pope, is that fundamentalists turn out to be rationalists unwilling to abandon any part of their intellectual systems to embrace the mystery of spirituality”

    Yeah, like I’m really going to listen to anything this guy has to say.

  • Thanks for that link to Insight Scoop, Donald.

    “It is perhaps not coincidental that Cardinal Ratzinger, the most fundamentalist Roman Catholic cardinal, was chosen as the new pope.”

    “The final irony of fundamentalism, and the scholastic Catholicism represented by the new pope, is that fundamentalists turn out to be rationalists unwilling to abandon any part of their intellectual systems to embrace the mystery of spirituality”

    Yeah, like I’m really going to listen to anything this guy has to say.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Christopher,

    Thanks for the link. I might add that if heartless fiscal conservatives have been attempting to dupe social conservatives, judging by the Republican primary, the joke seems to be on the fiscal conservatives.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Christopher,

    Thanks for the link. I might add that if heartless fiscal conservatives have been attempting to dupe social conservatives, judging by the Republican primary, the joke seems to be on the fiscal conservatives.

  • Policraticus

    Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement. This caricature has been hoisted on us by our country’s manufacturers of consent by focusing exclusively on the fringe of the movement.

    I think this is somewhat accurate, though I think that those to whom it is addressed forward arguments premised on a univocal view of the pro-life movement as if it were some monolithic, consoladated campaign. As Katerina noted above, I really think that it is the Catholic movement that is the real “pro-life” movement. This movement works for legislation against abortion but ALSO works with those women who are most inclinded to have an abortion, attempting not necessarily to change these women’s hearts but to offer whatever aid is needed for them to be confident that they can be cared for as they care for their baby. If we really want to end abortion in this country, then we must admit that the Republicans and the Democrats are unfit for the task. Many of the social policies the Democrats forward would, I think, curb the abortion rate drastically. Many of the moral values of the Republicans would work to end legalized abortion. But ultimately, neither party knows how to end abortion because their respective social and moral agendas are in conflict. The Catholics must step up and step out of these parties. In the fourth and fifth centuries, the Empire adapted to our Church. In the twenty-first century, we Catholics must stop adapting to party politics and once more force the Empire to adjust to us.

    The real pro-life movement is not political, but moral and corporal. Catholics need to lead this battle, not a political party that doesn’t produce what it promises.

    And I’ll say this right here: I do not believe that Obama would do anything to inculcate pro-life values in terms of abortion or embryonic stem cell research.

  • Policraticus

    Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement. This caricature has been hoisted on us by our country’s manufacturers of consent by focusing exclusively on the fringe of the movement.

    I think this is somewhat accurate, though I think that those to whom it is addressed forward arguments premised on a univocal view of the pro-life movement as if it were some monolithic, consoladated campaign. As Katerina noted above, I really think that it is the Catholic movement that is the real “pro-life” movement. This movement works for legislation against abortion but ALSO works with those women who are most inclinded to have an abortion, attempting not necessarily to change these women’s hearts but to offer whatever aid is needed for them to be confident that they can be cared for as they care for their baby. If we really want to end abortion in this country, then we must admit that the Republicans and the Democrats are unfit for the task. Many of the social policies the Democrats forward would, I think, curb the abortion rate drastically. Many of the moral values of the Republicans would work to end legalized abortion. But ultimately, neither party knows how to end abortion because their respective social and moral agendas are in conflict. The Catholics must step up and step out of these parties. In the fourth and fifth centuries, the Empire adapted to our Church. In the twenty-first century, we Catholics must stop adapting to party politics and once more force the Empire to adjust to us.

    The real pro-life movement is not political, but moral and corporal. Catholics need to lead this battle, not a political party that doesn’t produce what it promises.

    And I’ll say this right here: I do not believe that Obama would do anything to inculcate pro-life values in terms of abortion or embryonic stem cell research.

  • I agree with DC. Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement.

    I also agree that there is some truth to this. We can’t base our view of the pro-life movement based on what we see on the blogosphere. There is a lot of good work being done in parishes all around the country.

    There are also certain actions taken by some pro-life groups that are just wrong and self-defeating, but these groups have more political overtones and are usually not associated with a parish.

  • I agree with DC. Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement.

    I also agree that there is some truth to this. We can’t base our view of the pro-life movement based on what we see on the blogosphere. There is a lot of good work being done in parishes all around the country.

    There are also certain actions taken by some pro-life groups that are just wrong and self-defeating, but these groups have more political overtones and are usually not associated with a parish.

  • “Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement.”

    Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature.

  • “Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature of the pro-life movement.”

    Many arguments around here are being premised on an ugly caricature.

  • “There is a lot of good work being done in parishes all around the country.”

    Absolutely. And more involvement is desperately needed!

  • “There is a lot of good work being done in parishes all around the country.”

    Absolutely. And more involvement is desperately needed!

  • “In the twenty-first century, we Catholics must stop adapting to party politics and once more force the Empire to adjust to us.”

    Bingo.

  • “In the twenty-first century, we Catholics must stop adapting to party politics and once more force the Empire to adjust to us.”

    Bingo.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Policratus,

    In a previous post I addressed my own concerns with a univocal and reductionist pro-life agenda. However, I think its a view not many share. Most pro-lifers recognize that ending legal abortion won’t end abortion. I think there are many ways of trying to reign in abortion. However, saying that we should abandon the legal dimension of the movement in favor of societal change is not an option. And as it stands, the only party which gives us a place at the table to advance the legal dimension of the movement is the Republican party. That this has aligned the movement disproportionately to the Republicans is unfortunate, but the Democrats have only themselves to blame. If they would re-think their party platform, they would attract many alienated pro-life voters. That they don’t only shows that they are committed, in principle, to a legal system that doesn’t recognize our most basic right to the most vulnerable in our society.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Policratus,

    In a previous post I addressed my own concerns with a univocal and reductionist pro-life agenda. However, I think its a view not many share. Most pro-lifers recognize that ending legal abortion won’t end abortion. I think there are many ways of trying to reign in abortion. However, saying that we should abandon the legal dimension of the movement in favor of societal change is not an option. And as it stands, the only party which gives us a place at the table to advance the legal dimension of the movement is the Republican party. That this has aligned the movement disproportionately to the Republicans is unfortunate, but the Democrats have only themselves to blame. If they would re-think their party platform, they would attract many alienated pro-life voters. That they don’t only shows that they are committed, in principle, to a legal system that doesn’t recognize our most basic right to the most vulnerable in our society.

  • Franky, I would say, if I could address him directly, you’re forgetting something. Your dad used to also quote Marshall McLuhan’s distinction between ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ communication. One stood for denotation. The other for connotation. You may recall how your father used to talk about how theological liberals could use Christian language, like Paul Tillich in his ‘pastoral’ writings, with such evangelical connotations that one might take him for some kin of Billy Graham. But then if you picked up his Systematic Theology where he offered actual definitions of terms he used and saw what he meant, you would see that he was practically a pantheist. Now what is amazing to me is how someone like Obama can pour forth hour upon hour of eloquent rhetoric with such ebullient, forward-looking “we can do it,” “yes we can,” “hope,” “look to the future,” “bring us together,” “heal the divisions” connotations without ever saying what he means. It’s all on the level of connotation, smoke and mirrors. There is absolutely nothing when the smoke clears. If you printed out his speeches and analyzed them conceptually, there would be nothing left to bite into, nothing left to ponder. The man has the gift of charisma, of exciting charismania, but he does it by deflecting rational content and pure vapid spin. What does the man stand for? Do you know? Would he defend the Constitution of the United States? Does he even believe in it? How would you know from anything he has said? And you consider this a smart choice? I look at the mania and I see a sea of Obama lemmings. It’s symptomatic of our era — a mindless image-driven culture (I use the last term loosely) of knuckle-dragging, mouth breathing You-Tube watching lemmings. Big Brother is here and he is smiling down on you.

  • Franky, I would say, if I could address him directly, you’re forgetting something. Your dad used to also quote Marshall McLuhan’s distinction between ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ communication. One stood for denotation. The other for connotation. You may recall how your father used to talk about how theological liberals could use Christian language, like Paul Tillich in his ‘pastoral’ writings, with such evangelical connotations that one might take him for some kin of Billy Graham. But then if you picked up his Systematic Theology where he offered actual definitions of terms he used and saw what he meant, you would see that he was practically a pantheist. Now what is amazing to me is how someone like Obama can pour forth hour upon hour of eloquent rhetoric with such ebullient, forward-looking “we can do it,” “yes we can,” “hope,” “look to the future,” “bring us together,” “heal the divisions” connotations without ever saying what he means. It’s all on the level of connotation, smoke and mirrors. There is absolutely nothing when the smoke clears. If you printed out his speeches and analyzed them conceptually, there would be nothing left to bite into, nothing left to ponder. The man has the gift of charisma, of exciting charismania, but he does it by deflecting rational content and pure vapid spin. What does the man stand for? Do you know? Would he defend the Constitution of the United States? Does he even believe in it? How would you know from anything he has said? And you consider this a smart choice? I look at the mania and I see a sea of Obama lemmings. It’s symptomatic of our era — a mindless image-driven culture (I use the last term loosely) of knuckle-dragging, mouth breathing You-Tube watching lemmings. Big Brother is here and he is smiling down on you.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    …And as long as we live in a pluralistic democracy (as opposed to a confessional state or Catholic monarchy), we have to collaborate with people who don’t share our worldview. If the Empire is going to be converted to us, its only going to be by collaboration and persuasion. *Not* by steadfastly refusing to work with people who aren’t 100 percent Catholic. This is to make the perfect the enemy of the good and to fail in our mission to engage society and the culture (the culture and society we actually have, not the one we wish we had).

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    …And as long as we live in a pluralistic democracy (as opposed to a confessional state or Catholic monarchy), we have to collaborate with people who don’t share our worldview. If the Empire is going to be converted to us, its only going to be by collaboration and persuasion. *Not* by steadfastly refusing to work with people who aren’t 100 percent Catholic. This is to make the perfect the enemy of the good and to fail in our mission to engage society and the culture (the culture and society we actually have, not the one we wish we had).

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Gerald,

    Yes, lets stop the caricatures all around. This is an important discussion and we should be fair to one another.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Gerald,

    Yes, lets stop the caricatures all around. This is an important discussion and we should be fair to one another.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    If you don’t hear from me in future comments its because I’m going to be away from my computer for at least a day. I wish you all the best.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    If you don’t hear from me in future comments its because I’m going to be away from my computer for at least a day. I wish you all the best.

  • “Now what is amazing to me is how someone like Obama can pour forth hour upon hour of eloquent rhetoric with such ebullient, forward-looking “we can do it,” “yes we can,” “hope,” “look to the future,” “bring us together,” “heal the divisions” connotations without ever saying what he means. ”

    Pertinacious Papist, you have described every politician, except most are not nearly so eloquent as Obama.

    The same complaint can be said of public figures of all sorts — even university professors.

    Just say you don’t like Obama. Then your argument becomes much cleaner and more easily digested.

  • “Now what is amazing to me is how someone like Obama can pour forth hour upon hour of eloquent rhetoric with such ebullient, forward-looking “we can do it,” “yes we can,” “hope,” “look to the future,” “bring us together,” “heal the divisions” connotations without ever saying what he means. ”

    Pertinacious Papist, you have described every politician, except most are not nearly so eloquent as Obama.

    The same complaint can be said of public figures of all sorts — even university professors.

    Just say you don’t like Obama. Then your argument becomes much cleaner and more easily digested.

  • “Yes, lets stop the caricatures all around. This is an important discussion and we should be fair to one another.”

    Bro, Andrew, do I agree with you there!

  • “Yes, lets stop the caricatures all around. This is an important discussion and we should be fair to one another.”

    Bro, Andrew, do I agree with you there!

  • Sorry, Bro. Matthew — not Andrew.

    We agree completely.

  • Sorry, Bro. Matthew — not Andrew.

    We agree completely.

  • Br Matthew,

    I think you are underestimating the extent to which the pro-life movement has damaged itself by aligning itself with the Republicans.

    The Republicans are manifestly not pro-life. Their economic policies are theft. Globally, the Washington economic consensus has led to millions of deaths. The GOP war policy is murder. And their dominant rhetoric is based on a constant appeal to the grandeur of military force, the nation, and the almighty dollar. These are palpably obvious facts, screaming like Abel’s blood at anyone who wishes to notice them.

    Republican politicians have done everything in their power to turn the Cross of Christ into a symbol of white American hegemony. There is spectacular ignorance at the highest levels of the Republican movement–ignorance which leads to claims about the “religious” presuppositions of the Founding Fathers, most of whom were atheists under the influence of free-masonry and vulgar capitalist metaphysics.

    I believe you when you that many Christians are not duped by the Republican party.
    But they are still making a mistake in aligning themselves with it.

    I am not asking anyone to vote for Obama or to support the Democrats. But you should think about whether or not “the seat at the table” is really worth sitting in.

    The pro-life movement may have attained some worthy goals, from one perspective, by working with Republicans. But on a larger scale, the pro-life movement has lent its support and moral authority to a bunch of craven murderers.

  • Br Matthew,

    I think you are underestimating the extent to which the pro-life movement has damaged itself by aligning itself with the Republicans.

    The Republicans are manifestly not pro-life. Their economic policies are theft. Globally, the Washington economic consensus has led to millions of deaths. The GOP war policy is murder. And their dominant rhetoric is based on a constant appeal to the grandeur of military force, the nation, and the almighty dollar. These are palpably obvious facts, screaming like Abel’s blood at anyone who wishes to notice them.

    Republican politicians have done everything in their power to turn the Cross of Christ into a symbol of white American hegemony. There is spectacular ignorance at the highest levels of the Republican movement–ignorance which leads to claims about the “religious” presuppositions of the Founding Fathers, most of whom were atheists under the influence of free-masonry and vulgar capitalist metaphysics.

    I believe you when you that many Christians are not duped by the Republican party.
    But they are still making a mistake in aligning themselves with it.

    I am not asking anyone to vote for Obama or to support the Democrats. But you should think about whether or not “the seat at the table” is really worth sitting in.

    The pro-life movement may have attained some worthy goals, from one perspective, by working with Republicans. But on a larger scale, the pro-life movement has lent its support and moral authority to a bunch of craven murderers.

  • The “seat at the table” is really nothing more than a seat at the Republican table. But in truth, this is no table at all because the issue has been framed to reflect an intrinsic contradiction — prolife/proabortion.

    Nothing will ever come of sitting at such a table. What little progress may result will be a function of brute power and not sustainable over time.

    Until the issue can be framed differently, progress on the abortion front will have to come from a context of personal relations where women who find themselves facing the terrible predicament of abortion can find loving assistance. In other words, progress will flow primarily from simple acts of love, compassion, understanding, and mercy.

  • The “seat at the table” is really nothing more than a seat at the Republican table. But in truth, this is no table at all because the issue has been framed to reflect an intrinsic contradiction — prolife/proabortion.

    Nothing will ever come of sitting at such a table. What little progress may result will be a function of brute power and not sustainable over time.

    Until the issue can be framed differently, progress on the abortion front will have to come from a context of personal relations where women who find themselves facing the terrible predicament of abortion can find loving assistance. In other words, progress will flow primarily from simple acts of love, compassion, understanding, and mercy.

  • As Katerina noted above, I really think that it is the Catholic movement that is the real “pro-life” movement. This movement works for legislation against abortion but ALSO works with those women who are most inclinded to have an abortion, attempting not necessarily to change these women’s hearts but to offer whatever aid is needed for them to be confident that they can be cared for as they care for their baby.

    I’m not sure if you intended it but your phrasing sounded like you were attributing all of the above to Catholics — I’d actually be curious to see a breakdown of which Christian congregations actually contribute toward the staffing of crisis pregnancy centers, maternity shelters, working to provide adoptions and care for pregnant mothers, etc.

  • As Katerina noted above, I really think that it is the Catholic movement that is the real “pro-life” movement. This movement works for legislation against abortion but ALSO works with those women who are most inclinded to have an abortion, attempting not necessarily to change these women’s hearts but to offer whatever aid is needed for them to be confident that they can be cared for as they care for their baby.

    I’m not sure if you intended it but your phrasing sounded like you were attributing all of the above to Catholics — I’d actually be curious to see a breakdown of which Christian congregations actually contribute toward the staffing of crisis pregnancy centers, maternity shelters, working to provide adoptions and care for pregnant mothers, etc.

  • No Gerald, it will require more than that. It is not an either/or situation.

    Roe and its progeny must be overruled with impunity. Few things have contributed more to a “Culture of Death” in this country than this abomination of a constitutional decision. The (false) notion that a woman has a right to murder her unborn child needs to be forcefully challenged until the day Roe takes its rightful place along with Dred Scott as one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court.

  • No Gerald, it will require more than that. It is not an either/or situation.

    Roe and its progeny must be overruled with impunity. Few things have contributed more to a “Culture of Death” in this country than this abomination of a constitutional decision. The (false) notion that a woman has a right to murder her unborn child needs to be forcefully challenged until the day Roe takes its rightful place along with Dred Scott as one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court.

  • I agree with Christopher. Our protestant brothers and sisters are doing a great deal of the labor necessary to support women who choose life.

  • I agree with Christopher. Our protestant brothers and sisters are doing a great deal of the labor necessary to support women who choose life.

  • Morning’s Minion

    The pro-life movement was originally Catholic. The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda. Until Catholics, and others who support the conistent ethic of life, wrest if back from the political hacks, there will be no progress on the abortion front.

  • Morning’s Minion

    The pro-life movement was originally Catholic. The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda. Until Catholics, and others who support the conistent ethic of life, wrest if back from the political hacks, there will be no progress on the abortion front.

  • Rightly or wrongly, a great many Americans base their sense of personal morality and the dignity of others on what the law says. For instance, I once had someone seriously argue to me that the Catholic Church’s moral position on abortion was nonsense because unborn children are not counted in the census. If they’re not in the census, his arguement went, they’re human beings.

    Sometimes making a choice legally available and financially easy can itself be a form of force against people in certain difficult situations. Two different women I know who had children out of wedlock while in college, years ago, have commented on how often refusals to accomodate their situation were accompanied with statements to the effect of, “Why are you doing this to yourself, when as a modern woman you have other options?”

    This is how providing the legal and societal “option” of easy “choice” becomes a tool to push women towards a particular “choice” — and also a conscience free-er: Well, if she really cared about her degree she wouldn’t have a child, so why should we accomodate her needs.

    In this sense, the idea that pro-choice leaders will somehow build a culture which is better able to help poor women and their children is doubly misleading.

  • Rightly or wrongly, a great many Americans base their sense of personal morality and the dignity of others on what the law says. For instance, I once had someone seriously argue to me that the Catholic Church’s moral position on abortion was nonsense because unborn children are not counted in the census. If they’re not in the census, his arguement went, they’re human beings.

    Sometimes making a choice legally available and financially easy can itself be a form of force against people in certain difficult situations. Two different women I know who had children out of wedlock while in college, years ago, have commented on how often refusals to accomodate their situation were accompanied with statements to the effect of, “Why are you doing this to yourself, when as a modern woman you have other options?”

    This is how providing the legal and societal “option” of easy “choice” becomes a tool to push women towards a particular “choice” — and also a conscience free-er: Well, if she really cared about her degree she wouldn’t have a child, so why should we accomodate her needs.

    In this sense, the idea that pro-choice leaders will somehow build a culture which is better able to help poor women and their children is doubly misleading.

  • The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda.

    MM, I hear you assert this time and time again — could you provide some resources to backup the claim? Historical studies that you might pass on to others?

  • The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda.

    MM, I hear you assert this time and time again — could you provide some resources to backup the claim? Historical studies that you might pass on to others?

  • The pro-life movement was originally Catholic. The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda. Until Catholics, and others who support the conistent ethic of life, wrest if back from the political hacks, there will be no progress on the abortion front.

    Um. Dude?

    (May I call you dude? The intellectual level of your comment seems to warrant it.)

    Let me see if I’ve understood your comment right: The only way that we will achieve any converts in the abortion debate is if we first take all the converts we’ve made so far and tell them to take a flying flip.

    Then, of course, all the people who up to this point have passionately defended “choice” will realize that we’re totally reasonable people and come join us.

    Okay…

  • The pro-life movement was originally Catholic. The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda. Until Catholics, and others who support the conistent ethic of life, wrest if back from the political hacks, there will be no progress on the abortion front.

    Um. Dude?

    (May I call you dude? The intellectual level of your comment seems to warrant it.)

    Let me see if I’ve understood your comment right: The only way that we will achieve any converts in the abortion debate is if we first take all the converts we’ve made so far and tell them to take a flying flip.

    Then, of course, all the people who up to this point have passionately defended “choice” will realize that we’re totally reasonable people and come join us.

    Okay…

  • “It is not an either/or situation.”

    Alexham, I never said it was. But I would say that legal remedies are not practical. No will they be, given the breath and depth of the “culture of death” in America. Thankfully, there are other courses of action than that contained in the either/or you have framed.

    “Few things have contributed more to a “Culture of Death” in this country than this abomination of a constitutional decision.”

    Heavens. This is untrue. The ‘culture of death” has profound intellectual roots in American society that go to the very core of the nation’s existence. The very nature of American law and all its decisions, e.g., reflects reductionist intellectual principles that flow out of the Enlightenment. Law is rooted in arbitrary will and mechanistic reason. Natural law is alien to American jurisprudence. Political consensus substitutes for the common good. That alone should be enough to make people cautious about progress that can be forged from legal remedies.

    To speak of the “culture of death” as though it were merely a collection of “legal decisions” overlooks the immense gravity of our national predicament. Decisions flow from “somewhere”. They don’t just happen because a “gang of nine” decided in a certain way. The problem is far more profound than a bad decision, or even a series of bad decisions. It is that “somewhere” that we must become accustomed to analyzing. There is much more work to do than most people think.

  • “It is not an either/or situation.”

    Alexham, I never said it was. But I would say that legal remedies are not practical. No will they be, given the breath and depth of the “culture of death” in America. Thankfully, there are other courses of action than that contained in the either/or you have framed.

    “Few things have contributed more to a “Culture of Death” in this country than this abomination of a constitutional decision.”

    Heavens. This is untrue. The ‘culture of death” has profound intellectual roots in American society that go to the very core of the nation’s existence. The very nature of American law and all its decisions, e.g., reflects reductionist intellectual principles that flow out of the Enlightenment. Law is rooted in arbitrary will and mechanistic reason. Natural law is alien to American jurisprudence. Political consensus substitutes for the common good. That alone should be enough to make people cautious about progress that can be forged from legal remedies.

    To speak of the “culture of death” as though it were merely a collection of “legal decisions” overlooks the immense gravity of our national predicament. Decisions flow from “somewhere”. They don’t just happen because a “gang of nine” decided in a certain way. The problem is far more profound than a bad decision, or even a series of bad decisions. It is that “somewhere” that we must become accustomed to analyzing. There is much more work to do than most people think.

  • “The only way that we will achieve any converts in the abortion debate is if we first take all the converts we’ve made so far and tell them to take a flying flip.”

    Power politics will not resolve the issue of the unborn. Were it that simple!

  • “The only way that we will achieve any converts in the abortion debate is if we first take all the converts we’ve made so far and tell them to take a flying flip.”

    Power politics will not resolve the issue of the unborn. Were it that simple!

  • To speak of the “culture of death” as though it were merely a collection of “legal decisions” overlooks the immense gravity of our national predicament. Decisions flow from “somewhere”. They don’t just happen because a “gang of nine” decided in a certain way. The problem is far more profound than a bad decision, or even a series of bad decisions. It is that “somewhere” that we must become accustomed to analyzing. There is much more work to do than most people think.

    And you aim to resolve this by electing a candidate who appears just as fundamentally flawed in his conceptualization of “choice”? — This is what I honestly don’t get, Gerald.

  • To speak of the “culture of death” as though it were merely a collection of “legal decisions” overlooks the immense gravity of our national predicament. Decisions flow from “somewhere”. They don’t just happen because a “gang of nine” decided in a certain way. The problem is far more profound than a bad decision, or even a series of bad decisions. It is that “somewhere” that we must become accustomed to analyzing. There is much more work to do than most people think.

    And you aim to resolve this by electing a candidate who appears just as fundamentally flawed in his conceptualization of “choice”? — This is what I honestly don’t get, Gerald.

  • To speak of the “culture of death” as though it were merely a collection of “legal decisions” overlooks the immense gravity of our national predicament.

    This is exactly what I feel and there lies the root of my doubts about the true effect of a pro-abortion president on this issue.

    Although like all of you, I would love to see Roe v. Wade overturned, what is stopping other judges in the future from reverting back to it? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m just asking you guys.

  • To speak of the “culture of death” as though it were merely a collection of “legal decisions” overlooks the immense gravity of our national predicament.

    This is exactly what I feel and there lies the root of my doubts about the true effect of a pro-abortion president on this issue.

    Although like all of you, I would love to see Roe v. Wade overturned, what is stopping other judges in the future from reverting back to it? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m just asking you guys.

  • Christopher,

    The alternative to “choice” is power politics. Such politics is not sustainable. Can you describe a way out of this dilemma?

  • Christopher,

    The alternative to “choice” is power politics. Such politics is not sustainable. Can you describe a way out of this dilemma?

  • “Although like all of you, I would love to see Roe v. Wade overturned, what is stopping other judges in the future from reverting back to it? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m just asking you guys.”

    The fruits of power politics are not sustainable over time.

  • “Although like all of you, I would love to see Roe v. Wade overturned, what is stopping other judges in the future from reverting back to it? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m just asking you guys.”

    The fruits of power politics are not sustainable over time.

  • I agree that power politics will solve nothing. I am not optimistic about the long-term efficacy of any legal solution.

    But I am interested first of all in making an even more basic point:

    The Republican party is not “pro life.”

    I understand why Catholics feel that Democrats are insupportable.

    But supporting Republicans is just as impossible. Following Br Matthew’s advice has involved Catholics in putting abortion above the many and obvious crimes committed by Republicans.

    The moral coherence of the “pro life” position is undermined when it is associated with unregulated capitalism and war as televised entertainment.

    Don’t support Democrats. And don’t support Republicans.

  • I agree that power politics will solve nothing. I am not optimistic about the long-term efficacy of any legal solution.

    But I am interested first of all in making an even more basic point:

    The Republican party is not “pro life.”

    I understand why Catholics feel that Democrats are insupportable.

    But supporting Republicans is just as impossible. Following Br Matthew’s advice has involved Catholics in putting abortion above the many and obvious crimes committed by Republicans.

    The moral coherence of the “pro life” position is undermined when it is associated with unregulated capitalism and war as televised entertainment.

    Don’t support Democrats. And don’t support Republicans.

  • JH

    MOrning Minion

    If it was not for Evangelicals right now the Pro-Life Movement would be in trouble. I never understand this point of view

  • JH

    MOrning Minion

    If it was not for Evangelicals right now the Pro-Life Movement would be in trouble. I never understand this point of view

  • Were the fruits of power politics not sustainable over time in regards to abolishing slavery?

    You can get widespread agreement from this audience on the idea that society cannot, lacking a commonly held set of moral and philosophical principles, survive by mere force of positive law.

    However, that does not mean that we cannot have law. There are numerous forms of violence and injustice between people which our laws label as crimes. None of these have been totally abolished simply because they are illegal, but that does not necessarily mean that we must assume a “pro-choice” attitude towards them.

  • Were the fruits of power politics not sustainable over time in regards to abolishing slavery?

    You can get widespread agreement from this audience on the idea that society cannot, lacking a commonly held set of moral and philosophical principles, survive by mere force of positive law.

    However, that does not mean that we cannot have law. There are numerous forms of violence and injustice between people which our laws label as crimes. None of these have been totally abolished simply because they are illegal, but that does not necessarily mean that we must assume a “pro-choice” attitude towards them.

  • The pro-legal-restriction position of the “pro life” movement is not incoherent.

    Supporting Republican candidates like George W Bush and Ronald Reagan is what makes the stance of the “pro life” incoherent.

  • The pro-legal-restriction position of the “pro life” movement is not incoherent.

    Supporting Republican candidates like George W Bush and Ronald Reagan is what makes the stance of the “pro life” incoherent.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    …One more thing before I hit the road.

    G. Alkon- I have not given anybody *any* advise here. Simply stated, I don’t think giving up the fight for legal change regarding abortion is an option for us. Thats all. I’m not saying people have to vote Republican or cannot vote Democrat. However, if they give a *reason* for voting for a particular candidate which doesn’t seem to cohere with Catholic social doctrine, I will dispute it. God bless.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    …One more thing before I hit the road.

    G. Alkon- I have not given anybody *any* advise here. Simply stated, I don’t think giving up the fight for legal change regarding abortion is an option for us. Thats all. I’m not saying people have to vote Republican or cannot vote Democrat. However, if they give a *reason* for voting for a particular candidate which doesn’t seem to cohere with Catholic social doctrine, I will dispute it. God bless.

  • Gerald: The alternative to “choice” is power politics. Such politics is not sustainable. Can you describe a way out of this dilemma?

    Gerald, I’m not sure I follow and forgive me if I appear muddled, but are you suggesting that the “pro-choice” position in an abortion debate (as put forth by Obama) is intellectually and morally coherent?

  • Gerald: The alternative to “choice” is power politics. Such politics is not sustainable. Can you describe a way out of this dilemma?

    Gerald, I’m not sure I follow and forgive me if I appear muddled, but are you suggesting that the “pro-choice” position in an abortion debate (as put forth by Obama) is intellectually and morally coherent?

  • Stuart Buck

    Our country needs someone to show us a better way . . . who has the qualities that make us want to follow him.

    For some reason, I’m reminded of the political reasoning in this video.

  • Stuart Buck

    Our country needs someone to show us a better way . . . who has the qualities that make us want to follow him.

    For some reason, I’m reminded of the political reasoning in this video.

  • I think it’s a reasonable question whether revoking Roe v. Wade would appreciably affect the abortion rate in the United States.

    For one thing, it would restore the status quo prior to Roe, which was that individual states controlled whether or not abortion was legal in that particular state. So repealing Roe would result in women traveling to other states to procure abortions. More traffic on Interstates, just as many abortions.

    So, let’s say it was outlawed within the entire United States by an Act of Congress. This would very effectively drive abortion underground – and with abortion having been legal for 35 years, you can believe the underground would be absolutely massive – NARAL, NOW, Emily’s List, etc. with doctors, nurses, underground clinics, people arranging transportation to Canada, and on and on and on.

    So, you would need an equally massive and intrusive (and, it is safe to say, thoroughly unconstitutional) enforcement apparatus whose sole purpose would be to find and shut down every illegal clinic in the United States (as a prectical matter, an impossible task) – as well as seal the border with Canada (to prevent women from traveling to Canada to procure abortions.)

    I could paint the picture even more vividly, but the above sketch should be sufficient.

    I will say this explicitly, in case it isn’t clear: I am not “pro-choice”. I don’t think a woman has a “right” to procure an abortion. I think life ought to be protected from conception to natural death. Abortion is the taking of a human life.

    So, am I happy about the way things are? Obviously not. But, that said: Is the above “what-if” scenario a reasonable one (not in the sense of being “good” or “just”, but in the sense of being a pretty good picture of the status quo?) Without a doubt.

    As some others here have indicated: While there are plenty of sincere, pro-life Republicans, it seems to me that the Republican “Pro-life” platform plank is most vocally and publicly supported by an especially authoritarian faction in the contemporary Republican Party: an uneasy alliance between Dominionist Protestants and extreme-right Catholics – the very same folks who agitate for war, and are pro-torture, anti-immigrant, etc. This has done the pro-life cause incalculable harm, in my view.

  • I think it’s a reasonable question whether revoking Roe v. Wade would appreciably affect the abortion rate in the United States.

    For one thing, it would restore the status quo prior to Roe, which was that individual states controlled whether or not abortion was legal in that particular state. So repealing Roe would result in women traveling to other states to procure abortions. More traffic on Interstates, just as many abortions.

    So, let’s say it was outlawed within the entire United States by an Act of Congress. This would very effectively drive abortion underground – and with abortion having been legal for 35 years, you can believe the underground would be absolutely massive – NARAL, NOW, Emily’s List, etc. with doctors, nurses, underground clinics, people arranging transportation to Canada, and on and on and on.

    So, you would need an equally massive and intrusive (and, it is safe to say, thoroughly unconstitutional) enforcement apparatus whose sole purpose would be to find and shut down every illegal clinic in the United States (as a prectical matter, an impossible task) – as well as seal the border with Canada (to prevent women from traveling to Canada to procure abortions.)

    I could paint the picture even more vividly, but the above sketch should be sufficient.

    I will say this explicitly, in case it isn’t clear: I am not “pro-choice”. I don’t think a woman has a “right” to procure an abortion. I think life ought to be protected from conception to natural death. Abortion is the taking of a human life.

    So, am I happy about the way things are? Obviously not. But, that said: Is the above “what-if” scenario a reasonable one (not in the sense of being “good” or “just”, but in the sense of being a pretty good picture of the status quo?) Without a doubt.

    As some others here have indicated: While there are plenty of sincere, pro-life Republicans, it seems to me that the Republican “Pro-life” platform plank is most vocally and publicly supported by an especially authoritarian faction in the contemporary Republican Party: an uneasy alliance between Dominionist Protestants and extreme-right Catholics – the very same folks who agitate for war, and are pro-torture, anti-immigrant, etc. This has done the pro-life cause incalculable harm, in my view.

  • Gerald, to clarify — you appear largely concerned about “power politics” between parties; but when I hear Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood, he expounds a position which in itself favors the exercise of naked power over the life of the unborn, and seeks to do away with any legislation that would remotely restrict the murder of the unborn — framed, in his words, as a “choice.”

    In a previous post, you praised Obama as being

    curious enough to ask about the conceptual flaws at the heart of the Iraq invasion. He isn’t willing to reduce the Iraq predicament to simple mismanagement.

    This is well and good. But is there any evidence that Obama has even tried to grapple with “the conceptual flaws” at the root of his own adamantly “pro-choice” position?

  • Gerald, to clarify — you appear largely concerned about “power politics” between parties; but when I hear Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood, he expounds a position which in itself favors the exercise of naked power over the life of the unborn, and seeks to do away with any legislation that would remotely restrict the murder of the unborn — framed, in his words, as a “choice.”

    In a previous post, you praised Obama as being

    curious enough to ask about the conceptual flaws at the heart of the Iraq invasion. He isn’t willing to reduce the Iraq predicament to simple mismanagement.

    This is well and good. But is there any evidence that Obama has even tried to grapple with “the conceptual flaws” at the root of his own adamantly “pro-choice” position?

  • That’s my issue — you are quite willing to expound upon the ‘culture of death” within the intellectual roots of American society, but you also seem most reticent in addressing the fundamental flaws at the heart of your own candidate’s view of the unborn.

    One can point out, for instance, where a Republican candidate who insists on the sanctify of life but grants exceptions is perhaps hypocritical and not fully cognizant of what is entailed by his position. With a candidate who adamantly affirms the “right to choose” and professes his unyielding commitment, where do you begin?

  • That’s my issue — you are quite willing to expound upon the ‘culture of death” within the intellectual roots of American society, but you also seem most reticent in addressing the fundamental flaws at the heart of your own candidate’s view of the unborn.

    One can point out, for instance, where a Republican candidate who insists on the sanctify of life but grants exceptions is perhaps hypocritical and not fully cognizant of what is entailed by his position. With a candidate who adamantly affirms the “right to choose” and professes his unyielding commitment, where do you begin?

  • JB

    I want to applaud you all. The past 20 or so posts have exhibited honest efforts to understand the other and to get to the root of very important ideas and distinctions. The difficulty of understanding each other is exacerbated by our medium of choice (blogdom), so we will always have certain misunderstandings, vague statements, etc. Nevertheless, this discussion has been a breath of fresh air compared to the bitter arguing that has been going on.

    I think I fully agree with Gerald’s critique. However, I think I also agree with Christopher and other’s – I’m not sure how Obama is supposed to help the situation.

    I may very well be that we must each discern to the best of our conscience and pray the Holy Spirit does his thing, while vowing to change the country through good old fashioned evangelization and love of neighbor. When cut through all the layers of muck, fundamentally we don’t need this person or that person to be president, we need a Savior. We need to reexamine the extent to which we have lived out our covanental love-relationship with Jesus, recommit ourselves to it, and lovingly enter into relationship with others so as to bring them to Christ as well.

  • JB

    I want to applaud you all. The past 20 or so posts have exhibited honest efforts to understand the other and to get to the root of very important ideas and distinctions. The difficulty of understanding each other is exacerbated by our medium of choice (blogdom), so we will always have certain misunderstandings, vague statements, etc. Nevertheless, this discussion has been a breath of fresh air compared to the bitter arguing that has been going on.

    I think I fully agree with Gerald’s critique. However, I think I also agree with Christopher and other’s – I’m not sure how Obama is supposed to help the situation.

    I may very well be that we must each discern to the best of our conscience and pray the Holy Spirit does his thing, while vowing to change the country through good old fashioned evangelization and love of neighbor. When cut through all the layers of muck, fundamentally we don’t need this person or that person to be president, we need a Savior. We need to reexamine the extent to which we have lived out our covanental love-relationship with Jesus, recommit ourselves to it, and lovingly enter into relationship with others so as to bring them to Christ as well.

  • it seems to me that the Republican “Pro-life” platform plank is most vocally and publicly supported by an especially authoritarian faction in the contemporary Republican Party: an uneasy alliance between Dominionist Protestants and extreme-right Catholics – the very same folks who agitate for war, and are pro-torture, anti-immigrant, etc. This has done the pro-life cause incalculable harm, in my view.

    Perhaps this is just me being wishy-washy and lilly-livered, but when a view that I strongly agree with is just about only put forward by people who I imagine to be nasty and undesireable people, that usually sets me off in the direction of either re-assessing my view of those people, or reassessing the view that I hold in common with them.

    I suppose it’s possible that a desire to see our laws reflect the human dignity of the unborn is only upheld by people who by chance happen to be authoritarian and nasty people, but it might also be worth thinking about the possibility that these people ascribe to a belief system which is neither incoherent nor inherently mischievous.

    Or more briefly, have you perhaps paused to wonder if there’s any _reason_ why it’s only the conservatives who have chosen to give the pro-lifers any kind of home? It might be a wrong reason, by your lights at any rate, but simply assuming that it’s evil and divisive motives prevents you from coming to any sort of intellectual understanding of what might be going ong.

  • it seems to me that the Republican “Pro-life” platform plank is most vocally and publicly supported by an especially authoritarian faction in the contemporary Republican Party: an uneasy alliance between Dominionist Protestants and extreme-right Catholics – the very same folks who agitate for war, and are pro-torture, anti-immigrant, etc. This has done the pro-life cause incalculable harm, in my view.

    Perhaps this is just me being wishy-washy and lilly-livered, but when a view that I strongly agree with is just about only put forward by people who I imagine to be nasty and undesireable people, that usually sets me off in the direction of either re-assessing my view of those people, or reassessing the view that I hold in common with them.

    I suppose it’s possible that a desire to see our laws reflect the human dignity of the unborn is only upheld by people who by chance happen to be authoritarian and nasty people, but it might also be worth thinking about the possibility that these people ascribe to a belief system which is neither incoherent nor inherently mischievous.

    Or more briefly, have you perhaps paused to wonder if there’s any _reason_ why it’s only the conservatives who have chosen to give the pro-lifers any kind of home? It might be a wrong reason, by your lights at any rate, but simply assuming that it’s evil and divisive motives prevents you from coming to any sort of intellectual understanding of what might be going ong.

  • Mr. Campbell says, in response to my characterization of Mr. Obama as a communicator of ‘connotations’ rather than conceptually definable ‘denotations’, says:

    “you have described every politician, except most are not nearly so eloquent as Obama. The same complaint can be said of public figures of all sorts — even university professors. Just say you don’t like Obama. Then your argument becomes much cleaner and more easily digested.”

    Thereby Mr. Campbell reduces, with one easy stroke, the meaning of clean and easily digestible political dialogue to sheer subjective emotivism. And how is this the solution rather than part of the problem? It may be that 90% of the population these days chooses candidates because they LIKE them, for some inchoate, inexpressible reason, but is that why we ought be be voting for them? I suppose we really have come to this, haven’t we — politics as consumerism — the American dream? No wonder Muslims laugh us to scorn.

  • Mr. Campbell says, in response to my characterization of Mr. Obama as a communicator of ‘connotations’ rather than conceptually definable ‘denotations’, says:

    “you have described every politician, except most are not nearly so eloquent as Obama. The same complaint can be said of public figures of all sorts — even university professors. Just say you don’t like Obama. Then your argument becomes much cleaner and more easily digested.”

    Thereby Mr. Campbell reduces, with one easy stroke, the meaning of clean and easily digestible political dialogue to sheer subjective emotivism. And how is this the solution rather than part of the problem? It may be that 90% of the population these days chooses candidates because they LIKE them, for some inchoate, inexpressible reason, but is that why we ought be be voting for them? I suppose we really have come to this, haven’t we — politics as consumerism — the American dream? No wonder Muslims laugh us to scorn.

  • Partisan political rant from Pertinacious Papist, who writes about the Clintons in an even more imperceptive manner. Obama gave a fine, substantial Kennedyesque victory speech at Iowa. Pres. Bush has NEVER given such a speech. No doubt some Bush speeches have concrete content — but usually the more concrete, the more mendacious. Remember that famous Mission Accomplished speech? Obama comes across as a man who thinks. And such mastery of rhetoric as he showed in that speech in itself implies intellectual ability.

  • Partisan political rant from Pertinacious Papist, who writes about the Clintons in an even more imperceptive manner. Obama gave a fine, substantial Kennedyesque victory speech at Iowa. Pres. Bush has NEVER given such a speech. No doubt some Bush speeches have concrete content — but usually the more concrete, the more mendacious. Remember that famous Mission Accomplished speech? Obama comes across as a man who thinks. And such mastery of rhetoric as he showed in that speech in itself implies intellectual ability.

  • Partisan political rant from Pertinacious Papist, who writes about the Clintons in an even more imperceptive manner. Obama gave a fine, substantial Kennedyesque victory speech at Iowa. Pres. Bush has NEVER given such a speech. No doubt some Bush speeches have concrete content — but usually the more concrete, the more mendacious. Remember that famous Mission Accomplished speech? Obama comes across as a man who thinks. And such mastery of rhetoric as he showed in that speech in itself implies intellectual ability.

  • This constant depiction of contemporary culture as a “culture of death” and “nihilism” and “tyranny of relativism” is dreary — it is basically sour grapes from those who are disappointed that democratic processes and reflection do not lead to results corresponding to their own doctrines.

  • This constant depiction of contemporary culture as a “culture of death” and “nihilism” and “tyranny of relativism” is dreary — it is basically sour grapes from those who are disappointed that democratic processes and reflection do not lead to results corresponding to their own doctrines.

  • This constant depiction of contemporary culture as a “culture of death” and “nihilism” and “tyranny of relativism” is dreary — it is basically sour grapes from those who are disappointed that democratic processes and reflection do not lead to results corresponding to their own doctrines.

  • Remember how uncritical Pertinacious Papist was when Bush was giving speech after speech, peppered with factual lies and misleading connotation, about the Iraq adventure. Here is Pertinacious on the 2004 State of the Union speech:

    One of the most brilliantly ironic moments in President Bush’s recent State of the Union address was when he said the following:
    “Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.”

  • Remember how uncritical Pertinacious Papist was when Bush was giving speech after speech, peppered with factual lies and misleading connotation, about the Iraq adventure. Here is Pertinacious on the 2004 State of the Union speech:

    One of the most brilliantly ironic moments in President Bush’s recent State of the Union address was when he said the following:
    “Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.”

  • Remember how uncritical Pertinacious Papist was when Bush was giving speech after speech, peppered with factual lies and misleading connotation, about the Iraq adventure. Here is Pertinacious on the 2004 State of the Union speech:

    One of the most brilliantly ironic moments in President Bush’s recent State of the Union address was when he said the following:
    “Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.”

  • Blosser treats any moral judgement on Bushist imperialism as postmod relativism; his own moral judgments on the Clintons belong to the realm of the apodictic.

    Here is an example: “A friend of mine recently emailed me a joke, about that well-known nation in the news lately, notoriously armed with weapons of mass destruction, which threatens the world with the terror of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, led by an irrational maniac named George Bush. The remarkable thing about this joke is that, even if we may not like it, its humor is readily accessible to us. No vast distance separates our outlook from the set of assumptions animating it. The sentiment is similar to that of the oft-quoted remark: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Or the comment of Duke University’s Stanley Fish on the events of 9/11–that “there can be no independent standard for determining which of many rival interpretations of an event is the true one.” (Bennett, 57)” In fact, of course, the joke does refer to an independent moral standard.

  • Blosser treats any moral judgement on Bushist imperialism as postmod relativism; his own moral judgments on the Clintons belong to the realm of the apodictic.

    Here is an example: “A friend of mine recently emailed me a joke, about that well-known nation in the news lately, notoriously armed with weapons of mass destruction, which threatens the world with the terror of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, led by an irrational maniac named George Bush. The remarkable thing about this joke is that, even if we may not like it, its humor is readily accessible to us. No vast distance separates our outlook from the set of assumptions animating it. The sentiment is similar to that of the oft-quoted remark: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Or the comment of Duke University’s Stanley Fish on the events of 9/11–that “there can be no independent standard for determining which of many rival interpretations of an event is the true one.” (Bennett, 57)” In fact, of course, the joke does refer to an independent moral standard.

  • Blosser treats any moral judgement on Bushist imperialism as postmod relativism; his own moral judgments on the Clintons belong to the realm of the apodictic.

    Here is an example: “A friend of mine recently emailed me a joke, about that well-known nation in the news lately, notoriously armed with weapons of mass destruction, which threatens the world with the terror of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, led by an irrational maniac named George Bush. The remarkable thing about this joke is that, even if we may not like it, its humor is readily accessible to us. No vast distance separates our outlook from the set of assumptions animating it. The sentiment is similar to that of the oft-quoted remark: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Or the comment of Duke University’s Stanley Fish on the events of 9/11–that “there can be no independent standard for determining which of many rival interpretations of an event is the true one.” (Bennett, 57)” In fact, of course, the joke does refer to an independent moral standard.

  • digbydolben

    Thank you, all of you cranky, single-issue right-wing, pro-war and pro-capital punishment proponents of Catholicism as “the Republican Party on its knees” who spew out your hatred her of everybody and anybody who actually tries to work on these social problems person-by-person, human heart-to-human heart, rather than resorting to the coercion of the ballot box: you just persuaded me to make another large cash donation to the Obama campaign for President.

  • digbydolben

    Thank you, all of you cranky, single-issue right-wing, pro-war and pro-capital punishment proponents of Catholicism as “the Republican Party on its knees” who spew out your hatred her of everybody and anybody who actually tries to work on these social problems person-by-person, human heart-to-human heart, rather than resorting to the coercion of the ballot box: you just persuaded me to make another large cash donation to the Obama campaign for President.

  • JM

    “Spirit of Vatican II” l preens about independent moral standards as he shamelessly advocates homosexuality in the face of his church’s own official teachings… and he is a priest. Spare me.

  • JM

    “Spirit of Vatican II” l preens about independent moral standards as he shamelessly advocates homosexuality in the face of his church’s own official teachings… and he is a priest. Spare me.

  • HA

    The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda.

    Oh, here we go again. It’s a good thing Frankie Schaeffer is Orthodox, and no longer a Calvinist like his father. Otherwise, Morning Minion’s head would explode from the sheer cognitive dissonance of it.

  • HA

    The problem arrived when the political evangelicals hijacked the issue (after having supported abortion beforehand), using it as a respectable smokescreen to hide their less respectable agenda.

    Oh, here we go again. It’s a good thing Frankie Schaeffer is Orthodox, and no longer a Calvinist like his father. Otherwise, Morning Minion’s head would explode from the sheer cognitive dissonance of it.

  • Digby — breathe, man, breathe.

  • Digby — breathe, man, breathe.

  • JM seems to misunderstand my reference to independent moral standards. What I meant is that just because someone disagrees with you, on homosexuality for example, it does not follow that they are relativists. The argument for, e.g. gay civil unions, draws on moral and legal principles that are established by the same kind of logical and objective reasoning as is used by those against. Indeed, the principles are largely shared by both sides, and their disagreement is on the application of the principles. There is room for civil discourse on this issues in the American political arena and within the Catholic Church too. Blosser is hostile to such discourse, which is why he resorts so often to elusive joking and nasty attacks on the persons rather than the ideas of those he opposes.

  • JM seems to misunderstand my reference to independent moral standards. What I meant is that just because someone disagrees with you, on homosexuality for example, it does not follow that they are relativists. The argument for, e.g. gay civil unions, draws on moral and legal principles that are established by the same kind of logical and objective reasoning as is used by those against. Indeed, the principles are largely shared by both sides, and their disagreement is on the application of the principles. There is room for civil discourse on this issues in the American political arena and within the Catholic Church too. Blosser is hostile to such discourse, which is why he resorts so often to elusive joking and nasty attacks on the persons rather than the ideas of those he opposes.

  • HA

    “Spirit of Vatican II” l preens about independent moral standards as he shamelessly advocates homosexuality in the face of his church’s own official teachings

    And based on his posting here, he seems to hang on to a grudge like a teenage girl. Still, it is comforting to know that there are still parts of the Catholic blogosphere where he hasn’t been banned yet.

  • HA

    “Spirit of Vatican II” l preens about independent moral standards as he shamelessly advocates homosexuality in the face of his church’s own official teachings

    And based on his posting here, he seems to hang on to a grudge like a teenage girl. Still, it is comforting to know that there are still parts of the Catholic blogosphere where he hasn’t been banned yet.

  • HA, yes indeed, the “Catholic [neocath] blogosphere” has a dread of free speech and rational argument. Only joky irony a la Blosser (never been compared to a “teenage girl” before) and simple banning (a la Pertinacious Papist, Carl Olson, etc.) can bolster your insecure dogmatism; an honorable exception is Christopher Blosser’s site. The tactics of the Republican Party, I suppose. “Free speech zones”, viciously policed, are all the obnoxious Bush administration has offered in the way of a sop to free speech in “The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave”. But you cannot have real intellectual integrity and fruitful debate is you stamp on everyone who disagrees with you as if she or he were a cockroach. Look, oh look, where that tactic took the Bush administration!

  • HA, yes indeed, the “Catholic [neocath] blogosphere” has a dread of free speech and rational argument. Only joky irony a la Blosser (never been compared to a “teenage girl” before) and simple banning (a la Pertinacious Papist, Carl Olson, etc.) can bolster your insecure dogmatism; an honorable exception is Christopher Blosser’s site. The tactics of the Republican Party, I suppose. “Free speech zones”, viciously policed, are all the obnoxious Bush administration has offered in the way of a sop to free speech in “The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave”. But you cannot have real intellectual integrity and fruitful debate is you stamp on everyone who disagrees with you as if she or he were a cockroach. Look, oh look, where that tactic took the Bush administration!

  • Usually I address the substantive issues rather than the tone and tactics of neocath blogs. But sometimes it is no harm to take a closer look at the latter. A phenomenology of their style of self-presentation and their not fully rational methods of argument could be highly instructive not only about the feverish world of neocath hang-ups but about the very texture of American political life, a model in miniature of the steep decline in democratic process and discourse that we have seen in a country once trusted as the leader of the Free World.

  • Usually I address the substantive issues rather than the tone and tactics of neocath blogs. But sometimes it is no harm to take a closer look at the latter. A phenomenology of their style of self-presentation and their not fully rational methods of argument could be highly instructive not only about the feverish world of neocath hang-ups but about the very texture of American political life, a model in miniature of the steep decline in democratic process and discourse that we have seen in a country once trusted as the leader of the Free World.

  • arewak

    Spirit, look…at least you have to admit that free speech has lost some of its glitter. The drones that freely chose Bonehead as their leader, make this point quite eloquently.
    Be patient Spirit… we’ll wake from this nightmare on Jan 20.

  • arewak

    Spirit, look…at least you have to admit that free speech has lost some of its glitter. The drones that freely chose Bonehead as their leader, make this point quite eloquently.
    Be patient Spirit… we’ll wake from this nightmare on Jan 20.

  • I always thought this guy was half nuts, and this confirms it. I mean, that Obama would bring us spiritual rebirth???????? Isn’t that the sort of secular messianism (now bringing us ‘spiritual rebirth’ instead of material security and prosperity) which most of us detest?

  • I always thought this guy was half nuts, and this confirms it. I mean, that Obama would bring us spiritual rebirth???????? Isn’t that the sort of secular messianism (now bringing us ‘spiritual rebirth’ instead of material security and prosperity) which most of us detest?

  • Stuart Buck

    Thereby Mr. Campbell reduces, with one easy stroke, the meaning of clean and easily digestible political dialogue to sheer subjective emotivism.

    This is part of a pattern of reducing politics to the level of a personality cult. He praises Obama for mystical powers to bring “spiritual rebirth” and the like, but never bothers to put forth an argument as to how that could conceivably occur, even when directly asked for such an explanation. Instead, if anyone doesn’t buy into the personality cult around Obama (or JFK, for that matter), his response is consistent: Just admit you don’t like Obama or JFK. That’s all that your argument could possibly consist of, after all; you couldn’t be raising any objections that have any rational content, any more than Campbell’s praise of those politicians has any rational content.

  • Stuart Buck

    Thereby Mr. Campbell reduces, with one easy stroke, the meaning of clean and easily digestible political dialogue to sheer subjective emotivism.

    This is part of a pattern of reducing politics to the level of a personality cult. He praises Obama for mystical powers to bring “spiritual rebirth” and the like, but never bothers to put forth an argument as to how that could conceivably occur, even when directly asked for such an explanation. Instead, if anyone doesn’t buy into the personality cult around Obama (or JFK, for that matter), his response is consistent: Just admit you don’t like Obama or JFK. That’s all that your argument could possibly consist of, after all; you couldn’t be raising any objections that have any rational content, any more than Campbell’s praise of those politicians has any rational content.

  • Just because someone does not support the candidate you think they should does not

    1) make them crazy
    2) evil
    3) hell bound

    I would also suggest this “cult of personality” is poisoning the well. If you want to disagree with someone’s views and opinions do so. Just don’t make up excuses for why your arguments are not agreed with by others by fallacious arguments.

  • Just because someone does not support the candidate you think they should does not

    1) make them crazy
    2) evil
    3) hell bound

    I would also suggest this “cult of personality” is poisoning the well. If you want to disagree with someone’s views and opinions do so. Just don’t make up excuses for why your arguments are not agreed with by others by fallacious arguments.

  • Fr. Joseph O’Leary (A.K.A. “Spirit of Vatican II”): it’s good to hear from you again, my well-corrupted friend. Every time I read Wilde’s Dorian Gray, I think of Lord Henry. Anyway, I’m flattered you keep such close tabs on my posts I’ve long forgotten. It’s all quite humbling.

    Mr. Obama is eloquent and likable, certainly, and ‘Kennedyesque,’ perhaps. I still insist on the distinction Marshell McLuhan makes between hot and cool communication and the bifurcation between speaking in metaphors that connote and statements that mean something definite. When Mr. Obama talks about bringing the nation together this all sounds nice, but the question is: What does he mean? Most everyone seems content to rest on the level of the foam floating above the surf; but what does that tell us? Nothing.

    There is more than one kind of unity that may be envisioned, as John O’Sullivan has recently pointed out in an essay. There is the natural unity of citizens with equal rights, and the managed unity of groups with equal rights. But these two conceptions are in direct conflict with one another. Obama’s rhetoric souunds sincere. Sullivan suggests that it may be. But it gives the impression that he favors the first sort of unity, says Sullivan, whereas he actually wants to ratify and advance the second. The problem is that when we examine Obama’s his actual position as it comes out in his voting record, and programs, etc., we see that whatever his rhetoric may connote, he is clearly committed, like the other Democratic candidates, to such policities as racial preferences, multiculturalism, liberal immigration laws, and the transfer of power from America’s constitutional republic to non-accountable global bodies and international law. This is why I’ve always questioned whether Mr. Obama ultimately believes in or would defend the U.S. Constitution. For Mr. Obama, as Sullivan says, is not merely a “post-racist”; he is a “post-nationalist” and a “post-American” as well. Just like you, Lord Henry, A.K.A. Fr. Joseph O’Leary, A.K.A. Spirit of Vatican II.

    In the meantime, for the sake of your parishioners and students, try to avoid giving scandal and consider joining the Anglican communion, where you would be happily welcomed, I’m quite sure.

  • Fr. Joseph O’Leary (A.K.A. “Spirit of Vatican II”): it’s good to hear from you again, my well-corrupted friend. Every time I read Wilde’s Dorian Gray, I think of Lord Henry. Anyway, I’m flattered you keep such close tabs on my posts I’ve long forgotten. It’s all quite humbling.

    Mr. Obama is eloquent and likable, certainly, and ‘Kennedyesque,’ perhaps. I still insist on the distinction Marshell McLuhan makes between hot and cool communication and the bifurcation between speaking in metaphors that connote and statements that mean something definite. When Mr. Obama talks about bringing the nation together this all sounds nice, but the question is: What does he mean? Most everyone seems content to rest on the level of the foam floating above the surf; but what does that tell us? Nothing.

    There is more than one kind of unity that may be envisioned, as John O’Sullivan has recently pointed out in an essay. There is the natural unity of citizens with equal rights, and the managed unity of groups with equal rights. But these two conceptions are in direct conflict with one another. Obama’s rhetoric souunds sincere. Sullivan suggests that it may be. But it gives the impression that he favors the first sort of unity, says Sullivan, whereas he actually wants to ratify and advance the second. The problem is that when we examine Obama’s his actual position as it comes out in his voting record, and programs, etc., we see that whatever his rhetoric may connote, he is clearly committed, like the other Democratic candidates, to such policities as racial preferences, multiculturalism, liberal immigration laws, and the transfer of power from America’s constitutional republic to non-accountable global bodies and international law. This is why I’ve always questioned whether Mr. Obama ultimately believes in or would defend the U.S. Constitution. For Mr. Obama, as Sullivan says, is not merely a “post-racist”; he is a “post-nationalist” and a “post-American” as well. Just like you, Lord Henry, A.K.A. Fr. Joseph O’Leary, A.K.A. Spirit of Vatican II.

    In the meantime, for the sake of your parishioners and students, try to avoid giving scandal and consider joining the Anglican communion, where you would be happily welcomed, I’m quite sure.

  • Christopher,

    You say: “That’s my issue — you are quite willing to expound upon the ‘culture of death” within the intellectual roots of American society, but you also seem most reticent in addressing the fundamental flaws at the heart of your own candidate’s view of the unborn.”

    We are all deeply implicated in the “culture of death.” There are NO exceptions. The profound significance of this statement should not be underestimated. Nor should its meaning. It is an act of hubris to do so.

    Like behavior itself, the intellectual roots of American society are only an aspect of the culture of death. The culture of death is incarnational. Its intellectual “roots” — i.e., principles, ideas, AND dynamics — are incarnate in every aspect of American society, especially its institution life. They provide the form that shapes how we know, see, judge, and create. They shape our reality in every critical way. They determine the kind of people we are and what we seek after.

    At the same time, what is NOT part of the American perspective are the notions of the common good, natural law, and those other ideas and principles that make up the Catholic perspective — the nature of the person included. There is no intellectual tradition in America that is even remotely equivalent to the Catholic perspective. Ours is a nation whose primary roots lie in nominalism and voluntarism. In America, the will is primary, not the intellect. In America, the good is primary, not truth. We are a nation where relativism is both moral and intellectual. This is not Catholic. But it is certainly American. And it is Protestant.

    In an earlier posting, a number of commentators asked whether it was possible to be a “good” Catholic in America? This query is interesting. It is one that might fruitfully be pursued if the right vehicle could be found. But even now I don’t think it would be too far off the mark to say that at the level of culture and civilization, American society is radically reductionist, especially when measured against the Catholic perspective.

    This reductionism does not mean there are no admirable qualities in our society. There are. But it does mean there are grave deficiencies. Even in the abstract intellectual order, for instance, the unborn are not given sanctuary in our society. Not even at the abstract level. In the practical order, their integrity is in even greater peril. There is not even a consensus that the human person is present from conception. Most who would concur that the person is present would be unable to articulate in logical terms the basis of their judgment. Such is the precarious position of the unborn. The unborn are help hostage to contradictory currents.

    For this reason, the questions “What kind of a people do we want to be?” and “What kind of America do we want to create?” must always be kept in the forefront of our political life. From a Catholic perspective, America as a nation is far from reaching the mark we as Catholics intend.

    At the present time, the short of it is that Catholics are not capable of furthering the many things Catholics know must be done in order to honor the dignity and freedom of the human person. It has been a century and a half since Rerum Novarum. Yet the excesses of Capitalism abound. The truth is we live amidst great human tragedies — the unborn for sure, but also poverty, indifference, greed, consumerism, hedonism, war, pestilence, and so on. These threats to health status reflect a profound sense of spiritual alienation that suffuses the American experiment. A great tragedy exists at the heart of American individualism.

    Turning from the speculative to the practical order, there are many intractable problems that attend any effort to protect the life of the unborn. Catholics judge the unborn as persons. Some Catholics feel compelled to reshape American institutions, particularly legal decisions, against this background. But while the Catholic perspective on the law is predicated on a metaphysical and theological grasp of human reality, such understanding is not part of the American tradition. It can be in the future, but as of now it is not. To rely upon changing a legal decisions without changing the the fundamental underpinnings of the law — not to mention the many other attendant notions in the culture such as freedom and the autonomy of the individual –can only result in a very unsatisfactory outcome. The most desired result would be tenuous at best.

    Abortion in America is not widely equated with murder. Nor are the majority willing to act on the basis that it is. Many will say “Yes, abortion is murder.” Just as many will say “No, it is not.” Thus a profound contradiction exists at the heart of the abortion debate. People are not even prepared to give the same dignity to the unborn. This standoff is exacerbated by other notions central to the American perspective, including freedom (where freedom is defined as choice), the limited role of government, individual rights, and so forth.

    Yet there remains hope for the future. Human consciousness can evolve and, with it, American culture and its behavioral practices. Secular culture can become increasingly rich. It can assume new forms that give greater honor and dignity to the human person. These forms can evolve in law, science, philosophy, theology, education, as well as in the full range of human practices and the creative arts. But in order for such transformation to be redemptive, they must proceed from below, not superimposed from above. It must flow from within outward.

    For these reasons — and for concrete reasons such as those elaborated above by Matt Talbott — the issue of the unborn is frozen in stalemate. The unborn have become a locus or intersection at which point a variety of contradictions come together. No one will budge. No one has yet to propose a way to reconcile these contradictions outside the context of power politics. But this stalemate is not a function of any political party or of any party politics. It is American politics itself has failed this question and for reasons that run deep. No party, whether Democratic or Republican — and no candidate for public office — can now reconcile the contradictions that are central to the life of the unborn..

    Thus, in both the speculative and practical order, each candidate — whether pro-life or pro-choice — stands naked and alike. Their collective inability to resolve this dilemma — the tragedy of the unborn — is conspicuous at this time.

    I believe we need to reframe our national dialogue. Our best hope is to effect a cooperative partnership with all sides of the debate to explore ways to collaborative and reduce the incidence of abortion. Were this to occur, the work of the Holy Spirit would shine through our collective efforts, and as individual acts of love, compassion, understanding, and mercy radiate throughout society a new American ethos would slowly come into being.

    This, it seems to me, is the responsible path. It is along these lines that I believe most advances will be made to protect the unborn. To be sure, it’s not the magic bullet some seek. But it can bring about an alleviation of the problem. Plus in so doing, a new spirit of consensus would be born amongst us and all would be changed as a result.

  • Christopher,

    You say: “That’s my issue — you are quite willing to expound upon the ‘culture of death” within the intellectual roots of American society, but you also seem most reticent in addressing the fundamental flaws at the heart of your own candidate’s view of the unborn.”

    We are all deeply implicated in the “culture of death.” There are NO exceptions. The profound significance of this statement should not be underestimated. Nor should its meaning. It is an act of hubris to do so.

    Like behavior itself, the intellectual roots of American society are only an aspect of the culture of death. The culture of death is incarnational. Its intellectual “roots” — i.e., principles, ideas, AND dynamics — are incarnate in every aspect of American society, especially its institution life. They provide the form that shapes how we know, see, judge, and create. They shape our reality in every critical way. They determine the kind of people we are and what we seek after.

    At the same time, what is NOT part of the American perspective are the notions of the common good, natural law, and those other ideas and principles that make up the Catholic perspective — the nature of the person included. There is no intellectual tradition in America that is even remotely equivalent to the Catholic perspective. Ours is a nation whose primary roots lie in nominalism and voluntarism. In America, the will is primary, not the intellect. In America, the good is primary, not truth. We are a nation where relativism is both moral and intellectual. This is not Catholic. But it is certainly American. And it is Protestant.

    In an earlier posting, a number of commentators asked whether it was possible to be a “good” Catholic in America? This query is interesting. It is one that might fruitfully be pursued if the right vehicle could be found. But even now I don’t think it would be too far off the mark to say that at the level of culture and civilization, American society is radically reductionist, especially when measured against the Catholic perspective.

    This reductionism does not mean there are no admirable qualities in our society. There are. But it does mean there are grave deficiencies. Even in the abstract intellectual order, for instance, the unborn are not given sanctuary in our society. Not even at the abstract level. In the practical order, their integrity is in even greater peril. There is not even a consensus that the human person is present from conception. Most who would concur that the person is present would be unable to articulate in logical terms the basis of their judgment. Such is the precarious position of the unborn. The unborn are help hostage to contradictory currents.

    For this reason, the questions “What kind of a people do we want to be?” and “What kind of America do we want to create?” must always be kept in the forefront of our political life. From a Catholic perspective, America as a nation is far from reaching the mark we as Catholics intend.

    At the present time, the short of it is that Catholics are not capable of furthering the many things Catholics know must be done in order to honor the dignity and freedom of the human person. It has been a century and a half since Rerum Novarum. Yet the excesses of Capitalism abound. The truth is we live amidst great human tragedies — the unborn for sure, but also poverty, indifference, greed, consumerism, hedonism, war, pestilence, and so on. These threats to health status reflect a profound sense of spiritual alienation that suffuses the American experiment. A great tragedy exists at the heart of American individualism.

    Turning from the speculative to the practical order, there are many intractable problems that attend any effort to protect the life of the unborn. Catholics judge the unborn as persons. Some Catholics feel compelled to reshape American institutions, particularly legal decisions, against this background. But while the Catholic perspective on the law is predicated on a metaphysical and theological grasp of human reality, such understanding is not part of the American tradition. It can be in the future, but as of now it is not. To rely upon changing a legal decisions without changing the the fundamental underpinnings of the law — not to mention the many other attendant notions in the culture such as freedom and the autonomy of the individual –can only result in a very unsatisfactory outcome. The most desired result would be tenuous at best.

    Abortion in America is not widely equated with murder. Nor are the majority willing to act on the basis that it is. Many will say “Yes, abortion is murder.” Just as many will say “No, it is not.” Thus a profound contradiction exists at the heart of the abortion debate. People are not even prepared to give the same dignity to the unborn. This standoff is exacerbated by other notions central to the American perspective, including freedom (where freedom is defined as choice), the limited role of government, individual rights, and so forth.

    Yet there remains hope for the future. Human consciousness can evolve and, with it, American culture and its behavioral practices. Secular culture can become increasingly rich. It can assume new forms that give greater honor and dignity to the human person. These forms can evolve in law, science, philosophy, theology, education, as well as in the full range of human practices and the creative arts. But in order for such transformation to be redemptive, they must proceed from below, not superimposed from above. It must flow from within outward.

    For these reasons — and for concrete reasons such as those elaborated above by Matt Talbott — the issue of the unborn is frozen in stalemate. The unborn have become a locus or intersection at which point a variety of contradictions come together. No one will budge. No one has yet to propose a way to reconcile these contradictions outside the context of power politics. But this stalemate is not a function of any political party or of any party politics. It is American politics itself has failed this question and for reasons that run deep. No party, whether Democratic or Republican — and no candidate for public office — can now reconcile the contradictions that are central to the life of the unborn..

    Thus, in both the speculative and practical order, each candidate — whether pro-life or pro-choice — stands naked and alike. Their collective inability to resolve this dilemma — the tragedy of the unborn — is conspicuous at this time.

    I believe we need to reframe our national dialogue. Our best hope is to effect a cooperative partnership with all sides of the debate to explore ways to collaborative and reduce the incidence of abortion. Were this to occur, the work of the Holy Spirit would shine through our collective efforts, and as individual acts of love, compassion, understanding, and mercy radiate throughout society a new American ethos would slowly come into being.

    This, it seems to me, is the responsible path. It is along these lines that I believe most advances will be made to protect the unborn. To be sure, it’s not the magic bullet some seek. But it can bring about an alleviation of the problem. Plus in so doing, a new spirit of consensus would be born amongst us and all would be changed as a result.

  • Pertinacious Papist,

    You say: “Most everyone seems content to rest on the level of the foam floating above the surf; but what does that tell us? Nothing.”

    I hope you’re not attributing concreteness to this statement.

    You say: “Most everyone”? Are you talking about the millions of Americans who have cast their vote for Obama?

    You say: “Everyone is content”? Once again: Are you talking about the millions of Americans who have cast their vote for Obama? Most pollsters use less than a 1,000 voter sampling?

    “Foam floating about the surf”? Oh boy, there goes that beach talk again? I like it. I even like the foam rising from a good bottle of cold beer.

    Your comment brings to mind John McCain’s parody of the Beach Boys: “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” What does his comment tell us? Nothing ……… I hope!

    Seriously though, it appears you’re doing the same thing you’re accusing Obama of doing. I fail to see how you distinguish yourself from the object of your criticism. You’re attempting to rally support on this blog for your dislike of Obama, good person that you admit he seems to be. But, you haven’t indicated anything that demonstrates he is conducting a nonsubstantive campaign.

    Personally, I hope he continues to rally people across the country and to do so for lofty causes. The spirit of a country is more critical to its survival than any policy, or set of policies.

    Remember when Bush first ran for office. There were many who had hoped he was bringing about a new politics after the Clinton era. If I recall correctly, you supported Bush, and was quite comfortable with his rhetoric. But the difference between his rhetoric and the actions of his administration have since became legend. Remember the talk of a “humble foreign policy.” That talk was before the National Strategy of Preemption. And how about the “war against terrorism” using a strategy predicated, not on freedom, but fear.

    Of course, Bush’s advisors forgot to tell him that the main weapon of the “terrorists” is fear. So, as it turned out, Bush’s foreign policy became fully complicit with the aims of the terrorists right from the outset. Seemed wrongheaded to me then. Seems wrongheaded to me now.

    I do understand the difference between denotation and connotation. But I fail to see how they apply to Obama and not to other political candidates — or even to yourself or myself for that matter. Your statement above, I believe, helps demonstrate my point.

    As for John O’Sullivan, I’m not familiar with him. But the distinctions he sets up — “managed unity” vs. “natural unity”, “equal rights”, “citizens” vs. “groups” — don’t seem to be very fundamental. They sound more like arbitrary sociological distinctions that describe a phenomenon that CAN be observed. But these distinctions don’t have automatic application to anything specific. Just because you set forth this distinction doesn’t mean that ipso facto it has any application to Obama. You seem to assert that it does, but I don’t see how you’ve demonstrated your assertion.

    Obama has much substance in his policy positions. This is commonly known. Most also acknowledge there is much quality in his exercise of leadership. You express doubt about that. But have you really seen serious people — not the usual shills — questioning his leadership skills? He brings more energy to the Democratic Party than has been the case in nearly four decades. Don’t you wish there was someone comparable for the Republican Party? I do, being a lifelong Republican. Can his leadership be attributed to the cravings of a populace yearning for a Messiah? Hardly. His style of leadership may not be appealing to some, but it is to many. And it’s not helpful to demean the few people we have in this country who can lead.

    I recall as a youth how people in my region of Washington State hated and despised Roosevelt. They called him everything — even a Communist. But he lead and set the country on a course that transformed America into a Great Power. Not too shabby for being a Communist. Some of those same people who demonized him them are still alive. Yes. They are still demonizing him and will continue to do so.

    The critical thing about Obama is that he goes beyond policy. He is not a policy wonk like Hillary. He, like JFK, MLK, and RFK, has an ability to excite people to common causes. Were he to use that leadership throughout his presidency, he might well bring about dynamics in our society that policy is simply unable to effect. He might even inspire us to move beyond self-interest. Who knows? He might even make some of us smile again.

    Unlike most politicians, Obama has the capacity to frame issues in a larger context than most, thus bringing opposing groups to the same table to design common ends. He sees the need to bring an end to the era of ideological politics in America. He feels like myself that the distinction between liberal and conservative no longer has relevant. It has become tired and ugly. It’s only purpose is to create factions and drive wedges between otherwise innocent groups.

    Haven’t we had enough of this kind of politics? I hope so. But the campaign rages on. We’ll see. And by the way, vote for your candidate and work to make their message clear and forceful. Good dialogue protects American democracy!

    Keep up the good work, Phillip.

  • Pertinacious Papist,

    You say: “Most everyone seems content to rest on the level of the foam floating above the surf; but what does that tell us? Nothing.”

    I hope you’re not attributing concreteness to this statement.

    You say: “Most everyone”? Are you talking about the millions of Americans who have cast their vote for Obama?

    You say: “Everyone is content”? Once again: Are you talking about the millions of Americans who have cast their vote for Obama? Most pollsters use less than a 1,000 voter sampling?

    “Foam floating about the surf”? Oh boy, there goes that beach talk again? I like it. I even like the foam rising from a good bottle of cold beer.

    Your comment brings to mind John McCain’s parody of the Beach Boys: “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” What does his comment tell us? Nothing ……… I hope!

    Seriously though, it appears you’re doing the same thing you’re accusing Obama of doing. I fail to see how you distinguish yourself from the object of your criticism. You’re attempting to rally support on this blog for your dislike of Obama, good person that you admit he seems to be. But, you haven’t indicated anything that demonstrates he is conducting a nonsubstantive campaign.

    Personally, I hope he continues to rally people across the country and to do so for lofty causes. The spirit of a country is more critical to its survival than any policy, or set of policies.

    Remember when Bush first ran for office. There were many who had hoped he was bringing about a new politics after the Clinton era. If I recall correctly, you supported Bush, and was quite comfortable with his rhetoric. But the difference between his rhetoric and the actions of his administration have since became legend. Remember the talk of a “humble foreign policy.” That talk was before the National Strategy of Preemption. And how about the “war against terrorism” using a strategy predicated, not on freedom, but fear.

    Of course, Bush’s advisors forgot to tell him that the main weapon of the “terrorists” is fear. So, as it turned out, Bush’s foreign policy became fully complicit with the aims of the terrorists right from the outset. Seemed wrongheaded to me then. Seems wrongheaded to me now.

    I do understand the difference between denotation and connotation. But I fail to see how they apply to Obama and not to other political candidates — or even to yourself or myself for that matter. Your statement above, I believe, helps demonstrate my point.

    As for John O’Sullivan, I’m not familiar with him. But the distinctions he sets up — “managed unity” vs. “natural unity”, “equal rights”, “citizens” vs. “groups” — don’t seem to be very fundamental. They sound more like arbitrary sociological distinctions that describe a phenomenon that CAN be observed. But these distinctions don’t have automatic application to anything specific. Just because you set forth this distinction doesn’t mean that ipso facto it has any application to Obama. You seem to assert that it does, but I don’t see how you’ve demonstrated your assertion.

    Obama has much substance in his policy positions. This is commonly known. Most also acknowledge there is much quality in his exercise of leadership. You express doubt about that. But have you really seen serious people — not the usual shills — questioning his leadership skills? He brings more energy to the Democratic Party than has been the case in nearly four decades. Don’t you wish there was someone comparable for the Republican Party? I do, being a lifelong Republican. Can his leadership be attributed to the cravings of a populace yearning for a Messiah? Hardly. His style of leadership may not be appealing to some, but it is to many. And it’s not helpful to demean the few people we have in this country who can lead.

    I recall as a youth how people in my region of Washington State hated and despised Roosevelt. They called him everything — even a Communist. But he lead and set the country on a course that transformed America into a Great Power. Not too shabby for being a Communist. Some of those same people who demonized him them are still alive. Yes. They are still demonizing him and will continue to do so.

    The critical thing about Obama is that he goes beyond policy. He is not a policy wonk like Hillary. He, like JFK, MLK, and RFK, has an ability to excite people to common causes. Were he to use that leadership throughout his presidency, he might well bring about dynamics in our society that policy is simply unable to effect. He might even inspire us to move beyond self-interest. Who knows? He might even make some of us smile again.

    Unlike most politicians, Obama has the capacity to frame issues in a larger context than most, thus bringing opposing groups to the same table to design common ends. He sees the need to bring an end to the era of ideological politics in America. He feels like myself that the distinction between liberal and conservative no longer has relevant. It has become tired and ugly. It’s only purpose is to create factions and drive wedges between otherwise innocent groups.

    Haven’t we had enough of this kind of politics? I hope so. But the campaign rages on. We’ll see. And by the way, vote for your candidate and work to make their message clear and forceful. Good dialogue protects American democracy!

    Keep up the good work, Phillip.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Responding to Matt Talbot’s Feb 8th 10:51 PM comment:

    Matt,

    I am willing to grant your scenario for the sake of argument. Though, you have to admit, while there would still be abortions, there would certainly be less of them. That said, I’d even be willing to entertain the thought that the rate of abortion, though now illegal, remains roughly the same. Lets call your situation the Hypothetical Post-Roe America and see how it stacks up with Present America.

    A) Present America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law allows this unspeakable injustice to occur, even calling it a ‘right’.

    B) Hypothetical Post-Roe America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law protects every person’s most fundamental right: the right to life.

    It seems self-evident that world B is better than world A.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Responding to Matt Talbot’s Feb 8th 10:51 PM comment:

    Matt,

    I am willing to grant your scenario for the sake of argument. Though, you have to admit, while there would still be abortions, there would certainly be less of them. That said, I’d even be willing to entertain the thought that the rate of abortion, though now illegal, remains roughly the same. Lets call your situation the Hypothetical Post-Roe America and see how it stacks up with Present America.

    A) Present America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law allows this unspeakable injustice to occur, even calling it a ‘right’.

    B) Hypothetical Post-Roe America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law protects every person’s most fundamental right: the right to life.

    It seems self-evident that world B is better than world A.

  • Mr. Campbell,

    You begin your comment by citing a generalization I make (“Most everyone ___”) and then suggesting that by making a generalization I am guilty of the very thing of which I accuse Mr. Obama, namely trading in “connotations.” But, you see, these are not the same thing. A generalization may be more or less exact. That is one thing. Trading in connotations is something else altogether.

    C.S. Lewis once illustrated the latter by calling to mind the original meaning of the term “Gentleman,” which referred to landed gentry. It wasn’t then an honorific term used to be polite, but simply referred to a man who owned land and property. Today, of course, the term has come to be used for it’s connotative value as an honorific term, altogether divorced from its original meaning. The same is true of many religious terms, even the term “Christian.” Originally the term simply referred to one who professed the Nicene Creed as interpreted by the Church and her tradition. But today if I were to suggest that anybody — Fr. Joseph O’Leary, for example — were not a Christian, I would be taken immediately for a rude and impolitic cretin. This is because the term is used as much now for its connotative value — in some circles, at least — as for its content value.

    What Mr. Obama is doing is conjuring up pleasant images of collective unity by means of various metaphors, used for their connotative value. I’ve already discussed at least one or two of these. But what he means by them (‘unity’ for example) on the programmatic level is something else than he suggests — and to which he appeals — at the connotative level.

    You also accuse me of disliking Obama. I don’t. I think you may be confusing the question of a person’s “likability” with my willingness to support him or her. I assure you these are two different considerations. I think Obama projects a very “likable” personality. He’s funny, winsome, appealing — in many ways, much more “likable” than the other candidates of either party. That doesn’t mean I would support him.

    On the other hand, you curiously suggest I have somehow admitted that Obama is a ‘good’ person. I have not. He may be politic, polite, courteous, humorous, but he also supports the silent holocaust of 4000 unborn humans/day in this country — and justifies this, like all his other “forward-thinking” fellow Democrats, in terms of the relative social consensuality of morals — meaning there are no moral absolutes. All of this recalls for me Hannah Arendt’s discussion about the “banality of evil.” No, the fact that I might find Obama a ‘likable’ sort of personality doesn’t mean that I find him ‘good’ or supportable.

    Bush didn’t anticipate 9/11, unless you buy into those hair-brained conspiracy theories, but simply followed a course of action with which he had nearly complete bi-partisan backing. Did I miss a question or an argument somewhere in your paragraphs about the President?

    If you don’t understand O’Sullivan’s basic distinction, you need to go back and re-read Aristotle, and the natural law tradition. The question comes down to whether our rights come from nature (and nature’s God) or are an arbitrary ‘gift’ from some power broker (politician or tyrant). In the latter case, what higher court of appeal might there be? We’d be SOL without that distinction, my friend.

    You say that Mr. Obama, like JFK, MLK, and RFK has the capacity to excite people. That goes without saying. It’s infectious, of course. But the question is, to what end? Others, too, have had that gift, whom you would rather I didn’t name here. You state that Mr. Obama, “feels like myself that the distinction between liberal and conservative no longer has relevan[ce].” What on earth can you possibly mean? I can’t agree or disagree with that, because it doesn’t mean anything definite. It’s like saying “Logic divides, and feelings unite; so let’s stop discussing ideas and simply hug each other,” or some such nonsense. It sounds nice, but it’s simply silly. Feelings can divide, if they’re feeling of jealousy, resentment, and anger; just as rational political ideas can unite, if they’re logically thought-out and based on reality.

    The best statement in your comment is: “Good dialogue protects American democracy!” With that I can concur, my friend.

  • Mr. Campbell,

    You begin your comment by citing a generalization I make (“Most everyone ___”) and then suggesting that by making a generalization I am guilty of the very thing of which I accuse Mr. Obama, namely trading in “connotations.” But, you see, these are not the same thing. A generalization may be more or less exact. That is one thing. Trading in connotations is something else altogether.

    C.S. Lewis once illustrated the latter by calling to mind the original meaning of the term “Gentleman,” which referred to landed gentry. It wasn’t then an honorific term used to be polite, but simply referred to a man who owned land and property. Today, of course, the term has come to be used for it’s connotative value as an honorific term, altogether divorced from its original meaning. The same is true of many religious terms, even the term “Christian.” Originally the term simply referred to one who professed the Nicene Creed as interpreted by the Church and her tradition. But today if I were to suggest that anybody — Fr. Joseph O’Leary, for example — were not a Christian, I would be taken immediately for a rude and impolitic cretin. This is because the term is used as much now for its connotative value — in some circles, at least — as for its content value.

    What Mr. Obama is doing is conjuring up pleasant images of collective unity by means of various metaphors, used for their connotative value. I’ve already discussed at least one or two of these. But what he means by them (‘unity’ for example) on the programmatic level is something else than he suggests — and to which he appeals — at the connotative level.

    You also accuse me of disliking Obama. I don’t. I think you may be confusing the question of a person’s “likability” with my willingness to support him or her. I assure you these are two different considerations. I think Obama projects a very “likable” personality. He’s funny, winsome, appealing — in many ways, much more “likable” than the other candidates of either party. That doesn’t mean I would support him.

    On the other hand, you curiously suggest I have somehow admitted that Obama is a ‘good’ person. I have not. He may be politic, polite, courteous, humorous, but he also supports the silent holocaust of 4000 unborn humans/day in this country — and justifies this, like all his other “forward-thinking” fellow Democrats, in terms of the relative social consensuality of morals — meaning there are no moral absolutes. All of this recalls for me Hannah Arendt’s discussion about the “banality of evil.” No, the fact that I might find Obama a ‘likable’ sort of personality doesn’t mean that I find him ‘good’ or supportable.

    Bush didn’t anticipate 9/11, unless you buy into those hair-brained conspiracy theories, but simply followed a course of action with which he had nearly complete bi-partisan backing. Did I miss a question or an argument somewhere in your paragraphs about the President?

    If you don’t understand O’Sullivan’s basic distinction, you need to go back and re-read Aristotle, and the natural law tradition. The question comes down to whether our rights come from nature (and nature’s God) or are an arbitrary ‘gift’ from some power broker (politician or tyrant). In the latter case, what higher court of appeal might there be? We’d be SOL without that distinction, my friend.

    You say that Mr. Obama, like JFK, MLK, and RFK has the capacity to excite people. That goes without saying. It’s infectious, of course. But the question is, to what end? Others, too, have had that gift, whom you would rather I didn’t name here. You state that Mr. Obama, “feels like myself that the distinction between liberal and conservative no longer has relevan[ce].” What on earth can you possibly mean? I can’t agree or disagree with that, because it doesn’t mean anything definite. It’s like saying “Logic divides, and feelings unite; so let’s stop discussing ideas and simply hug each other,” or some such nonsense. It sounds nice, but it’s simply silly. Feelings can divide, if they’re feeling of jealousy, resentment, and anger; just as rational political ideas can unite, if they’re logically thought-out and based on reality.

    The best statement in your comment is: “Good dialogue protects American democracy!” With that I can concur, my friend.

  • HA

    Catholics judge the unborn as persons. Some Catholics feel compelled to reshape American institutions, particularly legal decisions, against this background. But while the Catholic perspective on the law is predicated on a metaphysical and theological grasp of human reality, such understanding is not part of the American tradition.

    It is indeed when it comes to partial-birth abortion or born-alive abortion survivors. Obama is well outside the mainstream there. Ditto for having a 100% pro-NARAL voting record. That’s hardly mainstream. We can agree that all of us have short on matters of life, but that doesn’t mean we should accept as leader someone who has a tin ear for even the most fundamental tones of it.

    Likewise, all of us, so the cliche goes, are racist to one degree or another. That doesn’t mean we’re then allowed to vote for, say, an anti-semitic demagogue whose speeches nonetheless serve to inspire the rest of his fellow citizens (history showing us numerous examples of such).

    I realize that even people who disagree with the extremity of Obama’s abortion views are willing to vote for him. That doesn’t mean someone speaking as a Catholic should be given a pass for doing so, not to mention encouraging other Catholics to do the same.

  • HA

    Catholics judge the unborn as persons. Some Catholics feel compelled to reshape American institutions, particularly legal decisions, against this background. But while the Catholic perspective on the law is predicated on a metaphysical and theological grasp of human reality, such understanding is not part of the American tradition.

    It is indeed when it comes to partial-birth abortion or born-alive abortion survivors. Obama is well outside the mainstream there. Ditto for having a 100% pro-NARAL voting record. That’s hardly mainstream. We can agree that all of us have short on matters of life, but that doesn’t mean we should accept as leader someone who has a tin ear for even the most fundamental tones of it.

    Likewise, all of us, so the cliche goes, are racist to one degree or another. That doesn’t mean we’re then allowed to vote for, say, an anti-semitic demagogue whose speeches nonetheless serve to inspire the rest of his fellow citizens (history showing us numerous examples of such).

    I realize that even people who disagree with the extremity of Obama’s abortion views are willing to vote for him. That doesn’t mean someone speaking as a Catholic should be given a pass for doing so, not to mention encouraging other Catholics to do the same.

  • “I realize that even people who disagree with the extremity of Obama’s abortion views are willing to vote for him. That doesn’t mean someone speaking as a Catholic should be given a pass for doing so, not to mention encouraging other Catholics to do the same.”

    People support a candidate for many reasons, not all of which fit into the mold set up in this proposition. Catholics are free to support whomever they choose, so long as their reasons are consistent with sound principles. If a person is inclined to support a candidate because of their views on foreign policy they will do so — and do so in good conscience– regardless of the candidates stand on other issues.

    Likewise candidates take a prochoice stance for reasons other than being proabortion. To equate prochoice and proabortion is being meanly artful. One can try to support this conflation, but the argument will fail no matter how loud it’s made. The reason: it’s not a sound argument.

  • “I realize that even people who disagree with the extremity of Obama’s abortion views are willing to vote for him. That doesn’t mean someone speaking as a Catholic should be given a pass for doing so, not to mention encouraging other Catholics to do the same.”

    People support a candidate for many reasons, not all of which fit into the mold set up in this proposition. Catholics are free to support whomever they choose, so long as their reasons are consistent with sound principles. If a person is inclined to support a candidate because of their views on foreign policy they will do so — and do so in good conscience– regardless of the candidates stand on other issues.

    Likewise candidates take a prochoice stance for reasons other than being proabortion. To equate prochoice and proabortion is being meanly artful. One can try to support this conflation, but the argument will fail no matter how loud it’s made. The reason: it’s not a sound argument.

  • “It seems self-evident that world B is better than world A.”

    The problem is that it isn’t self-evident.

    Matt’s point has to do with the consequences to society of taking the position that abortion should be outlawed. Such consequences are what is self-evident, given our national experience with Prohibition and the war on drugs.

    There are better ways to protect the relationship between the mother and the unborn. Such methods are already being put into practice. They need to be made more visible in the publics mind and, in that way, made more energized.

    The legal path is not only dangerous. It detracts from the central focus of the problem, namely, the relationship between the mother and the unborn.

  • “It seems self-evident that world B is better than world A.”

    The problem is that it isn’t self-evident.

    Matt’s point has to do with the consequences to society of taking the position that abortion should be outlawed. Such consequences are what is self-evident, given our national experience with Prohibition and the war on drugs.

    There are better ways to protect the relationship between the mother and the unborn. Such methods are already being put into practice. They need to be made more visible in the publics mind and, in that way, made more energized.

    The legal path is not only dangerous. It detracts from the central focus of the problem, namely, the relationship between the mother and the unborn.

  • HA

    …given our national experience with Prohibition…

    Which, for all its faults, substantially reduced alcohol consumption while it was in effect. And even if someone is dead set against alcohol consumption and instead believes that legal means to reduce it should be replaced by social uplift, it doesn’t follow that we should elect those who see no problem with even the most extreme forms of intoxication. For example, would a man who thinks that even drunk driving laws are too intrusive, and too much “power politics”, really be the right man to make a social movement that reduces drunkenness?

    If not, then why elect a man to office who thinks that even children born alive after an abortion deserve no protection? Does anyone honestly believe a man like that is somehow going to affect “the relationship between the mother and the unborn” — by virtue of his affable demeanor and uplifting words?

    Why not rather admit that abortion just isn’t that big a deal for you?

  • HA

    …given our national experience with Prohibition…

    Which, for all its faults, substantially reduced alcohol consumption while it was in effect. And even if someone is dead set against alcohol consumption and instead believes that legal means to reduce it should be replaced by social uplift, it doesn’t follow that we should elect those who see no problem with even the most extreme forms of intoxication. For example, would a man who thinks that even drunk driving laws are too intrusive, and too much “power politics”, really be the right man to make a social movement that reduces drunkenness?

    If not, then why elect a man to office who thinks that even children born alive after an abortion deserve no protection? Does anyone honestly believe a man like that is somehow going to affect “the relationship between the mother and the unborn” — by virtue of his affable demeanor and uplifting words?

    Why not rather admit that abortion just isn’t that big a deal for you?

  • I would second what Gerald Campbell says above, and add another simple point, which I am hammering on.

    Br Matthew: the protection of the unborn by positive law will not be instituted (if it ever is) in a vacuum. It will occur as a consequence of Christians aligning themselves (and helping to keep in power) a party that does not ONLY support the reversal of Roe.

    This party, the Republican Party, ALSO supports the state subsidization of massive corporations that profit from the selling of weapons (instruments of mass murder);

    the fomenting of foreign wars so as to create demands for the instruments of mass murder;

    the coercive institution of “free trade” that allow local economies in the third world to be expropriated wholesale by still other massive American corporations;

    the systematic gutting of the entire federal government and its regulatory structure, which could prevent the same rapacious corporations from so easily profiting from murder and expropriation of the poor;

    the subsidization of still other rapacious corporations that profit from physical and mental anguish by manufacturing addictive psychotropic drugs, conspiring with insurance companies to deny non-psychotropic treatment, and systematically undermining the very idea of physical and spiritual CARE (as opposed to cure) for the sick and the dying.

    Etc.

    By encouraging Christians to support the Republicans in the name of the unborn, you are encouraging Christians to look away from (and pretend they are not aiding and abetting) these other signal practices of the culture of death (practices on a massive, corporate scale which, in fact, contribute much more than Roe v Wade to the prevalence of abortion and the prevalence of the idea that human lives are expendable).

  • I would second what Gerald Campbell says above, and add another simple point, which I am hammering on.

    Br Matthew: the protection of the unborn by positive law will not be instituted (if it ever is) in a vacuum. It will occur as a consequence of Christians aligning themselves (and helping to keep in power) a party that does not ONLY support the reversal of Roe.

    This party, the Republican Party, ALSO supports the state subsidization of massive corporations that profit from the selling of weapons (instruments of mass murder);

    the fomenting of foreign wars so as to create demands for the instruments of mass murder;

    the coercive institution of “free trade” that allow local economies in the third world to be expropriated wholesale by still other massive American corporations;

    the systematic gutting of the entire federal government and its regulatory structure, which could prevent the same rapacious corporations from so easily profiting from murder and expropriation of the poor;

    the subsidization of still other rapacious corporations that profit from physical and mental anguish by manufacturing addictive psychotropic drugs, conspiring with insurance companies to deny non-psychotropic treatment, and systematically undermining the very idea of physical and spiritual CARE (as opposed to cure) for the sick and the dying.

    Etc.

    By encouraging Christians to support the Republicans in the name of the unborn, you are encouraging Christians to look away from (and pretend they are not aiding and abetting) these other signal practices of the culture of death (practices on a massive, corporate scale which, in fact, contribute much more than Roe v Wade to the prevalence of abortion and the prevalence of the idea that human lives are expendable).

  • Let me add once again, so no one misunderstands:

    I am not arguing that anyone should support Obama or any Democrat.

    I am saying that Christians must not support Republicans.

    Pursuing legal restriction on abortion should be done, somehow, without making Christians complicit in any number of OTHER acts of murder and violence.

    It is barbaric to say that murder can be quantified and that abortion is somehow MORE murderous than the myriad other murders currently ongoing.

    Note clearly: I am NOT asking anyone to support Democrats or to reconsider their opposition to abortion.

    It is a question of opening one’s eyes and seeing the full scope of the culture of death.

    The idea that “abortion is not a big deal” to Mr. Campbell is an utterly groundless and cruel insult.

  • Let me add once again, so no one misunderstands:

    I am not arguing that anyone should support Obama or any Democrat.

    I am saying that Christians must not support Republicans.

    Pursuing legal restriction on abortion should be done, somehow, without making Christians complicit in any number of OTHER acts of murder and violence.

    It is barbaric to say that murder can be quantified and that abortion is somehow MORE murderous than the myriad other murders currently ongoing.

    Note clearly: I am NOT asking anyone to support Democrats or to reconsider their opposition to abortion.

    It is a question of opening one’s eyes and seeing the full scope of the culture of death.

    The idea that “abortion is not a big deal” to Mr. Campbell is an utterly groundless and cruel insult.

  • HA

    You say you’re not arguing that anyone should support Obama. Gerald is. The poor man is clearly smitten.

    You’re saying that pursuing legal restrictions on abortion should be done without making Christians complicit in other violence. Gerald, however, supports a candidate who on the basis of his record favors virtually no legal restriction on abortion — even to the extent of denying protection to babies who have survived one.

    I’m not saying abortion isn’t a big deal for you. I’m saying that on the basis of Gerald’s posting, it’s clearly not that big a deal for him. If you disagree, show it by some evidence more convincing than Gerald’s own voluminous gushing.

    As to your other claim about how abortion isn’t more murderous than other murders, or whatever it is you’re trying to say with that, that’s a topic for another post.

  • HA

    You say you’re not arguing that anyone should support Obama. Gerald is. The poor man is clearly smitten.

    You’re saying that pursuing legal restrictions on abortion should be done without making Christians complicit in other violence. Gerald, however, supports a candidate who on the basis of his record favors virtually no legal restriction on abortion — even to the extent of denying protection to babies who have survived one.

    I’m not saying abortion isn’t a big deal for you. I’m saying that on the basis of Gerald’s posting, it’s clearly not that big a deal for him. If you disagree, show it by some evidence more convincing than Gerald’s own voluminous gushing.

    As to your other claim about how abortion isn’t more murderous than other murders, or whatever it is you’re trying to say with that, that’s a topic for another post.

  • “would a man who thinks that even drunk driving laws are too intrusive, and too much “power politics”, really be the right man to make a social movement that reduces drunkenness?”

    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has had the most impact on this issue. It is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds. And it has begun to change the culture. The police can easily undermine this effort with their belligerence.

  • “would a man who thinks that even drunk driving laws are too intrusive, and too much “power politics”, really be the right man to make a social movement that reduces drunkenness?”

    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has had the most impact on this issue. It is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds. And it has begun to change the culture. The police can easily undermine this effort with their belligerence.

  • HA,

    “You say you’re not arguing that anyone should support Obama. Gerald is.”

    I have never encourage anyone — not even my closest friends — to vote for Obama. Nor would I. It’s not my place. I post things on Obama because they constitute a serious challenge to a reflexive fundamentalist mindset that often dominates the debate on social issues. There are sufficient people on this site that can listen to arguments and present compelling cases for or against them without resorting to the language of the verbally crippled. You have not been able to do so.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking your intelligence or commitment. I’m simply saying you don’t display either. If you did you would be willing to consider the weaknesses and strengths of an argument without having to commit to ridicule.

  • HA,

    “You say you’re not arguing that anyone should support Obama. Gerald is.”

    I have never encourage anyone — not even my closest friends — to vote for Obama. Nor would I. It’s not my place. I post things on Obama because they constitute a serious challenge to a reflexive fundamentalist mindset that often dominates the debate on social issues. There are sufficient people on this site that can listen to arguments and present compelling cases for or against them without resorting to the language of the verbally crippled. You have not been able to do so.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking your intelligence or commitment. I’m simply saying you don’t display either. If you did you would be willing to consider the weaknesses and strengths of an argument without having to commit to ridicule.

  • HA

    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has had the most impact on this issue. It is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds.

    To claim that MADD has no involvement with using “the police apparatus of the state” in order to crack down on drunk driving is laughable bunk. Try again.

    As of two minutes ago, their latest press release (www.madd.org) notes that “MADD, Attorney General McKenna and Washington State Legislators Join Together to Support Critical Anti-Drunk Driving Legislation.” Their other bullet points speak of ignition locks, mandatory drug tests, and so forth. If you want to hold up MADD as an exemplar of how to change hearts and minds, you might be on to something, but in that case you need to seriously rethink your political support.

    And please note what Gerald *didn’t* bother to say — i.e., it seems that G. Aikon is a lot more concerned with refuting the notion that abortion isn’t a big deal for Gerald than Gerald himself is.

  • HA

    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has had the most impact on this issue. It is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds.

    To claim that MADD has no involvement with using “the police apparatus of the state” in order to crack down on drunk driving is laughable bunk. Try again.

    As of two minutes ago, their latest press release (www.madd.org) notes that “MADD, Attorney General McKenna and Washington State Legislators Join Together to Support Critical Anti-Drunk Driving Legislation.” Their other bullet points speak of ignition locks, mandatory drug tests, and so forth. If you want to hold up MADD as an exemplar of how to change hearts and minds, you might be on to something, but in that case you need to seriously rethink your political support.

    And please note what Gerald *didn’t* bother to say — i.e., it seems that G. Aikon is a lot more concerned with refuting the notion that abortion isn’t a big deal for Gerald than Gerald himself is.

  • You do a little Googling? Give me a break.

    MADD began as a public health program. That is where it should have stayed. The alliance with the police is generating countervailing forces in the community that will increasingly resist the means of coercion. This will eventually undermine the effort.

    Once again, put your emotions on hold. You’d be dangerous on a play field — or the highway.

    Abortion is a bigger deal to me than you. Why? I’m concerned to find ways that will reduce abortion. You are concerned to nurture your emotions. From what you say, it would be hard to conclude that you really care about the outcome. It appears you just want to be part of a raging crowd.

  • You do a little Googling? Give me a break.

    MADD began as a public health program. That is where it should have stayed. The alliance with the police is generating countervailing forces in the community that will increasingly resist the means of coercion. This will eventually undermine the effort.

    Once again, put your emotions on hold. You’d be dangerous on a play field — or the highway.

    Abortion is a bigger deal to me than you. Why? I’m concerned to find ways that will reduce abortion. You are concerned to nurture your emotions. From what you say, it would be hard to conclude that you really care about the outcome. It appears you just want to be part of a raging crowd.

  • Br Matthew Augustine:

    A) Present America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law allows this unspeakable injustice to occur, even calling it a ‘right’.

    B) Hypothetical Post-Roe America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law protects every person’s most fundamental right: the right to life.

    It seems self-evident that world B is better than world A.

    Well, yes. An even better world would be one where that law is passed to near-universal acclaim, and thus actually did protect “every person’s most fundamental right: the right to life.” Make Outlawing the procedure one of the last steps in a long process. So that the conclusion to a future history of the practice of abortion in the United States would read something like, “…and finally, in an act that amounted to an official acknowledgment of the injustice of an extremely rare practice known as ‘abortion,’ the supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Congress passed a law formally outlawing the procedure. The passage of the law had little effect on the incidence of a procedure that had become virtually unknown in the United States.”

  • Br Matthew Augustine:

    A) Present America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law allows this unspeakable injustice to occur, even calling it a ‘right’.

    B) Hypothetical Post-Roe America: Millions of abortions occur. Positive law protects every person’s most fundamental right: the right to life.

    It seems self-evident that world B is better than world A.

    Well, yes. An even better world would be one where that law is passed to near-universal acclaim, and thus actually did protect “every person’s most fundamental right: the right to life.” Make Outlawing the procedure one of the last steps in a long process. So that the conclusion to a future history of the practice of abortion in the United States would read something like, “…and finally, in an act that amounted to an official acknowledgment of the injustice of an extremely rare practice known as ‘abortion,’ the supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Congress passed a law formally outlawing the procedure. The passage of the law had little effect on the incidence of a procedure that had become virtually unknown in the United States.”

  • PB,

    What you call “trading in connotations” is the stuff of politics in America. Metaphors are used to garner support. They are also used to denote the “spirit of a campaign.” President Bush used the phrase “compassionate conservatism” in just that light. But if were to examine what Marvin O’Laskey and others meant by “compassionate conservatism” one would find intellectual roots and policy prescriptions that were inconsistent with the Catholic view of natural law, the notion of solidarity, and the reality of the person. The false notion of the autonomous individual underpins the notion of “compassionate conservatism” as they write about it. Robert Recter’s views on poverty are so influenced.

    On the other hand, there exists in each campaign position papers that give a more concrete indication of how a candidate stands on the issues of the day. See, for instance, the following:

    http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaBlueprintForChange.pdf

    http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/barack-obama-101/

    There is nothing necessarily deceptive about a candidates use of connotative language.

    Ironically, in Obama’s speech last night in Richmond there was a shift in emphasis from poetry to prose. I thought it striking. Check out:

    http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.com/2008/02/obama-brings-it-back-to-earth-in.html

    Let me address a few minor details. This blog writing is a trip. One thinks what one says is clear and then Blam, Smack! They’re not.

    “You also accuse me of disliking Obama.” I was speaking more in a political sense — not that you thought his personality disagreeable.

    “On the other hand, you curiously suggest I have somehow admitted that Obama is a ‘good’ person.” I was using “good” in the colloquial sense — like a “good” guy. I wasn’t trying to raise deeper philosophical issues.

    “Bush didn’t anticipate 9/11, unless you buy into those hair-brained conspiracy theories, but simply followed a course of action with which he had nearly complete bi-partisan backing. Did I miss a question or an argument somewhere in your paragraphs about the President?”

    I believe you are referring to my statement that Bush went from promising a “humble foreign policy” to a Strategy of Preemption. The reasoning, you suggest, flows out of the need to address the challenge poised by 9/11 — and that he had support of Congress for his actions.

    Here we probably have a disagreement, At one level, what you say I will accept. But the form of the President’s response was not dictated by 9/11 or the passage of the war resolution. To be sure, there was a clear need to respond to 9/11, but the form of the response could easily have been other than what Bush and his advisors chose. Without elaborating, I will just say that he could have responded strategically rather than tactically, politically rather than militarily.

    Personally, I fully supported the Afghanistan venture, although subsequent economic and political actions have been poorly considered and executed. The Iraq venture, from my perspective, has been a calamity. But since this is such a large issue, I’ll leave it for another discussion. But the original point is that what the War Resolution connoted became a source of confusion later. I think that is your criticism of Obama, although you may not think this is an appropriate example.

    Your clarification of Sullivan is most helpful.

    In a comment I made above, I tried to make clear my view that the application of the Catholic perspective in American culture will meet with great difficult until a more basic conversation begins to take root. One suggestion I made is that we should begin to unmask the logic of the autonomous individual in policy debates and set forth the impact such notion has on the structures and dynamics of society and the viability of programmatic efforts. Much of our behavioral pathology is rooted in the idea of the autonomous individual. So I believe there is a great need to move thinking beyond this atomistic view and consider problems within the context of a Trinitarian notion of the person, particularly in its relational aspects. The person is intrinsically relational, not atomistic. Programs fail in large measure because they are predicated on this atomistic view of the individual. At some point, hopefully, we may be able to pursue this line of discussion further. I believe it would be fruitful.

    The terms “liberal” and “conservative” have come to be associated with agendas and political stratagems. They are not used in a philosophical sense, particularly among policy-makers. A person like yourself understands these terms in great depth — I have no doubt you do — but that understanding is not reflected in political circles. Thus, these labels have lost their meaning. What is needed in current debate is a focus on the nature of the problem as it concretely exists. This would involve a discussion of the philosophical aspects of the problem which are critical. In other words, we may need to critique the foundations of liberalism and conservatism in the sense that you understand it. But we need to do so in such a way that impacts the formation of a response to the nation’s problems.

    If a meaningful exchange of ideas were at the center of policy debates, I’d be ecstatic. But they are not. Debates usually focus on budgets and stratagems — almost exclusively about means. To be sure, there are policy professionals that can entertain a meaningful exchange of principles and fundamental ideas. But in their professional capacity their deeper insights and logic rarely, if ever, come to the surface. For instance, I know of no policy discussion that addressed the notion of the autonomous individual. Yet, all social policy since the Great Society is predicated on that notion. It is no wonder social policy has had dismal results. It is predicated on false premises.

    Obama does have a liberal agenda. No doubt. He is a Democrat. But Republicans have been supporting the liberal agenda since Johnson. They try to curtail it here and there, but in the end they vote for it. They dare not do otherwise — for the most part. Who among them would vote against Social Security or Medicare, for instance. They try to enact legislation such as Individual Retirement Accounts, but when they do it is generally done with a view to attacking Social Security. If it were done as a supplement, the debate would be different. As for Social Security, they hold their nose and vote for it. And they assure their constituents that they will protect the program. They know what electability means.

    One more thing. Beyond an agenda, it appears to me Obama has the potential to act as a catalyst to energize individuals to move beyond their own self-interest. This is a call to individuals to act within their own communities. His call to civic action wouldn’t be liberal or conservative. It would be an American call. Individuals could decide how they want to get involved and how they could contribute to the well-being of society. If a person needs help, there is no need to ask for their social, economic, political, or religious credentials. They need help. Maybe we can move towards a Catholic culture of sharing rather than a culture of individual autonomy.

    Just some thoughts. Oh, by the way. You mentioned CS Lewis in your post. I’ve always like him. Have you read much of Walker Percy? Strangely enough, I find many social conservatives around this area reading him lately. I’m not sure what is the compulsion. Percy’s remarkably different from the liberaterian perspective that dominates places like Heritage.

    Thanks for your response.

  • PB,

    What you call “trading in connotations” is the stuff of politics in America. Metaphors are used to garner support. They are also used to denote the “spirit of a campaign.” President Bush used the phrase “compassionate conservatism” in just that light. But if were to examine what Marvin O’Laskey and others meant by “compassionate conservatism” one would find intellectual roots and policy prescriptions that were inconsistent with the Catholic view of natural law, the notion of solidarity, and the reality of the person. The false notion of the autonomous individual underpins the notion of “compassionate conservatism” as they write about it. Robert Recter’s views on poverty are so influenced.

    On the other hand, there exists in each campaign position papers that give a more concrete indication of how a candidate stands on the issues of the day. See, for instance, the following:

    http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaBlueprintForChange.pdf

    http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/barack-obama-101/

    There is nothing necessarily deceptive about a candidates use of connotative language.

    Ironically, in Obama’s speech last night in Richmond there was a shift in emphasis from poetry to prose. I thought it striking. Check out:

    http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.com/2008/02/obama-brings-it-back-to-earth-in.html

    Let me address a few minor details. This blog writing is a trip. One thinks what one says is clear and then Blam, Smack! They’re not.

    “You also accuse me of disliking Obama.” I was speaking more in a political sense — not that you thought his personality disagreeable.

    “On the other hand, you curiously suggest I have somehow admitted that Obama is a ‘good’ person.” I was using “good” in the colloquial sense — like a “good” guy. I wasn’t trying to raise deeper philosophical issues.

    “Bush didn’t anticipate 9/11, unless you buy into those hair-brained conspiracy theories, but simply followed a course of action with which he had nearly complete bi-partisan backing. Did I miss a question or an argument somewhere in your paragraphs about the President?”

    I believe you are referring to my statement that Bush went from promising a “humble foreign policy” to a Strategy of Preemption. The reasoning, you suggest, flows out of the need to address the challenge poised by 9/11 — and that he had support of Congress for his actions.

    Here we probably have a disagreement, At one level, what you say I will accept. But the form of the President’s response was not dictated by 9/11 or the passage of the war resolution. To be sure, there was a clear need to respond to 9/11, but the form of the response could easily have been other than what Bush and his advisors chose. Without elaborating, I will just say that he could have responded strategically rather than tactically, politically rather than militarily.

    Personally, I fully supported the Afghanistan venture, although subsequent economic and political actions have been poorly considered and executed. The Iraq venture, from my perspective, has been a calamity. But since this is such a large issue, I’ll leave it for another discussion. But the original point is that what the War Resolution connoted became a source of confusion later. I think that is your criticism of Obama, although you may not think this is an appropriate example.

    Your clarification of Sullivan is most helpful.

    In a comment I made above, I tried to make clear my view that the application of the Catholic perspective in American culture will meet with great difficult until a more basic conversation begins to take root. One suggestion I made is that we should begin to unmask the logic of the autonomous individual in policy debates and set forth the impact such notion has on the structures and dynamics of society and the viability of programmatic efforts. Much of our behavioral pathology is rooted in the idea of the autonomous individual. So I believe there is a great need to move thinking beyond this atomistic view and consider problems within the context of a Trinitarian notion of the person, particularly in its relational aspects. The person is intrinsically relational, not atomistic. Programs fail in large measure because they are predicated on this atomistic view of the individual. At some point, hopefully, we may be able to pursue this line of discussion further. I believe it would be fruitful.

    The terms “liberal” and “conservative” have come to be associated with agendas and political stratagems. They are not used in a philosophical sense, particularly among policy-makers. A person like yourself understands these terms in great depth — I have no doubt you do — but that understanding is not reflected in political circles. Thus, these labels have lost their meaning. What is needed in current debate is a focus on the nature of the problem as it concretely exists. This would involve a discussion of the philosophical aspects of the problem which are critical. In other words, we may need to critique the foundations of liberalism and conservatism in the sense that you understand it. But we need to do so in such a way that impacts the formation of a response to the nation’s problems.

    If a meaningful exchange of ideas were at the center of policy debates, I’d be ecstatic. But they are not. Debates usually focus on budgets and stratagems — almost exclusively about means. To be sure, there are policy professionals that can entertain a meaningful exchange of principles and fundamental ideas. But in their professional capacity their deeper insights and logic rarely, if ever, come to the surface. For instance, I know of no policy discussion that addressed the notion of the autonomous individual. Yet, all social policy since the Great Society is predicated on that notion. It is no wonder social policy has had dismal results. It is predicated on false premises.

    Obama does have a liberal agenda. No doubt. He is a Democrat. But Republicans have been supporting the liberal agenda since Johnson. They try to curtail it here and there, but in the end they vote for it. They dare not do otherwise — for the most part. Who among them would vote against Social Security or Medicare, for instance. They try to enact legislation such as Individual Retirement Accounts, but when they do it is generally done with a view to attacking Social Security. If it were done as a supplement, the debate would be different. As for Social Security, they hold their nose and vote for it. And they assure their constituents that they will protect the program. They know what electability means.

    One more thing. Beyond an agenda, it appears to me Obama has the potential to act as a catalyst to energize individuals to move beyond their own self-interest. This is a call to individuals to act within their own communities. His call to civic action wouldn’t be liberal or conservative. It would be an American call. Individuals could decide how they want to get involved and how they could contribute to the well-being of society. If a person needs help, there is no need to ask for their social, economic, political, or religious credentials. They need help. Maybe we can move towards a Catholic culture of sharing rather than a culture of individual autonomy.

    Just some thoughts. Oh, by the way. You mentioned CS Lewis in your post. I’ve always like him. Have you read much of Walker Percy? Strangely enough, I find many social conservatives around this area reading him lately. I’m not sure what is the compulsion. Percy’s remarkably different from the liberaterian perspective that dominates places like Heritage.

    Thanks for your response.

  • Matt,

    “Make Outlawing the procedure one of the last steps in a long process.”

    Right on target. This strategy does not diminish the intrinsic sanctity of the unborn. It is the result of a long series of small acts that transforms the ethos of a society.

  • Matt,

    “Make Outlawing the procedure one of the last steps in a long process.”

    Right on target. This strategy does not diminish the intrinsic sanctity of the unborn. It is the result of a long series of small acts that transforms the ethos of a society.

  • HA

    Ah yes, criticize Google — we wouldn’t want to let facts and data muddle with any of that awareness-raising.

    Let’s start with Gerald’s claims of never having encouraged anyone to vote for Obama. In answer, I will let his own posting do my work for me:

    “Obama has the capacity to summon heroic forces from the spiritual depths of ordinary citizens and to unleash therefrom a symphonic chorus of unique creative acts whose common purpose is to tame the soul and alleviate the great challenges facing mankind. . . .Obama is an inspired leader. He is authentic and truthful. He radiates truth and goodness. He possesses charisma and exercises sound judgment.” (Emphasis added, and hat tip to Christopher).

    Now, let’s have a show of hands as to whether Gerald has given us the whole truth when he claims, as just did that “I have never encourage anyone…to vote for Obama.”

    Secondly, it just so happens that from its inception the object of Candy Lightener’s organization was both to raise public awareness regarding drunken driving and also to promote tough legislation against the crime. If you have evidence to the contrary, feel free produce it. I certainly won’t knock you for using Google — it appears to be a lot more trustworthy than your own selective memory. A similar two-prong approach to combat abortion, even if the heavy emphasis were to be on the awareness-raising end, would be fine with me. But again, a politician who talks up a storm but doesn’t even bother to support born-alive protection or partial-birth abortion restrictions is hardly up to the task of raising awareness on how we treat the unborn. Moreover, a supporter of his who goes on a Catholic site and praises his policies simply in terms of reflecting a laudatory concern for women deserves to be the joke that he’s become.

    And with regard to my lack of compassion, logic and the like — by all means fire away. I can always use another chuckle. As I noted on another post, I take such tactics as a sign that even you’re beginning to see how your appeals to logic are falling short.

    Thirdly, for any supporter of Obama to accuse others of wanting to be “part of a raging crowd” — well, that *is* a little much. If hypocrisy counts for a strike, that would be your third one, in which case I think I’m just about done. Besides, now that your own insights into my rage, emotionalism and so forth have been duly noted, perhaps your efforts would be more convincing if they were directed towards that much-anticipated reply to Br. Matthew.

  • HA

    Ah yes, criticize Google — we wouldn’t want to let facts and data muddle with any of that awareness-raising.

    Let’s start with Gerald’s claims of never having encouraged anyone to vote for Obama. In answer, I will let his own posting do my work for me:

    “Obama has the capacity to summon heroic forces from the spiritual depths of ordinary citizens and to unleash therefrom a symphonic chorus of unique creative acts whose common purpose is to tame the soul and alleviate the great challenges facing mankind. . . .Obama is an inspired leader. He is authentic and truthful. He radiates truth and goodness. He possesses charisma and exercises sound judgment.” (Emphasis added, and hat tip to Christopher).

    Now, let’s have a show of hands as to whether Gerald has given us the whole truth when he claims, as just did that “I have never encourage anyone…to vote for Obama.”

    Secondly, it just so happens that from its inception the object of Candy Lightener’s organization was both to raise public awareness regarding drunken driving and also to promote tough legislation against the crime. If you have evidence to the contrary, feel free produce it. I certainly won’t knock you for using Google — it appears to be a lot more trustworthy than your own selective memory. A similar two-prong approach to combat abortion, even if the heavy emphasis were to be on the awareness-raising end, would be fine with me. But again, a politician who talks up a storm but doesn’t even bother to support born-alive protection or partial-birth abortion restrictions is hardly up to the task of raising awareness on how we treat the unborn. Moreover, a supporter of his who goes on a Catholic site and praises his policies simply in terms of reflecting a laudatory concern for women deserves to be the joke that he’s become.

    And with regard to my lack of compassion, logic and the like — by all means fire away. I can always use another chuckle. As I noted on another post, I take such tactics as a sign that even you’re beginning to see how your appeals to logic are falling short.

    Thirdly, for any supporter of Obama to accuse others of wanting to be “part of a raging crowd” — well, that *is* a little much. If hypocrisy counts for a strike, that would be your third one, in which case I think I’m just about done. Besides, now that your own insights into my rage, emotionalism and so forth have been duly noted, perhaps your efforts would be more convincing if they were directed towards that much-anticipated reply to Br. Matthew.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Matt,

    I agree that that would be a better world. However, as the following qoutation from Evangelium Vitae (see in particular the second para of ~70) will show, that many people wouldn’t welcome a reversal of Roe is not a sufficient reason to dely our fight to overturn it. It was good to reverse Jim Crow laws and to force integration, even when this wasn’t met with near universal acclaim. This is even more so in regard to abortion, were people are not being segregated but rather killed.

    Gerald and G. Alkon,

    Gerald- I’ve already noted my thoughts on the prohibition analogy (and why it doesn’t work): the state can regulate the consumption of alchohol but cannot regulate the unjust destruction of human persons.

    Here are some texts that lead me to believe that your proposed course of action isn’t in line with Catholic social doctrine:

    70. …
    But it is precisely the issue of respect for life which shows what misunderstandings and contradictions, accompanied by terrible practical consequences, are concealed in this position.
    It is true that history has known cases where crimes have been committed in the name of “truth”. But equally grave crimes and radical denials of freedom have also been committed and are still being committed in the name of “ethical relativism”. When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a “tyrannical” decision with regard to the weakest and most defenceless of human beings? Everyone’s conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus?
    Democracy cannot be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality. Fundamentally, democracy is a “system” and as such is a means and not an end. Its “moral” value is not automatic, but depends on conformity to the moral law to which it, like every other form of human behaviour, must be subject: in other words, its morality depends on the morality of the ends which it pursues and of the means which it employs. If today we see an almost universal consensus with regard to the value of democracy, this is to be considered a positive “sign of the times”, as the Church’s Magisterium has frequently noted. 88 But the value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes. Of course, values such as the dignity of every human person, respect for inviolable and inalienable human rights, and the adoption of the “common good” as the end and criterion regulating political life are certainly fundamental and not to be ignored.
    The basis of these values cannot be provisional and changeable “majority” opinions, but only the acknowledgment of an objective moral law which, as the “natural law” written in the human heart, is the obligatory point of reference for civil law itself. If, as a result of a tragic obscuring of the collective conscience, an attitude of scepticism were to succeed in bringing into question even the fundamental principles of the moral law, the democratic system itself would be shaken in its foundations, and would be reduced to a mere mechanism for regulating different and opposing interests on a purely empirical basis. 89
    Some might think that even this function, in the absence of anything better, should be valued for the sake of peace in society. While one acknowledges some element of truth in this point of view, it is easy to see that without an objective moral grounding not even democracy is capable of ensuring a stable peace, especially since peace which is not built upon the values of the dignity of every individual and of solidarity between all people frequently proves to be illusory. Even in participatory systems of government, the regulation of interests often occurs to the advantage of the most powerful, since they are the ones most capable of manoeuvering not only the levers of power but also of shaping the formation of consensus. In such a situation, democracy easily becomes an empty word.

    71. It is therefore urgently necessary, for the future of society and the development of a sound democracy, to rediscover those essential and innate human and moral values which flow from the very truth of the human being and express and safeguard the dignity of the person: values which no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy, but must only acknowledge, respect and promote.
    Consequently there is a need to recover the basic elements of a vision of the relationship between civil law and moral law, which are put forward by the Church, but which are also part of the patrimony of the great juridical traditions of humanity.
    Certainly the purpose of civil law is different and more limited in scope than that of the moral law. But “in no sphere of life can the civil law take the place of conscience or dictate norms concerning things which are outside its competence”,90 which is that of ensuring the common good of people through the recognition and defence of their fundamental rights, and the promotion of peace and of public morality. 91 The real purpose of civil law is to guarantee an ordered social coexistence in true justice, so that all may “lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way” (1 Tim 2:2). Precisely for this reason, civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being. While public authority can sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which-were it prohibited- would cause more serious harm, 92 it can never presume to legitimize as a right of individuals-even if they are the majority of the members of society-an offence against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a right as the right to life. The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom. 93
    In the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, John XXIII pointed out that “it is generally accepted today that the common good is best safeguarded when personal rights and duties are guaranteed. The chief concern of civil authorities must therefore be to ensure that these rights are recognized, respected, co-ordinated, defended and promoted, and that each individual is enabled to perform his duties more easily. For ?to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person, and to facilitate the performance of his duties, is the principal duty of every public authority’. Thus any government which refused to recognize human rights or acted in violation of them, would not only fail in its duty; its decrees would be wholly lacking in binding force”.94

    72. …
    Now the first and most immediate application of this teaching concerns a human law which disregards the fundamental right and source of all other rights which is the right to life, a right belonging to every individual. Consequently, laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law. It might be objected that such is not the case in euthanasia, when it is requested with full awareness by the person involved. But any State which made such a request legitimate and authorized it to be carried out would be legalizing a case of suicide-murder, contrary to the fundamental principles of absolute respect for life and of the protection of every innocent life. In this way the State contributes to lessening respect for life and opens the door to ways of acting which are destructive of trust in relations between people. Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law.

    73. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. “They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live” (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: “the midwives feared God” (ibid.). It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for “the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev 13:10).
    In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to “take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it”.98

    If you show me how your views cohere with the preceding paragraphs, I will have no problem with

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Matt,

    I agree that that would be a better world. However, as the following qoutation from Evangelium Vitae (see in particular the second para of ~70) will show, that many people wouldn’t welcome a reversal of Roe is not a sufficient reason to dely our fight to overturn it. It was good to reverse Jim Crow laws and to force integration, even when this wasn’t met with near universal acclaim. This is even more so in regard to abortion, were people are not being segregated but rather killed.

    Gerald and G. Alkon,

    Gerald- I’ve already noted my thoughts on the prohibition analogy (and why it doesn’t work): the state can regulate the consumption of alchohol but cannot regulate the unjust destruction of human persons.

    Here are some texts that lead me to believe that your proposed course of action isn’t in line with Catholic social doctrine:

    70. …
    But it is precisely the issue of respect for life which shows what misunderstandings and contradictions, accompanied by terrible practical consequences, are concealed in this position.
    It is true that history has known cases where crimes have been committed in the name of “truth”. But equally grave crimes and radical denials of freedom have also been committed and are still being committed in the name of “ethical relativism”. When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a “tyrannical” decision with regard to the weakest and most defenceless of human beings? Everyone’s conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus?
    Democracy cannot be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality. Fundamentally, democracy is a “system” and as such is a means and not an end. Its “moral” value is not automatic, but depends on conformity to the moral law to which it, like every other form of human behaviour, must be subject: in other words, its morality depends on the morality of the ends which it pursues and of the means which it employs. If today we see an almost universal consensus with regard to the value of democracy, this is to be considered a positive “sign of the times”, as the Church’s Magisterium has frequently noted. 88 But the value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes. Of course, values such as the dignity of every human person, respect for inviolable and inalienable human rights, and the adoption of the “common good” as the end and criterion regulating political life are certainly fundamental and not to be ignored.
    The basis of these values cannot be provisional and changeable “majority” opinions, but only the acknowledgment of an objective moral law which, as the “natural law” written in the human heart, is the obligatory point of reference for civil law itself. If, as a result of a tragic obscuring of the collective conscience, an attitude of scepticism were to succeed in bringing into question even the fundamental principles of the moral law, the democratic system itself would be shaken in its foundations, and would be reduced to a mere mechanism for regulating different and opposing interests on a purely empirical basis. 89
    Some might think that even this function, in the absence of anything better, should be valued for the sake of peace in society. While one acknowledges some element of truth in this point of view, it is easy to see that without an objective moral grounding not even democracy is capable of ensuring a stable peace, especially since peace which is not built upon the values of the dignity of every individual and of solidarity between all people frequently proves to be illusory. Even in participatory systems of government, the regulation of interests often occurs to the advantage of the most powerful, since they are the ones most capable of manoeuvering not only the levers of power but also of shaping the formation of consensus. In such a situation, democracy easily becomes an empty word.

    71. It is therefore urgently necessary, for the future of society and the development of a sound democracy, to rediscover those essential and innate human and moral values which flow from the very truth of the human being and express and safeguard the dignity of the person: values which no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy, but must only acknowledge, respect and promote.
    Consequently there is a need to recover the basic elements of a vision of the relationship between civil law and moral law, which are put forward by the Church, but which are also part of the patrimony of the great juridical traditions of humanity.
    Certainly the purpose of civil law is different and more limited in scope than that of the moral law. But “in no sphere of life can the civil law take the place of conscience or dictate norms concerning things which are outside its competence”,90 which is that of ensuring the common good of people through the recognition and defence of their fundamental rights, and the promotion of peace and of public morality. 91 The real purpose of civil law is to guarantee an ordered social coexistence in true justice, so that all may “lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way” (1 Tim 2:2). Precisely for this reason, civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being. While public authority can sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which-were it prohibited- would cause more serious harm, 92 it can never presume to legitimize as a right of individuals-even if they are the majority of the members of society-an offence against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a right as the right to life. The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom. 93
    In the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, John XXIII pointed out that “it is generally accepted today that the common good is best safeguarded when personal rights and duties are guaranteed. The chief concern of civil authorities must therefore be to ensure that these rights are recognized, respected, co-ordinated, defended and promoted, and that each individual is enabled to perform his duties more easily. For ?to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person, and to facilitate the performance of his duties, is the principal duty of every public authority’. Thus any government which refused to recognize human rights or acted in violation of them, would not only fail in its duty; its decrees would be wholly lacking in binding force”.94

    72. …
    Now the first and most immediate application of this teaching concerns a human law which disregards the fundamental right and source of all other rights which is the right to life, a right belonging to every individual. Consequently, laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law. It might be objected that such is not the case in euthanasia, when it is requested with full awareness by the person involved. But any State which made such a request legitimate and authorized it to be carried out would be legalizing a case of suicide-murder, contrary to the fundamental principles of absolute respect for life and of the protection of every innocent life. In this way the State contributes to lessening respect for life and opens the door to ways of acting which are destructive of trust in relations between people. Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law.

    73. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. “They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live” (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: “the midwives feared God” (ibid.). It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for “the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev 13:10).
    In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to “take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it”.98

    If you show me how your views cohere with the preceding paragraphs, I will have no problem with

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    BTW, the preceding qoutation was selections from 71-73 of Evangelium Vitae.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    BTW, the preceding qoutation was selections from 71-73 of Evangelium Vitae.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine – Overturning Roe now, and outlawing abortion, would not end, or even appreciably reduce, abortions in the US, for the reasons I previous stated. There would be massive civil disobedience, and the law would be widely flouted, which would have the effect of reducing respect for all laws (it is in this sense that the comparison to prohibition is valid).

    The choice then would be either to decriminalize abortion again, or to get more and more draconian in enforcing it. Change the culture; change hearts; then, changing the law would have the effect we both desire.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine – Overturning Roe now, and outlawing abortion, would not end, or even appreciably reduce, abortions in the US, for the reasons I previous stated. There would be massive civil disobedience, and the law would be widely flouted, which would have the effect of reducing respect for all laws (it is in this sense that the comparison to prohibition is valid).

    The choice then would be either to decriminalize abortion again, or to get more and more draconian in enforcing it. Change the culture; change hearts; then, changing the law would have the effect we both desire.

  • Mr. Campbell,

    I found little with which to disagree in most of your last response, and much that I liked a great deal, such as your statements about the problems about the problems of atomistic individualism and the need to overcome that. I’m simply not as sanguine as you seem to be that Mr. Obama can provide the way. If anything, I fear — in the long run — the worst. You call him a ‘liberal’, which fits today’s pervasive use of the term, though not the classic usage. He more readily calls to mind J.L. Talmon’s title, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, which, ironically, was a study of Rousseau’s Social Contract. A much more promising route the distributist movement articulated by Chesterton, Belloc, and, more recently, by E.F. Schumacher in Small is Beautiful. That, much preferable to big governmental programs, to my way of thinking. Less Social Security lines. Less Wal-Mart lines, for that matter. More small communities.

  • Mr. Campbell,

    I found little with which to disagree in most of your last response, and much that I liked a great deal, such as your statements about the problems about the problems of atomistic individualism and the need to overcome that. I’m simply not as sanguine as you seem to be that Mr. Obama can provide the way. If anything, I fear — in the long run — the worst. You call him a ‘liberal’, which fits today’s pervasive use of the term, though not the classic usage. He more readily calls to mind J.L. Talmon’s title, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, which, ironically, was a study of Rousseau’s Social Contract. A much more promising route the distributist movement articulated by Chesterton, Belloc, and, more recently, by E.F. Schumacher in Small is Beautiful. That, much preferable to big governmental programs, to my way of thinking. Less Social Security lines. Less Wal-Mart lines, for that matter. More small communities.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Matt Talbot,

    As you can see in the bolded section of the encyclical qoutation above, it is sometimes necessary that we choose not to put a stop to something if worse evils would result. The encyclical, of course, then goes on to say that such cannot be the case with abortion. The point being, what could be worse than the ‘lawful’ destruction of human life? JP II calls this tyranny and a war against the weak. Do you really think that some civil disobedience and some lack of respect for the law is worse than the legal slaughter of the unborn on a massive scale? Than an all-out war against the weak? And how exacly is Obama, who has used his considerable charisma and rhetorical skills to defend a womans “right to choose”, going to bring about a society were people no longer recognize such a illusary right? Here is a qoutation from another person who was often told that he should be patient and wait for his dignity to be respected by the law:

    [W]hen you first name becomes “n—–,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are), and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro… when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” – then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. ~Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Why We Can’t Wait, 1963

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Matt Talbot,

    As you can see in the bolded section of the encyclical qoutation above, it is sometimes necessary that we choose not to put a stop to something if worse evils would result. The encyclical, of course, then goes on to say that such cannot be the case with abortion. The point being, what could be worse than the ‘lawful’ destruction of human life? JP II calls this tyranny and a war against the weak. Do you really think that some civil disobedience and some lack of respect for the law is worse than the legal slaughter of the unborn on a massive scale? Than an all-out war against the weak? And how exacly is Obama, who has used his considerable charisma and rhetorical skills to defend a womans “right to choose”, going to bring about a society were people no longer recognize such a illusary right? Here is a qoutation from another person who was often told that he should be patient and wait for his dignity to be respected by the law:

    [W]hen you first name becomes “n—–,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are), and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro… when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” – then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. ~Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Why We Can’t Wait, 1963

  • HA

    Change the culture; change hearts; then, changing the law…

    By the way, have I mentioned yet Obama’s votes regarding partial-birth abortion and born-alive protection? Perhaps I have, but regardless, I’m just going to keep doing it until one of his supporters (or, if you prefer, someone who assures us that he “radiates truth and goodness”) bothers to also describe in some detail how the cultural outlook on the unborn, much less hearts, are going to be changed under the leadership of someone whose efforts thus far regarding that culture have been directed primarily towards making abortion more widely available. That includes even voting against partial-bi…well, you know where I’m going with this, but let’s just note that one doesn’t get a 100% pro-NARAL record by eschewing legal matters until hearts and the culture change.

    Change the culture, change hearts, then change the law. It reminds one of the Sidney Harris “you need to be more explicit in step #2” cartoon.

  • HA

    Change the culture; change hearts; then, changing the law…

    By the way, have I mentioned yet Obama’s votes regarding partial-birth abortion and born-alive protection? Perhaps I have, but regardless, I’m just going to keep doing it until one of his supporters (or, if you prefer, someone who assures us that he “radiates truth and goodness”) bothers to also describe in some detail how the cultural outlook on the unborn, much less hearts, are going to be changed under the leadership of someone whose efforts thus far regarding that culture have been directed primarily towards making abortion more widely available. That includes even voting against partial-bi…well, you know where I’m going with this, but let’s just note that one doesn’t get a 100% pro-NARAL record by eschewing legal matters until hearts and the culture change.

    Change the culture, change hearts, then change the law. It reminds one of the Sidney Harris “you need to be more explicit in step #2” cartoon.

  • Stuart Buck

    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has had the most impact on this issue. It is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds. And it has begun to change the culture

    Googling is actually a good idea; it can keep you from posting something that is so completely at odds with the facts.

  • Stuart Buck

    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has had the most impact on this issue. It is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds. And it has begun to change the culture

    Googling is actually a good idea; it can keep you from posting something that is so completely at odds with the facts.

  • PB,

    “A much more promising route the distributist movement articulated by Chesterton, Belloc, and, more recently, by E.F. Schumacher in Small is Beautiful. That, much preferable to big governmental programs, to my way of thinking. Less Social Security lines. Less Wal-Mart lines, for that matter. More small communities.”

    I concur. Promise lies in the direction you indicate. We clearly have to figure out some way to bring back the human scale in our national life. Spiritual alienation is too much with us.

    For too long, we have relied on policy and programs. But policy and programs cannot impact a spiritual crisis. What many forget is that policy, for the most part, has to do with the distribution of goods and services. Thus, its range and impact is limited, so limited in fact that it usually doesn’t address the nature of the problem it is designed to alleviate. Its focus is generally on symptoms only. This helps explain why policy tends to make matters worse — or allow matters to get worse, as the case may be.

    We need to inspire and nurture the relational dynamics of human living. This in and of itself will help unite persons at a human scale and diminish the disaffection so many experience.

    I’ll try to take a look at EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. While I wouldn’t advise the immediate scuttling of large government programs — nor would you, I presume — I do agree they are ineffective in terms of their original intent. We need to develop another way that can diminish their necessity. I am thoroughly dissatisfied with where we find ourselves today as a nation.

    Thanks for the hat tip on Schumacher.

  • PB,

    “A much more promising route the distributist movement articulated by Chesterton, Belloc, and, more recently, by E.F. Schumacher in Small is Beautiful. That, much preferable to big governmental programs, to my way of thinking. Less Social Security lines. Less Wal-Mart lines, for that matter. More small communities.”

    I concur. Promise lies in the direction you indicate. We clearly have to figure out some way to bring back the human scale in our national life. Spiritual alienation is too much with us.

    For too long, we have relied on policy and programs. But policy and programs cannot impact a spiritual crisis. What many forget is that policy, for the most part, has to do with the distribution of goods and services. Thus, its range and impact is limited, so limited in fact that it usually doesn’t address the nature of the problem it is designed to alleviate. Its focus is generally on symptoms only. This helps explain why policy tends to make matters worse — or allow matters to get worse, as the case may be.

    We need to inspire and nurture the relational dynamics of human living. This in and of itself will help unite persons at a human scale and diminish the disaffection so many experience.

    I’ll try to take a look at EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. While I wouldn’t advise the immediate scuttling of large government programs — nor would you, I presume — I do agree they are ineffective in terms of their original intent. We need to develop another way that can diminish their necessity. I am thoroughly dissatisfied with where we find ourselves today as a nation.

    Thanks for the hat tip on Schumacher.

  • Br. Matthew,

    There is nothing in the encyclical you quote that I disagree with. I question none of it. But that encyclical is not designed as a practical strategy for getting from here to there. And it is the nature of strategy that we have been discussing. The speculative order and the practical order are not the same.

    In my judgment, the legal course is the least effective means of achieving the goals laid out by JPII. You disagree. That’s fine. You place great hope in that effort. I don’t. I see it as a distraction at this stage of the struggle.

    To me, the most effective course is to effect a cooperative partnership with all sides of the debate to explore ways to collaborative and reduce the incidence of abortion. Over time, this will move the country towards what you seek. But we will not get there until the soil is tilled and the seeds planted. Eventually, we will arrive at the place you seek. But it will not be achieved before the tilling and seed planting are complete.

  • Br. Matthew,

    There is nothing in the encyclical you quote that I disagree with. I question none of it. But that encyclical is not designed as a practical strategy for getting from here to there. And it is the nature of strategy that we have been discussing. The speculative order and the practical order are not the same.

    In my judgment, the legal course is the least effective means of achieving the goals laid out by JPII. You disagree. That’s fine. You place great hope in that effort. I don’t. I see it as a distraction at this stage of the struggle.

    To me, the most effective course is to effect a cooperative partnership with all sides of the debate to explore ways to collaborative and reduce the incidence of abortion. Over time, this will move the country towards what you seek. But we will not get there until the soil is tilled and the seeds planted. Eventually, we will arrive at the place you seek. But it will not be achieved before the tilling and seed planting are complete.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Thats just it, changing the law to protect life *is* one of the principle goals of JPII, as the encyclical makes abundantly clear. It’s not that legal changes are simply a means to a end. Rather, it is one of the most important goals spelled out in the document. It is an end in itself. I could go back and qoute the relavent passages but I think they are pretty clear.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Thats just it, changing the law to protect life *is* one of the principle goals of JPII, as the encyclical makes abundantly clear. It’s not that legal changes are simply a means to a end. Rather, it is one of the most important goals spelled out in the document. It is an end in itself. I could go back and qoute the relavent passages but I think they are pretty clear.

  • Br. Matthew,

    Yes. Clearly, it is one of the principle goals, as the encyclical makes clear. I have never disputed that. But is it a principle means? I believe it is not. I believe what I have indicated in the note above is the primary means to the goal JPII seeks in his encyclical.

  • Br. Matthew,

    Yes. Clearly, it is one of the principle goals, as the encyclical makes clear. I have never disputed that. But is it a principle means? I believe it is not. I believe what I have indicated in the note above is the primary means to the goal JPII seeks in his encyclical.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Yes, you are right. It is a principle end. He leaves it up to us how we are to go about getting legal protection for the unborn, but whether or not we should strive for such legal protection is not up for debate.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Yes, you are right. It is a principle end. He leaves it up to us how we are to go about getting legal protection for the unborn, but whether or not we should strive for such legal protection is not up for debate.

  • Br. Matthew,

    I agree. We must strive as you say.

    Part of the problem today is that the unborn are not universally judged to be a person having an inalienable right to life. Were they so judged, their protection would be already implicit in existing law. The strategic challenge is to bring people to that place of awareness.

    It will happen. I have no doubt. The revolution continues, on and on.

  • Br. Matthew,

    I agree. We must strive as you say.

    Part of the problem today is that the unborn are not universally judged to be a person having an inalienable right to life. Were they so judged, their protection would be already implicit in existing law. The strategic challenge is to bring people to that place of awareness.

    It will happen. I have no doubt. The revolution continues, on and on.

  • Stuart Buck

    Of course, I do have to wonder whether someone is even arguing in good faith when he first 1) claims that Mothers Against Drunk Driving “is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds,” when anyone who has lived in America in the past 20 years would know that MADD has lobbied extensively for legislative change; and then 2) ridiculed someone for “googling,” as if it’s somehow illegitimate to look up the facts! This betrays a remarkable disdain for accuracy.

    And to top it all off, Campbell has the chutzpah to claim that he never urged anyone to vote for Obama, even after penning this unbelievably over-the-top paean:

    For his part, Obama has the capacity to summon heroic forces from the spiritual depths of ordinary citizens and to unleash therefrom a symphonic chorus of unique creative acts whose common purpose is to tame the soul and alleviate the great challenges facing mankind.

    For their part, each citizen has within the potential to respond to such heroic calling. When they do, noble qualities are unleashed from the very depths of the human spirit. When they do not, a politics of fear ensues. In either event, the choice is ours to make.

    The “choice is ours to make” — what can this mean other than voting for the man who possesses such magical powers?

  • Stuart Buck

    Of course, I do have to wonder whether someone is even arguing in good faith when he first 1) claims that Mothers Against Drunk Driving “is not associated with using the police apparatus of the State but rather affecting hearts and minds,” when anyone who has lived in America in the past 20 years would know that MADD has lobbied extensively for legislative change; and then 2) ridiculed someone for “googling,” as if it’s somehow illegitimate to look up the facts! This betrays a remarkable disdain for accuracy.

    And to top it all off, Campbell has the chutzpah to claim that he never urged anyone to vote for Obama, even after penning this unbelievably over-the-top paean:

    For his part, Obama has the capacity to summon heroic forces from the spiritual depths of ordinary citizens and to unleash therefrom a symphonic chorus of unique creative acts whose common purpose is to tame the soul and alleviate the great challenges facing mankind.

    For their part, each citizen has within the potential to respond to such heroic calling. When they do, noble qualities are unleashed from the very depths of the human spirit. When they do not, a politics of fear ensues. In either event, the choice is ours to make.

    The “choice is ours to make” — what can this mean other than voting for the man who possesses such magical powers?

  • HA

    Yes indeed, Gerald sure is striving for that legal protection. You can see it in every one of his posts, he’s just striving away for that legal protection. Just like he’s not supporting Obama.

    And yes, Brother Matthew, someday we’ll have those laws you seek. Some day. And the man Gerald feels is most fit to lead us into that happy future is a man who voted against even the lesser legal protections we now have in place. A man who curries favor with an organization that would do away with those protections and that has no problems with involving the state in abortion — so long as said involvement is directed towards making abortion more widely available and taxpayer-funded. That is the man who will lead us into a world where abortion is legislated away. Some day. Once the tilling and seed planting are complete, the revolution will arrive.

    How can he do this, you ask? How can this grand reverse-psychology scheme be made to work? It will work because this prospective leader radiates truth and goodness — Gerald told us so. Ah, how tragic it is that some of us can’t perceive that sublime emanation of goodness, that some souls are not yet stirred by that mysterious effluviance wafting through the ether! But some day it will happen.

    Don’t you get it it, Brother? Don’t you see? In your naivete, you just quoted Martin Luther King to us, not realizing that if we had been truly serious about making lasting change happen back then, we should have ignored MLK and stuck with Bull Connor — perhaps equipping him with a flowery speechwriter. Sure, Martin had a gift for turning a phrase, but the good reverend’s approach of changing hearts and changing laws at the same time — that’s just too simplistic to ever work.

    But have no fear, it will happen, Gerald has no doubt. The revolution continues, on and on — he said so himself.

  • HA

    Yes indeed, Gerald sure is striving for that legal protection. You can see it in every one of his posts, he’s just striving away for that legal protection. Just like he’s not supporting Obama.

    And yes, Brother Matthew, someday we’ll have those laws you seek. Some day. And the man Gerald feels is most fit to lead us into that happy future is a man who voted against even the lesser legal protections we now have in place. A man who curries favor with an organization that would do away with those protections and that has no problems with involving the state in abortion — so long as said involvement is directed towards making abortion more widely available and taxpayer-funded. That is the man who will lead us into a world where abortion is legislated away. Some day. Once the tilling and seed planting are complete, the revolution will arrive.

    How can he do this, you ask? How can this grand reverse-psychology scheme be made to work? It will work because this prospective leader radiates truth and goodness — Gerald told us so. Ah, how tragic it is that some of us can’t perceive that sublime emanation of goodness, that some souls are not yet stirred by that mysterious effluviance wafting through the ether! But some day it will happen.

    Don’t you get it it, Brother? Don’t you see? In your naivete, you just quoted Martin Luther King to us, not realizing that if we had been truly serious about making lasting change happen back then, we should have ignored MLK and stuck with Bull Connor — perhaps equipping him with a flowery speechwriter. Sure, Martin had a gift for turning a phrase, but the good reverend’s approach of changing hearts and changing laws at the same time — that’s just too simplistic to ever work.

    But have no fear, it will happen, Gerald has no doubt. The revolution continues, on and on — he said so himself.

  • Pertinacious Papist claims to have “forgotten” his postings adulating Bush and claiming repeatedly that the Weapons of Mass Destruction had been found. Well, such amnesis is convenient. An apology would be more in order. I remember very well my own postings, letters to newspapers, and an essay in English and Japanese on the Iraq War — and I am happy to say that I was not on the morally corrupt side to which Pertinacious blindly subscribed. Since those early, now conventiently forgotten postings of his showed him to be bereft of political judgment I think he is in no position to pontificate on Obama the way he does.

  • Pertinacious Papist claims to have “forgotten” his postings adulating Bush and claiming repeatedly that the Weapons of Mass Destruction had been found. Well, such amnesis is convenient. An apology would be more in order. I remember very well my own postings, letters to newspapers, and an essay in English and Japanese on the Iraq War — and I am happy to say that I was not on the morally corrupt side to which Pertinacious blindly subscribed. Since those early, now conventiently forgotten postings of his showed him to be bereft of political judgment I think he is in no position to pontificate on Obama the way he does.

  • How you doing, Spirit? I read with great interest your piece on slavery. By the way, have you ever visited any of the writings of Fr. Walter Ong, SJ. He was a friend of mine at SLU, as was Kurt von Schussnigg. Keep stirring the pot and keep the flame low.

  • How you doing, Spirit? I read with great interest your piece on slavery. By the way, have you ever visited any of the writings of Fr. Walter Ong, SJ. He was a friend of mine at SLU, as was Kurt von Schussnigg. Keep stirring the pot and keep the flame low.

  • Sorry to say I don’t know von Schussnigg and my memory of Ong (a Jesuit response to McLuhan) is faint.

    I don’t like this language of “culture of death” — abortion has always been a common practice, as has war, capital punishment and other acts of death — and the Catholic Church has historically had very permissive attitudes according to Daniel Maguire (and I’ve read similar claims elsewhere) — so why this depressive talk of a culture of death here and now? 

    I agree with your general principles for tackling the abortion issue, I think.

    Americans are lucky to have three good presidential hopefuls to choose among. I fear the cult of personality surrounding Obama, but is the core is as solid as in the case of others who inspired a similar cult — Kennedy or King, to hit the high note — then Obama will be a great president. He certainly holds out the attraction of CHANGE!

    Daniel Maguire writes:

    “In the fifteenth century, the saintly archbishop of Florence, Antoninus, did extensive work on abortion. He approved of early abortions to save the life of the woman, a class with many members in the context of fifteenth century medicine. This became common teaching. For this he was not criticized by the Vatican. Indeed, he was later canonized as a saint and thus as a model for all Catholics. Many Catholics do not know that there is a pro-choice Cathlic saint who was also an archbishop and a Dominican.

    “In the sixteenth century, the influential Antoninus de Corduba said that medicine that was abortifacient could be taken even later in a pregnancy if required for the health of the mother. The mother, he insisted, had a jus prius, a prior right. Some of the maladies he discussed do not seem to have been a matter of life and death for the women and yet he allows that abortifacient medicine even in these cases is morally permissible. Jesuit theologian Thomas Sanchez who died in the early seventeenth century said that all of his contemporary Catholic theologians approved of early abortion to save the life of the woman. None of these theologians or bishops were censured for these views.

    “In the nineteenth century, the Vatican was invited to enter a debate on a very late term abortion, requiring dismemberment of a formed fetus in order to save the woman’s life. On September 2, 1869 the Vatican refused to decide the case. It referred the questioner to the teaching of theologians on the issue. It was, in other words, the business of the theologians to discuss it freely and arrive at a conclusion. It was not for the Vatican to decide. This appropriate modesty and disinclination to intervene is an older and wiser Catholic model.”

  • Sorry to say I don’t know von Schussnigg and my memory of Ong (a Jesuit response to McLuhan) is faint.

    I don’t like this language of “culture of death” — abortion has always been a common practice, as has war, capital punishment and other acts of death — and the Catholic Church has historically had very permissive attitudes according to Daniel Maguire (and I’ve read similar claims elsewhere) — so why this depressive talk of a culture of death here and now? 

    I agree with your general principles for tackling the abortion issue, I think.

    Americans are lucky to have three good presidential hopefuls to choose among. I fear the cult of personality surrounding Obama, but is the core is as solid as in the case of others who inspired a similar cult — Kennedy or King, to hit the high note — then Obama will be a great president. He certainly holds out the attraction of CHANGE!

    Daniel Maguire writes:

    “In the fifteenth century, the saintly archbishop of Florence, Antoninus, did extensive work on abortion. He approved of early abortions to save the life of the woman, a class with many members in the context of fifteenth century medicine. This became common teaching. For this he was not criticized by the Vatican. Indeed, he was later canonized as a saint and thus as a model for all Catholics. Many Catholics do not know that there is a pro-choice Cathlic saint who was also an archbishop and a Dominican.

    “In the sixteenth century, the influential Antoninus de Corduba said that medicine that was abortifacient could be taken even later in a pregnancy if required for the health of the mother. The mother, he insisted, had a jus prius, a prior right. Some of the maladies he discussed do not seem to have been a matter of life and death for the women and yet he allows that abortifacient medicine even in these cases is morally permissible. Jesuit theologian Thomas Sanchez who died in the early seventeenth century said that all of his contemporary Catholic theologians approved of early abortion to save the life of the woman. None of these theologians or bishops were censured for these views.

    “In the nineteenth century, the Vatican was invited to enter a debate on a very late term abortion, requiring dismemberment of a formed fetus in order to save the woman’s life. On September 2, 1869 the Vatican refused to decide the case. It referred the questioner to the teaching of theologians on the issue. It was, in other words, the business of the theologians to discuss it freely and arrive at a conclusion. It was not for the Vatican to decide. This appropriate modesty and disinclination to intervene is an older and wiser Catholic model.”

  • Spirit of VII

    Careful.

    “In the fifteenth century, the saintly archbishop of Florence, Antoninus, did extensive work on abortion. He approved of early abortions to save the life of the woman, a class with many members in the context of fifteenth century medicine. This became common teaching. For this he was not criticized by the Vatican. Indeed, he was later canonized as a saint and thus as a model for all Catholics. Many Catholics do not know that there is a pro-choice Cathlic saint who was also an archbishop and a Dominican”

    He is playing loose with history and terminology. Saint Anthony of Florence (whose relics I have venerated in person) was not pro-choice. From what was said here it is clear he wasn’t pro-choice. He was trying to follow the principle of double-effect in a situation (life or death of the mother), not saying abortion is neutral or good.

    And notice how he continues to bring out the question of “saving a woman’s life” as being the issue involved. This isn’t a pro-choice position. This is more of the question of “evil and evil are options, what do you do now.”

  • Spirit of VII

    Careful.

    “In the fifteenth century, the saintly archbishop of Florence, Antoninus, did extensive work on abortion. He approved of early abortions to save the life of the woman, a class with many members in the context of fifteenth century medicine. This became common teaching. For this he was not criticized by the Vatican. Indeed, he was later canonized as a saint and thus as a model for all Catholics. Many Catholics do not know that there is a pro-choice Cathlic saint who was also an archbishop and a Dominican”

    He is playing loose with history and terminology. Saint Anthony of Florence (whose relics I have venerated in person) was not pro-choice. From what was said here it is clear he wasn’t pro-choice. He was trying to follow the principle of double-effect in a situation (life or death of the mother), not saying abortion is neutral or good.

    And notice how he continues to bring out the question of “saving a woman’s life” as being the issue involved. This isn’t a pro-choice position. This is more of the question of “evil and evil are options, what do you do now.”

  • HA

    Many Catholics do not know that there is a pro-choice Cathlic saint who was also an archbishop and a Dominican.

    Ho-hum. Next he’ll be telling us about Saint Thomas’s views on ensoulment and quickening, thinking we’ll all be shocked. Funny how modernists are all about using the best “scientific” data when it comes to validating their support on the latest psychological fads, but when it comes to abortion, the views of those who believed homunculi and the like suddenly become all-relevant.

    Why don’t you go research the four-humour theory next time the issue of cloning comes up. I’m sure that whole bile/phelgm thing will be of momentous import — so long as it can be twisted into making it all acceptable.

  • HA

    Many Catholics do not know that there is a pro-choice Cathlic saint who was also an archbishop and a Dominican.

    Ho-hum. Next he’ll be telling us about Saint Thomas’s views on ensoulment and quickening, thinking we’ll all be shocked. Funny how modernists are all about using the best “scientific” data when it comes to validating their support on the latest psychological fads, but when it comes to abortion, the views of those who believed homunculi and the like suddenly become all-relevant.

    Why don’t you go research the four-humour theory next time the issue of cloning comes up. I’m sure that whole bile/phelgm thing will be of momentous import — so long as it can be twisted into making it all acceptable.

  • Spirit,

    Kurt von Schussnigg was the Austrian Chancellor just prior to the Anschluss. He spent his post WWII years teaching history at SLU.

  • Spirit,

    Kurt von Schussnigg was the Austrian Chancellor just prior to the Anschluss. He spent his post WWII years teaching history at SLU.

  • HA, you missed the point of Maguire’s remarks. Of course the scientific theories underlying Catholic permssiveness toward abortion at some points in the past were rubbish. Nonetheless they show a mobility in Catholic thinking that is fre

  • HA, you missed the point of Maguire’s remarks. Of course the scientific theories underlying Catholic permssiveness toward abortion at some points in the past were rubbish. Nonetheless they show a mobility in Catholic thinking that is fre

  • HA, you missed the point of Maguire’s remarks. Of course the scientific theories underlying Catholic permssiveness toward abortion at some points in the past were rubbish. Nonetheless they show a mobility in Catholic thinking that is frequently, and it appears incorrectly, denied in current rhetoric.

  • HA, you missed the point of Maguire’s remarks. Of course the scientific theories underlying Catholic permssiveness toward abortion at some points in the past were rubbish. Nonetheless they show a mobility in Catholic thinking that is frequently, and it appears incorrectly, denied in current rhetoric.

  • Henry Karlson, saving a mother’s life is not covered by the principle of double effect. That applies only when the mother’s life is threatened by something else (e.g. a cancerous tumor) and when the treatment of that has the side-effect of causing an abortion. Or so I understand.

    I think Alphonsus Liguori held that abortion could be permissible in the case where a brother’s marriage prospects might be threatened by the scandal of his sister’s pregnancy. There seems to have been a great welter of permissive views out there.

  • Henry Karlson, saving a mother’s life is not covered by the principle of double effect. That applies only when the mother’s life is threatened by something else (e.g. a cancerous tumor) and when the treatment of that has the side-effect of causing an abortion. Or so I understand.

    I think Alphonsus Liguori held that abortion could be permissible in the case where a brother’s marriage prospects might be threatened by the scandal of his sister’s pregnancy. There seems to have been a great welter of permissive views out there.

  • Look up ectopic pregnancy and what is allowed and how it is allowed.

    We have to understand, the discussion of medicine at the time and what was possible vs what is possible now is different.

  • Look up ectopic pregnancy and what is allowed and how it is allowed.

    We have to understand, the discussion of medicine at the time and what was possible vs what is possible now is different.

  • HA

    Nonetheless they show a mobility in Catholic thinking that is frequently, and it appears incorrectly, denied in current rhetoric.

    Frequently denied according to who? Are Saint Thomas ’s views on abortion (or prostitution or torture for that matter) some arcane esoterica that the church has diligently suppressed, as it has with regards to Pope Joan, the “divine feminine” and the Xenu chronology? Provide some evidence if you would — other than Gerald’s authority, or yours. We’ve already seen what that’s worth.

    In any case, when you find any church document approving the murder of babies born alive after an abortion, by all means, do get back to us. Until then, Gerald should probably hold off on Obama’s canonization papers – that’ll give him even more time to keep striving, striving, striving for that abortion legislation. Let’s hope he doesn’t get a hernia from all that striving. The same goes for you, seeing how diligently you keep digging yourself in, when there’s really no need. I think we all get what you’re trying to say: the Vatican should be more forward-looking except when it’s more convenient for you that they look to the past — in particular, to a “wiser” time when people had no clear idea when life began so that theologians could spout most whatever they wanted with no fear of being shown up as fools. Ah yes, what a golden age that must seem for you. There was no Google back then either, so I suspect Gerald might feel the same way.

  • HA

    Nonetheless they show a mobility in Catholic thinking that is frequently, and it appears incorrectly, denied in current rhetoric.

    Frequently denied according to who? Are Saint Thomas ’s views on abortion (or prostitution or torture for that matter) some arcane esoterica that the church has diligently suppressed, as it has with regards to Pope Joan, the “divine feminine” and the Xenu chronology? Provide some evidence if you would — other than Gerald’s authority, or yours. We’ve already seen what that’s worth.

    In any case, when you find any church document approving the murder of babies born alive after an abortion, by all means, do get back to us. Until then, Gerald should probably hold off on Obama’s canonization papers – that’ll give him even more time to keep striving, striving, striving for that abortion legislation. Let’s hope he doesn’t get a hernia from all that striving. The same goes for you, seeing how diligently you keep digging yourself in, when there’s really no need. I think we all get what you’re trying to say: the Vatican should be more forward-looking except when it’s more convenient for you that they look to the past — in particular, to a “wiser” time when people had no clear idea when life began so that theologians could spout most whatever they wanted with no fear of being shown up as fools. Ah yes, what a golden age that must seem for you. There was no Google back then either, so I suspect Gerald might feel the same way.

  • I think people would generally agree, even in the past, that life began at conception. They seem to have thought, however, that individual human life began at ensoulment, about 2 months later. Today there is still much dispute about when individual human life begins — given the possibility of twinning of a single fertilized ovum or of fusion of two fertilized ova up to 14 day, I think the earliest we can place the beginning of individual human life is 14 days. Do you not agree?

  • I think people would generally agree, even in the past, that life began at conception. They seem to have thought, however, that individual human life began at ensoulment, about 2 months later. Today there is still much dispute about when individual human life begins — given the possibility of twinning of a single fertilized ovum or of fusion of two fertilized ova up to 14 day, I think the earliest we can place the beginning of individual human life is 14 days. Do you not agree?

  • James

    The Nation, Mr. Schaeffer, and the World, need to quit looking at these individual issues in their own philosophical interpretations, return to a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and begin to agree on the basics of the need to act in the realm of truth and what the Bible says we should or should not be doing. The internet, the media available to us today, and peoples desire to “shine and evolve”, can only lead to one conclusion: there is a real war in the universe between good and evil today, and man is constantly getting in the way of what God really wants. There IS NO HOPE for this world in an ultimate sense. God will carry out what He has spoken in His Word. The REAL HOPE IS IN A PERSONAL, INDIVIDUAL, RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST. The lines need not be called gray, or be blurred on any issue currently facing mankind. Christ Himself said: “He who is not for us, is against us”. The “fundamental” question remains that for any change to be effected in the world today, it must come from the changed heart of the individual first, putting aside all philsophical, psycological religious dogma and doctrine that disagrees with the basics we have been given through the Bible, with the true understanding of the true spiritual reality that we face in Gods judgement. God is still in His loving way, trying to reach man at this very hour, and God will harvest the wheat in the end and……..as He said. (Matt. 13:24-30,36-52) He loves us with an everlasting love. Question is do we really love Him and acknowlege Him as we are to do? Or is there something else, ANYTHING else in His place? I daresay that if God working through us really could reach people with the Good News en mase, there would be a dramatic shift in the way people think and act in this world, and likemindedness would cross over so so many lines, it would be hard to contain the results in all facets of culture, politics, and commerce, at least for a period of time. But we still must remember that God has spoken through His word what was, what is, and what will be to come. To Him be the glory, to Him should we all be looking, through the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ. ,

  • James

    The Nation, Mr. Schaeffer, and the World, need to quit looking at these individual issues in their own philosophical interpretations, return to a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and begin to agree on the basics of the need to act in the realm of truth and what the Bible says we should or should not be doing. The internet, the media available to us today, and peoples desire to “shine and evolve”, can only lead to one conclusion: there is a real war in the universe between good and evil today, and man is constantly getting in the way of what God really wants. There IS NO HOPE for this world in an ultimate sense. God will carry out what He has spoken in His Word. The REAL HOPE IS IN A PERSONAL, INDIVIDUAL, RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST. The lines need not be called gray, or be blurred on any issue currently facing mankind. Christ Himself said: “He who is not for us, is against us”. The “fundamental” question remains that for any change to be effected in the world today, it must come from the changed heart of the individual first, putting aside all philsophical, psycological religious dogma and doctrine that disagrees with the basics we have been given through the Bible, with the true understanding of the true spiritual reality that we face in Gods judgement. God is still in His loving way, trying to reach man at this very hour, and God will harvest the wheat in the end and……..as He said. (Matt. 13:24-30,36-52) He loves us with an everlasting love. Question is do we really love Him and acknowlege Him as we are to do? Or is there something else, ANYTHING else in His place? I daresay that if God working through us really could reach people with the Good News en mase, there would be a dramatic shift in the way people think and act in this world, and likemindedness would cross over so so many lines, it would be hard to contain the results in all facets of culture, politics, and commerce, at least for a period of time. But we still must remember that God has spoken through His word what was, what is, and what will be to come. To Him be the glory, to Him should we all be looking, through the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ. ,

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  • Jhamilton

    Sometimes words are no more than an exercise ….. and exercise profits a “little”

  • Jhamilton

    Sometimes words are no more than an exercise ….. and exercise profits a “little”

  • wendy dufkin

    I am certain that Francis, if it were possible, is rolling over in his grave!

  • wendy dufkin

    I am certain that Francis, if it were possible, is rolling over in his grave!

  • Nothing is more important for stoping abortion than the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. As I point out in my website, Whose Choice?, Roe vs. Wade is vulnerable, and I believe it can be overturned. But it may take one or more conservative justices on the Supreme Court, and a president Obama is unlikely to appoint such men.

  • Nothing is more important for stoping abortion than the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. As I point out in my website, Whose Choice?, Roe vs. Wade is vulnerable, and I believe it can be overturned. But it may take one or more conservative justices on the Supreme Court, and a president Obama is unlikely to appoint such men.