Can President Obama Unite the United States?

Now that Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States, one hopes he will be able to carry through on his campaign promise of bringing all kinds of Americans together — red states and blue states, Republicans and Democrats, whites and blacks, liberals and conservatives, men and women, young and old. Heaven knows we Americans need bringing together.
George W. Bush recognized this need eight years ago when he told us he was “a uniter, not a divider.” That Bush failed to unite, no one will deny. Partly it was his own fault, but mostly it was the fault of the irreconcilable differences that divide the Americans he had hoped to unite. How can anybody unite the following groups, all of whom are present in today’s America in great and well-organized numbers: conservative Christians and secularists, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, those who consider same-sex marriage a fundamental human right and those who consider it an absurdity and abomination? This is not to mention those who are pro and con on the question of gun control, or those who are pro-military and anti-military.
Cultural divisions — that is to say, divisions regarding beliefs and values and morality — run very wide and very deep in today’s American society. Bush could not heal the divisions. Will President Obama be able to do so?
Obama made an interesting start earlier this year when he endorsed the United States Supreme Court ruling that held that private ownership of guns is constitutionally protected by the Second Amendment. It looks like Obama wants to take a middle-ground position that will allow him to say to the pro-gun people, “Your right to own guns will never be taken away from you,” while at the same time saying to the gun-control people, “I will not gratify your dreams of outright prohibition or confiscation, yet we can impose certain reasonable but limited restrictions on the sale and distribution of guns.” It goes without saying that a compromise along these lines won’t satisfy vocal fanatics at either extreme of the gun spectrum, but perhaps it will satisfy the vast and relatively silent mid-spectrum majority.
When it comes to the military, Obama will have a more difficult row to hoe. If he withdraws rapidly from Iraq and, as a result, the situation there deteriorates (as John McCain has cautioned it may), conservatives will detest him. If he doesn’t withdraw rapidly enough, his own liberal supporters will detest him. In Afghanistan, if he orders a great enough “surge” to finish the job, his semi-pacifist supporters will feel he has betrayed them; if he doesn’t, conservatives will feel he has betrayed America. And what kind of military budget will he propose? A fat one will enrage liberals. A thin one will enrage conservatives. In military affairs, he can be a “uniter not a divider” only if he gets lucky — very lucky indeed.
But what about abortion? Here the going gets stickier still. During the presidential campaign, Obama convinced some apparently pro-life people that an Obama administration will actually reduce the abortion rate in a significant way. To believe this of a politician who is thoroughly committed to (as the cant phrase has it) “a woman’s right to choose” requires, it seems to me, a strong act of faith fortified by a great amount of self-deception. Obama, after all, has promised the following: to sign FOCA, to have a pro-Roe litmus test for Supreme Court justices, and to have taxpayers pay for abortions for financially needy women. If he retreats from any of these promises, he will infuriate all his pro-abortion supporters. And if he doesn’t retreat from them, he will infuriate everybody in the pro-life movement.
And what about governmental legitimization of homosexuality? His supporters will get very unhappy with him unless he repeals the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And moral-religious conservatives will get equally unhappy with him if he does repeal the policy. And same-sex marriage? Almost certainly Democrats in Congress will make an attempt to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (which allows a state to refuse to acknowledge same-sex marriages contracted outside its boundaries). If President Obama doesn’t want to alienate his liberal followers, he will have to support such an attempt. And of course these followers will expect him to appoint to the Supreme Court justices who believe that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. All of this, it goes without saying, will outrage moral-religious conservatives.
And so it seems that President Obama, like President Bush before him, will find that it’s much easier to talk about being a uniter-not-a-divider than actually to become one.
But to this pessimistic conclusion I will add one qualifier. Obama is a brilliant politician, and — like all brilliant politicians — he’s an opportunist. If he is sufficiently ruthless in his opportunism, he could decide to govern as a centrist, casting aside the left-wing supporters who brought him as far as he is today. During the primaries, he had a two-fold political base: African-Americans plus upper-middle-class white liberals. While unlikely, it is not absolutely impossible that he will toss his white liberals aside and govern from a new base: African-Americans plus middle-of-the-road whites. This would of course be a great act of ingratitude to his white liberal friends, but Obama would not be the first politician to be ungrateful to those who put him in office. (Think of Richard III and Buckingham in Shakespeare’s play.) Stung, liberals would accuse him of base “treachery,” but he could describe his conduct — accurately enough — as patriotic “pragmatism.”
If he is pragmatic/treacherous enough to dump his liberal friends once he’s in the White House, it is possible — just barely possible — that he could actually succeed in uniting the nation.

By

David R. Carlin Jr. is a politician and sociologist who served as a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His books include "Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion" and "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America." Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.

  • nobody

    “That Bush failed to unite, no one will deny.” Democrats failed to reciprocate.

    What attempts has the Democratic controlled Congress of the last two years done to unite?

    Was the way Bush was treated by Democrats in line with Catholic teaching the last eight years?

    I would blame Bush for not defending himself against a horrific tide of calumny and slander from the left before even considering his lack of efforts to unite.

  • perryj

    I am embarrassed to be an American and a Catholic today. We voted in the greatest murderer in the history of man kind. My God forgive us.

  • kathy

    One word……no.

  • Joe, not that Joe

    I am embarrassed to be an American and a Catholic today. We voted in the greatest murderer in the history of man kind. My God forgive us.

    Foolish comments like this are one of the reasons prolifers get dismissed as extremists and cranks by mainstream Americans… you know, the people we need to win over if we are serious about protecting life.

  • CM
  • Francis Wippel

    There are just too many differences, cultural, moral, and economic to believe that we can all set those differences aside and ‘unite’. There are several issues on which I

  • Mark

    I am not interested in being united with those who are wrong,
    or who are busy bodies and meddlers.

  • Bender

    Partly it was his own fault, but mostly it was the fault of the irreconcilable differences that divide the Americans he had hoped to unite.

    No, it wasn’t the fault of Bush, and it wasn’t the fault of some mysterious impersonal force called “irreconcilable differences.”

    It was the intentional, purposeful, willful, and personal decision of liberals, Democrats, and others from Carlin’s political wing, to engage in never-ending attacks against Bush, attacks totally unrelated to any rationality or reason other than to obstruct and oppose, beginning in the early morning hours after Election Day 2000. From before the day that Bush took office, it was, not “irreconcilable differences,” but the intentional actions of Carlin’s pals to attack and divide.

  • Rev. George W. Rutler

    President Bush will be remembered in history as the man who protected our nation for eight years and who was a martyr to media bias and political demagoguery. He attained a victory in Iraq through heroic sacrifices of our armed forces who are about to be betrayed. Mr. Carlin expects things will be “stickier” in the matter of abortion. As sticky as brimstone. Anyone who does not realize that we are engaged in a revolution and not a mere change in administrations is dangerously naive. We are about to witness a calculated persecution of the Church. If the fatuousness of jejune writers represents a general decline in the perspective of this website, then we are witnessing a useful idiocy in the progress of the culture of death worse than the timidity which pinched incense to Diocletian.

  • Pamela

    Not that I think he had a chance to do it, considering the deep ideological divide in this country, but he obviously isn’t even interested in trying to unite. [smiley=sad] He has appointed Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff. Emanuel is probably the most aggressive left-wing partisan he could find. If that is Obama’s idea of reaching out and seeking to unite, we are in really big trouble.

  • mike

    As an analogy, I would like to use the ecuenism (sp?)
    that was promoted in the church, maybe after Vatican II.
    I would guess that many people would say it failed to unite
    catholics to other faiths, and even weakened the church.
    The belief in the power of the sacraments was weakened,
    the respect of the authority of the Pope(s), and so on.
    Christ wants us united to each other, but to Him first,
    only then can we truly independent and yet free at the
    same time.
    What about a political party and a leader who talks unity
    when he is so from the philosophies of not just our
    church, but so many other denominations? I can’t help
    but consider the lack of proper influence for one who
    spends his time listening to sermons filled with attacks
    on whites, and maybe hears nothing about the sactity of
    marriage and life. This is not to mention the other
    influences, political, monetary, fame; and himself and
    his wife.
    What is his idea of unity? I hope and will pray he
    be brought under holier, wiser influences than those
    he now listens to.

  • nobody

    The foregone conclusion that the voting demographics here in ******* County and our State can no longer elect a candidate that I can support I wish to be removed from the election registration process of ******** County.

    May God Help us.

    Former represented citizen

  • Maria

    Anyone who does not realize that we are engaged in a revolution and not a mere change in administrations is dangerously naive. We are about to witness a calculated persecution of the Church.

    Sadly, that may be just what we need in the Catholic Church in America.

  • Alma

    President Bush will be remembered in history as the man who protected our nation for eight years and who was a martyr to media bias and political demagoguery. He attained a victory in Iraq through heroic sacrifices of our armed forces who are about to be betrayed. Mr. Carlin expects things will be “stickier” in the matter of abortion. As sticky as brimstone. Anyone who does not realize that we are engaged in a revolution and not a mere change in administrations is dangerously naive. We are about to witness a calculated persecution of the Church. If the fatuousness of jejune writers represents a general decline in the perspective of this website, then we are witnessing a useful idiocy in the progress of the culture of death worse than the timidity which pinched incense to Diocletian.

    Ok Father, so those (like the Vatican) who considered Iraq unnecessary are “dangerously naive,” as are those who don’t think Christians will be sent to concentration camps in February? Actually, we sound dangerously sane.

    It’s too bad you reject Carlin’s intelligent and balanced piece in favor of low-brow, Rush Limbaugh-style hysteria. I have enjoyed some of your EWTN programs.

  • TS

    When I listen to some of things on Ave Maria/EWTN radio and on conservative-leaning sites like this one- I pick up a very dangerous undercurrent- the potentially violent zealots are out there in the wilderness- and they really don’t need any more hysterics. Catholic media leaders need to lead like Christ- Christ did not encourage passivity, but He didn’t lead a violent revolution or engage in conversations that would easily lead someone to conclude that taking up arms or going in for political assassinations were somehow part of the Way.

    I suggest we keep our rage directed at the acts of Abortion and other injustices, and try to follow Jesus’ command to love our enemies- not just in a lip service manner, but in a way that convinces God we mean it.

    You overcome evil with good, the world of politics obvious believes that that is wrong or naive- look at all the negative ads, all the hatred for individual politicians and their supporters- shameful.

    If it is contained to explosive, ugly outbursts on radio and blogs- ok get it out of your system- but if it leads to actual violence and violent rhetoric- comparing Obama to Hitler obviously leads some dangerous minds to take the next illogical step- and where will the movement to end abortion be if the President is attacked physically by “pro-lifers” or is simply continually attacked violently with words by “pro-lifers”? What will the public witness be to those who may have open minds ripe for conversion when the pro-life rank and file and public leadership is spewing hatred for abortion, hatred for the president, the whole Democratic party, all liberals, and on and on- all in the same breath with the same ugliness in tone?

    You can be right for all the wrong reasons and you can be wrong for all the right reasons- let’s try to be right with right reasons, right intent, and intelligent use of strategic engagement in the democratic process. We are not facing a dictatorship- we are not being taken in the middle of the night- we are weak only because we are not being very smart as Christ’s ambassadors to the world. If you want to go with the Zealots you go without me-

  • SAVANNAH LEE

    Deal,

    McCain’s concession speech was the best speech he made in the whole campaign. I only wish the posts to your site were as constructive. Instead I read diatribes filled with hatred, innuendo, and un-Americanism. Is this following the teaching of Jesus? Am I wrong in thinking that Catholics are first and last Christians? Do these attacks change the heart and mind of anyone?

    I suggest that a different approach be tried. Go back to the Gospels and STRONGLY promulgate the whole of the teaching of Christ, love thy neighbor, care for the sick and aged, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, preserve the lives of the born as well as the unborn, forgive as you would wish to be forgiven. Remember, “As you do to the least of these you do to me”.

    Surely, the fear of being called Socialist should not deter us. We all know the difference between Democracy and Socialism. I sincerely believe we have the opportunity to become a truly Christian nation and I think now is the time. The question is, do we really want to take up the burden of that cross?

    Savannah

  • Mike

    It would be a huge escalation to attack abortion clinics.
    I also think that you are exaggerating things and possibly
    slapping the pro-life movement. Furthermore, you ultimately
    do not know if such an attack would be unjustified by God, in
    my opinion. Not that I advocate this.
    You complain about comparisons of Obama and Hitler; how
    do you know that people, esp. Catholics, are not now being
    put in a situation where they are in fact, choosing between
    Christ-also Christ in His Pope and faithful- OR the
    culture of death, in the radical elements of the
    democratic party and its chosen leader?
    While you are right in saying we need to overcome evil
    with good, good means unrelentingly speaking the truth
    and witnessing. We have an uphill battle against
    the president and vice, government, judges, the MEDIA,
    education. With all the power and ignorance they live in
    how can I not conclude, that in some fashion, it is a
    dictatorship which we are not familiar with? Would an
    soul tell us we live in a dictatorship?
    The new president is making some very radical appointments.
    I conclude that this will be a dark ages in America. Maybe
    we will look like Canada where priests and bishops are
    persecuted by a benign goverment, or Venezuela, where they
    now have a state catholic church.

  • Sam

    President Bush will be remembered in history as the man who protected our nation for eight years and who was a martyr to media bias and political demagoguery. He attained a victory in Iraq through heroic sacrifices of our armed forces who are about to be betrayed. Mr. Carlin expects things will be “stickier” in the matter of abortion. As sticky as brimstone. Anyone who does not realize that we are engaged in a revolution and not a mere change in administrations is dangerously naive. We are about to witness a calculated persecution of the Church. If the fatuousness of jejune writers represents a general decline in the perspective of this website, then we are witnessing a useful idiocy in the progress of the culture of death worse than the timidity which pinched incense to Diocletian.

    Fr Rutler,

    I cannot even approach your eloquence, but I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts. I’ve watched the cultural decay over the 39 years of my life, and I believe that we Christians are indeed headed for marginalization if not outright persecution, mainly at the hands of the pink fascists (ie, the homosexual rights crowd) who will label Christian morality as hate speech. It’s already in place in Canada; it’s on the cusp of coming here. I live in Massachusetts where homosexual ideology is indoctrinated in our public classrooms and even many private classrooms. Between the homosexual teachers and the diversity police in our workplaces, the ability to speak the truth forthrightly without harassment is being constrained. The Obama regime will only further these trends. Let us pray for each other and our Church!

  • Rose

    He will not be able to unite America, because each person has his own subjective agenda based on different values. Although thought of as intelligent & eleoguent by many, I find his character lacks integrity, truthfulness, honor, wisdom, right instinct & courage to do the right/Godly thing.
    Fr. Pavone of Priests for Life sums it up quite nicely when he speaks of the fundamental qualification of a civil servant:

    A Grave Mistake and an Abiding Hope

    Fr. Frank Pavone
    National Director, Priests for Life

    Americans have made a grave mistake in electing Barack Obama to the presidency. Yet America herself remains great and is not a mistake, which is why so many of her citizens will continue, with even greater energy and determination, to defend her founding principles.

    The man elected to the Presidency said during the campaign that he does not know when a human being starts to have human rights. How can one govern from that starting point of ignorance? Governing is about protecting human rights; to do it successfully, you have to know where they come from, and when they begin.

    The President-elect has already failed that test miserably.

    The American people do not share Barack Obama

  • Rose

    “Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.” Pope Benedict XVI

    I love this Pope!!

  • Connie

    Rose, I love this quote from Our Holy Father. Where did you read it, or when did he say it? God Bless.

  • nobody

    I pick up a very dangerous undercurrent- the potentially violent zealots are out there in the wilderness- and they really don’t need any more hysterics. TS

    Where were you the last eight years?

  • Rev. George W. Rutler

    To Connie-

    That quotation of Pope Benedict is from his 2004 book “Truth and Tolerance”(p.116 English edition) in comments on liberation theology.
    “Wenever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine but demonic.”

    Even Pope Benedict did not imagine a politician who would vow to change the ocean tides. King Canute also tried to make that point. I doubt today’s self-prclaimed prophets every heard of Canute.

  • nobody

    Alma,

    Your allegiance is clear when you mock the words of a Holy man for a

  • R.C.

    G.W.Bush genuinely hoped to be a uniter and not a divider; indeed, he was exactly that in Texas. And his moderate Republican approach (remember the term “compassionate conservative?”) was a replay of his father’s.

    So why the hatred?

    Well, many reasons, but here are some that get overlooked:

    1. D.C. Democrats are very different from Democrats in Texas, Part 1: Democrats in Texas must live side-by-side with Republicans and as a result have learned to get along with them. But the left-leadership in D.C. comes from states or districts where a Republican who self-identifies is a social outcast and often has his car keyed.

    Such Democrats have not, as a result, had to develop get-along skills with Republicans.

    2. D.C. Democrats are very different from Democrats in Texas, Part 2: In Texas, most folk speak the same Texan drawl, be they intelligent or unintelligent, schooled or unschooled, wise or unwise. Mental associations with that sound are entirely neutral. There, Bush could drawl, and yet be treated as the intelligent, schooled, and in certain ways, wise person he is.

    But in the New England States and the lefty-er regions of the Pacific Northwest, such accents are uncommon. The only mental associations people have with that sound come from buffoonish stock Texans in Hollywood movies — who are uniformly ignorant yahoos.

    Consequently these folks find it hard to see G.W.Bush as a person instead of a caricature. This prejudice is only strengthened by their political and cultural biases, which assume that one is more likely to be a bigot or a rube if one is religious, or Republican, or happier in rural than urban settings.

    Bush should have altered his speech patterns — if he has the acting chops to do it, which not everyone does — to suit the needs of his new climate. He didn’t. He paid the price.

    3. Intelligence and Thintelligence: Purely theoretical intelligence, or “thintelligence,” can take you far in the academic world. It will not, however, allow you to successfully run a business, because its theoretical expectations never work out in practice. (I fear President-Elect Obama’s intelligence is exclusively of this kind, which is why the distinction is very much on my mind.)

    The other kind of intelligence is the kind used in 90% of a person’s day-to-day decision-making. We sometimes call it “common sense.” It represents a form of pattern-recognition with predictive value: “Given this scenario, the likely behavior of that kind of people will be such-and-such.” A person with this kind of intelligence is the type about which we say, “He doesn’t sound impressive, but you do well to listen to what he has to say.”

    Many folks don’t appreciate the distinction; and searched in vain to see why anyone ever got the notion G.W.Bush was intelligent. (“How could that be? He doesn’t say what a university professor would say!”)

    Summary

    I think it likely that the last eight years’ hatred for G.W.Bush would have been nearly nonexistent had Bush only hailed from a city and had a neutral accent. (By “city” I mean: One outside the South. Too many Northerners suffer from the delusion that Atlanta and Dallas look like dirt-road sets from The Dukes of Hazzard.)

    Anyhow, I think Professor Henry Higgins had it right: People judge others on the basis of how they talk.

  • R.C.
  • Alma

    Alma,

    Your allegiance is clear when you mock the words of a Holy man for a

  • Gregg

    I cannot even approach your eloquence, but I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts.

    As do I. Every word of it.

    Can Obama united us?

    Do some google searches on Obama’s radically liberal and caustic chief of staff.

    Permit me to render some savvy advice from my Irish ancestors: When you lie with the dogs you will get up with flees. This guy lies with a lot of dogs and I suspect uniting us is a hallucination he doesn’t even believe.

  • MRB

    President-elect Obama will never unite me with liberals, nor will he unite any of my family or friends with his agenda. “Unity” is not a virtue, and it has always been an illusion. It will not happen.

  • Scott

    I think Fr. Rutler fits the bill admirably. Look, Fr. Rutler, you’re a priest and I owe you respect for that. But your political opinion is not worth any more than anyone else’s. And I get it: you’re a Republican. And the hysterical tone of your post (“persecution”) is simply beyond the pale. Do you really think the past 40-50 years haven’t represented a sort of “persecution,” if only one of slander, libel, and ridicule for believers? Abortion, which seems to be your only point of reference, has been around since 1974. Abortion is abortion and it’s always evil. How is the coming administration “more evil” than any other administration, including Republican administrations, who either sanctioned abortion or just talked about it and did nothing to ameliorate the situation?

    You and many of your colleagues have been lowering the tone for a couple of decades now, just as much as the “useful idiots” on this thread. Trying to square the circle by attempting to accommodate Church doctrine to the American political system (although always protesting your own orthodoxy), practicing your own brand of superficial, brandy-and-cigars ecumenism, which puts more emphasis on praxis than on doctrine, constantly bashing “cradle Catholics,” and persistently conflating Catholicism and the Republican Party, has always been obnoxious and pernicious.

    You can sit around and sneer at everyone else on this thread, but you’re part of the problem, too. And your simple-minded mantra of “abortion” with no consideration for the rest of Catholicism, including the ecclesiastical tradition, has long since passed its sell-by date.

  • George W. Rutler

    Dear Scott-
    You are the first person to have suggested in my long career that I am hysterical. I have long be accused of being too Anglo-Saxon to show any choleric disposition. And while a long line of professors in various countries have found me frustrating from time to time, you are the first to call my expressions “simple-minded.” I do not know how you ascertain my party affiliation. However I do admit that I am not a registered member of the Democratic Party which the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura has called “the party of death.” If defense of the unborn and newly born identifies oneself as a Republican, then every Christian may want instantly to register as such. It is not a requirement. One can remain independent. Perhaps you’d care to inform Pope Benedict XVI that his appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura is also hysterical. I do not think it hysterical to suggest that the Church will be persecuted for its defense of life. Motions toward that have already been instituted in Canada and the European Union. I shall be glad to debate you on politics on a level platform as one citizen to another at any time at any place. I have put down the gauntlet. Do you accept? Let the editors of this website arrange the venue. This is a lovely opportunity for you to overwhelm me with your dispassionate logic and vaunted rhetoric. Otherwise, if you do not accept this congenial invitation to constructive debate, I do request, as gentlemen are wont to do, or at least used to be wont to do, that you apologize for your remarks. And as the world knows my full name, let the world know yours.

  • meg

    Excerpt from CONFESSION OF AN EX-ABORTIONIST
    By Dr. Bernard Nathanson (founder of NARAL)

    THE SECOND KEY TACTIC WAS TO PLAY THE CATHOLIC CARD

    (circa 196smilies/cool.gif…We systematically vilified the Catholic Church and its “socially backward ideas” and picked on the Catholic hierarchy as the villain in opposing abortion. This theme was
    played endlessly. We fed the media such lies as “we all know that opposition to abortion comes from the hierarchy and not from most Catholics” and “Polls prove time and again that most Catholics want abortion law reform”. And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the influence of the Catholic hierarchy and that Catholics in favour of abortion are enlightened and forward-looking. An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-Catholic groups opposing abortion. The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions were {and still are) monolithically opposed to abortion was constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists’ opinions…

  • JC

    I’m coming in late on this one, but Obama’s talk of “unity” is the very thing that bothers me about him. It’s what bothered me about Bush, too.

    Michelle Obama went around in the primary saying, “Barack Obama will not allow you to be divisive!” This is saying, “Barack Obama will not allow you to have your own opinions.”

    Christian peace is not peace “as the world gives it”; Christian unity is not unity “as the world gives it.”

    Peace and unity as the world offers them mean compromising your values. “Tolerance is the only virtue of a man with no principles.”

    Barack Obama scares me more than the Clintons because the Clintons made it very clear that they were liberals wanting a liberal agenda. With the exception of abortion, Obama *has* really presented himself as a centrist. I don’t know much about what he’ll do.

    I know what his supporters *want* him to do. I know what the folks in Congress *want* him to do. I doubt that, if his Party in Congress presented him with various bills he would try very hard to veto them. So he may not push a certain agenda or talk about it in speeches (e.g., passing a hate speech law like the one in Canada), but his Party wants it, and they’ll get it through Congress, and then they’ll bring it to his desk. And he’ll sign it.

    But it’s precisely that he pretends to be so neutral that bothers me. I don’t like phonies. I dont’ trust people who make false promises. “We’ll bring democracy to the world” is a promise that no one can really make. It is a lie. And it is used as a justification for letting the politician have _carte blanche_ to do what he wants. Same with “We’ll have unity” or “We’ll get there” (Does anyone know “where” “there” is that Obama wants to take us?)

    The Church teaches us not to trust anyone who makes such promises, that they are the spirit of Anti-Christ (Catechism 676). Bush made those promises, and I didn’t trust him. Obama makes those promises, and I don’t trust him, either.

    Most people were quite happy with the Roman Empire. It was the most advanced civilization of its day. No city in history has matched ancient Rome in size or complexity or technological advancement (relative to its age) until modern-day New York.

    Most people enjoyed relative peace and security within the Roman Empire.

    As long as you weren’t “divisive,” the Romans let you do what you want.

    Christians were persecuted because they were “divisive.”

    And if you don’t think Christians are being persecuted, and you don’t think the liberals want to persecute us, why not spend some time on Moveon.org or Huffington Post? Why not listen to Penn & Teller or Bill Maher?

    Why not step foot on a college campus? Every time I go to meet with my department head, I have to pass by all these doors with anti-Christian cartoons and bumper stickers plastered on them. And this at a small community college in the “Bible Belt.”

  • JC

    PS-I have to teach out of textbooks that compare people who believe in Creationism with Holocost deniers.

    PS2: Don’t think persecution happens? Every year there are more Christians martyred around the world than in the entire history of Roman persecution.

  • Scott

    And I’m afraid I can’t apologize, either. You don’t get a pass just because you’re a priest or appear on EWTN occasionally. You wanted to post on this thread. I simply responded to you.

    Simply adducing Archbishop Burke won’t do. Of course, abortion is evil. I already said that. It’s always been evil. How Mr. Obama makes it “more evil” than it already is, is something that you might want to explain.

    Perhaps the last twenty years, when all Catholics cared about was “evangelizing” and superficial ecumenism could have been better spent teaching Catholic doctrine on life and other issues. Now we have more “Catholics,” but fewer orthodox Catholics and many fewer Catholics who know the basics of their faith.

    Perhaps instead of blogging, you, as a priest, might want to begin this effort at educating Catholics, rather than throwing insults around.

  • August Driscoll

    How is the coming administration “more evil” than any other administration, including Republican administrations, who either sanctioned abortion or just talked about it and did nothing to ameliorate the situation?

    FOCA, the first bill Obama said he’ll sign, promises outright persecution of the Church and wholesale slaughter of innocent human life. Do your research, and stop being a mouthpiece for the radical left.

    Moral equivalency: Obama clearly cannot distinguish good from evil. I don’t know how this will play out at home and abroad, but it’s a dangerous characteristic for a world leader to have.

    Obama clearly wants to promote immorality in a way most Republicans do not. He will advance the acceptance of homosexual behavior in society, promote contraception as a moral good, and ramp up Frankenstein science that assaults the very foundations of life.

    Judges: even if the Dems play it safe, they will bring about their insidious social agenda through court appointments. This will do incalculable damage to our country, and be the hidden place where Catholics are persecuted.

    Father Rutler defends the faith admirably, and you owe him more respect, to take him up on the issues in a civil manner, and to be prepared to learn something.

  • Scott

    then he should be prepared to extend it to others, also. Referring to everyone as “jejune” and “useful idiots” is hardly civil.

    I stated above that I give Fr. Rutler due respect as a priest. But he chose to offer his own views and I have responded.

    There are many people from whom I can “learn.” I don’t think Fr. Rutler is one of them. I’d rather stick with Pope Benedict XVI. He is the one who articulates Catholicism in its entirety. He doesn’t try to be too clever by half and present only part of the richness of the Catholic tradition, based on some sort of political agenda.

  • Rev. George W. Rutler

    Dear Scott-
    I have tried to analyze your syntax fairly, but it seems to be the epistemological equivalent of an automobile accident.

    To begin, do explain what you mean by my “brandy-and cigars ecumenism.” I do not smoke cigars and there is no brandy in my rectory. You are welcome to send me some, but I am sure that you already generously tithe a tenth of your income and so such a gift would be supererogatory.

    Also, please give one instance of me “bashing cradle Catholics.”

    Now: 1) you still have not accepted my invitation to a public debate and
    2) you have not told me who you are.

    I can understand your reluctance with (1) but gentlemen are not reluctant to identify themselves.

  • meg

    How is the coming administration “more evil” than any other administration, including Republican administrations, who either sanctioned abortion or just talked about it and did nothing to ameliorate the situation?

    How Mr. Obama makes it “more evil” than it already is, is something that you might want to explain.

    Your breathtaking disrespect notwithstanding (priest or not), I’ll give you my perspective. Any president who is supportive of abortion rights, and every permutation thereof, sends a message to the country, whether or not they could actually achieve their goals – the point is, THEY WOULD IF THEY COULD, and make no mistake, Americans are well aware of this. Are you saying that if Obama were passionately pro-life, he couldn’t help the hearts of African Americans, all Americans, even people the world over, to rethink their pro-choice views? You know he has the power to do this. And this wouldn’t make him LESS evil?

    This is an excerpt from an essay written by a Catholic convert who used to perform abortions (I posted it a little earlier – please read it):

    Excerpt from CONFESSION OF AN EX-ABORTIONIST
    By Dr. Bernard Nathanson (founder of NARAL)

    THE SECOND KEY TACTIC WAS TO PLAY THE CATHOLIC CARD

    (circa 196smilies/cool.gif…We systematically vilified the Catholic Church and its “socially backward ideas” and picked on the Catholic hierarchy as the villain in opposing abortion. This theme was played endlessly. We fed the media such lies as “we all know that opposition to abortion comes from the hierarchy and not from most Catholics” and “Polls prove time and again that most Catholics want abortion law reform”. And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the influence of the Catholic hierarchy and that Catholics in favour of abortion are enlightened and forward-looking. An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-Catholic groups opposing abortion. The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions were {and still are) monolithically opposed to abortion was constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists’ opinions…

    This is an indictment of the media; they were spoon-fed their talking points and put forth falsehoods to support advancing abortion rights, using CATHOLICS as their scapegoats. Do you understand how grave this is? This is now happening with gay rights, which are being expanded as I type this. The media is once again being spoon-fed their talking points. The exceptance of homosexuality as normal has done more to expand the use of abortion than many realize, simply because homosexual relations cannot produce children; it is the principle example of sex purely for enjoyment alone, along the lines of going out for a nice dinner. This leads to directly to promiscuity, which is heartbreaking and soul-deadening, and let’s face it, countless abortions result from promiscuity. Many of us, through our fallen natures, have been swayed to think we no longer need the moral framework provided by marriage to enjoy sexual relations. The results have been disastrous.

    Moving from gay rights to hate speech legislation, guess who is the strongest proponent of this issue? The homosexual community, who want to limit any dissent against their agenda, including FROM THE PULPIT. It’s already happening in Canada, so be forewarned, it’s coming soon to the US. The media once again has their marching orders and are following them to a T.

    These issues WERE ADVANCED by anyone who voted for Obama, to the serious detriment of Catholism. The Democratic party is loaded up with these kind of unwitting co-conspirators, who are either hopelessly naive or something more evil.

    Scott, the “rest of Catholism” cannot be separated from abortion, even though that is what you desire. It is a continuum, and all aspects of human sexuality from the Catholic perspective do tie ultimately to abortion.

    I am not a knee-jerk Republican by any means, so I do understand your anger and frustration, but so many on this site have promoted the Democratic party solely because they are an antidote to Bush. It’s just not as simple as that.

  • John Zmirak

    Scott, I share some of your concerns–for instance, I think the Iraq war was imprudent, unjust, and founded on lies by high figures in our government. I think George Bush was unworthy to serve as the president of a decent fraternity, much less any country. I’ve spoken out on these issue many times; look up my warning against the Iraq war issued in 2002.

    But I find your tone toward Fr. Rutler inexcusable, petty and catty. How do you know that he is guilty of “superficial ecumenism”? Having heard many, many of his sermons and read several of his books, I can say confidently that his exposition of ecclesiology is sound and straightforward. Indeed, he courageously challenges doctrinal innovations–for instance, the current fad for pretending that capital punishment is intrinsically evil. That stance makes him no friends in bishops’ offices, and wins him no personal advantage. It just happens to be correct.

    What do you mean by “brandy and cigars” ecumenism? I am a former parishioner of St. Agnes, where Fr. Rutler served admirably for many years. Once an Episcopal priest who had been slated for “big things” in that rich, easy-going church, he moved gradually to Rome–and lived without complaint in a cramped, overcrowded rectory infested with rats (and THEN with cats adopted to control the rats), “warehoused” by the Archdiocese with other orthodox priests who’d been run out of various parishes. A highly educated man, he was invariably patient and charitable with folk of every ilk–from midtown businessmen to batty old ladies with conspiracy theories about Freemasons faking the weather. He spent long hours in the confessional, and carefully prepared sermons of great complexity and depth.

    In an incident which Fr. Rutler NEVER mentions, but about which I happen to know, he was in one of the Towers on Sept. 11 offering last rites alongside Fr. Michael Judd just before it collapsed. Summoned outside to help an emergency worker, he was only by chance (or Providence) saved from sharing Fr. Judd’s fate. That is a priest’s charity in action. I hope for your own sake that you live your own vocation as honestly.

  • Connie

    I definitely agree with Father Rutler that a calculated persecution of Holy Mother Church is at our door. I find it profound – approx. 11 pm on election night, it was announced on TV that Obama had won. My sister quickly turned on EWTN for support and sanity, and there was Father Rutler on his series, “Christ in the City”. She knew in her heart that God was telling us to stay close to HIM and Our Blessed Mother no matter how dark it will become. Jesus wants us to know that He indeed, is the ONLY KING of our city, our nation, and our world. Thank you Father, for proclaiming that truth so eloquently.

    But oh, how the darkness is settling in so quickly! People who voted for Obama just aren’t seeing clearly now. Their passion for “change” and “hope”, their hatred of Republicans, Bush, Limbaugh, etc. has blinded them. They truly do not see what they have done to the innocent children who have no voice. Chastisement is going to unfold in horrific proportions, and I believe at a freight train speed.

    Father Corapi has said that our nation will be dust if we elect Obama, for we will have officially declared ourselves “enemies of God”. Much stronger and more serious language than “useful idiots”, dear Scott. Please, if nothing else, all “Obama catholics”, go to PriestsForLife.org and SEE the graphic pictures of the torn-apart babies lying in their precious blood. Can’t you see their blood on your hands? You didn’t have to vote for murder, no matter what your political leanings are, or how mad you are about the Iraq war, Bush or the economy. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have Mercy on us and on the whole world.

  • Connie

    Thank you John Zmirak for telling us about Father Rutler. It choked me up, and deeply moved me. He is “Christ in the City”, indeed.

  • dave carlin

    I don’t really disagree with Fr. Rutler when he says that a persecution of the Church is coming — although I wouldn’t actually use the word “persecution.” In fact I have written a book (“Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?) in which I argue that the national Democratic Party has allied itself with secularist cultural forces that are out to destroy Christianity in America. Obama’s victory represents an advance for those anti-Christian forces.

    However, that’s not what my posted essay is about. It’s about whether Obama can unify the country. Perhaps he can do so while leaving people like me and Fr. Rutler out of the consensus. Many of Obama’s secularist upper-middle class supporters hope that he can unify the country around an agenda that shows contempt for traditional Christianity. Maybe he can.

  • RK

    Father Rutler,

    American military activity in Iraq has resulted in hundreds of thousands (some say a million) deaths of innocent Iraqi women, children, and unborn babies. What are their lives worth? It is clear now that we were lied into war by neoconservatives who had a separate agenda. With all due respect, it is insulting to those of us who know better for you to insist upon the propaganda of the Bush/Cheney White House.

    While I share your concern about Obama, there are many who had little faith that McCain offered any appreciable difference aside from the occasional, politically expedient rhetoric. The major donors to both campaigns were essentially the same. Quite telling, no?

  • Rose

    Scott and others,

    When I saw in a printed quote during the campaign that Obama did not want to discount the “rights of abortionists” I knew he had divorced himself from real life experience under justification of the law…cold detachment…where law is King.

    Abortionist physicians rights! The legal right to murder innocents for profit! Even San Francisco, on Nov. 4, could NOT pass a local bill for prostituion to be legalized; sex for profit, but abortionists have Federal backing for murder of an entire vulnerable class of citizens!! This is no Science Fiction.

    Real compassion for women in pregnancy crises (“a punishment” says Obama) must not go against the specific gift entrusted to women by God; that of bringing forth human life. I rejected this gift 28 years ago with an abortion at Hope Clinic in IL…a death decision brings forth nothing that cooperates with the common good of society.

    Dave Carlin:
    Perhaps Obama can unite the American secularists, but he is appealing to them under a guise of compassion & good will for all. But then Satan is an angel of light offering ultimate, eternal death in attractive deceptive packages. Fr. Rutler is correct. for those with eyes of faith…this is a battle between good & evil–God & Satan with humanity lining up on sides….even along political lines. Christians must not be enemies of the Cross in their actions.

  • Clinton

    Dear Scott and Fr. Rutler,

    After reading the interesting post above, and observing the even more interesting comments below, I thought I would throw in my two cents as well. Actually, I am a new comer to this website and a recent convert from Evangelicalism. I think its always good to have a healthy discussion and for the most apart, I have been impressed with the range of opinions expressed by different individuals. The problem I keep seeing however, every Christian website I visit, is how bitter one Christian is with another, especially over political issues, but frankly about most things. Perhaps, the thing that saddens me the most is the complete lack of respect I find among Christians for any form of authority.

    Having said this, I would like to say I found your post pretty interesting Fr. Rutler and I agree with you that certainly I think persecution is coming to America. Actually, I think persecution has been here for some time now. At least, I’ve had my share of looks, insults, mockery whenever I’ve expressed my faith or its implications. Now Scott, having read your remark, I find that you do not address Fr. Rutler’s comment at all. I understand what you are trying to say, but you put out a lot of statements there that seem to have nothing to do with what Fr. Rutler said – like ecumenism, persecution of cradle catholics, etc etc. While acknowledging that you respect him as a priest (I’m not sure if you are a Catholic), you do accuse him and many Christians who are concerned about moral issues of simply hijacking the Christian faith. In fact, you dismiss abortion in a very cavalier manner, even while admitting that it is evil. Finally, you sort of imply that Fr. Rutler is not preaching the whole Christian faith just because he is speaking out against abortion.

    Now perhaps you are trying to say that abortion is not the only issue and we must not associate the Christian faith with a certain political party. Perhaps you are trying to ask, “What about the war in Iraq, etc?” I think these are legitimate questions. However, I find that Fr. Rutler really did not address these questions in his comment. Rather, his remark mostly seemed to make the point at least to me that we cannot start being wimps especially on an important issue like abortion. And that now more than ever we need some sort of a revolution.

    Now I do not know Fr. Rutler and I am not going to speak for him. I do not know what kind of revolution he means, but at least for me, I think Christians need to wake up, we need to fast and pray and take up Jesus’ mission of denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Him in everything. We need to stand up for Jesus in word and deed. I believe this is the kind of spiritual revolution he may be referring to- the only way we can change our nation.

    Again, one may not agree with everything Fr. Rutler or Mr. Carlin says, but one can attempt to understand what someone is saying without throwing darts around. Additionally, I do not think saying I agree with everything the Pope says but not necessarily priests and pastors sounds consistent. After all, the Bishop represents Christ, and priests represent the Bishop who represents Christ.

    Now a priest or a Bishop or Pope maybe in error; and we are not called to obey what we may believe contradicts the clear teaching of Christ, the Church or our conscience. But we are certainly called to respect and obey our spiritual leaders in every other instance (yes, the Scriptures use the word “Obey”). Fr. Rutler may not be right about everything and even if everything Father said above was factually wrong, we are called to respect him (and even other Christians). Then, I think we can have a decent conversation.

  • Clinton

    Finally, I think this whole idea of saying that one must not mix their religious views with politics, presents a false dichotomy. As individuals, our lives are not divided into sacred and secular. We are one whole person. Jesus did not hesitate to call Herod a fox, and John the Baptist did not hesitate to rebuke him for his adultery. Both Jesus and the Apostles stood up to the political leaders of their day who opposed the gospel and were friends with other political leaders like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who believed it. The Apostles and the early church frequently spoke about moral issues and the NT frankly condemns popular sins such as homosexuality and fornication. Jesus, frequently advises his Apostles not to be like the Gentiles. And if the Apostles perhaps lived in a democracy, they might be advising Christians to make sure they pick candidates that reflect the Christian faith and not just commanding Christians to submit to all authorities, since authorities in a certain sense (at least in St. Paul’s theology) represent God!

  • SAVANNAH LEE

    I think Christians need to wake up, we need to fast and pray and take up Jesus’ mission of denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Him in everything. We need to stand up for Jesus in word and deed. I believe this is the kind of spiritual revolution he may be referring to- the only way we can change our nation.

    AMEN, AMEN—Just as long as it does not include distributing the wealth!

  • Rose

    Yes, God has a plan that involves Obama.

    Dan 2: 20-23 says that God sets Kings and disposes of them as well. Perhaps Jesus is coming very soon and God is setting up Obama for a big conversion of heart…the most staunch pro-choice-abortion candidate realizes his sin against Life and leads the world to Christ!!
    Now, that would be a CHANGE I could get behind wholeheartedly!!

    Amen–Maranatha–Come quickly, Lord Jesus; Prince of Peace*

  • Pamela

    President-elect Obama’s transition chief said Sunday the incoming administration is looking to reverse President Bush’s executive orders on Stem Cell Research…

    And he isn’t even in office yet. This lays at the feet and on the soul of every Catholic who voted for him. I’m sorry if that is divisive, but it is the truth. God have mercy on us all.

  • Joe H

    When the supposed tribulations under Obama never occur, some of you will have to invent them to stay even relatively sane.

  • Mary

    “When the supposed tribulations under Obama never occur, some of you will have to invent them to stay even relatively sane.” Joe H.

    Or believe in the power of prayer, fasting and Divine Intervention!

  • August Driscoll

    When the supposed tribulations under Obama never occur, some of you will have to invent them to stay even relatively sane.

    When the paradise you liberals have envisioned doesn’t come to pass under an Obama administration, you’ll regret not having voted on principle.

  • Joe H

    I know siome of you think I am an anti-Catholic devil – as I’ve said, being outside the company of American conservative Catholics hardly puts me outside the billion plus international Catholic Church, so I don’t mind – but I’d like to ask you to put your bitter contempt for me aside and take a seriously look at what happened on Tuesday.

    The Christian conservative right – and this is mostly coming from evangelicals at this point, from what I’ve seen – is trying to salvage itself by arguing that Tuesday “voters rejected Republican politicians but embraced traditional values”, as evidenced by the anti-gay marriage ballot measures passed by voters in a few states.

    In California, the quintessenial blue state, supposedly overrun by hippies and heathens, prop 8 passed while prop 4 failed. Prop 8 was a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, which was highly controversial, bitterly fought, and passed by a comfortable margin. Prop 4 was a simple parental notification for abortion and a 48 hour waiting period for teenage abortions. The same voters who shot down gay marriage also shot down this notification/consent proposition.

    And of course, more strident anti-abortion propositions failed in Colorado and South Dakota, while other pro-marriage propositions passed. The conservative movement, from what I have seen so far in the press, has COMPLETELY IGNORED these defeats. It has basically said the defeat of gay marriage in a few states = a triumph of conservative values at the ballot box and proof the movement still has a pulse. But it would appear that the routing of several anti-abortion propositions plays no role in this assessment.

    You can’t blame this on me, and you can’t blame this on Barack Obama. And I don’t bring these things up to “rub it in”, but to try and show you where the real problem lies. All I’ve been hearing is that abortion is THE number one issue – while prop 8 got millions in backing from Mormons and our own Church, what did prop 4 get? Prop 4 may have saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives. But no one treated it that way. It was just another proposition.

    So forgive me if I first smirk, and then wretch, at the repeated ad homoniem attacks, snakry comments, and patronizing/insulting rhetoric hurled my way, because it all reflects a completely backwards and irrational set of political priorities. Same for the hysterical persecution-mania I see developing with regards to Obama. You cannot boil a problem of this magnitude down to one man when it is so obvious that we have completely lost the American people on this question. That there are still conservatives in America is evident enough in the passing of anti-gay propositions; that there are still enough pro-life conservatives to make a difference at the ballot box is barely evident at all.

    I’ll say it one more time – Hispanics will decide the future of the US, they will make TX and AZ blue in eight years, they will continue to vote Democrat because Democrats will always be perceived as better on immigration than the GOP, they are also mostly Catholic and pro-life even if they don’t vote the way you like, ergo a pro-life Dem has a shot if he or she grounds themselves in the Catholic Hispanic vote.

  • August Driscoll

    I know siome of you think I am an anti-Catholic devil – as I’ve said, being outside the company of American conservative Catholics hardly puts me outside the billion plus international Catholic Church, so I don’t mind – but I’d like to ask you to put your bitter contempt for me aside and take a seriously look at what happened on Tuesday.

    The Christian conservative right – and this is mostly coming from evangelicals at this point, from what I’ve seen – is trying to salvage itself by arguing that Tuesday “voters rejected Republican politicians but embraced traditional values”, as evidenced by the anti-gay marriage ballot measures passed by voters in a few states.

    In California, the quintessenial blue state, supposedly overrun by hippies and heathens, prop 8 passed while prop 4 failed. Prop 8 was a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, which was highly controversial, bitterly fought, and passed by a comfortable margin. Prop 4 was a simple parental notification for abortion and a 48 hour waiting period for teenage abortions. The same voters who shot down gay marriage also shot down this notification/consent proposition.

    And of course, more strident anti-abortion propositions failed in Colorado and South Dakota, while other pro-marriage propositions passed. The conservative movement, from what I have seen so far in the press, has COMPLETELY IGNORED these defeats. It has basically said the defeat of gay marriage in a few states = a triumph of conservative values at the ballot box and proof the movement still has a pulse. But it would appear that the routing of several anti-abortion propositions plays no role in this assessment.

    You can’t blame this on me, and you can’t blame this on Barack Obama. And I don’t bring these things up to “rub it in”, but to try and show you where the real problem lies. All I’ve been hearing is that abortion is THE number one issue – while prop 8 got millions in backing from Mormons and our own Church, what did prop 4 get? Prop 4 may have saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives. But no one treated it that way. It was just another proposition.

    So forgive me if I first smirk, and then wretch, at the repeated ad homoniem attacks, snakry comments, and patronizing/insulting rhetoric hurled my way, because it all reflects a completely backwards and irrational set of political priorities. Same for the hysterical persecution-mania I see developing with regards to Obama. You cannot boil a problem of this magnitude down to one man when it is so obvious that we have completely lost the American people on this question. That there are still conservatives in America is evident enough in the passing of anti-gay propositions; that there are still enough pro-life conservatives to make a difference at the ballot box is barely evident at all.

    I’ll say it one more time – Hispanics will decide the future of the US, they will make TX and AZ blue in eight years, they will continue to vote Democrat because Democrats will always be perceived as better on immigration than the GOP, they are also mostly Catholic and pro-life even if they don’t vote the way you like, ergo a pro-life Dem has a shot if he or she grounds themselves in the Catholic Hispanic vote.

    There was no pro-life Democrat to vote for this Presidential election. And speaking of persecution-mania, read the above quotation.

  • Joe H

    How about addressing the argument? I mean, why quote my whole post anyway if you aren’t going to address it?

  • August Driscoll

    How about addressing the argument? I mean, why quote my whole post anyway if you aren’t going to address it?

    What’s the arguement, that conservatism is dead so why not be a liberal? Sounds like capitulation to me.

    Our actions are for today, and must not be based on self-imagined prophetic outcomes for the future, but simply on what is right and just.

    The homosexual agenda is just about the most insidious thing you liberals have on the plate. The fact you would down play that is telling.

    I don’t believe I’ve missed anything. The rest of your post seems superfluous.

  • Pamela

    You accuse those of us from the “conservative Christian right” of losing because we have this backward notion that abortion is such a big deal while most of the electorate don’t agree. Well, after this election, you are obviously correct on that matter, as far as you go with it.

    The thing is, what most of the electorate thinks, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the Church teaches that abortion IS that big a deal, and it is the Church that Jesus gave the authority to determine what is and should be of most importance. Not you, not me, not Doug Kmeic, but the Church. So even if we backward pro-lifers lose every election that precedes Christ’s second coming, which will happen some day, it really doesn’t matter, because the only judgment that means anything at all is not the one that comes on election day. It is the one that comes when we stand before the Lord. That liberal Catholics have chosen some ‘less backward’ political priorities to place above LIFE and therefore are the political “winner” here on earth might well come as cold comfort on that day, if we backward pro-lifers, and the Church, are right about what God holds as the top priority.

    I have enough to worry about on the day I face our Lord without placing my own personal political priorities above His greatest gift, for the sake of winning some political race.

  • Lorraine

    Just thought you may like to read what Fr. Corpai has to say about the Obama victory. I’ll quote it here and you can find it on his website at http://www.fathercorapi.com

    THERE IS STILL A GOD IN HEAVEN

    The American people have now made it abundantly clear who they want to lead them, and the policies and practices that this president-elect has represented for some time, they can now claim as their own. Actions have consequences, and I am sure God has duly noted what our priorities are in the US of A. Economic matters would seem to take precedence over moral matters; money more important than life itself to most people (I guess they don

  • Joe H

    I did NOT say that putting abortion first is the wrong priority; I am also pro-life.

    I said blaming either people like me or Obama for the crisis of the pro-life movement is, because you are ignoring the reality that most Americans are simply pro-choice, at least as far as the first trimester goes. That was the point.

  • Robert

    Rose, you may be right.

    So what should we do as Republican Catholics?
    1. Keep praying for Obama’s conversion. Instead of whining, we should realize that everything happens because God allows them. God is in control. Not us. So there is a purpose for all of this. We do not know as of now. It would be wonderful if God would convert him to being pro-life.
    2. Plan for 2012. This time we have to support real anti-abortion candidates (candidates who really have done concrete things for the anti-abortion cause instead of those who just pay lip service to it like most Republican politicians). They should be at the same time intelligent, hard working and have an impeccably clean track record. We have to support these candidates even before the primaries and support them strongly in the primaries. Again, instead of whining, we should work. We can’t allow what happened this year to happen again—choosing the lesser evil. Our Catholic faith frowns on doing this as evil is still evil. So we have to work hard very early on. Outstanding candidates would be Ron Paul and Jindal.
    3. Re-orient the Republican party to adopt other Catholic values (many Republicans have opposite stand from Caholic values in certain issues). These issues include social justice, preferential option for the poor, immigrant issues, justice, charity, death penalty and so forth.

    We have to be positive and not focus on the negative.

    Remember God is in control. Everything happens because God allowed it. We put our trust in HIM.

  • Pamela

    I don’t see how I interpreted what you yourself wrote incorrectly, Joe. I’m glad to hear you are also pro-life. I pray you voted that way, though your posts would lead one to believe otherwise.

    Regardless, you are the one who said “So forgive me if I first smirk, and then wretch, at the repeated ad homoniem attacks, snakry comments, and patronizing/insulting rhetoric hurled my way, because it all reflects a completely backwards and irrational set of political priorities.”

    If I have misinterpreted your intent here, perhaps it is that you expressed yourself poorly.

    Also, I don’t see a crisis in the pro-life movement. We are committed. The crisis is in the pro-death movement, led by the Democrat Party, and Catholics who do not adhere to the teaching of the Church. If you are part of that, if you support candidates knowing they will advance the pro-abortion agenda, then you do deserve some of the blame and Barack Obama deserves every bit of blame that has been given him for preventing the BAIPA being passed and for voting 100% in favor of abortion, and for promising to sign the FOCA. So please, don’t tell me I have it wrong. I only know what you have written. Maybe you would like to rephrase.

  • Sam

    Summary

    I think it likely that the last eight years’ hatred for G.W.Bush would have been nearly nonexistent had Bush only hailed from a city and had a neutral accent. (By “city” I mean: One outside the South. Too many Northerners suffer from the delusion that Atlanta and Dallas look like dirt-road sets from The Dukes of Hazzard.)

    Anyhow, I think Professor Henry Higgins had it right: People judge others on the basis of how they talk.

    RC,

    Great analysis! I have a unique perspective on this. I was born in Wisconsin, raised in Texas, and now call New England home (at least that’s my domicile). When Sarah Palin said “You betcha!”, that resonated with my Wisconsin roots. The liberal and conservative coastal elites mocked her endlessly for that and other things. When George Bush speaks in his Texas drawl and doesn’t mince words especially as he did right after 9/11, that also resonates with me because he’s a plain-speaking Texan who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. The liberal elites mocked him endlessly for this. What I’m getting at is, Bush, Palin and others from “flyover” country — whether Midwest, Mountain West, Southwest, or Southeast — are mocked for not sounding “educated” or “sophisticated” or “nuanced” when in fact their backgrounds and accents reflect a more plain-spoken, honest, and true America that the elitists on either coast have disdained and moved beyond in their efforts to be more like Europe.

    Plus, I work as a civilian for the military. Many of the officers who command units I work for hail from the South. The best of them may sound uneducated, but one underestimates them at their peril. I’ll take them any day over a nuanced Harvard elitist like John Kerry or Barack Hussein Obama for that matter.

  • Joe H

    If you’re still around, please hear me loud and clear:

    YOU accused me of criticizing the pro-life movement for putting abortion first. You said,

    “You accuse those of us from the “conservative Christian right” of losing because we have this backward notion that abortion is such a big deal”

    I never said that. Where did I say that? Abortion is as big a deal to me, a left-leaning distributist, as it is to you, a conservative. I think the GOP lost for reasons that have little if anything to do with abortion. I think abortion is still a problem partially because the conservative Christians have had a backwards set of political priorities in terms of strategy and tactics. Surely you see the difference. I should have maybe said, strategic and tactical priorities.

    What I criticized was putting attacks against people like me and people who voted for Obama in general ahead of getting some positive work done in changing people’s attitudes on abortion.

    What you quoted me as saying came after an assessment of the political situation. What I was saying was that given how the voters rejected anti-abortion propositions in three states, the problem isn’t me and it isn’t the Democrats – it’s the American people.

    The idea was, stop spitting venom at me and go figure out how to address the widespread pro-choice mentality in this country. We’ve elevated the mere act of voting to a sacrament in a non-existent civil religion. We wouldn’t be so worried about who votes for who if we had a culture where the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

  • Claire

    Isn’t this whole reaction to Fr. Newman’s statement a result of weak teaching from the pulpit for the past 40 years about sin in general, much less mortal sin?

    When did you last hear that it is a mortal sin to use artificial birth control? Isn’t the rejection of Humanae Vitae or the bishops’/priests’ refusal to even address it the source of this “attack” on Fr. Newman?

    A poster mentioned that our discussion here gives more fodder to the enemies of the Church. That somehow being concerned with Msgr. Laughlin’s actions somehow is a form of dissent.

    We must ask ourselves, WHO are the real enemies of the Church? Are they not the “mute bishops and priests and relgious” who for whatever reason have not preached the truths of our beautiful Faith? Who have let the flock live in mortal sin and receive Jesus in the Eucharist over and over again with souls black as night?

    And some of these individuals have infiltrated specifically to wound the Church from within – planted dissenters to cause confusion and chaos.

    I am speaking from experience – I have had encounters with these individuals who have great “power” in the Church and will silence any faithful priests in whatever way they must – deem them incompetent and even mentally ill and send them “away”, or have them realize that they were never meant to be priests and “help” them seek a laicization from Rome…

    So to accuse people of being righteous or trying to incite an Inquisition is simply unfair. I am sure many of these posters are not from faithful Catholic upbringings. I know I was raised Catholic, fell away and came back but unfortunately was immersed in a heretical environment and and exposed to so much dissent, where the “community” was God, the New Age and the cry of Satan “I will not serve!” that it literally took the miraculous intervention of Our Blessed Mother to bring me home to the true Catholic Church!

    I am sure many of us are simply wounded, bleeding and bleating sheep who are longing for Jesus to Shepherd us and when a real pastor emerges, we know him and listen to his voice for it is Christ in him…

MENU