Back in my New York days, when I was the greenest of greenhorns, I used to watch the three card monte players around Times Square. These are the guys who flip three playing cards around on an upturned box and goad the audience to “pick the red, pick the red, pick the red.” And they would make it look very easy. You could always see the red. Always. They’d also have a colleague in the crowd who would lay down his money and pick the red and he would win a wad of cash.
And then a greenhorn would step forward, slap down a twenty, and pick the red. Only the greenhorn never could pick the red. The red—that was RIGHT THERE—was no longer there. It was palmed by the con man running the game who would then pocket your twenty and goad you into going again.
The Seamless Garment is a little like that.
The political left in the Church says let’s include all these other issues in with abortion. Let’s include the minimum wage, and the environment, and disarmament, and gun control, open borders, and whatever other liberal shibboleth they are peddling this year. This will mean we are consistent because all of these are life issues. Pick the red. Pick the red.
The funny thing you end up seeing is that the political left never really gets around to abortion. Or they won’t get to the heart of the matter—that is, stopping abortion—but would rather talk about other issues they say reduce the need for abortion. But when it comes to straight up votes to stop abortion, well, that’s divisive and partisan and we can’t have that.
The U.S. Senate just failed to close debate about a law that their colleagues in the House already passed, and the president would have signed, that would have banned abortion after the time the unborn child feels pain, about twenty weeks. Now certainly there would have been constitutional issues. Certainly, it would have gone to the Supreme Court. But, there are more pro-life votes there than there used to be. What’s more, Emperor Kennedy has signaled that he might be open to new information on abortion, like fetal pain.
But it won’t get there, not this time anyway, because Seamless Garment Catholics, overwhelmingly Democrat, in the U.S. Senate voted against it. Had they voted the Seamless Garment, it would have passed. But they didn’t vote the Seamless Garment because they don’t really mean it.
The best example of the Seamless Garment scam in the Senate is Tim Kaine of Virginia, who was touted during the last campaign as a faithful Catholic, the Seamless Garmento par excellence. He was educated by Jesuits! He took mission trips to Latin America to build houses or something! He’s the real Catholic deal! Kaine voted in favor of 20-week fetuses being torn apart in utero. He wasn’t the only Seamless Garment Catholic who did this; there were 13 others, two of them Republicans, all the rest Democrats.
So, what about the Seamless Garment amen corner? What about the so-called “New Pro-Life Movement,” America Magazine, Commonweal, Crux? Did any of them editorialize in support of this commonsense measure prior to the vote? Of course not. Did any of them condemn the vote of the Seamless Garment Catholics? Did they even mention it?
Rebecca Bratten Weiss and Matthew Tyson started the “New Pro-Life Movement” precisely for Seamless Garment purposes. You’d think they would opine. Nope. Crickets. Nothing on the New Pro-Life Movement website and nothing in the blogs of Weiss and Tyson. Oh, you will find things there about the death penalty and posts condemning the actual pro-life movement, but nothing about the shame of these Seamless Garment quislings in the U.S. Senate.
America Magazine published a decent editorial condemning the practice of abortion past the 20th week but the article goes on to condemn the GOP for bringing up the vote at all because it had no chance of passing. They say it was a wedge issue. But the reason the vote went down is precisely because of the 14 Seamless Garment Catholics who voted against it. Had they voted right, it would have passed with 65 votes. Instead of criticizing them, America condemns the pro-life party for partisanship.
Crux, the reliably Seamless Garment site run by John Allen, didn’t publish even a single article or column about the issue. Allen did mention the vote in passing in an article on another topic.
Lefty Commonweal was also silent.
The political left in the Church has been furious for years that the pro-life movement has coalesced in the Republican Party, a body that is imperfect to be sure, but the body that has advanced the cause, unlike the Democrats. Perhaps the Seamless Garmentos really believe the $15 minimum wage is the same as more than a million child-killings a year. Perhaps they really do believe a $15 minimum wage would prevent more than a million child-killings a year. But more than likely what they want is to shame pro-lifers for being single issue voters and activists and lure them into the Seamless Garment Party of Death.
Here’s the thing. If a 20-week baby does not fit within the Seamless Garment, then the Seamless Garment simply does not exist and the purpose of it is clear: to fool the rubes. Pick the red. Pick the red. Pick the red.
Editor’s note: Pictured above is Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, speaking at a Unitarian Universalist church in Virginia in July 2016. (Photo credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP)