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I'm curious about something; the Vatican has campaign against the legalization of civil divorce in countries like Ireland and Poland. I assume that the Vatican expects all Catholics to get on board with that one. Now, if you happen to believe that this is a politically mistaken point of view and as a Catholic you support legalizing civil divorce, then should you be banned from communion?

I also noticed that one of the five non-negotiables in the Catholic voter's guide is support for same sex civil unions (or same sex marriages). Now, if you support some limited rights and some kind of legal arrangement for same sex civil unions not because you morally agree with them, but because you think that in the context of our society it is more prudent to have such arrangements, then should you be denied communion?

I mean this in all sincerity and not to offend anyone but when I read these things about the Roman Catholic Church, I can appreciate why the "know nothings" and other anti-Catholic americans were concerned about too much Catholic influence in the U.S. Sometimes, it really does seem like Catholics are to get their marching orders from the Pope and vote in Catholic theology and morality as much as possible. I'm not saying I fully agree with this fear against Catholicism, I'm just saying that in historical perspective, I can see how people could have these fears.

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Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis


Regarding Bishop Chaput's explanation of a proportionate reason:
"It's the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life - which we most certainly will. If we're confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed."

I ask how he knows that we will meet the victims of abortion face to face in the next life?

But, back to the main point, it does seem Alexis that you are stuck voting against Obama. I'm curious though why prolifers never bring up the use of torture or the murder of thousands of civilians (by unjust war) as proportionate reasons. These are things the government intentionally does. The government may permit people to have abortions, but it certainly isn't forcing them to.

Joe

P.S. Archbishop Chaput's suggestion reminds me of some of the scare tactics used by baptist preachers when I grew up. A famous one used in sermons was, "And remember that everyone you don't witness to will burn in hell and God will grab you and hold you over the fires of hell to watch them suffer as your punishment for not being a good witness and disciple." It is emotional blackmail I think.

Last edited by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy; 10/14/08 03:32 AM. Reason: Added P.S.
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Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
I can understand what you are saying, but I must say to ban someone from communion because they possibly made a political mistake seems terribly unjust. Frankly, it makes me glad that I am not under Rome anymore. When a person who is unquestionably pro-life votes for a pro-choice person because he believes that there are issues grave enough to counterbalance the prochoice position, then I think he is voting in good faith and I think that if he is wrong, at the very worst, it is a mistake of political reasoning. But it is not a mistake of moral reasoning.

I would say that anyone who thinks that there are issues which add up to a moral imperative greater then working to end the slaughter of 4,000 innocents each day has made a mistake of moral, not political, reasoning.

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I think about Just War, Torture, Militarism, all the time Joe. That's why I believe Chuck Baldwin is the only viable option.

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Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
But what if we truly believe, Admin, that perhaps a greater number of lives could be lost if we voted the other way? Or that number of abortions under the two administrations wouldn't be different, all other lives lost being taken into account? Then is it not acceptable to vote for the pro-choice candidate, despite his pro-choice position?
Such a belief is not founded in fact, and being cognizant of facts is necessary for right moral reasoning. If Gore were elected in 2000 or Kerry elected in 2004 there would be no laws against infanticide (aka partial-birth abortion). Like him or not, President Bush has appointed Supreme Court justices that are more friendly to the right-to-life (both Gore and Kerry promised they would only appoint pro-abortion justices). Roe did not fall but was chipped at. It may take another generation to chip at it until it falls. And then the battle moves to individual states. Evil will always need to be fought against and will always make gains when we are lax. Each time a pro-abortion president is elected there is a setback for life. The moral imperative is to take steps - even baby steps - towards establishing the right-to-life.

I have stated this before. If every Catholic who generally prefers the agenda of the Democrat Party would refuse to vote for pro-abortion Democrats the Democrat Party would soon drop its pro-abortion position and become neutral on the issue. As pro-life Democrats are elected it would eventually become as pro-life as the Republican Party. Every time any one freely choose to vote for a pro-abortion politician they harm the cause of establishing in law the right-to-life.

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I've read that McCain and Obama agree on embryonic stem cell research - that both will support funding it with federal monies. McCain has, in previous years, expresses support for such research along with Nancy Reagan and others. I have no reason to believe he will change his stance if he is elected President.

As to President Bush - I don't believe his leadership has done anything substantial in limiting abortions. In my opinion, the rhetoric far outweighs the reality.

The only way abortion will be limited or ended is if a leader in the Democratic party goes toward the pro-life position, swaying some Democrats, while getting the Republican pro-lifers to vote his way. This may cause a new party to be formed by the fracture of abortion supporters from both sides.

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Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Regarding Bishop Chaput's explanation of a proportionate reason: "It's the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life - which we most certainly will. If we're confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed."

I ask how he knows that we will meet the victims of abortion face to face in the next life?

The Rich Man was able to look from hell across the chasm where the beggar Lazarus waited with Abraham and ask Abraham to send Lazarus across the chasm into hell with some water to cool his tongue. It is logical, then, to expect that we will meet each individual before whom we have failed and offer an explanation. I suspect that these innocents will be held in the arms of the Lord as we offer explanations as to why we failed to work to protect them.

Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
I'm curious though why prolifers never bring up the use of torture or the murder of thousands of civilians (by unjust war) as proportionate reasons. These are things the government intentionally does. The government may permit people to have abortions, but it certainly isn't forcing them to.

Prolifers most certainly do bring up such things. Torture is always wrong. What constitutes torture is not always clear, even in the mind of the Church. Intentional murder of civilians in war is wrong, even when the war itself is just. Unintentional killing of innocents in war is not murder. With abortion we have intentional murder of innocents.

Archbishop Chaput is right to remind us that how we live our faith affects both our salvation and that of others.

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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
I've read that McCain and Obama agree on embryonic stem cell research - that both will support funding it with federal monies. McCain has, in previous years, expresses support for such research along with Nancy Reagan and others. I have no reason to believe he will change his stance if he is elected President.

He did meet with groups opposed to embryonic stem cell research back in the summer. He did not change his mind but did indicate he was open to being persuaded. Perhaps more scientific facts combined with the wonderful pro-life witness of his running mate will convince him? I don't know, but that he has an open mind is something.

Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
As to President Bush - I don't believe his leadership has done anything substantial in limiting abortions. In my opinion, the rhetoric far outweighs the reality.

Gordo will surely post the full list. But one should think outlawing infanticide should be considered substantial (even if the laws are not totally perfect).

Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
The only way abortion will be limited or ended is if a leader in the Democratic party goes toward the pro-life position, swaying some Democrats, while getting the Republican pro-lifers to vote his way.

Catholics and other people who respect life could bring this about in a single election cycle if they refused to vote for pro-abortion Democrats.

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Originally Posted by Administrator

Gordo will surely post the full list. But one should think outlawing infanticide should be considered substantial (even if the laws are not totally perfect).


John,

Here is the link. It only goes until 2004, unfortunately. But the sheer volume and impact of the decisions are staggering.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1140835/posts

It does not take much imagination to see what direction an Obama administration would take vis-a-vis these decisions....and WHY it is so important to ensure a pro-life candidate is in the White House.

God bless!

Fr. Deacon Daniel (Gordo)

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Originally Posted by Administrator
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
I believe that there was recently a relatively famous prolife Catholic canon lawyer who endorsed Obama while making it clear that his endorsement was in spite of Obama's position on abortion. The story I heard was that his priest refused him communion. So is this the policy of the Catholic Church now? If you vote for a prochoice candidate you should refrain from communion even if your vote is in spite of the candidate's position?

You are probably speaking of Douglas Kmiec. The decision to deny him Communion was just. If there are pro-life alternative candidates to a pro-abortion candidate then one must choose among them. The way of determining is to add up all the other issues of the day and equate them with the daily murder of 4,000 baby humans through abortion. To say “I am voting for the candidate who will retain legal abortion and even repeal the laws against infanticide (aka “partial birth abortion”) because he promises me (whatever)” is just beyond words.


John-

that decision was not just, and your statement above is incorrect. The Bishops of the US have made that clear in their statement, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship :

Quote
Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so
important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper
relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes
a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s
intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal
cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s
opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other
important moral issues involving human life and dignity.
n.34 emphasis added


In the end how one votes is a prudential judgement. Kmiec is quite clear that he does not support Senator Obama's position on abortion. In that respect, one may disagree with Kmiec's decision to support Obama, but he is certainly not guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. In any event, the decision to withold the Eucharist is made by the Bishop, not the local chaplain of the group Kmiec was addressing.

The Bishops's teaching is clear, you cannot vote, for example, for a pro-choice candidate if your intent as a voter is to support the pro-abortion position. The teaching states nothing about the voter's having to vote for a so-called "pro-life" candidate. In fact the latter part of the quote states quite the opposite, given other moral issues that the "pro-life" candidate may in fact disregard.

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Thank you Father Deacon John for pointing this out.

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Originally Posted by Deacon John Montalvo
You quoted: At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

Father Deacon,

1. Douglas Kmiec has written off the possibility of ever establishing legal protection for the pre-born. That suggests indifference and I continue to support the priest who denied him Communion.

2. What other issues today together add up to be morally more important than working to stop the murder of 4,000 humans each day? Please list scenarios.

Consider this:

Quote
Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics - A Statement by the Catholic Bishops of the United States

23. Adopting a consistent ethic of life, the Catholic Church promotes a broad spectrum of issues "seeking to protect human life and promote human dignity from the inception of life to its final moment." Opposition to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. Any politics of human life must work to resist the violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life. But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the "temple of the Holy Spirit" -- the living house of God -- then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house's foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person's most fundamental right -- the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.

Quote
More...
34. We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in building the culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power. We must exercise that power in ways that defend human life, especially those of God's children who are unborn, disabled or otherwise vulnerable. We get the public officials we deserve. Their virtue -- or lack thereof -- is a judgment not only on them, but on us. Because of this, we urge our fellow citizens to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest.

"Voting for a pro-abortion candidate would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons" (from #35 in the document you quoted). Please list the morally grave reasons you consider more important that working to end abortion (the murder of 4,000 humans daily) and justify them, considering that all social issues do not have the same moral gravity.

And remember:
Quote
From Faithful Citizenship:
64. Our 1998 statement Living the Gospel of Life declares, “Abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human life and dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental good and the condition for all others” (no. 5).

John

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Originally Posted by Deacon John Montalvo
The Bishops's teaching is clear, you cannot vote, for example, for a pro-choice candidate if your intent as a voter is to support the pro-abortion position. The teaching states nothing about the voter's having to vote for a so-called "pro-life" candidate. In fact the latter part of the quote states quite the opposite, given other moral issues that the "pro-life" candidate may in fact disregard.


Fr. Deacon John,

A few points:

#1 - It is difficult to envision an issue that outweighs the destruction of innocent human life in the womb of its mother. Even if we were to compare numbers and consider the war in Iraq as the moral equivalent to abortion (which it is not), since the start of the Iraq war, 7,211,838 American children as of today (Tuesday, October 14) have died through direct abortion.

Click here for the "Abortion Ticker".

Even if we accept the inflated non-military civilian death count in Iraq since the conflict began as slightly under 100,000 (who knows all the criteria for that number...), it is still 7,111,838 human beings shy of the total number of abortions in the US alone.

Total up the number of abortions worldwide and it is 42 million people killed per year. That is 21 millions people since the start of the Iraq War.

Is there a graver Human Rights issue I am missing here?

And US based corporations like Planned Parenthood have a large hand in that figure. And let's not even start on the profits of Big Abortion, not to mention the funding from various governments that they receive...

#2: POVERTY, FAIR TAXATION, HEALTH CARE, GAS PRICES, ENVIRONMENT, etc etc...cannot compare to the lives lost and devastated through abortion.

#3: Let's take abortion out of the mix. Let's just say that Obama favors the continuing destruction of six million Jews in internment/forced labor camps. In fact, he plans to lift all governmental restrictions at the State level on the destruction of Jews, add new lines of rail tracks to the camps and provide tax-payer funding for more showers and ovens and personnel to oversee their operation with heightened efficiency. What is more, he plans to fund overseas operations thereby exporting the destruction of Jews to poorer countries that do not have access to such facilities to take care of this grave social problem.

On the other side, McCain and Palin are very vocal in their opposition to such barbarism. Additionally, there are other worthy 3rd party candidates out there from various political viewpoints who also share their views on this issue of the murder of millions of innocent Jews.

Now, the only difference between a Jew in a concentration camp and a child in the womb is time and nutrition. Ontologically they are the same. Could a Catholic (or any Christian for that matter) say that he or she has a properly formed conscience while voting for Obama?

I think not.

Substitute Jews for the elderly, the infirm, AIDS patients, newborn infants, etc etc. It does not matter. Such things cannot be simply overlooked by Catholic voters.

If there is a logical fallacy in my argument here, I would like to hear what it is.

To my mind (and I believe that this reflects the mind of the Church), a candidate's views - whatever his or her party affiliation - on this issue is the price of admission to be considered as a worthy candidate. I tell you truthfully - if Obama were solidly pro-life and yet a committed liberal, and McCain was a fanatical pro-abortion candidate (and no other 3rd party candidates were around) but a strict conservative in every other respect, I would cast my vote for Obama.

Pro-life is not the only position that matters, but it is an essential one. And if 67 million Catholic voters in the US finally stood up and said "No" to a candidate with views like Obamas, we would see a different Democratic Party.

Finally, I thought that this was an interesting article...

God bless,

Fr. Deacon Daniel

Obama's Abortion Extremism


Quote
Obama's Abortion Extremism

by Robert George

Oct 14, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.
Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals - who aggressively promote Obama's candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view.

What is going on here?

I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama's self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama's abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as ''pro-abortion'' rather than ''pro-choice.''

According to the standard argument for the distinction between these labels, nobody is pro-abortion. Everybody would prefer a world without abortions. After all, what woman would deliberately get pregnant just to have an abortion? But given the world as it is, sometimes women find themselves with unplanned pregnancies at times in their lives when having a baby would present significant problems for them. So even if abortion is not medically required, it should be permitted, made as widely available as possible and, when necessary, paid for with taxpayers' money.

The defect in this argument can easily be brought into focus if we shift to the moral question that vexed an earlier generation of Americans: slavery. Many people at the time of the American founding would have preferred a world without slavery but nonetheless opposed abolition. Such people - Thomas Jefferson was one - reasoned that, given the world as it was, with slavery woven into the fabric of society just as it had often been throughout history, the economic consequences of abolition for society as a whole and for owners of plantations and other businesses that relied on slave labor would be dire. Many people who argued in this way were not monsters but honest and sincere, albeit profoundly mistaken. Some (though not Jefferson) showed their personal opposition to slavery by declining to own slaves themselves or freeing slaves whom they had purchased or inherited. They certainly didn't think anyone should be forced to own slaves. Still, they maintained that slavery should remain a legally permitted option and be given constitutional protection.

Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but as ''pro-choice''? Of course we would not. It wouldn't matter to us that they were ''personally opposed'' to slavery, or that they wished that slavery were ''unnecessary,'' or that they wouldn't dream of forcing anyone to own slaves. We would hoot at the faux sophistication of a placard that said ''Against slavery? Don't own one.'' We would observe that the fundamental divide is between people who believe that law and public power should permit slavery, and those who think that owning slaves is an unjust choice that should be prohibited.

Just for the sake of argument, though, let us assume that there could be a morally meaningful distinction between being ''pro-abortion'' and being ''pro-choice.'' Who would qualify for the latter description? Barack Obama certainly would not. For, unlike his running mate Joe Biden, Obama does not think that abortion is a purely private choice that public authority should refrain from getting involved in. Now, Senator Biden is hardly pro-life. He believes that the killing of the unborn should be legally permitted and relatively unencumbered. But unlike Obama, at least Biden has sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it. If we stretch things to create a meaningful category called ''pro-choice,'' then Biden might be a plausible candidate for the label; at least on occasions when he respects your choice or mine not to facilitate deliberate feticide.

The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, ''forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.'' In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.

But this barely scratches the surface of Obama's extremism. He has promised that ''the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act'' (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed ''fundamental right'' to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, ''a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons.'' In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would ''sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.''

It gets worse. Obama, unlike even many ''pro-choice'' legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a ''punishment'' that she should not endure. He has stated that women's equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing ''pro-choice'' about that.

But it gets even worse. Senator Obama, despite the urging of pro-life members of his own party, has not endorsed or offered support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, the signature bill of Democrats for Life, meant to reduce abortions by providing assistance for women facing crisis pregnancies. In fact, Obama has opposed key provisions of the Act, including providing coverage of unborn children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and informed consent for women about the effects of abortion and the gestational age of their child. This legislation would not make a single abortion illegal. It simply seeks to make it easier for pregnant women to make the choice not to abort their babies. Here is a concrete test of whether Obama is ''pro-choice'' rather than pro-abortion. He flunked. Even Senator Edward Kennedy voted to include coverage of unborn children in S-CHIP. But Barack Obama stood resolutely with the most stalwart abortion advocates in opposing it.

It gets worse yet. In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.

You may be thinking, it can't get worse than that. But it does.

For several years, Americans have been debating the use for biomedical research of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (originally for reproductive purposes) but now left in a frozen condition in cryopreservation units. President Bush has restricted the use of federal funds for stem-cell research of the type that makes use of these embryos and destroys them in the process. I support the President's restriction, but some legislators with excellent pro-life records, including John McCain, argue that the use of federal money should be permitted where the embryos are going to be discarded or die anyway as the result of the parents' decision. Senator Obama, too, wants to lift the restriction.

But Obama would not stop there. He has co-sponsored a bill-strongly opposed by McCain-that would authorize the large-scale industrial production of human embryos for use in biomedical research in which they would be killed. In fact, the bill Obama co-sponsored would effectively require the killing of human beings in the embryonic stage that were produced by cloning. It would make it a federal crime for a woman to save an embryo by agreeing to have the tiny developing human being implanted in her womb so that he or she could be brought to term. This ''clone and kill'' bill would, if enacted, bring something to America that has heretofore existed only in China-the equivalent of legally mandated abortion. In an audacious act of deceit, Obama and his co-sponsors misleadingly call this an anti-cloning bill. But it is nothing of the kind. What it bans is not cloning, but allowing the embryonic children produced by cloning to survive.

Can it get still worse? Yes.

Decent people of every persuasion hold out the increasingly realistic hope of resolving the moral issue surrounding embryonic stem-cell research by developing methods to produce the exact equivalent of embryonic stem cells without using (or producing) embryos. But when a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to put a modest amount of federal money into research to develop these methods, Barack Obama was one of the few senators who opposed it. From any rational vantage point, this is unconscionable. Why would someone not wish to find a method of producing the pluripotent cells scientists want that all Americans could enthusiastically endorse? Why create and kill human embryos when there are alternatives that do not require the taking of nascent human lives? It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.

This ultimate manifestation of Obama's extremism brings us back to the puzzle of his pro-life Catholic and Evangelical apologists.

They typically do not deny the facts I have reported. They could not; each one is a matter of public record. But despite Obama's injustices against the most vulnerable human beings, and despite the extraordinary support he receives from the industry that profits from killing the unborn (which should be a good indicator of where he stands), some Obama supporters insist that he is the better candidate from the pro-life point of view.

They say that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually go down-despite the federal subsidizing of abortion and the elimination of hundreds of pro-life laws. The way to save lots of unborn babies, they say, is to vote for the pro-abortion-oops! ''pro-choice''-candidate. They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn.

This is delusional.

We know that the federal and state pro-life laws and policies that Obama has promised to sweep away (and that John McCain would protect) save thousands of lives every year. Studies conducted by Professor Michael New and other social scientists have removed any doubt. Often enough, the abortion lobby itself confirms the truth of what these scholars have determined. Tom McClusky has observed that Planned Parenthood's own statistics show that in each of the seven states that have FOCA-type legislation on the books, ''abortion rates have increased while the national rate has decreased.'' In Maryland, where a bill similar to the one favored by Obama was enacted in 1991, he notes that ''abortion rates have increased by 8 percent while the overall national abortion rate decreased by 9 percent.'' No one is really surprised. After all, the message clearly conveyed by policies such as those Obama favors is that abortion is a legitimate solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies - so clearly legitimate that taxpayers should be forced to pay for it.

But for a moment let's suppose, against all the evidence, that Obama's proposals would reduce the number of abortions, even while subsidizing the killing with taxpayer dollars. Even so, many more unborn human beings would likely be killed under Obama than under McCain. A Congress controlled by strong Democratic majorities under Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would enact the bill authorizing the mass industrial production of human embryos by cloning for research in which they are killed. As president, Obama would sign it. The number of tiny humans created and killed under this legislation (assuming that an efficient human cloning technique is soon perfected) could dwarf the number of lives saved as a result of the reduced demand for abortion-even if we take a delusionally optimistic view of what that number would be.

Barack Obama and John McCain differ on many important issues about which reasonable people of goodwill, including pro-life Americans of every faith, disagree: how best to fight international terrorism, how to restore economic growth and prosperity, how to distribute the tax burden and reduce poverty, etc.

But on abortion and the industrial creation of embryos for destructive research, there is a profound difference of moral principle, not just prudence. These questions reveal the character and judgment of each man. Barack Obama is deeply committed to the belief that members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect. Across the spectrum of pro-life concerns for the unborn, he would deny these small and vulnerable members of the human family the basic protection of the laws. Over the next four to eight years, as many as five or even six U.S. Supreme Court justices could retire. Obama enthusiastically supports Roe v. Wade and would appoint judges who would protect that morally and constitutionally disastrous decision and even expand its scope. Indeed, in an interview in Glamour magazine, he made it clear that he would apply a litmus test for Supreme Court nominations: jurists who do not support Roe will not be considered for appointment by Obama. John McCain, by contrast, opposes Roe and would appoint judges likely to overturn it. This would not make abortion illegal, but it would return the issue to the forums of democratic deliberation, where pro-life Americans could engage in a fair debate to persuade fellow citizens that killing the unborn is no way to address the problems of pregnant women in need.

What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama's America is one in which being human just isn't enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama's America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: ''that question is above my pay grade.'' It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator's pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy - and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.

In the end, the efforts of Obama's apologists to depict their man as the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even should vote for, doesn't even amount to a nice try. Voting for the most extreme pro-abortion political candidate in American history is not the way to save unborn babies.

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and previously served on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He sits on the editorial board of Public Discourse.

[/quote]


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Fr. Dcn. Daniel,

Your points are well taken, but what concerns me is not comparing the number of deaths from the Iraq War (a few hundred thousand) to the legal murder of the unborn (a few million). Abortion kills greater numbers, clearly. But my particular issue is the idea that under a McCain presidency, the numbers of abortions would decrease moreso than under an Obama presidency. Of course, the difference would have to be greater than the number of lives that one believes could very well be lost under McCain over and above Obama.

Alexis

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