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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Wedging of the Pro-Life Catholic Vote

The other day a friend who is deeply committed to the Pro-Life Movement came to me and said, "What is up with Ron Paul? Why isn't he endorsing John McCain?" 

Ron Paul was the only candidate running in the primary that attracted a solid recognizable base of Catholic support. 

That question points to the problem that this election is presenting to many Catholic voters who are serious about the Church's social teaching. Ron Paul is not endorsing John McCain because he will expand and extend neo-conservative foriegn policy. With McCain we will see war with Iran. We will see escalation of tensions with Russia over Georgia. And likely the collapse of our economy. The neo-conservatives are pumping Palin with policy statements to make her bark for war: NATO entry for Georgia?, pro-Israeli attack on Iran, contra to current US policy? 

With this radical war platform John McCain doesn't have a prayer to win, but for the pro-life vote he is pulling in through Palin.

Thus Catholics will decide this election in the battle ground states, just as we decided it last time around in Ohio.  

The reality of our power as Catholics in this election is tacitly recognized by the Democrats.

This is why they have a whole team of "Catholics" trying to shift the debate to "the most effective policies for reducing abortions," on the one hand while pushing the Right to Life issue under the Establishment Clause and thereby a point of personal religious belief that should not be legislated in a pluralistic society. While in the most cynical manner, Obama has made robust commitments to the Abortion Industry that will open wide the flood gates of abortion through the Freedom of Choice Act and the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City Policy, while funding early sex ed to sexualize children and market abortion. 

The Catholics who are supporting Obama are in need of our prayers. 

Thankfully Catholics are waking up to the Life issue and so too, it would seem, are the Bishops. But does that automatically defaut to the Republican's advantage? Increasingly the answer is, NO. 

What is happening is the Pro-Life Catholic Vote is being wedged, and George Weigel and Michael Novak are chiefly to blame. 

Weigel is one of the signatories of the Project for a New American Century - widely recognized as the neo-conservative policy blueprint for our current expansionism and war program. 

Both Weigel and Novak were the front men to make the Catholic case for pre-emptive war. They sold the Catholic Conservative population a bill of goods. They even went to the Vatican to make their case - but the Vatican wasn't buying. But the Conservative Catholic population did buy it. 

The effect of that mistake,  is that just as the Pro-Life Conservative Catholic view is waking up to be the majority Catholic view in America, that group is being wedged over pre-emptive war.

Some prominant Catholics are coming out against McCain and seeking 3rd party options, to vote their conscience rather than the lesser of evils. 

Thomas Woods is one of them. 

There are people who spend their time arguing that being "pro-life" this year means voting for an obtuse ignoramus who thinks it’s a laugh riot to sing, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." A savage who jokes gleefully about the inevitable creation of widows and orphans – that’s the person the official pro-life movement wants as its public face for four years. Gee, a coherent, non-contradictory message like that is just the way to win people over.

So too is Mark Shea:

My vote will not influence the outcome of this election at all, but it will influence the outcome of my life. I will have to look in the mirror every morning for the next four years and think "I voted for him. I vote for a cynical, duplicitous cannibal" if McCain wins. I'm tired of being played. So I will vote for somebody who doesn't make me feel guilty for voting. God willing, I might even be lucky enough to vote for somebody I feel honorable in supporting.

The question is whether this wedge is minor or major during this election year. Regardless of its impact now, it is a reality and will grow to further dissapate the power of the Catholic conservative electorate by spliting the Pro-Life Catholic vote over the war. For that we have Weigel and company to thank for selling it as part of just war. 

UPDATE: Supporting Analysis on Video.