The “Catholics for Obama” Syndrome (cont.)


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ABSTRACTThe “Catholics for Obama” Syndrome (cont.) HOME        ARCHIVES        IN THE NEWS        COMMENTARY        NOTABLE        DONATE | French | Italian | Slovak | Spanish | Portuguese | recent columns The Real Taboos Robert Royal | 6.11.2012 What the SSPX Reconciliation Means – and Doesn’t David G. Bonagura, Jr. | 6.10.2012 Political Withdrawal, Reconsidered Joseph Wood | 6.9.2012 Freedom of Religion and the Fog of Culture War Francis J. Beckwith | 6.8.2012 The “Catholics for Obama” Syndrome (cont.) Howard Kainz | 6.7.2012 Archives news The next pope? Unlikely bedfellows Ideas have consequences More News commentary Just the facts 20,000 at Eucharistic Festival The return of eugenics More Commentary notable The two principles Male and female Greater or lesser hopes More Notables San Antonio Web Design Thursday, 07 June 2012 The “Catholics for Obama” Syndrome (cont.) By Howard Kainz    In 2010, I wrote in TCT on The “Catholics for Obama” Syndrome – a phenomenon that prevailed in the 2008 election, in which 54 percent of Catholics voted for Barak Obama – and that still prevails as we ready ourselves for the November 2012 election. In that column, I discussed long-standing inclinations of  Catholics to vote Democratic. Even if a mobster or dictator were the Democratic candidate, some Catholics would still not vote Republican. A major reason for this is that many Catholics view the Democrats as the political party closest to Catholic principles of social justice. Abortion, strangely, is not considered an essential issue of social justice. This belief took hold for Catholics partly as a result of the historic 1964 meeting at Hyannisport, where the Kennedys and the Shrivers talked over the subject for two days with dissident Catholic priests and theologians. The Hyannisport meeting was meant to salve the doubts of Ted Kennedy and others, who had earlier been pro-life. The “experts” they invited included, ex-Jesuit Albert Jonsen, Frs. Joseph Fuchs and Robert Drinan, Charles Curran, Richard McCormick, and the Rev. Giles Milhaven. After much intensive dialogue, they came to the conclusion that a Catholic could vote in favor of abortion. The change that followed was gradual. In fact, in 1971 Ted Kennedy wrote a letter to a constituent emphasizing the imperative of our generation to “fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.” But during the 1970s Kennedy “evolved” into a champion of “abortion rights,” followed by John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and many other Catholics, some still active in Congress. The view that the right to life is not included in the roster of rights to be protected caught on and spread to staunch Catholic Democrats. For them, the fact that Obama was solidly for abortion, for example, even to the extent of supporting the killing of a baby resulting from a botched abortion, was no obstacle to regarding him as a champion of social justice. In addition, there also has prevailed among Catholic Democrats the perception of the Republican Party as the “party of the rich” – in spite of the fact that “movers and shakers” among the Democrats – the Kennedys, the Kerrys, the Pelosis, et al. – have themselves been incredibly rich; seven out of the ten richest members of Congress are Democrats. But the strangest mis perception by Catholic Democrats has to do with regarding Republicans as opposed to civil rights. Every civil rights act up to 1964 had been sponsored by Republicans – including the 13 th , 14 th , and 15 th Amendments, the Civil Rights act of 1866, the Reconstruction act of 1867, anti-lynching bills, and anti-poll-tax bills; it was the Republican Party that implemented desegregation in public schools and the military, established the 1958 Civil Rights Commission, and sponsored the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Those of us who followed the news during the 1950s and 1960s remember how Democratic governors tried to stop desegregation, and that every senator opposed to black civil rights was a Democrat.         Sen. Ted Kennedy and Robert F. Drinan, S.J. a decade or so after the Hyannisport meeting. The reason for the mistaken view regarding Republicans and civil rights may be traced to the creation of “affirmative action” initiatives by President Nixon. In the aftermath, some Republicans began criticizing the use of “quota” systems, and the development of “reverse discrimination,” after minorities were given preference. Since 2008, unfortunately, the Democratic Party has effectively become the “abortion party.” Until recently, the party has had a cadre of pro-lifers. But in the 2010 election, much to the cha.......