Weighing the Catholic Vote in 2012

Right From the Start

I am a practicing Roman Catholic. I use the term “practicing” to contrast myself with the likes of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Sen. Patti Murray (D-WA), and Sen. Marie Cantwell (D-WA) who are nominal Catholics because they have chosen to worship at the alter of abortion on demand in the Democrat platform rather than the Catholic Church’s teachings.

According to the National Catholic Register there are about 72 Million Catholics in America. They account for about twenty-four percent of all Americans. They cover the spectrum of rich and poor, young and old and married and single. They are Black and White and Hispanic and Asian. They find their origins on every continent on Earth.

Based on the last presidential election we also know that nearly 52 percent of those Catholics that voted are either stupid, naïve or care more about abortion on demand than they do about the teachings of the Catholic Church. I choose to believe that most are incredibly naïve (including any number of the clergy.) The fifty-two percent represents, based on exit polling, the number of self-identified Catholics voting for President Barack Obama in the last election.

These are the Catholics and clergy who supported Mr. Obama despite his well documented and unbroken succession of voting in favor of abortion on demand, including one vote in the Illinois legislature that would have allowed the killing of a fetus born alive after commencement of an abortion procedure.

These are the Catholics and clergy that supported Mr. Obama despite his well publicized promise that the first piece of legislation that he would sign upon assuming the presidency would be the Freedom of Choice Act which mandated abortions for minor children without parental notification or support and would deny an “act of conscience” to Catholic hospitals and Catholic medical professionals. In other words, under the provisions of this Act, the licensing of medical facilities and personnel will be at risk if they refuse, as an act of conscience, to perform abortions on demand. (Fortunately that legislation never reached Mr. Obama’s desk, but he has been quietly implementing most of its provisions through executive orders.

These are the Catholics and clergy who continued to support Mr. Obama after he promised during a speech at Notre Dame University that he would work to make abortion rare while at the same time he was rescinding executive orders from former President George W. Bush that banned federal funding to international groups that promote and perform abortions.

These are the Catholics and clergy who continued to support Mr. Obama despite his meeting with Pope Benedict at which Obama promised to do everything possible to reduce the number of abortions while at the same time he dispatched his representatives to the United Nations to argue that abortion on demand was a fundamental right for women and should be recognized universally.

These are the Catholics and clergy who have justified their support of Mr. Obama (as well as other liberal Democrats) on the false notion that abortion cannot be viewed in isolation but rather in “proportionality.” In other words if a politicians or party supports other issues related to social justice, one can overlook the promotion of abortion on demand.

These views are unequivocally and diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict, the College of Cardinals and the Catholic Bishops have stated unequivocally the two critical elements to the Church’s position on politicians and abortion. First, the faithful may not support those who advocate abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research. There is a consistency in these positions – opposition to the taking of innocent human life. Second, that there is not proportionality in the Church’s opposition to these. In other words, there is not a balancing of a politician’s position on other matters of human rights – these are absolutes.

All of this arises again because of a recent administrative order from the Obama Administration that mandates that contraception be included in virtually all health plans provided by religious-affiliated institutions to their employees. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is quoted as saying:

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences. . .

“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.”

And make no mistake, if the rules imposed by the Obama Administration stand, Catholic institutions will be required to withdraw healthcare plans for the employees rather than violate their own conscience.

In the end, there are two significant questions to be answered in this presidential election cycle. First, will the Catholic Church vigorously educate its members about the error of “proportionality” and the absolutes about supporting those who advocate for abortion on demand? And second, will the faithful having received that education, respond by denying Mr. Obama their votes. In truth, Mr. Obama cannot be re-elected without the Catholic vote.