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The Open Letter to Obama Is Only the Beginning. Please Help Us In The Work Ahead!

November 21, 2008

I want to thank everyone who has shown a positive response to the Open Letter to President-elect Barack Obama. It’s meant to be a group effort, and many people have been at work to make sure the letter gets as wide a public as possible (including, of course, to Obama). Since many people have indicated that they want to sign the letter, there are plans to send an updated copy of the letter to Obama.

Moreover, we are hoping this is only the start of a greater, long-term effort. We are wantingto collect the names, e-mail addresses, and websites of all who have shown an interest in this effort, so we can better coordinate our effort in the future. We want to make sure as many people are involved as possible, because that way we can share our ideas, and hopefully try more, even better initiatives in the future. To insure the accuracy of our information, we are requesting that all signatories send their contact e-mail address and website(s) to Marjorie Campbell at marjorie@marjoriecampbell.com .

Thanks!

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36 Comments
  1. November 21, 2008 7:50 pm

    The time for fruitless rhetoric ended on November 4th. We now cannot stand by the wayside and negotiate with the nonnegotiable. No equivocating, no fence-sitting, and no compromise.

    Pray and fast for President-elect Obama and our glorious nation.

    This open letter is pointless.

  2. November 21, 2008 8:27 pm

    The time for fruitless rhetoric ended on November 4th. We now cannot stand by the wayside and negotiate with the nonnegotiable. No equivocating, no fence-sitting, and no compromise. … This open letter is pointless.

    Pardon, Tito — but with all due respect, can you then tell us why you joined the FaceBook counterpart to the “Open Letter” started by Henry, thereby endorsing the stated intent of the group?

    Catholics looking to work with President-elect Obama, his administration, and other political leaders on working towards the common good and bettering out country while challenging them and dialoging with them on issues on which we disagree, most notably abortion.

    We have written an open letter to President-elect Obama in an attempt to start this dialog. The letter can be seen below. If you are interested in co-signing, please let us know.

    There seems to be some disconnect between your criticism of the letter and your actions elsewhere.

  3. November 21, 2008 8:31 pm

    I’m with Dale Price on this:

    Our marching orders are clear: Pray for him and our country, work with him where possible to achieve the common good, and fight like a Maccabee when he oversteps his bounds — all the while remembering that November 2010 and 2012 will be here quicker than we think.

    Which I would think is incumbent on all Catholics — regardless of their vote.

  4. November 21, 2008 10:29 pm

    “This open letter is pointless.”

    I disagree. If FOCA is proposed in the next couple years, it will be important for Catholics to be organized, and to contact their Congressional representatives. I do not think FOCA will be a priority for Obama or Congressional moderates, but it can’t hurt to attempt to dialogue. Prayer and fasting are always necessary, but they do not preclude political involvement.

  5. November 22, 2008 2:57 am

    Christpher & John Henry,

    Because the ‘open letter’ emanated from a source such as Vox Nova that claims to be Catholic while at the same time promoting (many on the blog, not all) the most anti-life candidate in the history of the U.S., I chose not to sign the letter. And if I do in the end sign it, I hold deep reservation for many reasons.

    It is Dead On Arrival because of the source. Imagine the 1860 Presidential Election in which Southern Democrat John Breckinridge beats Republican Abraham Lincoln. And certain bloggers argued over the ‘nuances’ of why it was morally acceptable to vote for the pro-slavery candidate Breckinridge. Then turnaround and write up an open letter pleading to minimize the expansion of slavery. Simply dumbfounding.

    As for the Facebook thing, if I did sign it, it was without reading the cosigners carefully. I will say that I will rectify that situation quickly.

    But in the meantime, those certain bloggers here at Vox Nova should ponder the following passage from Isaiah:

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

    — Isaiah 5:20-24

  6. November 22, 2008 11:57 am

    Oh Tito…

    …sigh…

  7. November 22, 2008 4:39 pm

    We need to pray for Tito. His allegiance is more to the United States than to the living Word of God. His mindset is more evangelical protestant than Catholic.

  8. November 22, 2008 4:41 pm

    “remembering that November 2010 and 2012 will be here quicker than we think”

    The implication here seems to be that the people who will oppose Obama politically in these years are more worthy of Catholic support. Unless there is a sea change of monumental proportions over the next couple of years, that will not be the case.

  9. brigidmarie permalink
    November 23, 2008 4:35 am

    Morning’s Minion, I really don’t think it’s helpful to use “evangelical protestant” as a blanket perjorative. Certainly evangelicals have their problems, but there are many whose love of Christ puts Catholics to shame.

  10. November 23, 2008 9:01 am

    “We need to pray for Tito.”

    ..and for those who go out of their way to antagonize him.

  11. November 23, 2008 11:33 am

    I really don’t think it’s helpful to use “evangelical protestant” as a blanket perjorative. Certainly evangelicals have their problems, but there are many whose love of Christ puts Catholics to shame.

    Much agreed.

  12. November 23, 2008 12:03 pm

    I will say this here, too. Let’s try to avoid the negative, and people who are critical of efforts such as this, to help change the nation. Let’s find those who have good will, and are willing to work together for the better good, despite whatever differences they might have.

  13. November 23, 2008 12:06 pm

    John Henry

    No one is going out of their way to antagonize Tito; rather, look around the net, not just on this, but for the past couple years, and look who has gone out of his way to constantly belittle (and misrepresent) Vox Nova. He constantly says stuff like “they are anti-life” on other blogs. He goes out of his way to antagonize Vox Nova as a whole. I myself think there is a problem there — someone responding to him in this post, where he continues with his hostility, by asking for prayers for him, is not going out of their way to antagonize him. Rather, it is the approriate response, I would think.

  14. Gino permalink
    November 23, 2008 1:57 pm

    I wonder if Karlson and MM will be voting for Obama and for Dems in Congress in 2010 and 2012, regardless of whether FOCA becomes law or not. MMs earlier response seems to indicate that his loyalties are to the Democratic party before his Catholicism.

  15. November 23, 2008 2:07 pm

    Gino

    I didn’t vote for Obama this year. I’ve made it clear many times, I didn’t support him during the election.

  16. November 23, 2008 2:13 pm

    Tito should go away.

  17. kurt permalink
    November 23, 2008 4:56 pm

    “This open letter is pointless.”

    I disagree. If FOCA is proposed in the next couple years, it will be important for Catholics to be organized, and to contact their Congressional representatives. I do not think FOCA will be a priority for Obama or Congressional moderates, but it can’t hurt to attempt to dialogue. Prayer and fasting are always necessary, but they do not preclude political involvement.

    Of course FOCA is not a priority for new Administration or for the leadership of either chamber, nor does it even have potential for subcommittee vote. It is not even much of a priority for NARAL. And of course Catholics are already well organized around the abortion issue (for some Catholics, at the expense of everything else).

    The purpose of Henry’s letter is to make sure that the very first Catholic commentary on the new Administration – which I admit is a mixed bag of policy pluses and minuses from a Catholic viewpoint — is a negative one. ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK. Let’ make sure the word is out from day one that Catholics think the President Elect is a very bad man. Let’s use a bill that is no where on the radar screen and make it appear that it is moments away from being signed into law by the new president. At all expense, let’s fill up the air time so no one gets the idea that the President Elect has a shred of decency.

    Because if we don’t attack him, some misguided Catholics under the spell of the ‘social justice crowd’ might actually think he is someone we can work with on matters of universal health care, peace in Iraq, and the dignity of labor, while concurrently expressing our disagreements on abortion. And we certainly can’t let that happen. We need to make sure the laity see the President Elect the way eminent religious leaders like Cardinal Stafford have described him – a house negro. (wait, that was a different religious leader. I think Stafford said ““aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic”. Sorry, easy mistake to make.)

  18. November 23, 2008 6:54 pm

    “John Henry Says:
    November 21, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    “This open letter is pointless.”

    I disagree. If FOCA is proposed in the next couple years, it will be important for Catholics to be organized, and to contact their Congressional representatives. I do not think FOCA will be a priority for Obama ……”

    and

    “kurt Says:
    November 23, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Of course FOCA is not a priority for new Administration or for the leadership of either chamber, nor does it even have potential for subcommittee vote.. . . . . ”

    You two are either unaware of Obama’s intentions or being intentionally misleading. He clearly and unequivocally stated that signing FOCA will be the first thing he does as president. I don’t know if it helps people sleep at night to pretend he will not do exactly what he said he will. With a heavy majority in both houses of congress there is no reason to think this will not make it to his desk rather quickly.

  19. kurt permalink
    November 23, 2008 7:23 pm

    largebill, $100 on the table. FOCA get to the President’s desk by the end of next year. You in? Want to up the stakes? Huh?

  20. David Nickol permalink
    November 23, 2008 7:28 pm

    He clearly and unequivocally stated that signing FOCA will be the first thing he does as president.

    largebill,

    No, he didn’t, not that you will like the exact truth any better.

    People quote that sentence to try to prove that Obama’s top priority as president is abortion, and that before he does anything else, he will sign the Freedom of Choice Act. But as you note above, it hasn’t been passed. So obviously it can’t be the first thing he would do as president.

    What happened was that Obama, when asked a long, detailed question about what he would do to protect abortion rights, replied that the first thing he would do is sign FOCA. He was not stating what his top priority as president would be. There has been mention by various people about what top priorities of the new administration and the new congress will be. Obviously, the economy is first, not FOCA! Stem-cell research is definitely on the agenda, according to Nancy Pelosi, but I have heard no mention at all about abortion or FOCA. And see Kurt’s message above (November 23, 2008 at 4:56 pm) explaining what a low priority FOCA actually is.

    This of course does not mean that Obama is not very much committed to abortion rights. It does, however, mean that Obama — in saying what he said to Planned Parenthood — was not declaring that the passage and signing of FOCA would be the top priority of his presidency.

  21. kurt permalink
    November 23, 2008 7:33 pm

    david –

    Please shut your yap. I’m trying to make an easy C-note off of largebill. Don’t be educating him with the facts before I get an e-handshake from him on the bet. With the way Bush messed up the economy, I’m looking to make whatever easy money I can get.

    Largebill – pay no attention to David. Now, about our bet, wanna say $200?

  22. November 23, 2008 8:24 pm

    Hey there. I just saw the news that Obama has tapped Ellen Moran, director of Emily’s list, as his director of White House communications. I didn’t see that news posted here, so I wondered if you may had missed it.

    Kinda makes me wonder how seriously he’s going to take your open letter. Suckers.

  23. Policraticus permalink*
    November 23, 2008 9:20 pm

    No need to attack or insult Tito. Look, if he won’t sign the letter, then let him be. The fact that he admits that he won’t sign the letter because of who wrote it (Henry Karlson, who, like many of us at Vox Nova, did not vote for Obama) tells us that, for him, it an animus against the blog trumps the content of of the letter. Let him be.

  24. November 23, 2008 10:31 pm

    Henry,

    You wrote: “Someone responding to him in this post, where he continues with his hostility, by asking for prayers for him, is not going out of their way to antagonize him. Rather, it is the appropriate response, I would think.”

    Not to belabor the point, but I would submit for your consideration that putting ‘we need to pray for _____’ before an insult does not make it less of an insult.

    As Poli said during election season (defending MM ironically), “Let’s keep the whole ‘I will keep/remember you in my prayers’ bit away from here. It is patronizing and degrading all at once,”

    http://vox-nova.com/2008/08/19/barack-obama-for-president/#comment-32284

    As I said, I disagree with Tito, but I do not see any reason to insult him.

  25. November 24, 2008 4:09 am

    John Henry

    There are ways to say “I will pray for you” as an insult, to be sure. In this case, while there might be some frustration with Tito (again look around the net and you can see why). You might see that in such a response, but it doesn’t appear to me to be said as an insult.

    Either way, I am asking people not to respond to the negatives. To let them be.

  26. November 24, 2008 8:07 am

    Kurt,

    As much as I’d like to take you up on that wager, I don’t believe it would be appropriate. Let me put it this way, if I am praying that Obama will do good it would be hypocritical of me to bet that he will do evil. It is odd that his erstwhile supporters best argument in his defense is a belief that he was lying. I have no doubt that he (like all politicians) lied during the campaign. However, abortion is the one issue where his history is consistent with his campaign rhetoric.

  27. November 24, 2008 8:32 am

    “There are ways to say “I will pray for you” as an insult”

    And one of them is to go on to say “His allegiance is more to the United States than to the living Word of God….”

    But on to the positive…

  28. Kurt permalink
    November 24, 2008 10:43 am

    Largebill —

    You first claim “With a heavy majority in both houses of congress there is no reason to think this will not make it to his desk rather quickly.”

    You seem to be saying it is not a bet but a sure thing that he will do evil. So why not fleese from me some easy money that could then go to help counter the certain evil the President Elect would do?

    Any other takers?

  29. David Nickol permalink
    November 24, 2008 11:20 am

    The desire to be proven right — to be able to say, “I told you so!” — is so powerful that I am sure some of the predictions from pro-lifers about the horrible things Obama will do amount to wishful thinking. I am not accusing anyone here. I am just making an observation about human nature. Read the reviews of Cordelia Fine’s book A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives on Amazon (or read the book itself) to get some idea of how our brains tend to trick us, or we tend to trick ourselves. Of course, the exact same principles apply to everyone, not just pro-lifers. It’s just that Obama was depicted as such a bloodthirsty, infanticide-loving monster before the election that some who engaged in that extreme rhetoric (and believed it) will no doubt be disappointed if he doesn’t do something like partner with Starbucks to set up an abortion clinic in every one of their locations.

  30. November 24, 2008 11:31 am

    One wonders if, after the utter devastation wrought by Bush and his motley crew, anyone will have enough money for an abortion. Further evidence of how ‘pro-life’ Bush is, I suppose.

    One really can’t expect much in a country where Clinton was impeached and Bush wasn’t. The popularity of NASCAR, Wonderbread, Thomas Kinkade paintings and Precious Moments figurines isn’t encouraging either.

    The difference between Hoover and Bush ? Hoover didn’t start a war. It took Bush to make Obama look like the savior.

    Given the state of things, it seems like the born will have no time worry about the unborn.

  31. November 24, 2008 11:35 am

    David Nickol wrote
    “The desire to be proven right — to be able to say, “I told you so!” — is so powerful that I am sure some of the predictions from pro-lifers about the horrible things Obama will do amount to wishful thinking.”

    This is very true, David, I used to think the same way. Then again, I have an excuse, I was on the entirely wrong medication. :-)

  32. digbydolben permalink
    November 26, 2008 12:25 pm

    Mr. Karlson, your critics here have persuaded me to sign your letter, despite my earlier reservations: please re-send me the link to it.

  33. November 26, 2008 3:06 pm

    Digby:

    The letter is here: http://vox-nova.com/2008/11/17/an-open-letter-to-president-elect-barack-obama/ (or you could e-mail me, and let me know in e-mail).

Trackbacks

  1. A Call to Arms for God, Life, and Country « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective
  2. Canonical Options For Dealing With FOCA « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective
  3. If You Should Disagree With Your Brother, Even 70 Times 70…. « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective

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