Skip to content

Should a Catholic Group Endorse This?

September 28, 2010

This is a political ad from Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle. Look at it. It would be hard to find a more race-baiting, xenophobic, anti-immigrant ad – even in this crazy season. Would a Catholic support this? If you are the Thomas Peters-linked Catholic Vote, then the answer is yes, enthusiastically so. For this outfit claims to “use the teachings of the Church to make critical judgments about which candidates deserve our vote”. And Angle is their number 2 candidate, with a score of 9.9 out of 10. Then again, if you can think that opposition to maternity and autism in health insurance constitutes a “pro-life and pro-family” position. I would hope all my Catholic friends on the right distance themselves from this discredited outfit. At this stage, it’s about as “Catholic” as “Catholics for a Free Choice”.

About these ads
213 Comments
  1. September 28, 2010 10:11 am

    It would be hard to find a more race-baiting, xenophobic, anti-immigrant ad – even in this crazy season.

    That’s hardly true. While I disagree with her positions her, and I think CatholicVote would be better served by scoring her down for this, I hardly think this is the worst ever example of an ad about immigration.

  2. September 28, 2010 10:34 am

    Some people do not think government intervention is the best way to provide for the needs of pregnant women, autistic children, and immigrants. In fact, it may be a waste of time, resources, or even harmful to these groups. That is not an un-Catholic position.

    I have seen other people here defend the position that going after the legal option is not the best way stop abortion; in fact it may be a waste of time and actually harmful to women and unborn babies. This, I am told, is not an un-Catholic position.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either that line of reasoning is legitimate (wrong, maybe, but legitimate) or its not.

  3. Cindy permalink
    September 28, 2010 11:05 am

    I just don’t understand at all how a person can say “How about maternity leave?” “I’m not going to have any more babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Yet still be considered ‘pro life’. What is the alternative? There are a lot of mothers that have children and do not get any paid leave from their work. The average person takes their sick time, vacation time and they combine it all together just to be able to stay home and care for their newborn baby.
    They say that the •The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn’t offer paid leave to new mothers — the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho. (Of crouse I read that somewhere)… To top it all off low income families have the least amount of maternity leave. Shouldnt this all factor in to the pro life point of view? By making it easier for women, single, married etc… to be able to have their babies and feel like they can take care of them. When you actively work against that, I just don’t understand how that works out to be a pro life platform. If we don’t want abortions to happen, shouldnt we consider how to make things easier for people?

  4. Magdalena permalink
    September 28, 2010 11:13 am

    It’s true this is not the *worst* ad on immigration. But that’s only because many of the immigration ads are rancid.

  5. September 28, 2010 11:22 am

    I take the point that there may be worse anti-immigration ads out there. I just don’t want to see them.

  6. smf permalink
    September 28, 2010 12:27 pm

    While I am not an expert on Reid and his record on immigration, and thus can not vouch for the truth of this ad, I don’t seen anything particularly unreasonable about it if in fact the claims it makes are true.

    After all, a law giving tax breaks to law breakers does seem undesirable.

    Lower tuition for law breakers also seems to be poor public policy.

    Most reasonable people agree that amensty is not a good idea (though there is great disagreement about what would or would not be amnesty).

    So, no as long as the facts support the assertions I have not problem with the ad. If the facts don’t support it, then I would have a significant problem with it.

    Ideally a nation should be welcoming to immigrants, and should perhaps also be welcoming to others who come to it who are not technically immigrants, too. However, there is no public interest served by giving any sort of special benefits to someone on the basis of breaking the law. That is the very antithesis of good public policy.

  7. smf permalink
    September 28, 2010 12:52 pm

    To answer the headline question, I don’t seen any reason for a Catholic group to either endorse or condemn this ad per se (again keeping in mind the issue of facts). As for the candidate, I really can’t say much about her one way or the other. I certainly don’t care much for Mr Reid, but my objections to him are in regards to his leadership role more than his role in representing his state, so I can’t really say if the people of that state should vote for either of these or not vote or go some third party route or something.

  8. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 28, 2010 12:56 pm

    Here’s the answer to MM’s objection, though once he reads it he may complain or name-call since I am giving a direct answer. If a candidate supports in a variety of ways continuing the daily slaughter of 3000 innocent children, it is legitimate for a Catholic to support a candidate who opposes continuing the daily slaughter of 3000 innocent children, even if the latter holds other positions that are wrong. In contrast, MM has never cited a live issue (including the two cited here) that can proportionately trump support for the slaughter of 3000 innocent children daily so as to justify supporting a candidate who wishes to continue that slaughter over a candidate who does not.

  9. September 28, 2010 1:14 pm

    I find your post most appropriate and I thank you for your voice out here.

  10. September 28, 2010 2:44 pm

    Go MM! Go!

  11. brettsalkeld permalink*
    September 28, 2010 2:49 pm

    I’m not sure anyone here has a problem with a candidate being anti-abortion. The concern is not even that a Catholic might vote for a young-earth creationist or whatever other nonsense because that is the only anti-abortion option available. As nauseating as I find it, I’d vote young-earth creationism over abortion-on-demand any day.

    The concern is when Catholics start giving approbation to the other non-sense just because it coincides with being anti-abortion in a given candidate. Is it not possible to agree with someone about abortion while pointing out radically unCatholic sentiments in the rest of their platform? Does this make someone somehow unserious about abortion? Maybe pushing for more holistically Catholic platforms would actually help the unborn?

    Maybe.

    Of course we’ll never know, since anyone who calls out an anti-abortion candidate for unCatholic aspects of their platform is immediately dismissed as pro-abortion. And so we continue to fiddle while Rome burns. Ho hum.

  12. Gerald Naus permalink
    September 28, 2010 2:52 pm

    Cindy, I’ll quote myself :)
    Gerald Naus says:
    September 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm
    Angle is no angel. Apparently, she’s embraced Louis XV: Après moi le dèluge.

    The concept of pre-existing condition is obscene. Plain and simple.

    Re: pregnancy -Austrian friends of mine had a baby today. In Austria, pregnant women can’t be fired. 8 weeks before and after birth women must not work. Even before, women are protected from dangerous work. For these 16 weeks, the woman gets her full salary. Then, for a year (plus 2 months for the other spouse) the mother can stay at home, receiving 80% of her salary (capped at a net monthly payment of close to $3000). After this, she can have her old job back. *

    Don’t show this to Republicans, they might drop dead. Mind you, this situation is similar in the other EU countries. Protection of mothers of this kind is requires for membership.

    In Austria, parents get monthly payments for their children until they’re 18/graduate college (university being free of course).

    The position of mothers and employees in general is nowhere (in the West) as weak as in the USA. It’s a world unto itself. Europeans don’t know just how bad it is. The advantage the USA has is for self-employed people (and the rich of course).

    Lastly, abortion rates in the EU are far lower than in the USA in general and even more so among teenagers.

  13. September 28, 2010 2:59 pm

    Matt Bowman:

    There are at least 3 different retorts to your line of reasoning:

    (1) Name. Something called “Catholic Vote” should not be endorsing candidates with positions directly opposed to Catholic teaching. If Peters wanted to set up “The Thomas Peters Blog” and endorse Mickey Mouse, he’s free to do so.

    (2) Active support. There isn’t even the slightest hint that they support Angle based on a couple of core issues, and that they find her stances on issues like immigration, healthcare, and social safety nets repugnant. No, they rate her 9.9/10, no downside whatsoever. It is clear that “Catholic Vote” seems to have adopted positions that are not exactly aligned with Catholic positions.

    (3) Proportionality. A little off topic, but easy to refute – I’ve done so a billion times now. The issue is not stacking up positions on each side of the ledger, applying moral weights, and tallying up. The issue is the ability to actually influence outcomes. In this particular case, Reid’s position on abortion is not likely to actually change anything in terms of its legal status, while Angle’s position on the socio-economic circumstances that lead to abortion (see The Declaration on Procured Abortion) could actually make things worse. In simpler terms, talk is cheap. Judge people on actions, not rhetoric. Let me repeat – this is not related directly to this post, as Catholic Vote never bothered to make a proportional argument, as they seem to actually like everything about Angle.

  14. Gerald Naus permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:01 pm

    With regards to abortion – in the EU it’s regulated by simple law – not in the constitution. There are limits (commonly, abortion is limited to the first trimester except for serious health threats) Abortion rates are far lower than in the USA. There’s sex ed, more contraception I’d guess and if a woman is on her own and pregnant she doesn’t face squalor. It’s not “welfare mom” stigma either, fully paid maternity leave and 1-2 years of well-paid absence from
    work are RIGHTS, not crumbs from the table.

    While the EU isn’t the promised land, there definitely is a basic consensus that solidarity isn’t a bad word. (parties that embrace US style economics tend to be called liberal, by the way)

  15. Mark Gordon permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:07 pm

    Speaking of proportionality, Harry Reid has a liftime 29% rating from NARAL. His NRTL liftime rating is 50%.

  16. M.Z. permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:08 pm

    If I said I would only buy meat from Catholic butchers, many folks would consider me eccentric, but understand. If I insisted that everyone only buy meat from Catholic butchers, folks would rightly object that buying meat from a butcher isn’t supporting heresy. I have interests in my butcher other than what church he attends on Sunday, and I have interests in politicians that extend beyond whatever horror they may feel about abortion. Certainly my interests in the political process extend to finding away to reduce and eliminate the horror of abortion. At such time, eliminating abortion becomes a part of the national agenda, I will vote accordingly. It is not at this time, and I will not apologize for not pretending that it is.

  17. Kurt permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:22 pm

    If a candidate supports in a variety of ways continuing the daily slaughter of 3000 innocent children…

    Except Ms. Angle’s opponent does not. He is anti-abortion.

  18. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:26 pm

    MM: I think your first point about “name” is a potentially viable one, though I think it has far more drastic implications against Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics for Equality, etc etc etc. On the other hand, if a well-known Catholic (even the “Thomas Peters Blog,” by some measures) endorses, as an action consistent with his Catholic beliefs, a pro-life candidate with problems vs. a pro-death candidate, I don’t think the scandal goes away–but I still think he can do it. So if it’s legitimate to call one’s group Catholic unless and until canonical authorities cry foul (which I think is the situation), then I don’t see a hard distinction prohibiting such an endorsement. Taken to its conclusion, your view would prohibit any group called “Catholic” to endorse any candidate this side of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That’s an internally consistent position, but I’m not sure it’s the one we’re all bound to.
    Under your (2) “active support,” it isn’t clear to me what the 9.9 out of 10 is out of–I don’t know what issues contribute to the 10. I also don’t know if the 9.9 is before or after the insurance video statement. And w/r/t the immigration video, we need to distinguish someone’s position on the issues mentioned in the video with what I think you believe is its distasteful tenor. The positions taken, many argue, are not inconsistent with Catholic teaching, and certainly not anywhere within the range that abortion is. You may disagree with that, but then your disagreement is on the substance of the issue, not on whether they are being inconsistent by their own standards of what Catholic teaching is. Maybe their scale of 10 doesn’t claim to encompass all issues. Or maybe factoring in all the grave evil issues that Reid is wrong on and Angle isn’t, 0.1 out of 10 might still not be very far off the score. Maybe you say it should be 9.5 or 9.0–OK, but that’s not hyperventillation territory, that’s a matter of degree. On the tenor of the video, I guess you mean the images depicting people crossing the border illegally, under fences, etc. The video only talks about policy towards illegals, and from what I know the pictures are in large part accurate about how the majority of illegals get here. I could be wrong on that–I probably spent too much time in border-state federal court. But again even if the tenor of the video is distasteful, to say it is incompatible with Catholic teaching is at least potentially a substantive argument that you could face disagreement on, not like supporting the present nuking of other countries or something like that.
    On (3) proportionality, I am agree that likely impact is a factor, I disagree with Reid’s likely impact. I also wonder whether Sharon Angle’s “Anti-Mandatory-Maternity Leave Coverage Under PPACA Act of 2011″ is likely to pass. Certainly FOCA was much much more likely to pass than the AMMLCUPA, which it is not apparent anyone supports–Republican leadership wants to repeal and replace, not nickel and dime this kind of thing. In fact, rationing is what many Republicans oppose as inherent in any government run system.

  19. September 28, 2010 3:32 pm

    Kurt is absolutely correct. The answer I gave to Matt Bowman was a hypothetical answer, but the practical answer is that Reid is pretty pro-life – on abortion if not on ESCR.

    As Mark notes he was rated 29 percent by NARAL, which is considered “pro-life”.

    Some of his votes:

    Voted NO on restricting UN funding for population control policies. (Mar 2009)
    Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP. (Mar 2008)
    Voted YES on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (Mar 2008)
    Voted NO on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)
    Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
    Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
    Voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
    Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
    Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)
    Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
    Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
    Rated 29% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)

  20. phosphorious permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:44 pm

    If a candidate supports in a variety of ways continuing the daily slaughter of 3000 innocent children. . .

    As nauseating as I find it, I’d vote young-earth creationism over abortion-on-demand any day.

    I have seen other people here defend the position that going after the legal option is not the best way stop abortion; in fact it may be a waste of time and actually harmful to women and unborn babies. . .

    More proof, as if more proof were needed, that to the modern catholic mind, Abortion is the only wrong thing.

  21. Austin Ruse permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:56 pm

    Minion,

    You say the majority leader of the US Senate can have no effect on abortion yet a first term Senator can change socio-economic conditions to increase abortion? Don’t really see that.

  22. Cindy permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:58 pm

    Gerald,
    It just gets down to more of the heart of the matter. You have to consider what runs through a woman’s mind when she finds out she’s pregnant. For many young women, they are so fearful of how they are going to be able to handle this. Especially for single mothers. Especially for women that don’t have help from their family. They consider all of this, when they are in their most distraught moments of thought process. If we could find a way in this world, to work together, to make it so women can feel like they can do this. If only…

  23. c matt permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:58 pm

    Well, considered “pro-life” by NARAL. They do not set the “pro-life” bar very high.

  24. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 28, 2010 4:16 pm

    That’s a very weak record on Reid’s part and it doesn’t include a lot, especially recent history.

  25. September 28, 2010 4:20 pm

    MM:

    Those votes do not help your cases lol.

  26. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    September 28, 2010 5:04 pm

    Here is Archbishop Dolan’s take on immigration from his blog post. He was excoriated for what he wrote.

    “To welcome the immigrant, to work hard for their legalization and citizenship, to help them feel at home, to treat them as neighbors and allies in the greatest project of human rights and ethnic and religious harmony in history — the United States of America — flows from the bright, noble side of our American character.

    To blame them, stalk them, outlaw them, harass them, and consider them outsiders is unbiblical, inhumane, and un-American.

    Yes, every society has the duty to protect its borders and thoughtfully monitor its population. The call is to do this justly, sanely, and civilly.”

    What he writes here is much closer to the heart of Catholic teaching than the ad by Sharron Angle, which both visually and rhetorically appeals to anti-immigrant sentiment at its worst while walking a fine line to appear “reasonable.”

  27. September 28, 2010 6:09 pm

    Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”(Lev 19:15) “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.(Col 4:1)Emphsis mine.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1807

    I think the discussion would be better made if took are catagories from the Church’s teaching rather than secular political talking points.

    Questions

    What is the proper due to of a government to it’s citizens?
    What is the proper due to of a government to non-citizens it has allowed to reside there.
    What is the proper due to of a government to non-citizens who have moved there in violation of it’s own laws?

    That is probably not exhaustive but to have just policy all of them must be answered in a way supports giving each his popper due.

    Without the hype, Ms Angle’s add is accusing Senator Reid of wanting the Government to take from what is due citizens and lawful resident non-citizens and to give unlawfully present non-citizens more than their due.

    I do not know all the facts of the situation, and would most likely dislike them both if I did, but there is nothing inherently racist in the video. If you want to disagree with Ms Angle go ahead send some money to Senator Reid’s campaign, but the accusation of racism is over the top and not really conductive to charity.

  28. phosphorious permalink
    September 28, 2010 6:43 pm

    Well, considered “pro-life” by NARAL. They do not set the “pro-life” bar very high.

    Then look at his voting record. MM’s point stands in spite of your sniping.

  29. Kurt permalink
    September 28, 2010 7:50 pm

    As much as I don’t care for Ms. Angle and have participated in fundraisers for Leader Reid, I think the principles here are universal and not particular to her. Individual Catholics should follow their conscience in supporting candidates and respect the conscience of other Catholics. Catholic organizations are best not to endorse any candidates.

  30. brettsalkeld permalink*
    September 28, 2010 9:27 pm

    Phos,
    How on earth is saying that young-earth creationism is less of a concern than abortion-on-demand even close to saying that abortion is the only wrong thing? Did you even read the rest of my post? Can we be a little more serious here please?

  31. phosphorious permalink
    September 28, 2010 10:08 pm

    How on earth is saying that young-earth creationism is less of a concern than abortion-on-demand even close to saying that abortion is the only wrong thing? Did you even read the rest of my post? Can we be a little more serious here please?

    Because on a post about immigration and the inflammatory things being said about it by Sharon Angle, abortion was brought up in defense of Angle.

    No other issue can be discussed unless abortion is also mentioned, and ceremonially denounced, by all disputants. Your remarks were part of this unserious pattern.

  32. September 29, 2010 5:06 am

    Re: the video

    Soft Nazi-style propaganda, if you ask me. Just analyze the images. People slinking across and under fences. Joining together in dark allies like a gang (ready to steal your wallet or rape your daughter). Reference to them as “illegals”. And they are going to take our stuff! All we would have to do is contrast them with a bunch of rodents, and you have a winner.

    Somewhat of a far cry from the guys standing in front of the Home Depot or the ones washing dishes in that restaurant with the delicious Porter House steak down the street. Or my uncle, who used to tell me about climbing through a pipe in Tijuana to get to “el otro lado”. I don’t know about racist, but offensive and de-humanizing… check.

  33. brettsalkeld permalink*
    September 29, 2010 8:01 am

    Phos,
    Please read a little more carefully. I was defending MM’s right to criticize Angle even though some Catholics think that her position on abortion means we’re not allowed to criticize her at all. Yes abortion was brought up in defense of Angle, but not by me. In response to those who brought it up (and you also discussed abortion in this thread after it was brought up by others!), I was saying that her being in agreement with us about abortion does not preclude our criticizing her on other issues. I thought you might even agree with this point. Instead, any denunciation of abortion gets your ire, even in the context of defending your right as a Catholic to critique “pro-life” candidates.

    So I “ceremonially denounced” abortion? What were my options? Denounce it and get attacked by you for not taking any other issue seriously or don’t denounce it and get attacked by Matt Bowman for not recognizing the obvious reason some Catholics (like Peters) endorse her.

    To suggest that I am saying no other issues matter when my comment argues specifically for our responsibility to critique on other issues even those who agree with us on abortion is simply not credible.

    Bowman thinks I’m one with you and you think I’m one with him. These damned talking points are bad for the unborn and the immigrant. A pox on both your houses.

  34. Austin Ruse permalink
    September 29, 2010 8:52 am

    Dear Minion,

    I am traveling so have not had a chance to see the ad until last night.

    the ad in question would be un-Cathoilc if the church holds one may not criticize illegal immigration or illegal immigrants. The ad would be un-Catholic if the Church taught that one may not characterize illegal immigrants as scary. But, I do not think the Church teaches either of those propositions. Therefore, the ad may be inflammatory but the ad is not un-Catholic and a Catholic could in good conscience vote for Angle based on this ad.

  35. Jerms permalink
    September 29, 2010 9:52 am

    “You can’t have it both ways. Either that line of reasoning is legitimate (wrong, maybe, but legitimate) or its not.”

    That argument only holds if the standard is logical consistency rather than empirical evidence. It may well be that, empirically, government intervention is effective in one area and not effective in some other area.

    I’m amused by some Catholics in this country, who apparently see no problem with corporations who take advantage of human beings, with people dying because they cannot afford the care they need, and with people going hungry, but are willing to vote for a candidate who says they are anti-abortion, and are unwilling to ever punish that candidate for doing nothing concrete on the issue.

    Even the argument “That’s not the government’s job” tips their hand: the ideal abstract governmental arrangement and the lives of potential future victims of its abuses takes priority over the concrete, existing lives of actual, living, suffering human beings. I don’t remember reading that Christ ever said, “No, no, don’t help that man. If you do, he will come to think of it as an entitlement, and then he, and his children, will be a burden on the rest of us.”

  36. David Nickol permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:08 am

    Therefore, the ad may be inflammatory but the ad is not un-Catholic and a Catholic could in good conscience vote for Angle based on this ad.

    Austin,

    PolitiFact judges the factual claim in the ad to be false. So my question is the following: If an inflammatory attack ad is not un-Catholic, is a false inflammatory attack ad not un-Catholic as well?

  37. Austin Ruse permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:59 am

    Based on politifact, i believe the ad is accurate. Politifact’s problem is one over not what happened in the votes but in how you define words. It is a weak criticism.

    My point stands

  38. Kurt permalink
    September 29, 2010 12:51 pm

    I would note that in the four votes cited in the ad, Leader Reid voted the way the Catholic Bishops asked him to vote.

    Now Catholics can respectfully disagree with the bishops on questions of public policy. Even more so, when agreeing with them on a question of policy, disagree with them on the analysis of legislative text.

  39. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 29, 2010 1:11 pm

    brett since I have never expressed what I think of you, and perhaps have never formed an opinion (unless in a previous thread that I am forgetting?) I am enlightened to see you inform us of the matter. If you want to know, just as p misconstrued what you said, it could be that you are misconstruing what I said above. I did not say that Minion, for “calling out an anti-abortion candidate for unCatholic aspects of their platform is immediately dismissed as pro-abortion.” Rather, I said that I disagree with MM’s assessment, and I gave what I thought were basically calm reasons for that disagreement. I didn’t comment on what MM’s views might or might not say about him (such as that he is “pro-abortion”)–I didn’t find that question helpful to the discussion, and I still don’t. I commented only on whether the *candidates* in question (not you or MM) are pro-abortion, vis a vis whether and under what circumstances someone can support one over another despite that one’s other assertedly problematic views.

  40. c matt permalink
    September 29, 2010 2:37 pm

    His voting record shows he is not a Nancy Pelosi. It is still a rather low bar for “pro-life”.

  41. David Nickol permalink
    September 29, 2010 2:57 pm

    Austin,

    I should have guessed that you would not let a little thing like the meaning of words influence your opinion.

    Would you say the ad is, or is not, and “attack ad”? And as a Catholic, are you comfortable with attack ads?

  42. Vermont Crank permalink
    September 29, 2010 3:47 pm

    It’s a very effective ad that can be characterised as successful.

    What it certainly is not is an ad that is in any way opposed to Catholic Doctrine and MM, and his ilk, illustrate the ever-increasing hysteria on behalf of those who fear the public expression of such normal sentiments really do represent the rise of the MARs. (Middle American Revolutionaries)

    Sam Francis: ‘If the Buchanan movement or the Middle American Revolution or the New Nationalism or whatever it is going to be called itself is to survive and develop as a serious force in American politics , it needs to do more than merely raise more money, build a national political organisation, or expand its list of voters. It needs to create a counter-culture that can sustain its political leaders once they hold office and develop the cultural and intellectual underframe that legitimises political efforts. It must construct its cultural base not on the metropolitan elites of the dominant culture but on emerging forces rooted in Middle American culture itself. It is exactly that kind of cultural permeation that sets the stage for successful political revolution… Instead of grabbing the shadow of political power and desperately hoping that the incumbent elites will be fooled into letting it have the substance of power, it creates and develops a social and political force independent of the dominant culture, and when that force is sufficiently mature, the snake will shed its skin. The new, emerging force will find the acquisition of formal political power and the winning of elections relatively easy as the old elite loses legitimacy and the new one not only acquires but also defines legitimacy.’

    The rhetorical condemnations – racist, xenophobe, etc etc – are, rapidly, losing their effectiveness.

    Whelp and wail all you want.

    As Lincoln used to say, whatever.

  43. Kurt permalink
    September 29, 2010 3:54 pm

    Her is what one Catholic Republican thinks of the ad. Nevada GOP Hispanic Caucus chair Tibi Ellis, “who moonlights” as a spokesperson for ex-Assemb. Sharron Angle (R), “denounced” Angle’s ad on immigration.

    Ellis, during a radio interview: “I condemned this type of propaganda, no matter who is running them, where they blame Mexicans as the only problem and where they attack them as the only source of illegal immigration. … I don’t agree with that.”

    Ellis “stressed… that she was not representing Angle during the interview.”

  44. David Nickol permalink
    September 29, 2010 5:43 pm

    The rhetorical condemnations – racist, xenophobe, etc etc – are, rapidly, losing their effectiveness.

    I do agree with Stanley Fish here:

    What to do? It is easier, of course, to say what not to do, and what not to do is what Democrats and their allies are prone to do — poke gleeful fun at the lesser mortals who say and believe strange things and betray an ignorance of history.

    That won’t work. Better, perhaps, to take a cue from Hercules, who figured out the source of Antaeus’s strength [which was the earth, so knocking him down only made him stronger] and defeated him by embracing him in a bear hug, lifting him up high, and preventing him from touching the ground. Don’t sling mud down in the dust where your opponents thrive. Instead, engage them as if you thought that the concerns they express (if not their forms of expression) are worthy of serious consideration, as indeed they are. Lift them up to the level of reasons and evidence and see how they fare in the rarified air of rational debate where they just might suffer the fate of Antaeus.

  45. Austin Ruse permalink
    September 29, 2010 7:52 pm

    David,

    Not let the meaning of words influence my opinion. I don’t even know what that means, DAvid. The point is that there is a disagreement between St. Petersburg Times and the Angle campaign over what constitures a “special tax break.” Big deal.

    Can a Catholic support attack ads? You’re joking, right. On the one hand, you say Catholics are free to disagree with the Church over things like sodomny and also the killing of innocent human beings but then somewhere you find it is Catholic teaching that one may not support aggressively critical public policy ads on TV? Shazam. Where did you find that one, David.

  46. Austin Ruse permalink
    September 29, 2010 8:46 pm

    Tibii said that? Holy Guacamole! What shall we do if Tibi is not longer with us?! We shall simply die.

  47. Cindy permalink
    September 29, 2010 9:18 pm

    David,
    That very well may be the most depressing opinion piece I have ever read. It’s like it’s asking us to lay down and give up. It’s hard to figure out how to handle this roll over, when the people with all of the anger on their side get all of the attention. Not to mention that when you do try and talk to some people (tea party minded people) most of them are so full of so much rhetoric, that if you don’t fight back, because they say it’s true, it seems the public believes it’s true. I think you have to fight back.
    Again, I realize my statement here has nothing to do with a Catholic blog site. I am just referring to the opinion piece you linked.

  48. Mark Gordon permalink
    September 29, 2010 9:38 pm

    A decade ago, I was a participant in several annual, invitation-only conferences of right-wing Catholics under the auspices of group called the National Catholic Leadership Conference. Organized by Deal Hudson, the NCLC consisted of forty or fifty heads of Catholic organizations: “pro-life” groups like Priests for Life; media and publishing organizations like EWTN and Ignatius Press; The Catholic League; “conservative” colleges like Franciscan University, Christendom, and St. Thomas More; Legatus; and so forth. Austin Ruse participated, of course, and I attended as the founder and E.D. of The St. Michael Institute of Sacred Art (As a new convert from evangelicalism, I was quite right-wing myself at the time). Our hotel, meeting space, and meals were provided by several wealthy donors, and prominent money men like Tom Monaghan were always invited. At each event, we were treated to speakers exclusively representing the right wing of the Republican Party, folks like Brent Bozell and Ralph Reed.

    I can attest that abortion, apologetics(a la Patrick Madrid and Karl Keating) and fundraising were the exclusive concern of this group. No discussion of the poor, peace, economic justice, the environment, racism, or anything else. These were people who had reduced the Catholic faith to heresy hunting and abortion advocacy. Period. I withdrew after concluding that Hudson and his cohort desired nothing more than to make the Catholic Church in America a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party. Even as a conservative Republican (at the time), I was appalled by the pride, triumphalism, and contempt for their fellow Catholics – including bishops or anyone who disagreed with them – on display at these conferences. That hasn’t changed, and for all I know the group still meets, although the revelations about Deal’s infidelity may have closed them down.

    Here’s my point: people like Ruse are immune to the full teaching of the Church. They are habituated to tuning out any teaching that doesn’t comport with their liberal, capitalist, Americanist, and Republican opinions, even when that teaching comes in the form of conciliar or papal documents. As regards the social teaching of the Church, they know one thing, hear one thing, care about one thing and that thing only. The irony is that by failing to embrace the totality of Catholic social, economic, and moral teaching, they only deepen the culture of death they claim to oppose.

  49. David Nickol permalink
    September 30, 2010 6:25 am

    but then somewhere you find it is Catholic teaching that one may not support aggressively critical public policy ads on TV? Shazam. Where did you find that one, David.

    Austin,

    I think an authentic Christian would be both truthful and charitable. And the Catholic Church has shown a concern for “illegals” that is certainly not seen in this ad. I could understand the attitude that political campaigning like this is a dirty business but regrettably necessary if you want to win elections. But I don’t see how a good Catholic can endorse attack ads.

    It is not my opinion, by the way, that Catholics are free to disagree with the Church over “the killing of innocent human beings.” The teachings of the Church regarding abortion itself are ancient and weighty. I don’t see how a Catholic could support abortion except perhaps in the most difficult situations where the life of the infant and the mother are both at risk (as in the famous Phoenix case). However, the teachings of the Church on what the law ought to do in an American-style democracy are not ancient and weighty, and I think a Catholic has much more leeway there to make up his or her own mind.

  50. Kurt permalink
    September 30, 2010 6:36 am

    God bless Austin. He is a liberal’s best friend.

    Not only does he celebrate the purge of non-conservatives from the Pro-Life Movement so he is left in stronger control of a “smaller and more orthodox” pro-life movement, he is gleeful when leading Hispanic Republicans split with their party, leaving the GOP whiter and more Right-Wing.

    Austin, my friend, I beg you — keep on keeping on! Luv ya, buddy.

  51. brettsalkeld permalink*
    September 30, 2010 7:33 am

    Matt Bowman,
    Upon rereading our (yours and mine) original comments, I feel I should apologize for catching you in the crossfire of my exchange with Phos. I wasn’t really attacking you directly. I had made you an avatar for all those conservatives who insist that those of us at VN are somehow pro-abortion because we are willing to criticize the Republican party.

    I find this line exasperating and I guess I let it show. It struck me that your original response to MM implied that he wasn’t really serious about abortion. I still think that interpretation is legit, though you are right that it does not give me any evidence of what you think of me personally. If I had made you an avatar for a conservative attack that I see as having dubious value, I had also made myself an avatar for all of us beleaguered VNers who are constatnly told that being progressive on health-care, immigration, gun control, whatever, somehow makes us pro-abortion.

    In short, I had gone well beyond the confines of this thread with some pretty sweeping generalizations. As true as those generalizations may be, your comments did not give me cause to implicate you personally.

    Sorry.

  52. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 30, 2010 8:12 am

    brett–no problem. On the issue of whether criticizing republicans means VN folks are pro-abortion, that simple fact is not, in my view, what gets pro-life Catholics upset. There are several people I have enjoyed here at VN and elsewhere, Mickey for example, and Mark Shea, who criticize republicans, and whose pro-life views are exhibited clearly. I think the cause for concern begins when the only mention of pro-life issues (9.9 out of 10, if you will) by a particular commenter is an attack on people fighting abortion, Bishops included, and relentless defense of pro-abortion policy of officials or a party, going so far to call that policy *the real pro-life* over and over again.

    It is interesting, however, that in this post and thread by MM, he is the one calling specific Catholics wholly “discredited” and the equivalent of illegal abortionists (Frances Kissling). If someone insists that Thomas Peters is Frances Kissling, that is far more than simply a criticism of Republicans. But I felt that the Angle issue was worth addressing on its merits in this thread.

  53. brettsalkeld permalink*
    September 30, 2010 10:32 am

    Of course, knowing what MM thinks about Peters, one could read this as saying he is none too impressed with Kissling. ;)

    I know MM doesn’t bring up abortion except when highlighting hypocrisy among “pro-life” politicians, but it has certainly not been my experience that he defends any Democratic pro-abortion policy or refers to their abortion policy as “the real pro-life.” I think that actually misrepresents him fairly seriously.

  54. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    September 30, 2010 11:36 am

    Hurrah for Arturo Vasquez! As this debate wanders off (again!) into the endless interminable spat about abortion, I want to return to the original argument: this ad is racist and xenophobic, using a very careful interplay of hostile threatening images and voice over text that have a “reasonable” interpretation for apologists but come across very differently to the constituency this is aimed at. It is a fundamental attack on the dignity of the Mexican immigrants (whether they are here illegally or not) and no Catholic should have anything to do with such nonsense. I would never vote for such a candidate, no matter how “pro-life” he or she presented herself.

  55. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 30, 2010 12:08 pm

    brett–it suffices for this thread to say that I think the record does cause pro-life alarm on grounds well beyond the mere criticism of republicans, and that we could discuss specific examples for a long time. Because blog commenters are what they are, certainly there are some who respond with “pro-abortion” accusations based on mere and singular criticism of republicans, but that’s not what I spend my time on, and I don’t see most of the articulate pro-life commenters here doing that either.

  56. Pinky permalink
    September 30, 2010 12:41 pm

    The premise of this article is faulty. A Catholic group didn’t endorse the ad; it endorsed the candidate. Surely, on an internet site devoted to proportionality arguments in support of pro-abortion candidates, someone has noticed the difference between endorsing a candidate and endorsing all of his positions?

  57. brettsalkeld permalink*
    September 30, 2010 1:33 pm

    I think everyone involved will be thankful that we have not chosen to “discuss specific examples for a long time.” Such things are best done over beer and not the internet.

  58. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 30, 2010 3:36 pm

    Pinky has hit on the ultimate irony of this post’s criticism: if Catholics are, as MM says, “about as “Catholic” as “Catholics for a Free Choice”” solely because they have supported a candidate who ran a distasteful immigration ad and talked about cutting maternity leave benefits, what does that make all the left-side Catholics (including MM) who supported Obama and so many other Democrats with contra-Catholic positions in 2008 and today? Even if MM says he is only talking about organizations not individuals, where has he ever once hinted at issuing the same criticism of Catholics in Alliance, Catolics United, Catholics for Equality, etc etc? Rather, has he not come to their defense (and only come to their defense) on these kinds of issues? The butter battle continues, Sam.

  59. grega permalink
    September 30, 2010 5:10 pm

    Hurrah for Mark Gordon as well – your honest post made my day.

  60. Kurt permalink
    September 30, 2010 6:07 pm

    where has he ever once hinted at issuing the same criticism of Catholics in Alliance, Catholics United,…

    I don’t believe either of those groups endorse candidates at all. I think that is the better path.

  61. Tom permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:01 pm

    I am mystified by criticism of the ad. It quite clearly refers to *illegal* aliens, i.e. *law breakers*, who are a true menace to order in society in the southwestern states. It only mentions Mexico in the context of that country’s silly president who mouth-pieced the left’s hysterical claims about a law he himself knows nothing about. And by the way, whose own country’s anti-immigrant policies are truly unconscionable – just you try showing up there to live without papers and you’ll wish you had been picked up by the Arizona authorities instead.
    It is simply true that Senator Reid has actively discouraged the enforcement of existing law regarding illegals. And not out of any high-minded humanitarianism, but for crass political benefit – the Hispanic vote in the short-run, and the instant Democrat voters that amnesty will bring in the long-run.
    Nothing in Angle’s ad is untrue. Let’s see if the voters in Nevada, beleaguered by an illegal alien problem exacerbated by a tone deaf political class, agree with you that it is “xenophobic”.

  62. David Nickol permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:40 pm

    Apparently Sharron Angle wants to eliminate all mandated coverage from insurance in Nevada. See this video.

    Whether any formatting will survive posting, I don’t know, but here is a comparison of mandates in Nevada versus the other 49 states and DC. Yes means Nevada mandates the coverage, No means it doesn’t, and the figures in parentheses are the number of states that do mandate the coverage. Data (which I have simplified and reformatted) comes from here, and you can use this site to compare any state to the United States as a whole or to any other state.

    But remember, this is not a case of how many or how few things Nevada mandates compared to other states. It is a case of Sharron Angle wanting no mandates at all.

    Mandates Any Type of Cancer Screening for Women? Yes (49 + DC Yes)
    Breast Cancer Screening? Yes (49 + DC Yes)
    Cervical Cancer Screening? Yes (28 + DC Yes)
    Ovarian Cancer Screening? No (3 Yes)
    Mandates Coverage of Mastectomy Stay? No (20 Yes)
    Mandates Reconstructive Surgery After Mastectomy? Yes (35 + DC Yes)
    Mandates Osteoporosis Screening? No (13 Yes)
    Mandates Direct Access to OB/GYNs? Yes (36 + DC Yes)
    Mandates OB/GYNs as Primary Care Providers? No (22 + DC Yes)
    State Mandates Coverage of Infertility Treatment? No (15 Yes)
    State Mandates Coverage of Maternity Care? No (18 Yes)
    Eating Disorders (Individual Market) No (15 Yes)
    Eating Disorders (Small Group Market) No (24 Yes)
    Does the State Specifically Mandate Coverage of Autism in Small Group Plans? Yes (20+DC Yes)
    Mandate Specifically Includes Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) or other Related Therapy? Yes (10 Yes)
    Does the State Specifically Mandate Coverage of Autism in Individual Market Policies? Yes (16+DC Yes)

  63. brettsalkeld permalink*
    September 30, 2010 8:14 pm

    I’ll second the hurrah for Mark Gordon.

  64. Austin Ruse permalink
    September 30, 2010 8:54 pm

    Hey Mark,

    Namebone teaching of the church I am immune to. Love your newly foundbleft wing charitable voice, bynthe way. Anyway, name one.

    By the way. I stopped going to that meeting probably beforenyou did.

  65. Matt Bowman permalink
    September 30, 2010 9:21 pm

    Kurt–in terms of whether the group is causing scandal by its name being “Catholic,” whether a group “endorses” a contra-Catholic candidate or just avidly “supports” him is a distinction without an ultimate difference. It cannot be that the former makes them Kisslings and the latter makes them praiseworthy.

  66. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 6:45 am

    The Lies of Anonymous Kurt Who is Afraid of Pro-Life Girls

    1. “Not only does (Ruse) celebrate the purge of non-conservatives from the Pro-Life Movement…”

    You cannot show anywhere that i have “celebrated” the left leaving the pro-life movenment. In fact, I have lamented the fact and condemned the left for leaving.

    2. (Ruse) is gleeful when leading Hispanic Republicans split with their party, leaving the GOP whiter and more Right-Wing.”

    I frankly don’t even know what this means; that i made fun of you for quoting a totally unknown local pol that you held up as a Catholic leader? Never heard of Tibi, Kurt. Though we shall miss him or her.

    What i am doing, Kurt, is making fun of YOU. Poor boy. You really do have to get over pro-life girls being mean to you.

  67. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 8:11 am

    “But I don’t see how a good Catholic can endorse attack ads.”

    It is a relief to me that we do not have to follow the teachings of David Nikol.

    “It is not my opinion, by the way, that Catholics are free to disagree with the Church over “the killing of innocent human beings.” The teachings of the Church regarding abortion itself are ancient and weighty. I don’t see how a Catholic could support abortion except perhaps in the most difficult situations where the life of the infant and the mother are both at risk (as in the famous Phoenix case). However, the teachings of the Church on what the law ought to do in an American-style democracy are not ancient and weighty, and I think a Catholic has much more leeway there to make up his or her own mind.”

    Ah, yes, David, that ancient Catholic teaching “I am personally opposed but you may go ahead and kill unborn children.” Yes, I know that one, David. Kennedy Family, Circa 1968.

  68. Kurt permalink
    October 1, 2010 8:14 am

    Matt,

    My position might be called much more centerist than MM on this. The discernment of individual Catholics on how to vote is a matter of private judgment. Canonically recognized Catholic organs should not be endorsing candidates for public office.

  69. David Nickol permalink
    October 1, 2010 8:25 am

    Namebone teaching of the church I am immune to. Love your newly foundbleft wing charitable voice, bynthe way. Anyway, name one.

    If I could just namebone, I would say torture of English orthography.

  70. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    October 1, 2010 8:41 am

    @Tom

    Okay, where to begin? Illegal aliens, aka undocumented immigrants, did break the law by coming into the US. The crime is a misdemeanor, hardly rising to the level of some existential threat to the US. Calling them a “true menace to society” is, in my opinion, simply hysteria. Violent crime in Arizona has gone *down* in the past decade. The vast majority of immigrants want to come here, get jobs, save a bit of money, and send it home to their families. When not harassed, they put down roots, open small businesses, and contribute to the community and the economy. The crime in the southwest comes from drug smugglers (who double as coyotes, immigrant smugglers) who would be coming north even if every other immigrant went home: they are here to sell drugs to Americans. Blaming all immigrants for their crimes is like blaming all Muslims for 9/11.

    Immigration law has always been sporadically enforced in the US, with “show piece” enforcement being done for political purposes. Many immigrant communities got a free pass: ask the Irish in Boston or the Poles in Chicago how often they got raided. (Well, in Boston IRA gun-runners sometimes got nailed, but other than that, not often.) There are strong economic incentives for keeping the borders porous, and my sense is that large parts of the business community have no interest in making immigration an issue. Here is (I think) a typical example. My niece works for a company in the midwest that owns and manages a bunch of trailer parks. They get a lot of Mexicans living in them. One day, one of the location managers told his boss that he thought a new resident was an illegal, and was going to call immigration. He was told, flat out, that if he did, he would be fired on the spot. When I asked my niece why (given the anti-immigrant sentiment in her area) she said that the Mexicans were good customers, paid on time, and didn’t cause trouble the way the “white trash” did.
    In short: there is a lot more going on than simple crass political calculation, as you charge. (For what it is worth, my father, God rest him, would have been much happier as a Republican, given most of his social and political views. But his support for the immigrant community would make him quite unwelcome these days.)

    I will pass over your ad hominem attacks on Felipe Calderon without comment.

    As for the veracity of the ad: some of its assertions are dubious at best, and are distorted in the best (worst?) tradition of political attack ads. The ad claims Reid wants to give “special tuition rates” to illegal aliens. Presumably this is an attack on his support for the DREAM Act, which would give papers to young adults who had lived in the U.S. for more than five years and who want to attend college or serve in the military. The beneficiaries of this law would be, for the most part, people who were brought to this country as kids (even infants) and raised here. Many of them never knew their families were here illegally until they wanted to go to college. Giving them a chance to go to college, and get in-state tuition hardly strikes me as bad public policy: it seems to me to be a sensible response to a bad situation.

    Over and beyond the dubious factual claims, you continue to ignore the visual imagery and rhetorical language this ad uses, all of which appeals to the strong undercurrent of xenophobia in the US. Let me finish by requoting Archbishop Dolan:

    “To blame them, stalk them, outlaw them, harass them, and consider them outsiders is unbiblical, inhumane, and un-American.

    Yes, every society has the duty to protect its borders and thoughtfully monitor its population. The call is to do this justly, sanely, and civilly.”

  71. Vermont Crank permalink
    October 1, 2010 9:54 am

    And the Catholic Church has shown a concern for “illegals” that is certainly not seen in this ad.

    True. The Ad was not a summary of Catholic Doctrine but so what?

    The Ad is perfectly fine and normal Americans are not upset by it.

    As for the alien invaders from the south, here is the Catechism:

    240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country:

    Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.45

    2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

    Normal folks are tired of the invasion from the south which has brought so much harm to so many native Americans and excusing that invasion with dubious and vague references to Catholic Doctrine is in direct opposition to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMyfGo-Pv58&feature=related

  72. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:02 am

    Minion,
    Can you please get another job so we don’t have to wait so long for moderation?!

  73. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:03 am

    I think Kurt, David, myself and all the rest of us real minions would agree with that…

  74. David Nickol permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:47 am

    “But I don’t see how a good Catholic can endorse attack ads.”

    It is a relief to me that we do not have to follow the teachings of David Nikol.

    Austin,

    I think you are avoiding an important question, which does not at all surprise me. Would a Catholic truly trying to abide by all the teachings of the Church run an attack ad? We take attack ads pretty much for granted in American politics, but we take a lot of things for granted that are not very Christian. The one word I see most frequently describing the Nevada campaign is nasty. Is a nasty political campaign consistent with Christian values? Even the American people disapprove of negative campaigning, but unfortunately it still works. I don’t think it should be given the Catholic (or Christian) stamp of approval.

  75. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    October 1, 2010 10:58 am

    @Vermont Crank

    Oh heavens: now I am not a “normal American”? I go to work, pay taxes, worry about crime, vote, raise my kids and contribute to the community—so why am I not “normal”? Or does normal=anglo=white American?

    As for “alien invaders” and”the invasion from the south which has brought so much harm to so many native Americans”: my son’s favorite t-shirt is a picture of Geronimo with the caption “Homeland Security: Fighting Terrorism Since 1492.”

    There is no evidence of “much harm” caused by immigrants, legal or illegal and your derogatory language is hateful and an offense against their dignity as human persons. It is un-Catholic.

    As for vague appeals to Catholic Doctrine (as opposed to “Constitution Rock” singing the preamble of the constitution):

    “Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.”
    Exodus 23:8-10

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” Matthew 25:34-36

    [Immigration is’ “a social phenomenon of epoch-making proportions that requires bold, forward-looking policies of international cooperation if it is to be handled effectively. Such policies should set out from close collaboration between the migrants’ countries of origin and their countries of destination; it should be accompanied by adequate international norms able to coordinate different legislative systems with a view to safeguarding the needs and rights of individual migrants and their families, and at the same time, those of the host countries….Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.” Caritas in Veritae 62

    “A broad legalization program of the undocumented would benefit not only the migrants but also both nations. Making legal the large number of undocumented workers from many nations who are in the United States would help to stabilize the labor market in the United States, to preserve family unity, and to improve the standard of living in immigrant communities. Moreover, migrant workers, many of whom have established roots in their communities, will continue to contribute to the U.S. economy.” USCCB “Strangers No Longer”, 69

    “Our concern as pastors for the dignity and rights of migrants extends to pastoral responses as well as public policy issues. The Church in our two countries is constantly challenged to see the face of Christ, crucified and risen, in the stranger. The whole Church is challenged to live the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-25), as they are converted to be witnesses of the Risen Lord after they welcome him as a stranger. Faith in the presence of Christ in the migrant leads to a conversion of mind and heart, which leads to a renewed spirit of communion and to the building of structures of solidarity to accompany the migrant. Part of the process of conversion of mind and heart deals with confronting attitudes of cultural superiority, indifference, and racism; accepting migrants not as foreboding aliens, terrorists, or economic threats, but rather as persons with dignity and rights, revealing the presence of Christ; and recognizing migrants as bearers of deep cultural values and rich faith traditions.” USCCB, “Strangers No Longer”, 40

    I am willing to discuss the problem and solution of illegal immigration, and I am open to the fact that people of good will can disagree with me and with the US Bishops. But I will always and everywhere call out racism and bigotry, and that is what underlies the ad in question.

  76. David Nickol permalink
    October 1, 2010 11:15 am

    Ah, yes, David, that ancient Catholic teaching “I am personally opposed but you may go ahead and kill unborn children.”

    Austin,

    Actually, that evil may be tolerated in some circumstances is indeed an ancient Catholic teaching. Some time ago, I raised the following questions on dotCommonweal:

    Is a Catholic in serious dissent who would never have an abortion, never assist in the performance of abortion, and who professes to believe abortion is the unjust taking of an innocent life, but also believes criminalization is not the solution? How did support for legal abortion become such a serious sin that politicians who support it are considered subject to denial of communion under Canon 915? Is it an infallible teaching that supporting legal abortion is a sin when a Catholic believes that criminalization would make the problem worse, not better?

    Father Komonchak commented:

    That abortion is an evil is one proposition. That it should be prohibited by civil law is another. That it should be prohibited in all cases and under all situations is another. That it should be prohibited under the present circumstances of U.S. society and culture is still another. How a Catholic should judge and act with regard to these last questions, whether as a private citizen or as a public office-holder, are prudential judgments, and I do not myself think that judgments involved in this degree of contingency should be considered grounds for excluding people from Holy Communion. Most U.S. bishops would seem to agree.

    I want to make it very clear that Father Komonchak was talking only about grounds for withholding communion based on a person’s political judgments regarding abortion, not declaring all positions on abortion were acceptable. Nevertheless, I do think his pointing out that there are a lot of prudential judgments involved in these matters is a good and relevant one. Is a Catholic who is truly convinced that criminalizing abortion will make things worse, or attempting to criminalize abortion is futile, still obliged to take the position that abortion must be criminalized and work toward that end? I can’t see how that is a reasonable expectation. You may want to argue that someone who thinks criminalizing abortion would make matters worse is mistaken, or that somebody who thinks attempting to criminalize abortion is futile is wrong, but I don’t see how you can hold them guilty of being in opposition to Church teaching.

  77. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 11:47 am

    David,

    When it comes to othography,i am a protestant; every man his own Edwin Newman.

    Actually, those errant b’s and n’s come about becuase i sometimes use my iPad and the flat keyboard is pesky…n’s and b’s are right above the space bar…

  78. Cindy permalink
    October 1, 2010 12:49 pm

    Matt Bowman,
    Pinky has hit on the ultimate irony of this post’s criticism: if Catholics are, as MM says, “about as “Catholic” as “Catholics for a Free Choice”” solely because they have supported a candidate who ran a distasteful immigration ad and talked about cutting maternity leave benefits, what does that make all the left-side Catholics (including MM) who supported Obama and so many other Democrats with contra-Catholic positions in 2008 and today?
    ***************************

    Divided. When a candidate talks about cutting maternity leave, and not wanting to pay for families that have children with autism, that speaks to being pro life. If it is ok to have those viewpoints, then she should not be called pro life. Pro birth maybe, but pro life? I would say not in the full sense of the word. Or maybe in the word as I view it. So should we start thinking if we are to be just pro birth or is there something more to it? I often wonder if people (being what they are in the blog world) will ever work together in all things regarding life.

  79. October 1, 2010 2:11 pm

    Sorry, Austin, rather busy, and yes, I can recognize the “ipad errors” as I make them all the time.

  80. October 1, 2010 2:14 pm

    Yes, the juxpaposition of “normal folks” versus “alien invaders from the south” exposes this comment for what it is. This dark dualism has no place in Catholic teaching. It has has clear racial undertones, much like Angle’s video, which I find rather distasteful. These “southern aliens” possess the same intrinsic dignity that your “normal folks” possess, and have the exact same rights under the natural law. What’s more, most of them are Catholic, while most of your “normal folks” are Protestant.

  81. October 1, 2010 2:20 pm

    Matt Bowman: if a Catholic wants to support this vile candidate, let them do so. I will disagree with them strongly, but that’s that. The point I am making here is different – why should an outfit that has the audacity to call itself “Catholic Vote” give its seal of approval to this candidate, giving her 9.9/10 (I also don’t know what this means, but it sounds to me like her positions align almost perfectly with the Church’s), and calling her “pro-life and pro-family”?

    I’ll make a deal – I will not call Obama “pro-life and pro-family” if you and your friends stop calling people like Angle “pro-life and pro-family”.

  82. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 2:28 pm

    David,

    A Catholic may in good conscience run an aggressively critical ad in a political campaign, yes. You call this an attack ad. Others wouldn’t.

    Nice to knwo again you want Catholics to look the other way on sodomy and baby killing but adhere to your rigorous standards on civility in political campaigns.

  83. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 2:42 pm

    Minion,

    Now you know our frustration when the USCCB sent out its presidential questionaire which read more like a policy brochure for the Democratic party. One of my proudest accomplishments was my small role in getting that killed….

  84. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 2:57 pm

    David,

    Would the good Father say:

    “That MURDER is an evil is one proposition. That MURDER should be prohibited by civil law is another. That MURDER should be prohibited in all cases and under all situations is another. That MURDER should be prohibited under the present circumstances of U.S. society and culture is still another. How a Catholic should judge and act with regard to these last questions, whether as a private citizen or as a public office-holder, are prudential judgments, and I do not myself think that judgments involved in this degree of contingency should be considered grounds for excluding people from Holy Communion. Most U.S. bishops would seem to agree.”

    How about this. Would he also say this:

    “That KILLING JEWS is an evil is one proposition. That KILLING JEWS should be prohibited by civil law is another. That KILLING JEWS should be prohibited in all cases and under all situations is another. That KILLING JEWS should be prohibited under the present circumstances of U.S. society and culture is still another. How a Catholic should judge and act with regard to these last questions, whether as a private citizen or as a public office-holder, are prudential judgments, and I do not myself think that judgments involved in this degree of contingency should be considered grounds for excluding people from Holy Communion. Most U.S. bishops would seem to agree.”

    Why does the good priest consider an unborn human being in a special category different than murdering others, different than murdering Jews? I wonder if he understands what he is actually saying.

  85. Kurt permalink
    October 1, 2010 4:29 pm

    Austin,

    So gald to learn that your glee about narrowing the pro-life movement is not universal but particular to me.

    That MURDER should be prohibited by civil law is another. That MURDER should be prohibited in all cases and under all situations is another. That MURDER should be prohibited under the present circumstances of U.S. society and culture is still another. … Why does the good priest consider an unborn human being in a special category different than murdering others, different than murdering Jews?

    Austin you write the above while you also have a temper tantrum if it is suggest that women who abort would have any civil penalty in a post-Roe world.

    Please decide what your position is rather than spin like a top.

  86. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 6:56 pm

    Kurt,

    You are a little too sensitive if you find disagreement to be a temper tantrum. But then we know that about you.

  87. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 1, 2010 7:04 pm

    Mm: that’s truly a generous offer, but to be equitable you would also have to promise to rail against all the aforementioned left-side Catholic groups with the same judgment you issued against CV.

    Re david and austin, i dont want to go off topic here about whether Catholic teaching is consistent with legal abortion, but I offer my comments on that issue in the box at this page: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=2417

  88. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:01 pm

    Matt,

    You are so good at this. You ran rings around Professor what’s-his-name. And you even made little Grant squeal that you were not “being helpful.” Hilarious.

  89. David Nickol permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:54 pm

    Would the good Father say:

    “That MURDER is an evil is one proposition.

    Austin,

    I don’t pretend to speak for Fr. Komonchak, but what I would say is that you are committing the logical fallacy of begging the question. A statement that begins “That abortion is evil is one proposition” does not assume that abortion is murder. (Also, it does not assume that abortion is not murder.)

    Also, I would say that for you, abortion is unequivocally MURDER just like any other murder — equivalent to “killing Jews” (as in the Holocaust, I presume) — when it suits your purposes. But it is a very different kind of “murder” (as Kurt implied) when issues like penalties are raised. If a woman were to hire someone to kill her newborn baby, and deliver that newborn baby into the killer’s hands, she would be charged for murder and she would go to prison. But if a woman has an abortion, you say she (without any legal proceedings whatsoever) should be considered not guilty. And I am only guessing here, but I doubt that you would propose the death penalty for abortionists, even though you seem to feel that abortion is not just murder, but a particularly heinous type of murder.

    Also, many who call themselves pro-life have no hesitation in supporting abortion in cases of rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother. Yet you count them as being on your side instead of considering them to be legalizing MURDER. As if the Holocaust would have been acceptable if 60 thousand Jews had been killed instead of 6 million.

    It seems to me that believing abortion is the taking of an innocent human life is a matter of religious faith (although some atheists do consider themselves pro-life), and further that even if you can arrive at the conclusion that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life, the circumstances are so dramatically different from any other kind of “murder” that analogies to other instances of killing human beings are of no help in deciding what to do about abortion.

  90. David Nickol permalink
    October 1, 2010 11:09 pm

    about whether Catholic teaching is consistent with legal abortion

    Matt,

    What I asked was whether a Catholic who sincerely believed that criminalizing abortions would make a bad situation worse, or a Catholic who believed that the battle to criminalize abortions could not be won, would nevertheless be expected to work for the criminalization of abortion.

  91. Kurt permalink
    October 2, 2010 8:20 am

    Kurt,

    You are a little too sensitive if you find disagreement to be a temper tantrum.

    Its not the temper tantrum I find so odd, its your disagreement with yourself.

    Is abortion murder; murder under civil law; murder like the Nazi murder of the Jews? Or is it different in that a party in the murder should not face civil punishment?

    I’m not giving you a recommendation which way you answer that question. I just ask that you stop shifting your answers.

  92. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 2, 2010 6:08 pm

    It is so nice to hear good and faithful Catholic pro-life boys using the arguments of the pro-aborts to frighten folks into keeping child-killing legal!

    The reason that jailing women is not on the agenda of the pro-life movement is because we understand that women are often, not always, but often victims themselves, pressured into committing abortion by husbands, boyfriends, work, parents, school. Further, we recognize that hunting down any miscarriage suspected of abortion would not be profitable time spent by law enforcement. It would be sufficient to go after the direct killers, the abortionists themselves. if we could only do that, abortions would almost be eliminated.

    As to the Nazi analogy. I would say that the woman undergoing abortion is not unlike the Jewish woman who has been coerced into helping the jailer-killers. She is cooperating in the killing but her cooperation is mitigated by circumstance.

    Again, it is nice to hear good and faithful Catholic boys making the arguments of child-killers. Nice going, guys!

  93. Kurt permalink
    October 2, 2010 8:53 pm

    Again, it is nice to hear good and faithful Catholic boys making the arguments of child-killers.

    And here we have more evidence that the Pro-Life Movement led by Austin and others is hopelessly corrupt and biased. One asks a simple question as to the obvious contradiction of his statements and the accusations are one stands with child killers.

    Austin is someone whose thinking is truly frightening, and it contributes immensely to the frightening sane and decent people away from the Pro-Life Movement.

    It is amazing to think a life is saved by hurling insults at other human beings.

  94. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 2, 2010 9:58 pm

    Kurt,

    You are making the arguments of the child-killers. Teh child-killers make their case using scare tactics; bloody coat-hangers, rape, incest, back-alley abortions, and jailing of women. You are making at least one of these arguments, yet you hold yourself out as true-blue pro-life. Excuse me if I scoff, Kurt. And didnt you recently post that you would have approved an HHS grant to Planned Parenthood? Sheesh. The largest child-killer in the country and you would give them money? Again, forgive me if I scoff at your pro-life bona fides, Kurt.

    While I lament the fact that the left has abandoned the unborn child, perhaps it is a good thing you did, Kurt. I suspect the pro-life movement is better off without those who make the arguments of the child killers and who want to fund them, too boot.

  95. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 2, 2010 10:57 pm

    To get even farther off-topic, my comments arguing that abortion is murder and must be illegal under Catholic teaching, and proposing it is entirely consistent with that to primarily punish abortionists, are here:
    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=2417

  96. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 2, 2010 11:05 pm

    Was reading Donum Vitae this weekend: “As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of his conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”
    Notice “must”–notice “appropriate”–notice “penal”–notice “every violation” (not every “violator”)
    The Nickol/Penalver/Kaveny position cannot be reconciled with Catholic teaching. The pro-life movement’s position–fits like a glove.

  97. David Nickol permalink
    October 3, 2010 2:42 am

    Austin,

    I notice it’s not MURDER or KILLING BABIES when you talk about how the pro-life movement think of women who have abortions:

    The reason that jailing women is not on the agenda of the pro-life movement is because we understand that women are often, not always, but often victims themselves, pressured into committing MURDER by husbands, boyfriends, work, parents, school. Further, we recognize that hunting down any miscarriage suspected of MURDER would not be profitable time spent by law enforcement.

    Case #1
    Defense Attorney: “Your honor, we will argue that this woman is not guilty of killing her babies because she was pressured into it by school.”
    Judge: “Why are we even having a trial? Case dismissed!”

    Case #2
    Husband: “If you don’t murder that baby, I’m leaving you.
    Wife: “Okay, dear, I’ll murder the baby, but if the police catch me, I’m going to tell them it’s your fault.”

    Case #3:
    Defense Attorney: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it’s true the defendant murdered her baby, but a live baby would have stood in the way of her career. She had such a good job. She had no choice.”
    Jury: “Your honor, we don’t need to deliberate. Obviously this woman is not guilty.”

    Again, it is nice to hear good and faithful Catholic boys making the arguments of child-killers.

    I think you have managed to combine five or six logical fallacies into one sentence. A valid argument is valid no matter who makes it.

  98. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 3, 2010 11:32 am

    Here is Kurt, I mean Naral Pro-Choice American making Kurt’s case. Kurt, you should be ashamed. But you arent’. Neither are you pro-life. Neither are you a faithful Catholic.

    http://www.prochoicewisconsin.org/news/press/200603061.shtml

    “Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban (Wis. Stat. § 940.04) makes it a felony to terminate a pregnancy or assist a woman in doing so. Without the protections of Roe v. Wade, even rape victims and their doctors could be fined and even imprisoned for having an abortion.”

  99. David Nickol permalink
    October 3, 2010 11:55 am

    Notice “must”–notice “appropriate”–notice “penal”–notice “every violation” (not every “violator”)

    Matt,

    Would you say that countries that do impose legal penalties on women who procure abortions — Malta, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, the Philippines — are wrong to do so? Are they treating women unjustly? Or are punishing abortionists alone, and punishing abortionists plus women who procure abortions, both valid approaches in conforming to the Church’s requirement that “the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights”?

  100. Kurt permalink
    October 3, 2010 11:59 am

    Exactly, David.

    Austin, you are Exhibit #1 of the corruption of the Pro-Life Movement. You present two unreconcilable statements and when even a question is raised on the conflict between your answers, you makes accusations against others and try to censor the conversation.

    Yes, when Pro-Life leaders say nonsensical things, I expect the abortion rights lobby would take note of it, as would your average rational person. The solution is for Pro-Life leaders to stop saying stupid things, not for others to ignore stupid things they say. Unless the real agenda is to reduce the pro-life movement so that its nonsense element is in firm control, protecting the positions and sense of self-importance of those who would never otherwise rise to a leadership role.

    And on grantmaking to PP, I am in the same boat at George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Describe the actions and potential actions of the four of us as you will, just explain how three of us earned the endorsement of the NRLC.

  101. David Nickol permalink
    October 3, 2010 1:51 pm

    It’s interesting that those Catholics who make abortion an offense in civil law reverse the position taken by canon law. Canon 1398 reads, “A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.” Because of Canon 1329, which does not deal with abortion per se, but with latae sententiae excommunication, accomplices incur the same penalty. The abortionist, among others, is considered an accomplice. If Canon 1398 did not exist, there would be no canonical penalty for those who actually perform abortions. If Canon 1329 did not exist, there would also be no canonical penalty for those who actually perform abortions. The canonical offense is procuring an abortion.

    Now, in civil law, accomplices to crimes are punished, but I can’t think of a case in civil law where only accomplices are punished and not those who commit what is specified in the law as an offense.

    Mother Teresa:

    But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child—a direct killing of the innocent child—murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? . . . By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. . . .

    Austin Ruse:

    The reason that jailing women is not on the agenda of the pro-life movement is because we understand that women are often, not always, but often victims themselves, pressured into committing abortion by husbands, boyfriends, work, parents, school.

  102. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 3, 2010 4:36 pm

    By the way, Kurt Pro-Choice America’s thought is so ubiquitous on the baby-killing left, that i found it by googling “naral jailing women”…it was the very first result…

  103. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 3, 2010 8:00 pm

    How disheartening! The person representing my own view on the question is losing the argument in embarrassing fashion.

  104. David Nickol permalink
    October 4, 2010 12:14 am

    While it may be true that pro-choicers use the specter of women in jail for abortion as a “scare tactic,” pointing that out doesn’t answer this question: If abortion is criminalized as murder, what should the penalty be for a woman who procures an abortion?

    I was just reading an article titled States Didn’t Put Women in Jail for Abortions Before Roe, Won’t if Overturned. I think the statement made in the title is true. While I don’t think Roe will be overturned, if it is, I very much doubt if any state would enact a law requiring jail time for a woman who procured an abortion, and if any states did, I don’t believe they would enforce it.

    There is a very important point, though. State laws before Roe weren’t based on the proposition that abortion was murder. Abortion laws weren’t homicide laws, and future laws, if any, probably won’t be either. That would be a departure from the common law, in which homicide is the killing of a person, and a person is a human being who has been born.

    However, the question here (at least in my mind) isn’t whether American women will be jailed for having abortions if Roe is overturned. It is how the those pro-lifers who maintain that abortion is a murder just like any other murder can argue that women should be automatically exempted from responsibility. If abortion really were to be treated as murder in American law, which it won’t be, what would be a just penalty for a woman who procures an abortion?

    As I have noted above, abortion laws in the Philippines, Malta, Chile, El Salvador, and Nicaragua — all under the influence of the Catholic Church — actually do punish women for procuring abortions. (Poland doesn’t.)

    The article I linked to above regards abortionists as the criminals — the perpetrators — and women as accomplices. As I have also noted above, canon law regards the person who procures an abortion as the offender, and the physician who performs it as an accomplice.

    The moral case made against abortion by Catholic pro-lifers and the Church is rather different from the legal case made against abortion within the common law, and I am reasonably certain that the common law will prevail even if Roe is overturned and abortion is recriminalized by some states.

    So the question for pro-lifers isn’t really how abortionists can be charged as murderers without prosecuting women as accomplices. Abortionists never were charged as murderers, and they won’t be if Roe is overturned and abortion recriminalized. The question is how they can make a moral case against abortion as murder and treat women as victims. I don’t see how they can. Canon law certainly doesn’t.

    One further point. I have never been able to determine exactly why a woman is excommunicated for procuring an abortion but not for killing her children after they are born. One possible reason that has been suggested, however, is that killing babies (real ones, born alive) is so obviously wrong that no special penalty needs to be attached to it, but abortion may not seem like murder to some, so a severe penalty is attached to it by canon law as a clear warning to all that it is indeed murder. It is to clarify the situation to a woman who might be contemplating abortion. If this is indeed the rationale in whole or in part, the pro-life movement is undermining it by declaring women who procure abortions innocent victims rather than women who murder their own babies.

  105. October 4, 2010 1:46 am

    Kimberley – while I disagree with David on his position on abortion, he makes intellectually honest arguments and defends his position skillfully. I’m glad he’s here. I don’t see his pro-choice arguments as a threat – rather, I see David as an example of the sorts of arguments we pro-lifers ought to be engaging, as they are the most persuasive to fence-sitters. Allowing David to make his arguments is not the same thing as endorsing their content; he and his opponents are having a conversation.

    Kurt, by the way, is not a “pro-abort” as you claim. He is, like me, dismayed at the tactics and corruption of a movement whose aims we actually agree with.

  106. October 4, 2010 3:17 am

    Kimberley

    So, instead of responding to the arguments yourself, you think the best thing you can do is attack the blog? So, I guess you think yourself an embarrassment since I see silence from you during the debate?

  107. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:03 am

    David adn Kurt,

    Do you deny that you hold the position that abortion while is regrettable, it is best left to “a woman and her doctor” and that Roe should stand?

    If you do, then you are not faithful Catholics. Period.

    Your charge against me and other prolifers is that we being inconsistent because we want to jail abortionists but let women who have abortions off? Yes, that is our position. Inconsistent? Too bad.

    What you are doing is trying to scare people into accepting the abortion regime. This is identical to NARAL and all the other outfits that advocate for child-killing.

    So, what is your position on abortion and on Roe? Do you dare to actually admit your position? I doubt it. Folks, here comes the slippery smarmy voice of left wing “Catholics.”

  108. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 4, 2010 9:55 am

    Gentlemen,

    This is the pro-life movement. The remarkably gentle Chris Bell and his brave wife Joan Andrews Bell (jailed many times for pro-life activity) and their Good Counsel Homes and their seven special needs children they adopted.

    http://www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/news/index.html

    You make arguments like NARAL. They save lives.

  109. Kurt permalink
    October 4, 2010 12:16 pm

    Kurt,

    Do you deny that you hold the position that abortion while is regrettable, it is best left to “a woman and her doctor” and that Roe should stand?

    Yes, I do deny it. I was opposed to Roe the day it was issued and have been ever since. I don’t believe abortion is a matter between a woman and her doctor but instead believe unborn life must have social protection.

    Thanks for asking.

  110. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 4, 2010 12:19 pm

    David,

    The first abortion statute in the United States, in Connecticut, called abortion murder as did English Common Law. True enough that most states laws prior to Roe did not refer to murder, as the debate became debased by your predecessors. So what? It is what it is. It is the deliberate taking of an innocent and defenseless human life that ought to be punished. It is murder. Whether that was or will be recognized by law is beside the point.

    Can you name a woman in jail in Malta for abortion? Or Nicaragua?

    Matt,

    it is not a good thing for those calling themselves Catholic (Kurt and David) to make arguments for keeping the abortion regime. It is a scandal. Of course, I am not saying they should not be allowed to do so here. Still, they are dissenters from the faith. (I am searching for Kimberley’s intervention…where is it?)

  111. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 4, 2010 12:38 pm

    And i note that neither David or Kurt are so far willing to state for the record their positions on abortion and Roe/Doe.

  112. David Nickol permalink
    October 4, 2010 1:22 pm

    What you are doing is trying to scare people into accepting the abortion regime. This is identical to NARAL and all the other outfits that advocate for child-killing.

    Austin,

    I would have to say you are dodging difficult questions by making statements like the above and also by engaging in personal attacks. (“Folks, here comes the slippery smarmy voice of left wing ‘Catholics.’”)

    Your charge against me and other prolifers is that we being inconsistent because we want to jail abortionists but let women who have abortions off? Yes, that is our position. Inconsistent? Too bad.

    That is not entirely accurate. I think a perfectly good case could be made that in order minimize abortions (if Roe is overturned), the most politically feasible and efficient approach for law enforcement would be to focus on abortionists and not those who procure abortion. It’s pretty much the approach taken with prostitution and to a certain extent with drug enforcement. Where I think you are inconsistent is making a moral argument that abortion is MURDER and saying that you “understand that women are often, not always, but often victims themselves, pressured into committing abortion by husbands, boyfriends, work, parents, school.” What other form of MURDER would you forgive in advance because it was committed under pressure to keep a job or stay in school? Is someone not guilty of MURDER because her parents or her boyfriend “pressure” her into it?

    Now, I have no doubt that some women are psychologically pressured or even coerced into having abortions. I would have to say, thought, that I believe women in South and Central America and the Philippines are probably more vulnerable to this kind of coercion than American women, and it is largely because of the influence of the Catholic Church that abortion laws in these countries are so harsh and actually do punish women. And as I have pointed out several times, canon law makes a woman who procures an abortion the primary offender. It just does not seem consistent with the teachings or actions of the Church — if abortion is indeed murder — to claim that most women are innocent victims.

    What you are doing is trying to scare people into accepting the abortion regime. This is identical to NARAL and all the other outfits that advocate for child-killing.

    As I noted above, women did not go to prison for abortion before Roe, and I don’t expect them to go to prison if Roe is overturned. Actually, I don’t expect Roe will be overturned, so it is scarcely important what I think will happen if it is. In any case, in writing about these issues on Vox Nova, whom am I trying to scare? How many readers of Vox Nova are sitting on the fence when it comes to legalized abortion and would be frightened by what I write into becoming pro-choice? I would also point out that only seven of the 109 comments of this thread were written by women. If I were going to try to scare women into being pro-choice for fear they’d go it jail if they had an abortion, don’t you think I’d write where women were present in significant numbers?

    You make arguments like NARAL. They save lives.

    This is not a rational or logical argument.

  113. Cindy permalink
    October 4, 2010 2:31 pm

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/utah-abortion-bill-punishing-miscarriages-preventing-crime/story?id=9955517

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/us/01abortion.html

    It seems a matter of intent and responsibility. The laws are much more complex than they were back in 1912.
    So David, maybe you could help explain your take on this.

  114. David Nickol permalink
    October 4, 2010 3:21 pm

    Cindy,

    I see that the governor of Utah vetoed the bill, so I hope for the most part that gets me off the hook. Also, the fact that the child was not aborted and was born healthy means that there was no abortion here. I doubt that there is any provision in Utah law for charging someone with attempted abortion.

    If the young woman had been successful in attempting to abort the child, I would say that a state has the power to make reasonable distinctions between a legal and an illegal abortion. I am sure all states legally require abortions to be performed by qualified medical personnel, so if it was the intent of this young woman to have someone abort her child who was not medically qualified to do so, and the baby had died, I don’t see why she could not have been charged with procuring an illegal abortion. Also, she was a minor, and parental consent is required for an abortion in Utah. Further, the young woman was not in the first trimester, and late-term abortion is restricted in Utah. So I don’t see how in the world this young woman could have been protected by Utah’s abortion laws if she had actually succeeded in aborting the child.

    It strikes me that this is such a bizarre case that no new law was needed to cover it. I can’t make much sense out of the text of the bill, by my cynical guess is that it was created and passed more to please the pro-life movement than to make any necessary change to Utah abortion law.

  115. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 4, 2010 3:28 pm

    Thank you, Kurt. I withdraw that criticism.

  116. Kurt permalink
    October 4, 2010 3:34 pm

    And i note that neither David or Kurt are so far willing to state for the record their positions on abortion and Roe/Doe.

    As on so many matters, you note incorrectly. You had not previously inquired about Doe. I also believe that decision was wrongly decided and I would like to see it overturned.

  117. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 4, 2010 4:35 pm

    In addition to the fact that punishing every abortionist with murder is consistent with treating abortion as murder even if we treat women as second victims and don’t punish them so as to more effectively get them to rat out abortionists, there is another murder crime for which states routinely treat proximate offenders leniently and compassionately as quasi-victims, and treat accomplices more harshly, and do so in a way that is entirely consistent with the victim being fully human and his death being true murder and the state fulfilling the need to make it illegal. I’m talking about suicide, attempted suicide and assisted suicide. In fact, abortion has significant parallels with suicide.

    • October 4, 2010 4:45 pm

      I’m talking about suicide, attempted suicide and assisted suicide.

      Excellent point, Matt – David, your response?

  118. Kurt permalink
    October 4, 2010 6:23 pm

    Thank you, Kurt. I withdraw that criticism.

    You withdraw the criticism that by asking questions I am making NARAL’s arguments?

    You withdraw the criticism that Kurt, you should be ashamed. But you arent’. Neither are you pro-life. Neither are you a faithful Catholic. ?

    You withdraw the criticism that what I am doing is trying to scare people into accepting the abortion regime…identical to NARAL and all the other outfits that advocate for child-killing.?

    You withdraw your criticism of me when you stated: Do you dare to actually admit your position? I doubt it. Folks, here comes the slippery smarmy voice of left wing “Catholics.”?

    You withdraw your statement: Kurt, You are making the arguments of the child-killers. Teh child-killers make their case using scare tactics; bloody coat-hangers, rape, incest, back-alley abortions, and jailing of women. You are making at least one of these arguments, yet you hold yourself out as true-blue pro-life. Excuse me if I scoff, Kurt. And didnt you recently post that you would have approved an HHS grant to Planned Parenthood? Sheesh. The largest child-killer in the country and you would give them money? Again, forgive me if I scoff at your pro-life bona fides, Kurt.

    While I lament the fact that the left has abandoned the unborn child, perhaps it is a good thing you did, Kurt. I suspect the pro-life movement is better off without those who make the arguments of the child killers and who want to fund them, too boot. ?

    While withdrawal may not be a method of family planning approved by the Church, it sure looks like a lot of withdrawal here.

  119. Cindy permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:51 pm

    @David,
    It was an odd case and not something that anyone would ever want to read about. Just autrocious. I couldnt find anywhere whether or not the bill ever passed or if it didnt. Thanks for finding it. For something that has been legal for over 30yrs, they actually say the first state of offer abortion was Mississippi in 1966. If it were to be outlawed, if the mafia (or organized crime) decided to run their own abortion set up’s on the down low. I have my reservations that the woman would not be punished. I dont see how she couldnt be. I feel someone would seek for that goal. Some prosecutor would do it.

  120. David Nickol permalink
    October 4, 2010 10:01 pm

    . . . . there is another murder crime for which states routinely treat proximate offenders leniently and compassionately as quasi-victims, and treat accomplices more harshly, and do so in a way that is entirely consistent with the victim being fully human and his death being true murder and the state fulfilling the need to make it illegal.

    Matt,

    Suicide is not a “murder crime.”

    In fact, neither suicide nor attempted suicide is even a crime anywhere in the United States, so I don’t see how it is a case of “the state fulfilling the need to make it illegal.” Suicide was not murder in the common law, or at least has not been since the 17th century.

    According to Wikipedia, the elements of common law murder are:
    1. the killing
    2. of a human being
    3. by another human being
    4. with malice aforethought.

    Element 3 rules out suicide as murder. In fact, as far as I can tell, suicide wasn’t considered homicide. However, suicide was a felony.

    Assisted suicide is the killing of a human being by another human being, so it does fit the definition of homicide.

    While the Catholic Church considers abortion murder and suicide self-murder, the law does not consider either suicide or abortion to be murder. So in that sense, I see a parallel between abortion and suicide. The Church considers them heinous crimes, but they are not illegal in the United States.

  121. David Nickol permalink
    October 4, 2010 10:33 pm

    . . . . even if we treat women as second victims and don’t punish them so as to more effectively get them to rat out abortionists . . .

    Matt,

    There is a big difference between what you say and what Austin Ruse says:

    The reason that jailing women is not on the agenda of the pro-life movement is because we understand that women are often, not always, but often victims themselves, pressured into committing abortion by husbands, boyfriends, work, parents, school.

    As I stated above (and I’ll just quote myself):

    I think a perfectly good case could be made that in order minimize abortions (if Roe is overturned), the most politically feasible and efficient approach for law enforcement would be to focus on abortionists and not those who procure abortion. It’s pretty much the approach taken with prostitution and to a certain extent with drug enforcement.

    What I am criticizing is to make a moral case that abortion is murder and ought to be treated by the law as murder, and then to turn around and claim that women who have abortions are innocent because they were pressured into it by things like work and school. Those aren’t excuses for murder!

    I would be perfectly willing if pro-lifers said the following: What we would recommend is to criminalize abortion and — as a practical matter as is done in prostitution and narcotics — to focus on putting away the provider rather the customer. Also, it just would not be politically feasible to impose significant penalties on women who obtain abortions, because so many Americans look on them sympathetically. That’s just being practical and realistic.

    But for Catholics — whose Church excommunicates women who procure abortion, and whose Church has been instrumental in passing laws in other countries that do indeed punish women — to claim that women who procure abortions are not responsible for their own actions strikes me as inconsistent with what the Church teaches (and does). Also, as I said above, my understanding is that the Church excommunicates women who procure abortion to make it crystal clear that the Church considers abortion murder. So it strikes me that for Catholic pro-lifers to argue that women are not responsible for their actions is actually to contradict the message of the Church that it is very serious indeed for a woman to procure an abortion. And if she is pressured by her parents or her boyfriend, or she is worried about school or her job, that will not excuse her if she has an abortion. No doubt most people who commit murder feel “pressured” to do so in one way or another. But that doesn’t mean we don’t hold them responsible for their actions.

  122. David Nickol permalink
    October 4, 2010 11:32 pm

    even if we treat women as second victims and don’t punish them so as to more effectively get them to rat out abortionists . . .

    Matt,

    I can see how, if there is a penalty in the law, agreeing not to impose it could be a good way to get women to “rat out abortionists.” But if there is absolutely no penalty at all in the law for a woman who has an abortion, why in the world would she cooperate with law enforcement to send the person who performed her abortion to prison? Certainly from the point of view of law enforcement, you would want to have something to use to induce women to turn in and testify against abortionists. Wouldn’t you?

  123. David Nickol permalink
    October 4, 2010 11:40 pm

    Oddly, if abortion is murder, I feel my position — that women must not be easily excused for having an abortion even under pressure — is closer to the Church’s position than the very common “pro-life” position of Austin Ruse.

  124. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:37 am

    David–thank you for conceding the argument. Since you believe suicide isn’t murder in the Church’s eyes or the State’s, it must mean the one killed in suicide isn’t morally a human person whose deliberate killing in suicide or any circumstance is morally a murder. Yep we’ve betrayed the hypocrisy of he Church and State pretending to believe adults are people with full human dignity.

    The fact is that killing any human being is homicide, the killing of a human person which must be illegal. Your idea is that there is some kind of maximum simplistic penalty, which if it isn’t formulaicly imposed on a killing means that the victim isn’t a human person with full human dignity. That idea fundamentally misunderstands both morality and criminal law.

  125. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:46 am

    …Because criminal law has lots of ways in which it allows for variations on a penalty for categories of human killings, like vehicular homicide, or crimes of passion, or suicide, with different combinations of crime degrees, penalty ranges, treatments of different actors in the crime, jury discretion, and prosecutorial discretion, none of which means the crime is not penally illegal as killing a human person or allows the killing, and none of which suggests the victim is not being protected as a full human being whose killing is morally murder.

    Your trite syllogism trying to show that the preborn are not persons and their killing isn’t murder is much like the assertion of the fundamentalist who says that if we don’t impose the death penalty

  126. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:58 am

    …we are violating the Biblical mandate and the personhood of the victim. That view misunderstands both Biblical inerrancy and morality. The fundamentalist and the atheist alike share the same premises of simplistic failure to understand moral tracing due to heir zeal to attack the Church and justify violations of human dignity. But heresy is at root the simplistic insistence on one truth to the exclusion of all others. The Church and basic justice both have no problem insisting that all human beings be protected in law as human persons whose killing is murder and must be illegal as such, but hat kinda of murder like abortion can be penalized by punishing abortionists primarily and severely while treating the woman as a second victim to whom the law shows mercy and can better get testimony from against abortionists when they are not penalized, thus the murders can more effectively be eliminated. That is an idea you can refuse to understand, but is completely and internally consistent

    • October 5, 2010 5:36 am

      But heresy is at root the simplistic insistence on one truth to the exclusion of all others.

      Even if the truth is “we must stop abortion” and all other moral conditions are ignored because of the insistence that we must stop abortion. Yes, anti-abortion positions can end up as heresy, when the proper reasons for being anti-abortion are ignored, reasons which would tie to many positions outside of abortion.

  127. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 1:01 am

    Sorry for typos–working on handheld

  128. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:34 am

    The first abortion statute in the United States, in Connecticut, called abortion murder as did English Common Law.

    Austin,

    See here:

    Although Bracton [ca. 1210–1268] said that abortion of a quickened fetus was homicide, later writers insisted that it could not be homicide at common law. The proposition that abortion cannot be homicide is reiterated by practically every major writer on English criminal law, from William Staunford and William Lambard in the sixteenth century, through Edward Coke and Matthew Hale in the seventeenth century, to William Hawkins and William Blackstone in the eighteenth century. Homicide was agreed to require the prior birth of the victim. Murder might be charged, according to Hale, if the woman on whom an abortion was performed died as a result. Murder also might be charged, according to Coke, if a botched abortion injured a fetus that afterwards was born alive and then died from its prenatal injuries. But where a fetus, even a quickened fetus, was killed in the womb, resulting in stillbirth, whatever the crime, it would not be homicide at common law.

    Also, see this:

    The Emergence of Abortion Legislation

    The first evidence of a shift in legal policy toward abortion occurred in 1821 in Connecticut. At the legislature’s request, three legal scholars drafted a groundbreaking law:

    Every person who shall willfully and
    maliciously, administer to, or cause
    to be administered to, or taken by,
    any person or persons, any deadly
    poison, or other noxious and destructive
    substance, with an intention
    him, her or them, thereby to
    murder, or thereby to cause or procure
    the miscarriage of any woman,
    then being quick with child … shall
    suffer imprisonment, in newgate
    prison, during his natural life.

    It was the first initiative that considered the question of abortion in a legal statute, and it would quickly be followed by similar measures in other states over the next 30 years. A New York criminal code passed in 1828 effectively banned abortion by any means, using stronger and more proscriptive language than the earlier Connecticut version:

    Every person who shall
    willfully administer to any
    pregnant woman, any medicine,
    drug, substance or thing whatever, or
    shall use or employ any instrument
    or other means whatever, with intent
    thereby to procure the miscarriage of
    any such woman, … shall upon conviction,
    be punished by imprisonment
    in a county jail no more than
    one year.

    Still, the laws applied only to those “quick with child,” and in New York it was considered only second-degree manslaughter.

    The 1821 Connecticut statute reads, “. . . with an intention him, her or them, thereby to murder, or thereby to cause or procure the miscarriage of any woman, then being quick with child.” It does not, as you claim, call the miscarriage murder, and it forbids abortion only after quickening, and only with poison.

  129. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:36 am

    Sorry. Coding error above. The last paragraph, beginning, “The 1821 Connecticut statute . . . ,” is not a quote, but rather my own comment.

  130. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:43 am

    Kurt,

    You withdraw the criticism that by asking questions I am making NARAL’s arguments?

    NO.

    You withdraw the criticism that Kurt, you should be ashamed.

    NO.

    But you arent’. Neither are you pro-life. Neither are you a faithful Catholic. ?

    Yes, and as far as i know…dont know where you’re at on homosexual marriage and contraception…

    You withdraw the criticism that what I am doing is trying to scare people into accepting the abortion regime…identical to NARAL and all the other outfits that advocate for child-killing.?

    You withdraw your criticism of me when you stated: Do you dare to actually admit your position? I doubt it. Folks, here comes the slippery smarmy voice of left wing “Catholics.”?

    YES

    You withdraw your statement: Kurt, You are making the arguments of the child-killers. Teh child-killers make their case using scare tactics; bloody coat-hangers, rape, incest, back-alley abortions, and jailing of women.

    NO.

    You are making at least one of these arguments, yet you hold yourself out as true-blue pro-life. Excuse me if I scoff, Kurt. And didnt you recently post that you would have approved an HHS grant to Planned Parenthood? Sheesh. The largest child-killer in the country and you would give them money? Again, forgive me if I scoff at your pro-life bona fides, Kurt.

    MAYBE
    While I lament the fact that the left has abandoned the unborn child, perhaps it is a good thing you did, Kurt. I suspect the pro-life movement is better off without those who make the arguments of the child killers and who want to fund them, too boot. ?

    MAYBE

  131. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:44 am

    Oops, forgot one:

    You withdraw the criticism that what I am doing is trying to scare people into accepting the abortion regime…identical to NARAL and all the other outfits that advocate for child-killing.?

    NO.

  132. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:56 am

    David,

    I am reaching out to friends in Malta and Ireland to ask about women languishing in jail for having an abortion. Am awaiting a response though I suspect your claim is false. Perhaps you can provide instances of women in jail in those and other prolfie countries…

  133. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:18 am

    David,

    Who cares if Matt and I say something different. You seem to want to win a smaller and smaller argument. It doesn’t matter what it is or how small it is, you just want to win? Is that it?

  134. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:24 am

    David,

    I just heard back from my irish contact…no women in jail in Ireland for having an abortion…

  135. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 9:55 am

    I have my reservations that the woman would not be punished. I dont see how she couldnt be. I feel someone would seek for that goal. Some prosecutor would do it.

    Cindy,

    It seems to me that from the viewpoint of law enforcement, the state would be at a disadvantage in prosecuting abortionists if they didn’t have at least something to hold over the heads of their customers to get them to identify and testify against the abortionists.

    I think a possible indicator of what might happen would be the so-called trigger laws that a number of states have passed — laws that are unconstitutional now but are set to go into effect if Roe is overturned. Matt Bowman could probably tell us if any of those laws provide for penalties against women who procure abortions.

    I remember reading somewhere that although we regard infanticide as a horrendous crime, women who kill their newborn children often are treated leniently. I just looked up the infamous case of the high school girl who went to her prom pregnant, had the baby, strangled it, and went back to the prom. She was sentenced to 15 years, but actually served only 3 years and one month. So I think many people don’t have the stomach to punish women who commit this kind of infanticide as murderers, so it is all the more believable that they don’t want to punish women who have abortions. It is certainly not consistent with the pro-life assertion that a human being must be treated as a person with full rights from the moment of birth. And I see it as inconsistent with excommunicating women who procure abortions. It also seems inconsistent to me with the statement I reproduced above from Mother Teresa saying if mothers are allowed to kill their own babies, how can expect anybody not to kill anybody.

  136. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 10:28 am

    By the way, the latae sententiae excommunication penalty for abortion has a swath of exceptions in practice:
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4W.HTM
    http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm
    It’s still grave matter, but mercy is recognized. Hmm, kind of like the pro-life approach to law.
    Criminal law is a much more blunt instrument than moral law, so it makes sense to draw even starker lines. The Church says abortion is murder, it must be illegal, and the law must protect the preborn, but it doesn’t mandate that if we satisfy all these requirements by severely punishing abortionists that we must also punish women, especially since we can help protect the preborn and jail abortionists by not punishing women. I cannot convince David to stop his obstinate objections in the face of these simple facts–only the Holy Spirit can do that. But him repeating himself and delving into peripheral minutiae via freshly learned tidbits from wikipedia doesn’t change the consistency of the position of pro-lifers and the Church.

  137. Mark Gordon permalink
    October 5, 2010 11:38 am

    I have been traveling and have not had a chance to return to Vox Nova to defend my assertion that Austin Ruse and those like him are “immune” to the full teaching of the Church. In a private email, Ruse demands my response and accuses me of calumny, which is typical. Perhaps I have already been reported to Generalissimo Palin and Bishop Beck. Gratefully, I have until at least 2012 before having to answer for my crimes.

    I will confess that I have met Austin Ruse only once, and that meeting consisted of nothing more than a self-introduction and a handshake. So, I do not know the state of his soul. Nor do I know the state of the souls of anyone else on the right (or the left, for that matter). I therefore have no idea, nor would I venture a guess, whether their apparent resistance to the full teaching of the Church is the result of a deliberate, conscious rejection or some form of invincible ignorance, perhaps conditioned by ideology.

    So, without specifically accusing any particular person of anything in particular, here is what I meant by right-wing Republican Catholics being “immune” to the full teaching of the Church: The Church teaches peace, while they promote and defend war, including preemptive war. The Church teaches the inviolable dignity of the human person, while they advocate or defend capital punishment and torture. The Church teaches a just and equitable distribution of goods, while they preach a form of economic Darwinism that leads to exploitation and inequality. The Church teaches human solidarity, while they support government policies and – more importantly – social attitudes that objectify immigrants, the poor, and minorities. The Church teaches the common good, while they defend narrow corporate prerogatives and practices. The Church teaches loving stewardship of the earth, while they defend the wasteful and destructive exploitation of natural resources.

  138. October 5, 2010 11:40 am

    In defense of Austin, when he writes:

    “women are often, not always, but often victims themselves, pressured into committing abortion by husbands, boyfriends, work, parents, school.”

    He is in essence claiming: (1) *Some*–not all–women are themselves victims of unjust patriarchal and economic structures whose combined force strongly impels–but only in rare cases actually necessitates–their procuring an abortion. These women are not, needless to say, as victimized as the unborn babies they allow to be killed, but they *are* victims nonetheless, and as a prudential matter we need to be gentle in how we handle their situation–both because, politically, we are more likely to make inroads among the population if we can provide evidence that pro-lifers are not just anti-woman (a claim that is often heard) and because there is a sense in which *many* women who procure abortions are themselves victims of societal injustice, and so our legal system should reflect this fact by lessening or removing punitive punishment for their crime.

    It’s perfectly consistent to hold this view as pertaining to the *civic* handling of abortion in our particular country *and* to hold the view that in nearly every case the woman who procurs an abortion has committed a serious sin–murder–and should seek reconciliation with God. These two positions are consistent because the moral order does not, need not, and should not, overlap completely with the legal order. Some things are immoral but should be left legal (for a variety of prudential reasons) and other things are illegal but taken in themselves are morally indifferent.

    For all my disagreements with Austin, I think his point is not as problematic as David Nickol is trying to make it. (It is, to my mind, problematic in different ways, but that is a different topic altogether.)

  139. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 11:59 am

    We are agreed, Henry. And, liberal pro-Democrat positions can end up as heresy, when the truth of the exceptionless family of human beings within liberalism itself is ignored, a truth without which positions even outside of abortion are meaningless.

    • October 5, 2010 12:24 pm

      Matt,

      Obviously, if people really do not take the whole of the Catholic teaching on the human person, and the common good, there is where deviation begins; and such deviation, if called forth and investigated and rejected by the Church, becomes a point of division if the person does not recant. Abortion is evil, and wrong, no ifs, ands or buts about that. Now how and why people use abortion should be investigated so that the causes for abortion are eliminated.

  140. Kurt permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:04 pm

    Austin,

    Well, some acts of withdrawal.

    But as I pointed out, not only is withdrawal a family planning method not approved by the Church, it is something done only after you screw someone.

  141. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:53 pm

    Henry, the causes should be eliminated. Again we agree. Consider the pregnancy center movement, which abortionists, the Democratic party, and our friend David Nickol are increasingly attacking. It is beyond me how people who claim to oppose indirect causes of abortion justify assaulting thousands of centers that freely offer millions in time and resources to meet the needs of women. It’s like someone opposing Catholic Charities, and then saying they’re doing it in the name of the poor. Why we can’t unite in one strong unequivocal voice in support of the pro-life pregnancy center movement and against its attackers is beyond me, but the lack of willingness to do so calls into question the suggestion by people who defend those attackers that really care about solving the causes of abortion. But more fundamentally, should elimination of indirect causes be the only thing we do, and should indirect-cause-elimination excuse all more-direct promoting abortion and direct opposition to all more-direct stopping of abortion, and do the people who oppose and excuse the opposition of all more-direct stopping of abortion get to decide what the stoppage of indirect causes actually means (so as to justify their opposing and excusing opposition to those more-direct methods)?

    • October 5, 2010 1:02 pm

      Matt,

      Certainly there is good done with crisis pregnancy centers (even if some of them, at times, could do things not so well; there is room for improvement and self-criticism is important), that is one, small aspect of the overall scheme which needs to be worked. The social dimension, which might seem indirect, even if indirect, still needs to be addressed; several indirect causes can have more influence than a proximate cause, and so all needs to be addressed.

      One of the problems I see with many pro-life leaders (not people doing pro-life work) is the immediate reactionary response they give to criticism. That is the problem and indeed, a major cause for scandal. Reform, when needed, is rejected as mere “politics” or “really done by those who support abortion.” Again, I am pro-life, very strongly so. I enter many discussions as a self-critic.

  142. Kurt permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:58 pm

    WJ,

    You wonderfully explain a very sound, compassionate, liberal-minded, life affirming and Christian position. If Austin embraces it as well (I’ve never suggested he would not), all the better.

    The problem is when person on the one hand put forward this view of the situation of women who abort while at the same time calling everyone whose tactics, rhetoric, policy positions or general demeaner they don’t like to be murdering Nazis.

    The two can’t be reconciled.

  143. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 1:06 pm

    I cannot convince David to stop his obstinate objections in the face of these simple facts

    Matt,

    If abortion were considered murder under the law — which it generally has not been, and definitely has not been (and won’t be) in America — then it would be unjust to severely punish an abortionist and not the women who procure abortions from him. That is academic (but not unimportant).

    Now, correct me if I am wrong here, but as a bona fide member of the pro-life movement and a lawyer, you are not attempting to make abortion a capital offense — a form of murder in the first degree. You are basically trying to reestablish abortion as the same type of crime it was prior to Roe. In that case, I have no serious problem with your plan not to punishing women who procure abortions, in the same way I have no problem with law enforcement going after drug dealers rather than drug users or pimps and prostitutes rather than “johns.” It’s how law enforcement works on a practical basis with lesser crimes. But it is not how it works for capital crimes. The law would not be just if murder for hire were a capital crime but hiring a hit man was not illegal.

    I am familiar with the exceptions for latae sententiae excommunication for abortion. However, they are not supposed to be excuses. I don’t think the Church tries to emphasize mercy and forgiveness to someone who is in the process of deciding whether or not to commit an offense. It seems to me that is what the pro-life movement does. Go back and read Austin’s list of “pressures” that absolve a woman from guilt for abortion. (By the way, the EWTN article you link to clearly implies that though a woman who obtains an abortion may not incur latae sententiae excommunication, she very well may have still committed a mortal sin.)

    While I am glad the pro-life movement doesn’t intend to make abortion a capital crime, I do think there is at least some disconnect between a movement talking about MURDER, and baby-killing, and babies being ripped limb from limb, and crimes against humanity, etc., etc. and then wanting to punish only abortionists and exonerate women as victims. I understand that as a practical approach dictated by what’s politically feasible, but I find it difficult to credit as an honest belief about the true culpability of women who procure abortions. Women — especially in the United States — are not naive about what an abortion is, and in general they are not helpless victims with no wills of their own who can be easily coerced into having abortions. Surveys show that the vast majority of women who have abortions don’t regret it, would do it again, and in fact somewhere between 40% and 50% do do it again.

  144. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 1:21 pm

    because there is a sense in which *many* women who procure abortions are themselves victims of societal injustice, and so our legal system should reflect this fact by lessening or removing punitive punishment for their crime.

    WJ,

    I wholeheartedly agree with this, and quote it so many times people must be sick of it:

    . . . it is the task of law to pursue a reform of society and of conditions of life in all milieux, starting with the most deprived, so that always and everywhere it may be possible to give every child coming into this world a welcome worthy of a person. Help for families and for unmarried mothers, assured grants for children, a statute for illegitimate children and reasonable arrangements for adoption—a whole positive policy must be put into force so that there will always be a concrete, honorable and possible alternative to abortion.

    But I would say the statement you make is true not only of women who procure abortions, but of a very large number of men and women (particularly minorities) who get locked up in prisons. While the pro-life right is very touchingly concerned about societal pressures on women who procure abortions, it is not about to listen to sob stories about children who grew up under the most horrific circumstances in inner cities, without fathers, pressured into joining gangs, who then understandably wind up as drug dealers or thieves.

    The theory of “they were pressured into it” holds no water for anyone on the right except when it comes to women who procure abortions.

  145. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 1:28 pm

    But him repeating himself and delving into peripheral minutiae via freshly learned tidbits from wikipedia doesn’t change the consistency of the position of pro-lifers and the Church.

    Matt,

    One of the things I take pride in is relying on facts and documenting assertions I make. Like about whether suicide is illegal, or abortion is murder under common law, or whether the Connecticut statute referred to abortion by poison as murder. I can heartily recommend Wikipedia (and Google) to you and Austin. You’d do a lot better if you verified things before writing them for others to look up and debunk.

  146. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 1:38 pm

    Since you believe suicide isn’t murder in the Church’s eyes or the State’s, it must mean the one killed in suicide isn’t morally a human person whose deliberate killing in suicide or any circumstance is morally a murder.

    Matt,

    You are a lawyer. Surely you can cite something to prove your contention that suicide is murder and/or illegal under our system of law.

  147. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 1:51 pm

    Your trite syllogism trying to show that the preborn are not persons and their killing isn’t murder . . .

    Matt,

    It wasn’t a syllogism, and it was to show that suicide wasn’t murder under the law. I did not bring up abortion. But if abortion were murder under the law, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, would we? So I have no hesitation in saying that abortion isn’t murder under the law.

    You make assertions, but you provide no facts. Here’s another source for the definition of murder and suicide, which says:

    § 24.01 Definition of Homicide

    [A] Common Law and Statutory Homicide – At very early common law, “homicide” was defined as “the killing of a human being by a human being.” This definition included suicide. However, modern law defines “homicide” as “the killing of a human being by another human being.” Suicide, therefore, is no longer a form of homicide in most statutes. Homicide is divided into two crimes – murder and manslaughter.

    [1] “Human Being” – The common law and majority approaches define the beginning of life as birth for purposes of interpreting the criminal homicide law. A minority of states now treat a viable – or, at times, even nonviable – fetus as a human being under the homicide statute.

    Regarding the end of human life, a majority of states, either by statute or judicial decision, have incorporated “brain death” in their definition of “death.”

    [2] “Murder” – The common law definition of “murder” is “the killing of a human being by another human being with malice aforethought.”

    Legally speaking, suicide is not murder.

  148. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 2:01 pm

    There you go again, Mark. Specifically what teachings of the church do I reject ? You say you don’t know my soul but you are content to say I reject Catholic teaching. Which ones?

  149. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 2:59 pm

    David–I think you should open a wikipedia-based law firm. It’s the wave of the future.

  150. October 5, 2010 3:14 pm

    David Nickol,

    If we do agree, would you allow that I reframe your objection to Ruse in the following way?

    “Ruse, and the pro-life right in general, are inconsistent in that they allow that the patriarchal and economic pressures that often lead women to seek an abortion should be taken as mitigating factors in our seeking punitive punishment for such women, but that in no other case do they allow that such pressures be taken into account in adjudicating penal law.”

    I agree with this objection, more or less. But if I have fairly characterized it, then I would propose that you could engage Ruse more profitably by accepting his proposal that women seeking abortions not be punitively punished, and then showing him that his admirable and Christian committment to avoiding punitive punishment in this area commits him, or should commit him, to being willing to lessen or remove punitive punishment in other areas informed by the same sets of conditions.

    It’s not that Ruse’s belief is *itself* inconsistent, as you sometimes seem to be arguing (I could be misunderstanding you); it’s rather that Ruse’s belief is inconsistent (on your view) *given* what you assume to be his other beliefs. Right?

  151. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 3:25 pm

    Henry, I agree it would be helpful not to issue an immediate reactionary response to criticism. I think when people issue criticism of criticism, because for example the critic does nothing in relation to the supposedly-supported object other than vitriolically criticize it (even something as pure and already self-critical as pregnancy centers), that the critic should not issue a reactionary response to that criticism of themselves and of their solely-critical while supposedly-supportive posture.

    • October 5, 2010 3:49 pm

      Matt

      If the response is “you are pro-abortion” or “you are pro-murder,” the response is illegitimate and therefore one can properly respond to that response as being erroneous.

      I don’t often discuss my own pro-life advocacy for many reasons (among of which, I don’t like to trumpet myself). However, it goes back a long way, long before I was Catholic. In high school, I was known to debate people against abortion, often countering pro-choice responses people would give to me they had read somewhere and copied thinking they could stump me. I got many people upset because I would not back down, and I even had people try to silence me by demanding a separation of church and state on school grounds and saying my position was religious and should not be allowed any voice on campus. This continued when I became an undergraduate in college; my first year on campus, I joined the Baptist Student Union ( I was Southern Baptist), and one of the first controversies I was involved with was with a campus-wide promotion for life-chain. I helped put up bulletins on campus stating when it would happen; I saw, right behind me, the local pro-choice campus group (which had many of their own bulletins up all over campus) had people go around and take down everything which was put up. What I did in response was write a letter to the editor to the student paper detailing what happened. The university decided not to allow any such bulletins on campus, be it pro-life or pro-choice. Nonetheless I pointed out the hypocritical behavior of the pro-choice group on campus, getting their ire. I did receive one phone call by someone thanking me for my letter.

      I’ve always been pro-life, and I continue to be. This does not mean, however, I am uncritical, and this does not mean I question methodologies used by various pro-life leaders. When arguments go too far, I point it out; I think it is important to be honest, because I have a fundamental love for truth. I do not expect people to agree with my prudential reasoning on how to deal with life issues; but I do expect pro-lifers to understand there is a spectrum of prudential reasoning possible. When that is disputed, and people who engage different prudential reasoning and say their response is the only possible response, that is why I react ; I do not have a problem if it is their response, I have a problem when they demand others to follow their reasoning to be seen as pro-life!

  152. Kurt permalink
    October 5, 2010 3:39 pm

    Specifically what teachings of the church do I reject ?

    It would seem to me it would be the teaching to love one another.

  153. October 5, 2010 3:59 pm

    It often amazes me how quick the “pro-woman” pro-choice movement, and its defenders, are willing to pull women who have had abortions in front of abortionists to keep them from being punished. If you punish abortionists, you must also punish women.

    With friends like these…

  154. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 4:05 pm

    David,

    I am flattered you think what i think amounts to more than a hill of beans. I am strictly a meat and potatoes guy who runs a tiny non-profit. I will hardly be in the little rooms when pro-life statutes are written post-Roe…my wife might be there but not me…

  155. October 5, 2010 4:06 pm

    BTW, how did the “pro-life” Harry Reid vote on the Nelson amendment to health care reform, that would have included the Stupak language, and firmly established that HCR would not have funded abortion and sparked the sudden deep admiration for the work of Timothy Jost?

    To be clear, I am not criticizing Reid for voting for health care reform; I am criticizing for voting against the Nelson amendment, which would have rendered this question moot. That one could vote against an amendment stopping funding of abortion and still have some call him “pro-life” is a testament to something. I know that to some here, questioning someone’s “pro-life” bona fides is about the worst thing someone can do, but if being pro-life doesn’t mean opposing government funding of abortion, what on earth does it mean? A vague preference that there be fewer abortions?

    I agree we should do better than Angle. Start working to present a candidate who is.

  156. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 4:07 pm

    Matt Bowman might be in the room…i hope so…not me..

  157. David Nickol permalink
    October 5, 2010 4:28 pm

    Consider the pregnancy center movement, which abortionists, the Democratic party, and our friend David Nickol are increasingly attacking.

    For the record, I would be absolutely thrilled to support a pregnancy center that offered help to women who wanted alternatives to abortion. I would be happy to see one on every corner in Manhattan. However, I would want them staffed by professionals who could give sound and unbiased medical advice and who were qualified to counsel women in crisis situations. I would want them to make it crystal clear that they offered abortion alternatives, not abortions, abortion counseling, or abortion referrals. I would want to be sure they did not bribe or coerce. Now, there may be thousands of them out there. But my understanding is that the average pregnancy center is staffed by non-professional volunteers whose medical expertise is limited to administering drug store pregnancy tests.

    I would say something like this, including the introductory film, which I urge everyone to watch, is deceptive. It’s the web site for the crisis pregnancy center featured in the film 12th and Delaware, and from the site you would never know it you’re not going to get abortion advice there. The domain name for the site is thinkingaboutabortion, not wantingtohavemybaby.

  158. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:09 pm

    And Mark,

    I did not “accuse” you of calumny. I asked you this; “I am waiting for your  response to my challenge to you at Vox Nova. Specifically what part of Catholic teaching am I immune to? Perhaps you are immune from the teaching of calumny?”

    No accusation. A question. Still waiting for that answer.

  159. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:11 pm

    David,

    Again. You speak with the slanders of the child killers. This is precisely how they speak of pregnancy help centers. Are you paid by Naral to come onto Catholic blogs and tell lies?

  160. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:15 pm

    David,

    When I go to my general practitioner he does not have signs up announcing he does not do heart transplants or liposuction.

  161. Cindy permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:27 pm

    I dont see why a pregnancy aide center needs to offer abortion advice. Why would a woman need that advice when it’s so easy to find? A pregnancy aide center is more for women who are scared, pregnant, with no money, sometimes with no insurance, not in a married relationship, where the father could walk any moment. Sometimes they are teenage kids, sometimes they are battered women. The aide centers should be there to help them find the means to deliver the baby. They offer help in finding you a hospital to deliver the child in. They offer you adoption information. They help you with paperwork to get woman set up to be able to deliver the baby and if they qualify, state funded deliveries in a hospital. They even make your doctors appointments for you. They even help you find a place to live if you fit the criteria. They find women housing and a safe environment so they can deliver a healthy baby. Even if the woman decides to let the baby be put up for adoption, they help women.

  162. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 5, 2010 8:43 pm

    David, thank you for once again being more of a caricature than I could possibly describe you as being. All are deceptive, by pointing to one, for which he can’t cite one lie–and lo and behold there he is right in front of everyone, attacking America’s Mother Teresas! What a noble cause. You must fall in love with yourself every night after such a fine effort.

  163. David Nickol permalink
    October 6, 2010 12:51 am

    Again. You speak with the slanders of the child killers. This is precisely how they speak of pregnancy help centers. Are you paid by Naral to come onto Catholic blogs and tell lies?

    Austin,

    I am giving you the last word and bowing out of this discussion.

  164. Kurt permalink
    October 6, 2010 6:05 am

    When Msgr. Charles Owen Rice raised questions about basic rights and protections for workers, his opponenets said he was making the arguments of the Communists and repeating questions right out of their playbook.

  165. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 6, 2010 6:20 am

    David,

    Malta just checked in. No women in prison for having an abortion. What was that you were saying?

  166. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 6, 2010 8:27 am

    Does anybody here actually know David Nickol? Where he works? It does occur to me that he could be a plant by the pro-abortion left to come onto Catholic sites and undermine CAtholic teaching. He does this here and at dotcommonweal and other Catholic sites. Does anyone know him?

  167. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 6, 2010 8:46 am

    Austin don’t you know that only the attackers of pro-life charity (or perhaps Henry would use the congratulatory word “critics”) have standing to insist that their arbitrary standards of “disclose THIS or you are LYING” must be applied? Attackers of pro-life centers can’t even point to one lie by one center, much less justify extrapolating that to even a statistically significant percentage of centers–all they can do is say they don’t believe abortion hurts women so it is a lie to tell women it does, and they think the status quo default demands that aborton be treated as an equally legitimate “choice” whenever discussed–a position that Catholics should vomit out even upon its suggestion if they were serious. Instead, those attackers don’t ever, ever apply their supposedly neutral standards across the board, by insisting that Planned Parenthood must disclose in neon signs that they DON’T refer women to pro-life centers, or that PP’s adoptions are less than 0.01 percent of their number of abortions and going down, or that their founder was a racist eugenicist whose legacy is now succeeding in decimating the black population in the US (not that any liberal Catholics would really care about actual decimation of the black population, as long as the survivors have government health care).

    The pro-life movement has gotten states to require abortion doctors to tell women certain things before having an abortion. Guess what–those policies are pro-life–they represent a state’s decision to favor non-abortion choices over abortion. So when a government, agitated by propagandists like “David,” call pro-life centers liars and impose abortion-favoring disclosure requirements, guess what: those people are favoring abortion and DISFAVORING FREE HELP TO WOMEN TO CHOOSE LIFE. Can anyone explain to me what liberal Catholics are doing giving a wink and nod to the disfavoring of giving free help to women to choose life? And why such Catholics aren’t instead leading the charge to support such help and defend against such attackers, especially when government levers are being used to drive them out of business to abortionists have no competition? And how such Catholics can claim to really care about the causes of abortion when that’s their posture?

    When we see the blogroll of Vox Nova promoting their local pregnancy center’s banquet, “abortion reduction” will have some meaning.

  168. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 6, 2010 8:50 am

    …that should say “less than 0.1 percent … and going down”

  169. Cindy permalink
    October 6, 2010 9:06 am

    To be honest, I am thankful for David Nikol. He kicks the door wide open and is willing to discuss things that maybe have been in the back of some minds out there. I feel I have learned a lot by just reading both points of view. Why is that threatening to some? Why would you think he’s some plant? See those types of tactics are so disrespectful. He has been very respectful in all of his posts. You may agree with much of what he states, or you may not. At least he isnt afraid to openly discuss things in depth. Which I feel is an asset. The fact that he does what he does, has helped me to understand things in a much greater picture. He has made his points and you have been given an opportunity to make your points. If the truth is on your side, then you should not be threatened by him so much so that you have to question his identity.

  170. Thales permalink
    October 6, 2010 9:06 am

    I have to admit that I haven’t read every single word of the David-Matt debate about “murder”, but from what I’ve gathered, it looks like a lot like people are talking past each other. I’ll take a stab at clarifying the debate.

    Yes, the common law definition of “murder” is “the killing of a human being by another human being with malice aforethought.” And at common law, someone is considered a human being at birth. So abortion doesn’t fit under this definition of murder.

    But no state now has “common law murder.” Instead, there is statutory murder or homicide. There are different levels and forms of murder, and the penalties for different levels of murder differ from state to state. In addition, some states have included fetuses as protected by their homicide laws and some haven’t, with penalties differing from state to state. Some states consider physician-assisted suicide as a murder, some don’t, with penalties differing from state to state. So, legally speaking, some states would consider physician-assisted suicide as “murder” and some wouldn’t; some would consider killing a viable fetus outside the abortion context as “murder” and some wouldn’t; some states would consider killing a unviable fetus outside the abortion contest as “murder” and some wouldn’t.

    Is it incoherent for murder to be legally defined differently in different states? Is it incoherent for one situation to be murder in one state and not in another? No, that is just the way the legal system works.

    But “murder” can also used, not in its common law or statutory or legal definition, but with the simple definition “a human being killing another human being.” This definition would include abortion and physician-assisted suicide, even though the particular state might not call those things “murder” because abortion and physician-assisted suicide might happen to be legal in the state.

    Does this help?

  171. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    October 6, 2010 9:39 am

    What, precisely, is the point of moderation if a discussion is allowed to degenerate into a series of ad hominem attacks, snide remarks and calumnious innuendo?

  172. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 6, 2010 9:50 am

    Making arguments for the rights of workers is vastly different than making arguments for the killing of children….

  173. October 6, 2010 9:53 am

    And, to preempt the defense that Senator Reid was just not wanting abortion debates to get in the way of health care reform, at the time, the failure of the Nelson amendment was considered to mean that health care reform was doomed. Passing it would have increased the chances that HCR would have passed.

    So, we have a vote against an amendment that would have restricted funding of abortion, that decreased the chances that health care reform, the signature progressive issue and a moral imperative, would pass.

    I tend to think that’s a big deal.

    It may be a scandal that Peters uses the name of the Catholic Church to support candidates like Angle. But it is also a scandal to claim that someone who voted as Senator Reid did is pro-life.

    Let’s hope both parties can do better.

  174. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    October 6, 2010 9:54 am

    Women have been imprisoned for getting abortions. A brief web search yielded Nepal and Chile as examples. For more information from a biased but heavily documented source, see

    http://reproductiverights.org/sites/default/files/documents/wbb_part1.pdf

  175. Kurt permalink
    October 6, 2010 9:59 am

    It does occur to me that he could be a plant by the pro-abortion left to come onto Catholic sites and undermine CAtholic teaching.

    I’ve wondered the same about Austin. A 5th column for Planned Parenthood? Could he do any more to make the Pro-Life Movement look unappealing?

  176. David Nickol permalink
    October 6, 2010 10:12 am

    Regarding my identity, which is also being questioned by Matt Bowman on Mirror of Justice, I am perfectly willing to e-mail any of the official Vox Nova contributors as much proof of my identity as they require. I am also willing to stop posting here if any one of them asks me to. In any case, this thread and the abortion debate in general have become too toxic, so I’m planning on avoiding the subject for at least a few weeks.

  177. Kurt permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:45 am

    Making arguments for the rights of workers is vastly different than making arguments for the killing of children….

    Except, Austin, in your tortured reasoning, any question that doesn’t serve your political tactics is killing babies.

    With no hyperbole, the edict that if we ask Austin any questions that are uncomfortable to him, we are helping to kill babies is the same as saying we are not to ask the Bishop any uncomfortable questions about Father Smith’s strange interest towards little Stevie Flanagan because to do so might embarass the Church.

  178. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:56 am

    Kurt,

    I am not anonymous like you and David. And given that you consider pro-life heros to be shills, i take your attack as a compliment. Thank you!

  179. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:57 am

    SFO,

    Yes, the report is hardly nonbiased. CRR is known for lying to get their way. Teh report you provide mentions jail exactly 7 times and uses two highly dubious examples. Not proof at all. And the fact that you must search the WWW for examples adn get only two shows “David’s” assertion is weak at best.

  180. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:58 am

    And if anyone wants to check me out i am at http://www.c-fam.org . you can also google my name and finds lots of info, unlike “David Nickol”

  181. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 6, 2010 1:08 pm

    “DN”: “Self-sacrificing pro-life clinics are liars–they should operate under the ground rules of abortion-on-demand-as-legitimate-and-preferred-healthcare. Now I’m leaving so I don’t have to face scrutiny for my allegation.”

    And this is what passes as “criticism” which pro-lifers should not dare oppose. So sayeth “abortion cause reducers.” The butter battle continues–play it again, Sam!

  182. David Nickol permalink
    October 6, 2010 1:10 pm

    But “murder” can also used, not in its common law or statutory or legal definition, but with the simple definition “a human being killing another human being.”

    Thales,

    Thanks. Your message was helpful.

    Since it is the teaching of the Church that the death penalty is almost never necessary because a modern prison system can protect people from criminals without executing them, would it not be perfectly valid to argue that Teresa Lewis, the woman with an IQ of 72 who was recently executed by the state of Virginia, was murdered by the state? Or that George Bush, who signed 152 death warrants, was complicit in murder by the state of over 100 people? (I am giving Bush the benefit of the doubt that up to 51 of the people he signed death warrants for were so dangerous that no prison could hold them.) And could I not reasonably call anyone who supports the death penalty “pro-murder”?

  183. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 6, 2010 1:56 pm

    Interesting that “David” and those like him DEMAND almost instant adherence to a brand new Church development on the death penalty yet allow for the Kennedy position on child-killing, a teaching which is ancient.

  184. David Nickol permalink
    October 6, 2010 2:16 pm

    Now I’m leaving so I don’t have to face scrutiny for my allegation

    Matt,

    You and Austin Ruse are clearly collaborating to discredit me here and on Mirror of Justice. I find it curious that Austin, who has never written on Mirror of Justice before, wrote a message directly following yours today. Both of you were implying I am some kind of impostor.

    And now you are criticizing me because I won’t continue writing? If I am indeed a paid agent of NARAL sent to undermine Catholic doctrine, why would you want me to write another word on the topic?

    I do not wish to engage in a personal battle with you and Austin either here or on Mirror of Justice, where your messages have been deleted by the originator of the thread as inappropriate.

    Information on me can indeed be found on Google, but while formerly I would have been willing to point out which of the many David Nickols that comes up on Google is me, or in some other way divulge personal information about myself, I now find that I am actually frightened by the hatred you and Austin express toward me, and I rather wish I were not using my own name.

    My offer to give to any official contributor on Vox Nova any and all identification they require — and to stop writing here if any official of Vox Nova requests it — still stands. But I do not want to have anything whatsoever to do with you or Austin Ruse here or anywhere on the Internet. I have been participating in religion forums online since the days of Prodigy and CompuServer, and in over twenty years, the Bowman-Ruse campaign against me is the ugliest experience I have ever had. Please do not address me again, and I will not address you.

  185. Kurt permalink
    October 6, 2010 2:26 pm

    Austin, you make less and less sense at every turn. Have you every considered given up your attempts at self-glorification and start actually doing something effective at protecting the unborn?

  186. Thales permalink
    October 6, 2010 2:29 pm

    David,

    I think capital punishment is, in terms of language and definition, one step further removed from abortion and physician-assisted suicide, since capital punishment is not truly “a human being killing another human being”, but instead is better described as “a state killing a human being.” In other words, physician-assisted suicide and abortion are instances where a private individual acts in his private capacity and kills another human being, whereas in capital punishment, it is the state that kills another human being. Traditionally, the term “murder” is limited to a private individual’s acts, which is why killing that happens in a war or in capital punishment is generally not described as murder.

    Having said that, if you want to define “murder” as “immorally killing a human being” irrespective of whether an individual or a state does it, that’s fine. Under that definition, then certainly, an instance of the death penalty that doesn’t fit Church teaching could be called “murder”, just like an instance of war that doesn’t fit Catholic just war theory could be called “murder.” People use “murder” in this sense all the time when arguing and I see no problem with that, as long as everyone in the discussion understands the definition being used.

    As for the particular examples you cite, I’m not familiar with them, but if they are examples of capital punishment which violate Church teaching, then yes, you could say that the state of Virginia, or Bush in his role as agent of the state of Texas, murdered (ie, immorally killed) a human being.

    As for your last question, remember that abortion and physician-assisted suicide are always immoral in itself with no exceptions, while the death penalty (and war) is not always immoral but is sometimes moral depending on the circumstances. But if you are talking about someone who supports the death penalty in every instance in defiance of Church teaching, then yes, you could call them “pro-murder”, if you are meaning that they are in favor of the immoral killing of another human being done by the state. (I realize the morality of capital punishment considering the circumstances of today’s world is a long and involved topic, which is better for another comment thread.)

  187. Thales permalink
    October 6, 2010 2:55 pm

    David,

    I honestly don’t understand your concern with the website http://www.thinkingaboutabortion.com/ and the video. Could you explain your concern? I would truly like to understand your position better. If someone is looking for advice for how to have an abortion, what is wrong with intercepting that person and telling them that they shouldn’t pursue that option?

  188. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    October 6, 2010 3:40 pm

    Mr. Ruse,

    your summary of what I did is nearly as biased as the report I cited and your interpretation specious. Rather, I spent about 2 minutes on line and quickly came up with evidence of women being jailed for abortion. Perhaps I should have done a more thorough job. But five more minutes searching came up with even more. Here is a quote from a peer-reviewed journal on abortion trials in Chile:

    “The number of abortion trials, however, has tended to decrease. In 1983, 15 out of the 230 women sentenced to a term in prison in Chile (6 per cent) were convicted on abortion charges. That number fell to 10 out of 423 women (2.4per cent) in 1993.67″

    —”Women Prosecuted and Imprisoned for Abortion in Chile,” Lidia Casas-Becerra, Reproductive Health Matters Vol. 5, No. 9, Abortion: Unfinished Business (May, 1997), pp. 29-36

    Interpolating this data backwards linearly suggests that during the decade 1983-93, approximately 125 women were imprisoned in Chile for procuring an abortion. Therefore, I would say that there is indeed reasonable evidence for Mr. Nickol’s assertion.

    This article is available on JSTOR if you have institutional access to this service. The journal itself may be found at:

    http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/622668/description#description

    And yes, Frances Kissling is on the editorial board. That, in and of itself, does not call into question the quality of the scholarship or the veracity of the information cited above.

    Finally, on a personal note, my name is David Cruz-Uribe, or David CU (to distinguish me from Mr. Nickol) but not SFO: it seems quite strange to be addressed by my religious community affiliation.

  189. David Nickol permalink
    October 7, 2010 12:45 am

    If someone is looking for advice for how to have an abortion, what is wrong with intercepting that person and telling them that they shouldn’t pursue that option?

    Thales,

    I think the web site and video are deceptive. I am sure many people find it justifiable to use advertising to bring clients seeking abortion advice into a pregnancy center like this and then attempt to talk them out of having an abortion. But it is deception to advertise services you cannot or won’t deliver.

  190. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 7, 2010 6:32 am

    “David”,

    I put out a weekly report called the Friday Fax that now goes to 200,000 people around the world. Some years ago in the Friday Fax i referred to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy as anti-life and anti-family. I received a threatening letter from them saying they were frightened for their personnel because i called them anti-life and anti-family.

    For you now to say taht you are frightened because — horror of horrors — Matt Bowman and I have had the temerity to wonder who you are and what is your professional affiliation, is almost as silly as the same whine from those bully-girls with law degrees at what is now the Center for Reproductive Rights. Your assertion of fright is itself a tactic and a kind of threat that the left uses all to often. I’m scared? Please, “David”, man up.

    Cruz-Uribe,

    Sorry…did not knwo what SFO was. Who are the SFO’s?

    I do question the report you sent around. Peer reviewed? Buy what peers? Francis Kissling? We are well aware taht these charges of jailing women are made by “David” and his friends on the pro-abortion left. I will look at the journal sometime today, but i do question the source…

  191. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 7, 2010 6:43 am

    Very dramatic, “David”

  192. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 7, 2010 6:53 am

    Got it David UC…you are a third order franciscan…ok…

  193. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 7, 2010 7:27 am

    “David”,

    “Pregnancy services” do not include abortion. Also, when most folks walk into a doctor’s office they know the doctor does not perform most medical procedures. Why do pregnancy help centers have to advertise what they do not do. Again, this is right out of the abortuary’s attacks on pregnancy help centers.

  194. Kurt permalink
    October 7, 2010 7:31 am

    Well, Austin and Matt have performed their useful service for the Democratic Party today. Following their “all money is fungible” doctrine, we now know that foriegn corporations are funding the Tea Party and GOP congressional candidates through the Chamber of Commerce.

    Glad we can be on the same side for once.

  195. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 7, 2010 7:42 am

    I feel the need to respond to DN’s aspersions, because they are again the opposite of the truth. It is apparent that DN has been following and harassing me at Mirror of Justice. I was commenting there before he ever arrived, and in nearly every post where we both appear (see below) he has repeatedly, over and over and over again, jumped into threads he were never involved in until he saw my comments first, to attack the Church’s position and rabidly attack me directly and personally, often by name, regardless of the fact that his points were largely peripheral to the discussion. It’s obvious that the bulk of his participation at MOJ has been to systematically follow me around and hound me specifically, including in yesterday’s discussion when I questioned his anonymous attacks and unfounded allegations of illegal activity against the Bishop in Minnesota. If anyone has a right to feel threatened by unverified blog commenters, it isn’t “David Nickol”.

    Vox Nova’s software will not let me include all the links to these posts, but here is a list of the months and post titles:

    August 2010 “citizens-united-and-the-culture-wars”
    Sep 2010 “bainbridge-responds-to-sen-gregg-regarding-social-justice-1″
    Oct 2010 “the-church-gets-political-in-minnesota”
    Apr 2010 “infanticide”
    June 2010 “christian-legal-society”
    July 2010 “alvare-and-commonweal”
    Aug 2010 “i-thank-father-araujo-for-finding-a-link-to-the–document-i-cited-the-list-of-items-he-refers-to-i”
    May 2010 “the-case-of-dr-phil-boyle”
    Sep 2010 “should-catholics-support-dont-ask-dont-tell”
    July 2010 “sex-in-and-out-of-intimacy”
    June 2010 “discrimination-”

  196. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    October 7, 2010 7:44 am

    In academic circles, “peer reviewed” means that one or more scholars in the field have reviewed the article for factual correctness, cogency of argument, etc. While not a guarantee of accuracy, scholars in all fields take this as a sign that the material in the article is reliable (even if you disagree strongly with the perspective and/or conclusions of the authors). So, as I teach my students, this is the first step in determining the reliability of an article.

    Here is another reference with nearly identical information:

    A Global Review of Laws on Induced Abortion, 1985-1997, Anika Rahman, Laura Katzive, Stanley K. Henshaw, International Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 56-64

    It discusses prosecution of women in Chile, and also Nepal and Namibia.

    I think the evidence is piling up that women have, in fact, been prosecuted for abortions fairly recently, thus making David Nickol’s point. We can discuss the meaning and implications of this for dealing with abortion in some hypothetical post-Roe future, but it appears that this is more than “pro-abortion propaganda.”

  197. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 7, 2010 7:58 am

    Again “DN” says this one pro-life pregnancy center website is “deceptive,” when it contains no lie at all–he just defines deceptive as not talking about abortion in the favored way he wants it talked about from his perspective of someone who rejects the humanity of the preborn child and the harm that abortion does to women. His viewpoint must be proposed, or people are LYING. And then he is extrapolating this not-lying website to say the other 4000 pro-life centers around the country are suspect. This is not “criticism”, Henry, which “pro-life leaders” should accept, much less does it justify liberal Catholics in refraining from defending pro-life pregnancy centers. This criticism is baseless and should be shown for the false and biased assumptions it includes.

  198. Kurt permalink
    October 7, 2010 8:20 am

    Another tibit on the infallibe, above criticism Pro-Life Movement:

    Americans United for Life released a radio ad intended to attack Rep. John Salazar (D-CO). But the ad instead mentions his brother Interior Sec. Ken Salazar five times.

  199. David Nickol permalink
    October 7, 2010 9:44 am

    Thales,

    Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in the Toronto Star about deceptive practices used in crisis pregnancy centers in Canada:

    Aid to Women is one of many pro-life agencies across the continent called “crisis pregnancy centres,” which describe themselves as non-judgmental sources of support for women with unplanned pregnancies, but use misleading information to discourage them from choosing abortion.

    These charitable organizations offer free pregnancy tests and counselling to women seeking accurate information about “all” of their options – abortion, adoption and parenting – without always readily disclosing their belief that terminating a pregnancy is the wrong choice.

    The Star sent a reporter to eight of these centres in the Greater Toronto Area, posing as a woman six weeks pregnant who was leaning toward having an abortion but first wanted to learn more about the procedure and its risks.

    The Star found volunteers and paid staff at the centres were giving out verbal and written information about the physical and psychological risks of terminating a pregnancy – including breast cancer, emotional trauma and infertility – that either lacked context or has been dismissed by medical experts.

  200. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 7, 2010 9:54 am

    David,

    I know what peer reviewed means. If the academic world was not so ideological and corrupt it might mean more than it used to. You give another study and cite Anika Rahman. Rahman used to work for Center for Reproductive Rights. Yes, we know the pelvic left makes these claims. Got anything else?

  201. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 7, 2010 10:02 am

    Kurt–I would like to ask a sincere, non-antagonistic question. Maybe I am a bit scatter-brained today, but I don’t recall me or Austin making the money-is-fungible argument today, or in this string, and i’m not familiar with the applications of it that you are presenting. Can you provide the background? Much obliged.

  202. October 7, 2010 10:27 am

    I think it’s time to shut this debate down.

  203. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 7, 2010 10:33 am

    Good idea….

  204. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 7, 2010 10:40 am

    Thank you for allowing it to go on this far MM, over 200 posts. You have been fair in moderating. You can post this, or not, as you wish. I just wanted to send this note.

  205. Thales permalink
    October 7, 2010 11:02 am

    David Nickol,

    Again, I don’t know why you think the website and video are deceptive. They are not saying “we do abortion”. They are saying “are you thinking about abortion? Well, please look over here, since we have information about the harms of abortion and we have an alternative.” I just don’t understand why that is deceptive.

    You say “using advertising to bring clients seeking abortion advice into a pregnancy center like this and then attempt to talk them out of having an abortion” is deceptive. I still don’t see why it is. If I’m looking for a gas furnace to heat my house, why is it deceptive if a store advertises “is your house cold? We’ve got a better way to heat than gas, we’ve got wood furnaces!”

    You say “But it is deception to advertise services you cannot or won’t deliver.” I don’t see that happening at the video or website. I don’t see them saying “we do abortions here, please come.”

    You cite a Toronto Star article for examples where pregnancy help centers gave out deceptive information. I would suggest that you should take the Star’s reporting with a grain of salt. The Star claims the information “either lacked context or has been dismissed by medical experts.” In my experience, pregnancy help centers get all their information from doctors and medical experts. It’s probable that a different group of medical experts disagree completely with the Star’s assessment and would stand by the information given.

  206. David Nickol permalink
    October 7, 2010 10:01 pm

    They are saying “are you thinking about abortion? Well, please look over here, since we have information about the harms of abortion and we have an alternative.” I just don’t understand why that is deceptive.

    Thales,

    We see the site very differently. Let me make a contrast. Compare the site for the Pregnancy Care Center (PCC) with the site for Midtown Pregnancy Support Center (MPSC).

    On the Services page PCC has a list headed “Information,” and the first item in it is “Comprehensive Referrals.” This is a center where they say they will discuss all options. It is only reasonable to expect comprehensive referrals to include a referral to an abortion provider if the option you choose is abortion. However, PCC will not refer women to abortion providers.

    On the other hand, take a look at MPSC. The opening page says nothing about abortion but instead says they will “help you form a realistic plan for your future and the future of your unborn child.” Here’s the first question and answer in the FAQs:

    1. Will the Midtown Pregnancy Support Center refer for abortion?

    No. As Christians, we recognize and affirm the biblical teaching that the unborn child is a living human being. However, we recognize that abortion is a legal option. We, therefore, are ready to provide the information necessary to understand all options available to women. We avoid the use of scare tactics and emotional appeals.

    Robert Pearson is credited with inventing the crisis pregnancy center in 1967. There is a booklet published in 1984 by the Pearson Foundation titled “How to Start and Operate a Pro-life Outreach Pregnancy Service Center,” and here are some quotes from it:

    We have discovered over the years that a neutral name such as “Abortion ABC’S,” “Abortion Advice” or “Pregnancy Problem Center” is the most effective way to reach these women who are pregnant and who are considering abortion.”

    [The handbook suggests renting office space in the same building as an abortion clinic, then] “the abortion chamber is paying for advertising to bring the girl to you. Hopefully, if the girl who would be going to the abortion chamber sees your office first with a similar name, she will probably come into your center.”

    “Do not indicate you are pro-life. If she is seeking an abortion and indicates she won’t come in because she knows we are pro-life, assure her we can still help her by giving her all the information on abortion.”

    “When a caller asks, ‘Are you a pro-life center?,’ say, ‘We are a pregnancy center, part of the Pearson Foundation. What is pro-life? We have many ways to help a woman and will answer any and all questions regarding pregnancy and anything she needs to know about abortion.’”

    “Make sure your decor does not expose your purpose.”

    “Pregnancy tests: Never allow a client to watch while you are doing a test.”

    “If the client asks how long it takes to do the test, tell her we offer the results in 30 minutes, you will have the results by that time. (You have not told her how long it takes you to run the test, but how long it will be before she has the results of the test.)” [Editor's note: In reality, a pregnancy test takes two to five minutes. During the 30-minute period, the centers show the client a deceptive and misleading video about the dangers of abortion.]

    “Client must stay at the clinic for the results of the test.”

    If that isn’t deception, I don’t know what is.

  207. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 8, 2010 2:18 pm

    25 years ago a guy who did something important 45 years ago wrote a pamphlet. Most of his recommendations are not even colorably deceptive, except if you define deceptive as “abortion is so legitimate and preferred that anyone talking about it has to say, immediately up front, if they don’t offer it; whereas abortionists have no obligation to say that they don’t refer women to pro-life center at address phone number”. (Actually, on Commonweal, “legitimate” is exactly what DN called abortion, simultaneously denying that it is legitimate to act to persuade women not to engage that “busimess.” That’s loaded dice for you.) Many of the pamphlet’s recommendations are outdated (nearly all pregnancy tests are self-administered now).

    But most importantly, ZERO EVIDENCE is cited to prove that any pro-life pregnancy center engages in any lying in accordance with that pamphlet, much less that more than one do so among the thousands upon thousands of pro-life centers that serve 2 million women FOR FREE EVERY YEAR. And the one and only one center that this attacker cites, does NOTHING MORE than use the word “comprehensive” on a sub page of their website. “David Nickol” has NO BASIS WHATSOEVER to carry on his incessant campaign alleging deception in the pro-life pregnancy center movement. His “criticism” is the vile equivalent of a Mother Teresa attacker. Even worse, he does it with the wink and nod of “liberal Catholics” to justify their own refusal to support real abortion-cause-reduction and maintain their sneer at anything pro-life.

    Note especially that DN relies on a pro-baby-killing “Editor” to say that pro-life centers (no centers, actually, this is just a 25-year-old pamphlet) show women “a deceptive and misleading video about the dangers of abortion”–CITING NO VIDEO ACTUALLY USED, MUCH LESS PROVING ANY DECEPTION THEREIN. “David” and the editor simply think abortion is good, and approaching it otherwise is a lie they will use to accuse pro-lifers of deception. Dissenters must agree with baby killers’ view of abortion or else. Then this triumphant conclusion: “If that isn’t deception, I don’t know what is.” Disgusting.

    By the way, there’s a McDonalds next to a Burger King in my town. Liars.

Trackbacks

  1. Analyzing Catholic Endorsements « The American Catholic

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 525 other followers

%d bloggers like this: