By Keith A. Fournier
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Obama 2012 has been launched. Should Catholics Support Him? The answer should be a resounding No!
I write as a private citizen who is a Catholic. I write because I am deeply concerned about the state of the Nation I love. I write because I believe this is the most important election of my lifetime. There is too much at stake. Politics really is “how we govern ourselves.” As the Obama 2012 Video claims, it begins with us! As for the re-election of President Obama Obama in 2012, the question has now been asked, Should Catholics Support Him? The answer should be a resounding No!
On Monday, April 4, 2011, President Barack Obama announced his re-election campaign with a You Tube video and massive email blast. The title of the video was “It Begins with us.” It presented a cross section of supporters who pledged their support. For example, there is a young man who was not able to vote in 2008 but will work to re-elect him; an Hispanic family seeking opportunities to live the American dream; and a white Southerner who doesn’t agree with everything the President has done but will support him.
The re-election campaign video used the recycled language of the first campaign. It was a laid back but professionally done piece. Clearly, it is only the first step in what will become a massive and well-funded effort to re-elect this President. Toward the end of the video a statement is made by a woman supporter, “Politics is how we govern ourselves.”
Because I believe this claim, I write this article. I write without using my clerical title, lest anyone claim I am trying to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church. I could not and do not attempt to do so. I write as a private citizen who is a Catholic. I write because I am deeply concerned about the state of the Nation I love. I write because I believe this is the most important election of my lifetime.
This will be the first of many articles I will write to oppose the re-election of this President. I hope to be able to support an alternative candidate and will be closely watching as alternative candidates emerge, in either major party or in third parties. Efforts to somehow “divorce” social and economic issues will be exposed by my “pen” for the compromise that they really represent. I will only support a candidate who understands why these two can never be separated.
In the “Afterword” of a book entitled “Can a Catholic Support Him?” written to endorse the candidacy of Barack Obama in 2008 and persuade fellow Catholics to do the same, the current Ambassador to Malta, Doug Kmiec wrote: “Barack Obama has my vote. Your only duty is to cast your own in good conscience. As a Catholic and as an American, you may do so in perfect freedom. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”.
I published a series of articles back then opposing Ambassador Kmiec’s support of candidate Obama. About his claim in the “Afterword” I wrote “Make no mistake; this is a moral claim. It uses phrases like “good conscience” and “perfect freedom”, which speak to the morality of human action and the acting person. Consciences are “good” when they are properly formed in the truth which then leads the person to do what is good.
Freedom “perfects” (completes) a human person only when it is exercised in accordance with the truth and furthers what is truly good. Back then I personally told Doug back that he had asked the wrong question. The real question was then – and is now – SHOULD a Catholic support him. Then – and even more clearly now after three years of his Presidential leadership – the answer is an unequivocal and unqualified “NO.”
Ambassador Kmiec purported to make a “moral” argument for voting for Obama. He was the “Catholic scholar” they used to win Catholics to the Obama candidacy. They had a “Catholic problem” because their candidate had promised to sign the so called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) into law as soon as he was elected. So the candidate Obama called abortion a “moral issue” and made noises about making the prevalence of abortion less “necessary.”
Doug Kmiec made self contradicting arguments to justify voting for the candidate, claiming that that in voting for a candidate who supported an intrinsic evil such as abortion on demand he did not “intend” to support that position. Well, we now all know that what happened has been disastrous to those whom Blessed Teresa rightly called “the poorest of the poor,” children in the womb.
He tried to do a “two step” around the obvious contradiction of his position. Purporting to rely on the principle of proportionality, he promoted the error of “proportionalism.” The Catholic Catechism put it clearly, “There are certain kinds of behavior that are always wrong to choose, because choosing them involves a disorder of the will”. (CCC#1761) Our particular “intentions” must be in accord with right reason.
St Paul addressed the early Christians in Rome concerning the idea that evil may be done as long as there is a good intention. “There are those who say: And why not do evil that good may come? Their condemnation is just’ (Rom 3:8) Catholics are to form their consciences in accordance with what is true and then to act morally, that is to act in accordance with that truth. This is what true freedom is about.
Our Nation has become intoxicated on the wine of a false notion of freedom as a raw power over others who are weaker and a “right” to do whatever one wills. Pope Benedict opined in 2005 concerning legal abortion and creeping euthanasia: “The freedom to kill is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery.” Authentic Human Freedom will never be found in decisions that are made against God and against the Natural Law.
The Pope addressed an assembly of families and coined a phrase “anarchic freedom”: “Today’s various forms of dissolution of marriage, free unions, trial marriages as well as the pseudo-matrimonies between people of the same sex are instead expressions of anarchic freedom which falsely tries to pass itself off as the true liberation of man.” He echoed what the Venerable John Paul II referred to as a “counterfeit” notion of freedom as a right to do whatever one chooses.
For many years I have sought to take the principles found in Catholic Social Doctrine and explain them with reference to four pillars of political, cultural, economic and social participation; life, family, freedom and solidarity. These principles are not simply “religious.” Rather, they are derived from the Natural Law and offered to all who seek to build a more just social order.
In future articles I will consider the position of candidates, no matter what their political party affiliation, in light of these pillars of participation. For now, let me address just the first two pillars now that President Obama has announced his decision to seek re-election to a second term.
To support the fundamental human right to life for all men and women at every age and stage is not about being a “single issue” voter. Respect for the dignity of every human life is the foundation of any truly just society. The Right to Life is rooted in the Natural Law and forms the basis of our criminal code. It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life. Medical science confirms what our conscience long ago told us, the child in the womb is one of us.
We now operate on him/her while they are in the womb. We prosecute when he or she is killed by a drunk driver. 4D Sonograms reveal what we all know to be true, these are children who are being killed in every procured abortion. It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life. This President is opposed to the Right to Life, thereby favoring abortion on demand and supports funding abortions with tax dollars. The sophistry must be exposed. The President’s re-election must be opposed.
Marriage is a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman intended to form a family through bearing and rearing children. It is the first government, first school, first church, first economy, first mediating institution and the smallest cell of society. This is also revealed in the Natural Law and recognized across cultures.
This administration announced it will no longer defend marriage, rejecting the expressed will of the people in the Defense of Marriage Act. It promotes the demands of those who insist that a legal equivalency be given to sexual partnerships incapable of ever being a marriage. Defending Marriage and the family is the path to securing a future of freedom. This is one of the most important tasks of government. The sophistry must be exposed. The President’s re-election must be opposed.
I will return in future articles throughout this Presidential campaign to address our obligations in solidarity, the application of the social ordering principle of subsidiarity as it relates to good government and the moral basis of both a free market and a free society. I expect the leaders of Obama 2012 to try to find Catholic voices to defend the indefensible. I will not sit idly by if they do.
There is too much at stake. Yes, as the Obama 2012 Video claims, it begins with us! Presidential Campaign 2012 is now underway. As for the re-election of President Obama Obama in 2012, the question has now been asked. Should Catholics Support Him? The answer should be a resounding No!