Disenfranchised

I definitely sympathize with Democrats for Life.

"A Zogby poll showed 40 percent of self-declared Democrats say they oppose abortion."

How many Demcratic politicians are pro-life? I doubt it’s 40%. I’d be surprised if it’s as high as 4%.

Comments 19

  1. Funky Dung wrote:

    [I posted this comment in an older thread, but I’m repeating it here in the hopes of attracting more people to the conversation.]

    Your absolute sovereignty over your own actions ends when those actions endanger another person. Your limited speech example is a good one. A fetus is a human person. Thus any action which endangers that person must be curtailed. At the top of the list is abortion.

    If you deny the personhood of the fetus, fine. There should at least be lengthy discussion and reflection on the issue in the congressional fora. I haven’t seen that. All I’ve seen a lot of accusations of “anti-choice” mentality, as though pro-lifers get their jollies putting limits on peoples rights. The last time any serious reflection and discussion on the issue took place in the government was when the Supreme Court handled Roe v. Wade. It’s time to talk about it again. This time, medical science can weigh in on the issue (with 4D ultrasound images, for instance). Abortion is not a constitutional right. Like any Supreme Court decision, it can be overturned.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 3:48 pm
  2. John wrote:

    Abortion has always been forbidden. However, equating it to murder is relatively new.
    Also, the medieval church was well known for looking the other way on the matter.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 10:07 pm
  3. Jerry Nora wrote:

    As a Feminists for Life member for the past 5 years or so, I’d be all about making the pro-life movement more liberal-friendly. Heck, as a Students for Life president I worked on just that. I would not, however, try to push the conservatives back into the Goldwater camp. I’d rather work together with ’em; if both sides flip-flopped on abortion, we’d still have a deadlock in the government like we do now. At any rate, killing children should cut across party lines.

    Posted 29 Oct 2004 at 7:42 pm
  4. steve wrote:

    But seriously… OK so what are we going to do? I’ve taken online survey after online survey. I’ve looked at the issues. On every issue EXCEPT “culture of life,” I am a hopeless democrat… and actually score my highest correlation with Nader. Yet I have voted Republican in nearly every election in which I was qualified to vote… and STILL, even at this late date, I am tempted to vote for Bush (whom I cannot stand) ONLY because he says the right words on “culture of life.” And this is in spite of the fact that, even if he is permitted to nominate a SC Justice in the next few years who is “strict constructionist” (fat chance with less than 60 republican senators), it won’t make a doggone bit of difference in the number of abortions performed in this country, since most (if not every) state would keep abortion legal.

    So, folks, what do I do? I want to grab the democratic party by the ‘nads and make them listen. I want to see a democratic party at least as open to “diversity” on issues of life as the republicans. But how do I make this happen? Do we need some sort of Christian Coalition for Christians who actually think the bible says something other than abortion is wrong, war is good, and tax-cuts are godly? Some sort of Pat Robertson-eque guy with more than half a brain that we can all rally around?

    I don’t know the answer…

    Help!!!

    Posted 29 Oct 2004 at 2:43 am
  5. John wrote:

    First, that anonymous post was by me, I just forgot to fill in the info bars.

    Also, it is worth noting the Church claiming that life begins at conception is a relatively new phenomina.
    Not that its newness undermines its legitimacy as an idea; I just always like pointing out that Church doctrine evolves with time.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 5:10 pm
  6. steve wrote:

    Hmmm… guess I was rather animated last night. A few more rather random observations:

    The Republican party takes absolutely for granted (ever since 1984) the Evangelical vote, nearly as much as the Democrats take blacks for granted. In return, they have delivered nothing (Okay, they delivered the ban on partial birth abortions which was wildly popular anyway.), probably about the same as the democrats have delivered to blacks in this same period. Other than nods, winks, and mindless platitudes, the Repubs have done nothing (probably less) for causes near and dear to the true heart of Christianity.

    The Republican party now takes for granted 1/2 the Catholic vote. Dems take for granted the other 1/2. This puts the Catholic voice (supposedly a huge swing block) slightly under that of Evangelicals, but… not to worry… half of nothing is still nothing.

    If the dems lose, they are in a real pickle–you’d be too if you couldn’t defeat the most unpopular president since Carter (the only actual evangelical to ever make it to the whitehouse, BTW), Nixon and Hoover. Oddly, if they lose, they may have to move to the left to keep Nader out of future elections, weaken the Greens, and re-energize their base. If they move farther to the right, then ignoring the fact that they start to smell like republicans, they get hammered in ’08 by Greens winning over 5% and becoming a more permanent fixture in the political landscape, which would please Republicans just fine.

    Now Catholics and Evangelical are (without any doubt) king-makers for the Republican party. If we pull out and even just don’t vote, there is absolutely no doubt that GWB loses, and it’s likely that congress goes Democrat also.

    So I have no idea what I’m saying, but consider this: Mrs. Bill Clinton or Kerry (if he wins ’04) vs. Giuliani/Schwartzenegger/(insert “moderate”-in the worst possible sense-Republican) in 2008. The election from Hell? Yes, but think of the opportunities to make the democratic party a bigger tent!

    Something we (Catholics and Evangelicals) need to do is to make Pro-life a liberal issue. It is, prima facie. There is nothing more liberal (populist) than sticking up for rights of the preborn. There is nothing more conservative than saying “get your laws of my body.” This is why Goldwater (who was conservative when conservative vs. liberal actually meant something) was decisively pro-choise. This is why Nevada has legalized gambling & prostitution–not because Nevadans are liberal but because they are mind-numbingly conservative… probably to a fault.

    Sorry no anwers.

    Cheers!

    Posted 29 Oct 2004 at 5:24 pm
  7. Tom Smith wrote:

    I don’t want to distract from the current discussion, but. . .

    “Also, it is worth noting the Church claiming that life begins at conception is a relatively new phenomina.”

    It is a fairly new phenomenon, but only for the same reason that many Medieval theologians held to a more literal interpretation of Genesis than we would today: there was no reason not to; it represented the best scholarship possible at that point. We knew little about embryology until the 19th century; prior to that, it was believed that the fetus (or embryo, I don’t know which is which) was ensouled at the “quickening,” the first time that the mother could feel the fetus kick. Nowadays, we realize that there’s nothing particularly significant about that event.

    “Not that its newness undermines its legitimacy as an idea; I just always like pointing out that Church doctrine evolves with time.”

    Right, that’s an important point that many Catholics like to forget. If Catholics are to be honest with history, we have to realize that some things have changed with time. But that’s not to say that there are any contradictions between the magisterium of today and that of yesteryear.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 8:43 pm
  8. Funky Dung wrote:

    I forgot to mention the thread I was continuing. It’s based on this post

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 3:56 pm
  9. Jerry wrote:

    I submit that pro-life Democratic-types get busy with their blogs to see if we can get a pro-life candidate with our views perhaps within the Republican Party (i.e., get a pro-life “moderate” Republican–I used the quotes since when the media call a Republican moderate, it’s often code for being pro-choice…). Failing that, we should go third party and try to get a pro-life Nader to divide the Republican vote and force them to accomodate some different views. Maybe get a compassionate conservative who doesn’t forget what that means as soon as he gets elected.

    Posted 29 Oct 2004 at 4:34 pm
  10. steve wrote:

    Jerry:

    Nothing would please me more than if the democrats & republicans flip-flopped on abortion. That would force the “Christian Right” to become the “Christian Left” (as it ought to be)–and leave the Republican “image” a lot closer to the reality of the past 84 years, viz., the arm and voice of business interest.

    Unfortunately, a flip-flop is unlikely. A smaller gain would be to make the democratic party a place for diverse viewpoints on issues of life.
    3 years ago, Kucinich was pro-life–until he started having national aspirations. 20 years ago, it would have been easy to find (and vote for) pro-life democrats, Al Gore among them. What happened is that what was to become the “Christian Right” (in a greedy but ultimately futile power grab) bet on the wrong horse–Reagan and the Republican party. This had the effect ceding the Democrats to pro-choice forces. And over time it became more and more difficult to be a pro-life democrat and simultaneously be elected.

    Bottom line: politicians don’t usually go much for principles… the reason that Gore, Kucinich and slew of others have changed their tune on the issues of life is that they are doing precisely what their contituencies want. Well, I for one vote that we (Christians) should once again make ourselves part of that constituency (holding our noses if we must).

    Supporting the Republicans all these years has had little or no positive (from a Christian point of view) effect on public policy. On the contrary it has only given us a bad reputation–which is I suppose what one deserves when one goes to bed with greedy capitalists and performs felatio for war-mongerers….

    In short (well quite long), a flip-flop would not result in deadlock because it would result in a landslide victory for the democrats. Short of a flip-flop, I think Christians actually have a better chance to work for change in the culture of life among Democrats, or at least outside the Republicans.

    And to be quite frank, a deadlock in government really ain’t so bad… especially if it keeps the current batch of politicians from getting their way! I believe gov’t can and ought to work for good… the only problem is that it usually doesn’t…

    Cheers!

    Posted 30 Oct 2004 at 7:04 pm
  11. Jerry wrote:

    John, the Church has forbidden abortion since the apostolic times (hardly “recent”); the Didache, which is an early catechism, expressly mentions this, and other Church Fathers back this up.

    What you might be thinking about is how our understanding of biology and how our definitions of terms like “conception” or “quickening” evolved. Many pro-choice Catholics make a lot of hay over how St. Thomas Aquinas thought that ensoulment of the embryo only happened 40 days post-conception, but while the Church has always strongly aligned itself behind Thomas’ theology and moral and metapyhsicalphilosophy, his natural philosophy (e.g., biology) has never been considered particularly authortitative by the Magisterium.

    In short, despite the fact that our appreciation of how humans are created and how they develop have changed, abortion has always been forbidden by the Church. It is more of an issue now than it has been in the past due to the availability of cheap abortion (as opposed to home-brewed herbal potions etc.), but the teaching has always been there.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 9:12 pm
  12. John wrote:

    Lastly, you would be surprise at how many democrats are pro-life. Remember that southern democrats exist.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 5:11 pm
  13. EmilyE wrote:

    Maybe those of us who lean Democrat but are pro-life could just start our own party.

    Posted 29 Oct 2004 at 3:34 pm
  14. EmilyE wrote:

    Pro-life Democrats are becoming increasingly rare, particularly at the national level. You’ll still find them in local and state offices (a good number of the state candidates endorsed by Ohio RTL are Democrats), but how many pro-life Democratic Senators can you name? U.S. representatives? There aren’t many at all.

    Remember Gov. Casey? The Dems didn’t want him to speak at the national convention because he was pro-life. Just one example of how ostracized pro-life Democrats are at the national level.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 7:49 pm
  15. Funky Dung wrote:

    So a dereliction of duty should be equated to change in doctrine? Also, as the Reformation attests, the medieval Church had serious problems to work out.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 10:24 pm
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    To follow your lead, I am going to question what exactly that pole asked. Because “oppose abortion” could mean a lot of different things. It could mean they don’t want to have one themselves. It could mean they want restrictions put on it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are staunch “pro-lifers”

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 5:07 pm
  17. Jerry Nora wrote:

    What has the Church considered it, then, if not murder, John? Where did you learn of this?

    Posted 29 Oct 2004 at 1:16 am
  18. Funky Dung wrote:

    What irks me is that so many pro-choicers aren’t open to restrictions of any kind. Let’s say life begins in the beginning of the second trimester. Fine. Now, let’s ban abortions after 16 weeks or so, perhaps with an exception for the life of the mother. Life need not begin at conception for a fetus to be regarded as a person. Right now law effectively states that a fetus is not a person until it passes out of the vagina. That sems really arbitrary to me. I find partial-birth abortions particularly horrific because you bascially have to force a breach birth and kill the child while it’s head’s still inside. If the head was out, that’d be infanticide and illegal, but inside it’s legal. Lame.

    Posted 28 Oct 2004 at 6:02 pm
  19. steve wrote:

    Yeah, that surprised me a bit too. Given that Acquinas (whom I find virtually infallible… most of the time) equated masturbation with murder (spilling out all those little people on the ground I guess), seems like abortion would be a much easier stretch.

    Steve

    Posted 29 Oct 2004 at 2:31 am

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