|Who Is Pro-Life?
||[Jul. 29th, 2005|10:28 am]
Okay, I apologize for posting about abortion. If it's off-base, please delete. However, I have been reading a lot of discussions lately in the context of John Roberts' likely confirmation as the latest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.|
Ever since last year's U.S. presidential election, there has been much debate in the Catholic Church over whether politicians who support abortion rights (call them "pro-abortion" or "pro-choice," depending on your own bias) should receive Communion.
Essentially, what this means is that there is a debate over whether Democratic politicians should receive Communion - last year, John Kerry was the focus of this controversy, but lately it's broadened to include Catholic Democrats in the Senate like Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Joseph Biden, and, of course, the dread scourge of the Right, Sen. Ted Kennedy. The argument is that if these senators vote against Roberts' confirmation, they are supporting abortion, and are thus unfit to receive Communion.
This is largely the result of a multi-million dollar Republican effort to wrest the Catholic vote away from the Democrats, an effort that was spearheaded by Baptist-turned-Catholic Deal Hudson (since disgraced by a sex scandal), and which finally succeeded in 2004, when a majority of Catholics voted for the Republican presidential nominee.
But the debate over Communion is a victim of the shrill and polarized nature of the abortion debate in America. In truth, in order to be faithful to the teachings of the Church, Catholics must see this issue as being outside party lines.
First, it's worth noting that there are powerful interests in the United States who are strongly invested in the current abortion narrative, which pits "pro-life" Republicans against "pro-choice" Democrats. Both parties reap considerable electoral benefits from this narrative; additionally, any number of pressure groups on both sides are dedicated to keeping their membership believing in the simple "Thesis/Antithesis" narrative. You can see this in the reflexive criticism of Roberts by pro-abortion rights groups, even though it's by no means clear that Roberts would ever vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing abortion as a Constitutional right.
But this narrative is seriously flawed.
In fact, it's designed to maintain the status quo; the goal of both parties and their allies is for abortion to be preserved forever, but for it to be preserved under a constant barrage of abuse. As George Orwell wrote, the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be permanent.
In fact, neither major party in the United States can be rationally called "pro-life" on the abortion question. Ergo, I suggest that, if Communion is to be denied, it should be denied to all elected officials of the Democratic and Republican parties.
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