Biden vs. Bishops: Should Democrats Panic? Pray?

In terms of Faith and Values politicking, it’s been a rough week for the Democrats. Yesterday, while Sarah Palin was … Continued

In terms of Faith and Values politicking, it’s been a rough week for the Democrats. Yesterday, while Sarah Palin was (again) reminding folks of Barack Obama’s views on bitter Americans clinging to religion and guns, Joseph Biden found himself enmeshed in the one religiously themed debate he must steadfastly avoid. The issue in question: What else? Abortion.

On Meet the Press this past Sunday Senator Biden reiterated that, as a Catholic, he is personally opposed to abortion. He went on to add, however, that as a public servant he does not wish to impose this religious conviction on others. (One of the Bishops who challenged this line of reasoning, as fate would have it, came from the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Yup. It’s been a rough week.).

Pro-Choice Catholic politicians, like Biden, are in an unusually difficult position. I am deeply sympathetic to any candidate who speaks about the importance of drawing a line between public service and private belief (in fact, one of the most important and least discussed stories of 2008 concerns the degree to which this line has been nearly erased by Democrats, Republicans, clergy, etc. Are you listening, secularists of America?).

This being said, let the Obama-Biden camp please note the following: a politician who discusses his or her personal opposition to abortion all the while stressing his or her public commitment to a pro-Choice agenda will: 1) always be trafficking in cliche insofar as the identical argument has been made by Catholic public servants such as Mario Cuomo, Geraldine Ferraro, Rudy Giuliani, and John Kerry, to name but a few, 2) always outrage Bishops across the country, and, 3) ALWAYS MAKE IT INTO THE NEXT DAY’S NEWS CYCLE. Coming on the heels of the Church’s correction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reading of Catholic social teachings, I would advise the Democrats to find a better way, a more original way, of broaching the issue.

***

In truth, I and many others have been dispensing a lot of advice to the Democrats over the past seven days. And for good reason. Now that the Obama-Biden ticket is trailing or tied in every major poll out there, some of their supporters report being afflicted by a quadrennial illness known as Swooning Dem Disease.

Swooning Dem appears every four years in September and/or October. Symptoms include feelings of nausea, hopelessness and rage culminating in dementia as evinced by the patient’s desire to immigrate to Canada. (The specter of living in Manitoba, apparently, being just the remedy that sets the illness into remission for a little less than a half decade).

For whatever it is worth let me add that it is way too early for Democrats to despair. The 2008 presidential campaign has been a campaign of momentum swings and basketball-like “runs.” The GOP is presently enjoying quite a surge in popularity. (The Democrats were poised to go on a run of their own right after their convention ended. And then Sarah Palin entered the game).

Still, there is plenty of time for the Blue Team to turn things around in the fifty plus days until the election. And one thing they will need to do–this is my last piece of advice, I promise–is to think very carefully about every single word they utter about the abortion issue. They need to avoid thoughtless quips about “pay grade” and they need to abandon formulas that have gotten Catholic public servants into trouble with their Church (and into the news cycles) for a quarter century.

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
September 10, 2008; 1:06 AM ET


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  • 66

    All the democrats are getting nasty and losing their religion. I don’t think the faith vote is in the bag. There’s still time to right the pirate ship too, with Black Jack at the helm and Black Beard cooking the stew. Maybe a Tomahawk missile will hit the stern and sink the whole sorted affair out. Stay smart 99.

  • 66

    I almost forgot. Pray, panic doesn’t help. It just means you are in a bad place you put yourself in. Keep busy.

  • Grandblvd03

    Biden vs. the Bishops? Would those be the same bishops who have been sending molesters back into the parishes for the last 20 years?

  • Douglas Johnson

    Yes, maybe Obama could talk about his actual record on abortion-related issues — but then, that would be hurtful to his recently adopted soft talk about “abortion reduction,” since he has long been committed to policies that, if implemented, will surely significantly increase the number of abortions.”Abortion reduction”? One policy that both sides agree actually has substantially reduced the number of abortions performed in the United States was the cutoff of Medicaid funding for abortion on demand. There are various empirical studies that demonstrate that many children have been born, who would otherwise have been aborted, because Medicaid funding of abortion has been denied by the federal Hyde Amendment, and by the comparable policies in effect in the majority of states. By the most conservative estimate, the federal Hyde Amendment alone has saved over one million lives since it was first enacted in 1976. Both sides agree that this has occurred — indeed, the pro-abortion side cites these studies in urging Congress and state legislatures to repeal these pro-life policies, while pro-life groups see this as a success story.So, here is a proven “abortion reduction” policy, so is Obama for it? No, he is not — because all that “abortion-reduction” talk is just pixie dust to distract the gullible. Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment (and as a state senator, he voted against restricting state funding of elective abortions). Moreover, in 2007 Obama gave a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in which he promised abortion would be covered in his national health care plan, which means that everybody would be required to pay for elective abortion through taxes, mandatory premiums, or both.Moreover, Obama is a cosponsor of the “Freedom of Choice Act” (S. 1173), which would make partial-birth abortion legal again, require tax-funded abortion on demand, and invalidate virtually all state and federal limits on abortion, including parental notification laws. This bill also provides that “A government may not . . . discriminate against” abortion “in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.” Does that sound like a policy that will result in “abortion reduction”? In 2007, Obama told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”In the Illinois state Senate in 2001-2003, Obama successfully led the opposition to a bill to provide protection for babies who are born alive during abortions — and he has been making demonstrably false claims about the bill ever since, as National Right to Life shows in a thoroughly documented White Paper that we released on August 28, 2008, which can be read or downloaded here: By all means, let’s talk about these substantive policies positions.Douglas Johnson

  • Rick

    Coming on the heels of the Church’s correction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reading of Catholic social teachings, I would advise the Democrats to find a better way, a more original way, of broaching the issue.***********************************************The best way to deal with this issue is honesty. If you want to be a Catholic, then have a Catholic viewpoint on life. If you want to be pro-abortion, then stop calling yourself a Catholic. This is called integrity, a rare commodity among politicians.

  • Jerry

    Are these church leaders so unthinking that they can’t see the probability that attempting to force members of their church to vote the church’s line on matters of public policy will result in the public hanging a sign on the voting booth? No Catholics wantedJohn Kennedy worked hard to prove that he was a Catholic in his private life and a democrat in his public life. The Church seems to have forgotten all about As Smith.

  • Paul S

    “they need to abandon formulas that have gotten Catholic public servants into trouble with their Church (and into the news cycles) for a quarter century.”Unfortunatly there really isn’t much of a new formula out there. You personally are either for or against, and your votes as a public servant are either for or against.And the against personally but for as a public servant has never worked because it undermines a person’s credibility. How can people support someone who supports something that they believe is morally reprehensible.It is akin to saying that you personnally opposed slavery on a moral basis, bus support other’s rights to own slaves because you don’t want to impose your beliefs on them.pro-choice candidates need to stop trying to walk the middle here because there really is no middle. They would be better off stating their belief that life begins at birth, they support a women’s right to choose, and that understand that many may not agree on this issue. Then they can try to find common ground on other issues and look to move on to the next debate.

  • Jack

    As a catholic I am pro-life and having read the Pope’s paper on life I know that John Paul condemns not only abortion but euthanasia. Makes sense to say all life is sacred rather than just the life of new borns – though they are much cuter than old people (no offense mom).Greenspan recommended cutting social security benefits – seems like the reasonable thing to do if you don’t want to overburden the business community with taxes. Right? Unfortunately, some people will be hurt by those cuts – they may even die – passive euthanasia.Now John McCain has said he won’t due anything to overrule Roe vs Wade. And CNN three weeks in a poll discovered 60% of republican women are pro-choice. Now it seems to me abortion is off the table. Palin has stated she is pro-life but she hasn’t been whether she will try to overturn Roe Vs Wade. Then again there are 5 catholics on the supreme court that could overturn Roe – all republican appointed – what are they waiting for? They had their chance this year in the South Dakota case.So Joe Biden could say – abortion is off the table – but the tax policies of the opposition make some euthanasia inevitable. Therefore, no catholic in good conscience could vote republican.

  • Adam

    Leave it to us Catholics to rig an election again because of one issue. Fall in love with Palin and her 100% life platform. Of course, we should overlook the fact that she cut funding for teenagers with children, therby giving them little options other than abortion. Obama is right: create a culture where abortions are not necessary, where people choose not to have them. We have overlooked the fact that legislation does not change conscience. John Paul talked about a culture of life: why don’t we start living the culture and stop trying to impose it.

  • FYI

    ADAM said-”Of course, we should overlook the fact that she cut funding for teenagers with children, therby giving them little options other than abortion.”HOWEVER-Press erred in saying Palin slashed funds for pregnant teensContrary to a widely circulated report in The Washington Post, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, did not slash funding for a program supporting teen mothers.

  • KEVIN SCHMIDT

    Why are the Necon-Fascist Republicans PRO imperialist genocide? Why are they killing innocent men, women, children and babies in Iraq so they can steal oil and U.S. tax dollars? Why is war profiteering more important than human life to the Republicans?Why are the Republicans ANTI-LIFE?

  • Adam

    FYI posted: “In Alaska, the governor is allowed to reduce budget allocations in the service of sound management and fiscal accountability.” So tell me, is this organization needed 5 million to support their growth, and Palin said no, how is that being fully supportive of teen mothers? And furthermore, is she is such a fiscally prudent money manager, why did she bill the state of Alaska such expenses as $700 a night hotels in New York for her daughter to enjoy a vacation? I bet Covenant House could have used that money on a poor teen mother rather than letting someone wine and dine in luxury.

  • Anonymous

    In other words they need to do exactly what Jeremiah Wright said Obama was doing: In so many words he said Obama is a politician doing what politicians do — say whatever they have to to get elected. We all know that was true and that that comment was the reason why Obama finally distanced himself from Wright. Obama has been saying everything he can think of to win votes, true or not. It doesn’t work. Obama should be the kind of politician he claimed to be — different from others. He should begin by telling the truth and stop accusing McCain of all things he himself is guilty of.

  • FYI

    ADAM asks-”why did she bill the state of Alaska such expenses as $700 a night hotels in New York for her daughter to enjoy a vacation?”HARDLY-”Palin took her daughter Bristol to New York in October for a conference on women and leadership, a tour of the New York Stock Exchange and various meetings, the analysis shows. Travel costs included three nights in a hotel room costing more than $700 a night.Overall, Palin’s travel spending pales in comparison with that of predecessor Frank Murkowski, who charged $463,000 for airfare in 2006. Palin charged $93,000 in 2007.”

  • norman ravitch

    Listen, in Vichy France the bishops supported with a few exceptions only the pro-German regime. Those in the Resistance, not as many Frenchmen as they would have you think, were often denied Holy Communion on the grounds they were rebels vs. lawful authority while the Fascist militia men were given Communion despite the fact that they murdered resisters and Jews. The Church’s record on Holy Communion is not good.

  • ChuckB

    Biden is right and the bishops are wrong, pure and simple. One of the major objections to JFK’s canidacy was that as a Catholic, he would be beholden to the Pope, i.e., he would be jumping to the Pope’s tune. This didn’t happen. Kennedy kept his faith to himself. Bishops, read the First Amendment. Biden has not taken the same position as Pilosi; he says he understands the chruch’s position on abortion and that life begins at conception, and he accepts it. However, he does not wish to impose his beliefs on others. This is as it should be for an office holder in our secular, I repeat, secular government. I don’t think Biden said he wouldn’t tell others of his beliefs and defend them as correct; he just said that he would not impose them on others. Bishops, get wise. No one should be an office holder who tries to impose their parochial reigious beliefs on others. In this nation we discuss issue and try to convince others that they should assume our viewpoint; we do not impse our viewpoint on others. If you don’t like this, then go to the Vatican. You GUYS are becoming overbearing.

  • Hmmm

    Just so I understand Senator Biden’s position. He personally opposes abortion as a moral evil but doesn’t want to “impose” his views on others. I’m assuming if he lived in the 1850s, he would have had a personal opposition to slavery but wouldn’t have wanted to “impose” this moral stance on others.

  • Paganplace

    “Swooning Dem appears every four years in September and/or October. Symptoms include feelings of nausea, hopelessness and rage culminating in dementia as evinced by the patient’s desire to immigrate to Canada.”Holy Mother of *Punk* but ain’t it the truth. This crass little assault of the GOP is targeted directly on our faith in America, and humanity. Sooner or later, Palin will have to face the cameras, even if they’re surely coaching her intensively how to hide what she really represents.

  • Forester

    The thing I fail to understand is why the total focus of the discussion is on abortion. What about sex education vs. abstinence only? What about better availability of birth control? What is the attitude of McCain/Palin on various birth control pills, IUD’s, and other methods that the far right seem to find objectionable, but that the majority of people, including catholics, use to prevent unwanted pregnancies?

  • Paganplace

    ” Forester:The thing I fail to understand is why the total focus of the discussion is on abortion.”Cause all the GOP *has* is to try and get a guy the Evangelicals *hated* in office is to court the single-issue voters and distract the *heck* out of us, is why.

  • Paul Manganiello MD

    Concerning Joe Biden, the Catholic Bishops are not necessarily correct. It isn’t generally a problem determining whether or not something is living, the problem is whether or not it is”human”. Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic theologian, realized that all living being had a spiritual dimension “a soul”. Plants have a “vegetative” soul, animals a “sensate “soul, and humans a “rational “soul. At the time of Aquinas, no one had seen a sperm. It was felt that the spiritual development was a process going from a vegetative to a sensate, and finally a rational soul. It was felt that “possibly” this occurred when the woman felt movement (around 20 weeks of fetal development). As an aside, on the other end of the spectrum, some Jewish scholars don’t feel that a person is truly human until the individual takes the first breath.There have been a lot of medical advances which might call into question when an organism is “human”. We can take skin cells and grow them in a flask, these living cells have the same genetic code as the donor of the cells, they are “human” cells” but not a human being. Although cloning of human is not permitted, it is possible. You can take the nucleus from one of those skin cells and place it in a human egg which has had its nucleus removed. If it starts to divide it is human despite not needing sperm to start the process. What about identical twins? They started out from an egg which was fertilized by a sperm. The resulting embryo divides, when did the other embryo acquire its’ soul? As I said, defining life is not often problematic; it is physical. Defining our spiritual dimension is more problematic; it is metaphysical. It is a matter of faith; it should not be mandated by the state. The abortion debate reminds me of the earlier debates between the Catholic Church and Galileo when he was proposing that the world was round.

  • Paganplace

    Do you understand, now, Hmmm?The United States government is not a referendum on your piety. It is our protection from *tyrrany.* Our promoter of the *general welfare.*Our security of the blessings of *Liberty.*The vouchsafe of our posterity from the excesses of our so-easily-manipulable passions. Recognizing that the government is *not* an enforcer of religious belief, this is the means by which *liberty and justice for *all* is maintained. And however one tempts you to try and make life simpler than that, then one must remember where that liberty *came from.* And the means by which we preserve it. No easy answers. Equality, self-determination, and eternal vigilance. Even against our own ‘best intentions.’

  • Max

    I would suggest that the Democrats simply refrain from putting any more Catholics on the national ticket until they can work this thing out. The costs of running a pro-choice Catholic currently seem to outweigh the benefits. Why borrow trouble?

  • Paganplace

    Yeah, Max. If JFK had done that, things would be much better. Or not. What should happen here, is the Church ought to stop claiming Catholics should only support those who want to Unconstitutionally take away the rights of women and gay people, then plead helplessness when the guys they enthrone somehow aren’t very nice to the poor. Or Catholics, for that matter.

  • justarem

    Frankly, I think the Catholic Bishops have better things to do than worry about Joe Biden and politics: like preparing themselves to spend eternity in Hell for their role in the pedophilia scandal.

  • Nelson

    An ethical dilemma: How can one be truly “Pro-Life”…and also Pro-War?How can politicians McCain and Palin posture in their “Pro-Life” stance, yet send young men and women off to kill or be killed? Ohhhhhh, that’s right. Because they want votes and figure “one-issue” people won’t notice the deep chasm between their posturing and their reality.Have a cup of coffee, America. You need to wake up and be on your toes this time around or the GOP might once again snooker you into believing their particular brand of ethical contradictions.

  • Arminius

    Nelson sez:An ethical dilemma: How can one be truly “Pro-Life”…and also Pro-War?Good question, and describes the republican religious right very well. Apparently, to them, ‘Right to Life’ stops at birth.The Catholics are at least consistent. They oppose abortion, capital punishment, and almost all wars. Note that I am not Roman Catholic, and I am pro-choice, but I am against capital punishment and almost all wars.

  • Anonymous 2

    Obama and Biden need to clearly explain how their policy will reduce abortions to a greater extent than that of their opponents. They need to quantify, that is, provide voters with projections of just how much they expect them to decrease and by when, should they be elected.Bishops should require these explanations and proyections from both sides and include that in their ethical assessment of their positions. While it’s correct to be against abortion, it’s not enough.Bishops should also challenge the candidates on what might have prevented the current wars and how their foreign policies will help build peace in the planet.

  • Anonymous 2

    Obama need Biden need to clearly explain how their policy will reduce abortions to a greater extent than that of their opponents. They need to quantify, that is, provide voters with projections of just how much they expect them to decrease and by when, should they be elected.Bishops should require these explanations and proyections from both sides and include that in their ethical assessment of their positions. While it’s correct to be against abortion, it’s not enough.Bishops should also challenge the candidates on what might have prevented the current wars and how their foreign policies will help build peace in the planet.

  • Anonymous 2

    I wish to modify the last paragraph in my last comment as follows:Bishops should also challenge the candidates on what might have prevented the current wars and how their foreign policies will help build peace AND THE RESPECT OF THE TOTALITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS in the planet (e.g. like in Cuba).

  • Eva Ritchey

    No, they need to get abortion off of our party platform. This is not a periferal issue. It is never going to be a periferal issue. It is a matter of life and death and deep religious conviction. By refusing to make our platform abortion neutral, they have painted a target on our backs as large as Yuma. Everywhere here in the South, pro life voters are abandoning any thought of supporting Mr. Obama in favor of Palin, the standard bearer for pro-life.Eva Ritchey, President

  • Lee Taylor

    An ethical dilemma: How can one be truly “Pro-Life”…and also Pro-War?

  • From Hmmm to Paganplace

    Actually, the correlation between abortion and slavery can be quite clear. An act of violence is committed upon a vulnerable human being that infringes on the most basic of human rights…the right to live (freely).

  • Freestinker

    From Hmmm wrote:Hmmm,The problem with your argument is that the vulnerable “human being” you refer to is not yet a human being (according to both science and law) and this pre-human being is completely inside and fully dependent on an actual live, independent, human being. So, leaving your religious opinion aside, there is absolutely no similarity between abortion and slavery at all. In fact, the comparison is rather silly. Following your line of reasoning to its logical conclusion would mean that jerking off or induced menstruation are also the same as slavery. Perposterous!

  • Pam

    This is SO not worth being a single-issue voter about. (Yeah, yeah, I know that was a horribly constructed sentence – but still…)There are SO many truly important issues that turn on this election. Why would you single-issue people once again want to saddle us with a couple of intellectual featherweights? You did that last time – worked out well, didn’t it?Don’t you know that even if you manage to finish making the Supreme Court a Catholic bastion, and Roe v. Wade is overturned, that abortion won’t go away? Do you not know that it would just then go to the states, and that the majority of people in America are pro-choice?Do you also not know that there was a time not so long ago (I remember it) when abortion was illegal, but that abortions still went on pretty much at the same rate as they do now, but with a lot more deaths among women and girls?Do you realize that women have been doing this for as long as they’ve had a clue *how* to do it?My grandmother tried to end a pregnancy by douching with turpentine. A hysterectomy barely saved her life. That is how strong the desire is *not* to have a child, when a woman has had enough.Obama wants to lower the need for abortions by making proper education and contraception available. This is a much better solution (mainly because it actually works) than passing laws and teaching abstinence (that didn’t work out too well for Sarah Palin’s daughter, did it? Possibly not for Sarah herself, either – her son Track was born less than 8 months after her marriage.McCain and Palin don’t have the educational credentials *between* them as either *one* of the members of the Democratic ticket. Please THINK before you vote – give us an intelligent, educated administration for a change.The Republicans have worked hard to make the words “intellectual”, “elite”, and “liberal” into perjoratives. Don’t take their word for it – look them up and see if they’re really such dirty words.

  • Anonymous

    Paul Manganiello MD:Concerning Joe Biden, the Catholic Bishops are not necessarily correct. It isn’t generally a problem determining whether or not something is living, the problem is whether or not it is”human”. Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic theologian, realized that all living being had a spiritual dimension “a soul”. Plants have a “vegetative” soul, animals a “sensate “soul, and humans a “rational “soul. At the time of Aquinas, no one had seen a sperm. It was felt that the spiritual development was a process going from a vegetative to a sensate, and finally a rational soul. It was felt that eh “possibly” this occurred when the woman felt movement (around 20 weeks of fetal development). As an aside, on the other end of the spectrum, some Jewish scholars don’t feel that a person is truly human until the individual takes the first breath.There have been a lot of medical advances which might call into question when an organism is “human”. We can take skin cells and grow them in a flask, these living cells have the same genetic code as the donor of the cells, they are “human” cells” but not a human being. Although cloning of human is not permitted, it is possible. You can take the nucleus from one of those skin cells and place it in a human egg which has had its nucleus removed. If it starts to divide it is human despite not needing sperm to start the process. What about identical twins? They started out from an egg which was fertilized by a sperm. The resulting embryo divides, when did the other embryo acquire its’ soul?As I said, defining life is not often problematic; it is physical. Defining our spiritual dimension is more problematic; it is metaphysical. It is a matter of faith; it should not be mandated by the state. The abortion debate reminds me of the earlier debates between the Catholic Church and Galileo when he was proposing that the world was round.September 10, 2008 4:47 PM___________________________________________Abortion is not about killing the soul, for the soul is immortal and can never be killed.Abortion is about killing the body in which the soul dwells. Psalm 139 and Luke chapter 1 refer to the life of a child in the womb and the presence of the soul in the growing child is taken for granted.If killing the body was not a crime, then infanticide or homicide would not be crimes. People are charged with murder of the body and not the soul, which cannot be killed anyway.Skin cells are differentiated cells. A skin cell can never develop into a human being. A skin cell can form only other skin cells; it does not differentiate into other cells. A fertilized ovum on the other hand after dividing up to the stage of a blastocyst begins to differentiate into all the different kinds of cells that form a human body. By the end of eight weeks after fertilization, the embryo has developed almost all the organs in its earliest stages and resembles a baby externally, hence it is called a fetus, meaning “little one” in Greek, from that point on.If the nucleus of an ovum is removed, then it does not have any genetic material, no DNA with the potential to unite with a sperm and become a fertilized ovum from which a full human being develops. It is like removing the yolk of an hen’s egg, and one does not expect a chick to hatch from it.There is a vast difference between cells that divide and form cells like itself, e.g. cultivated skin cells, and a fertilized ovum which differentiates into ALL the different cells of the body and forms a COMPLETE HUMAN BEING, deriving only oxygen, nutrients from its mother, and discarding its waste products through the mother’s circulation via the placenta.In identical twins it is always the fertilized ovum that divides, and a fertilized ovum has the ability to differentiate into all the different cells in the human body, no matter at what stage the fertilized ovum may form more than one embryo.The question about the soul is redundant as the soul is immortal and any kind of killing involves only the body.Medical science is common to all religions, hence it can be used as a basis for the discussion on abortion.Hippocrates, the Father of Western medicine, did not approve of medical doctors giving even a pessary to a woman to induce abortion, leave alone use an instrument to suction out living babies in the womb. Hippocrates Oath which forbids medical doctors from inducing abortion is nearly two and a half thousand years old, five centuries older than Christianity.Most countries therefore have a conscience clause as part of the legality of abortion. In those countries with a conscience clause for physicians, no medical doctor is forced to violate his/her conscience or understanding of medical ethics as understood by Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. Every medical doctor has read human embryology as part of basic medical sciences, and knows the life of a human being begins as a fertilized ovum. No philosophy, no theology, no metaphysics is required to be strongly opposed to abortion.

  • patricksarsfield

    Norman Ravitch writes: “Listen, in Vichy France the bishops supported with a few exceptions only the pro-German regime.”The truth is that Jews did better during the Holocaust in those Catholic bastions, France and Italy, than in just about any other country in Europe except Denmark (which had only a relative handful of jews who were easily transported across a narrow strait to Sweden). The Holocaust survival rates in France and Italy were 78% and 83% versus 64% in Germany and just 29% in the Netherlands (and an even more horrid 9% in Poland, the killing ground of Jews and Catholics in the millions alike). Now the Dutch Catholic bishops did speak out in August 1942 but a lot of good that did the jews. The Gestapo punished the Catholic Church by going out of its way to round up Jewish converts to Catholicism (like St. Edith Stein. Interestingly, the Protestants did NOT speak out when the Catholic bishops did and their converts were generally spared.

  • patricksarsfield

    Folks,So, when does any rule on abortion not impose one’s beliefs on others? At three, four, six eight months of the pregnancy? Don’t give me the third trimester rule of Roe v Wade; that was just the five judge majority imposing its beliefs (or lack thereof) on all of us. It knew it could never sell the American Public on abortion in the third trimester so it gave the sleeves out of its vest on that one.In truth any rule barring any kind of abortion at any time necessarily involves the immposition of some set of morals on people who want no rules whatsoever. Since there are people (including a Princeton Professor of Ethics and Barack Obama) who argue that a person should even be free to kill a fetus after it has escaped the womb of a would-be murdering mother, any rule permitting any punishment for any murder of a fetus or delivered child involves the imposition of beliefs on a set of people. What is wrong with that? Nothing more than what is wrong with imposing laws against slavery.

  • patricksarsfield

    Folks,Spoken like one of those doctors who wouldn’t let morality get in the way of his experiments in the death camps.

  • Anonymous

    a/o’s:^

  • Anonymous

    Camille Paglia on Salon.comConservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment…As a dissident feminist, I have been arguing since my arrival on the scene nearly 20 years ago that young American women aspiring to political power should be studying military history rather than taking women’s studies courses, with their rote agenda of never-ending grievances…Over the Labor Day weekend, with most of the big enchiladas of the major media on vacation, the vacuum was filled with a hallucinatory hurricane in the leftist blogosphere, which unleashed a grotesquely lurid series of allegations, fantasies, half-truths and outright lies about Palin. What a tacky low in American politics — which has already caused a backlash that could damage Obama’s campaign. When liberals come off as childish, raving loonies, the right wing gains. I am still waiting for substantive evidence that Sarah Palin is a dangerous extremist. I am perfectly willing to be convinced, but right now, she seems to be merely an optimistic pragmatist like Ronald Reagan, someone who pays lip service to religious piety without being in the least wedded to it. I don’t see her arrival as portending the end of civil liberties or life as we know it…It is certainly premature to predict how the Palin saga will go. I may not agree a jot with her about basic principles, but I have immensely enjoyed Palin’s boffo performances at her debut and at the Republican convention, where she astonishingly dealt with multiple technical malfunctions without missing a beat. A feminism that cannot admire the bravura under high pressure of the first woman governor of a frontier state isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit…Source:

  • VICTORIA

    Well, that was a rather vicious little copy and paste. How exactly is the muscular Palin going to bully the rest of the world into accepting the obvious superiority of America to the rest of the world though? Such a thing requires a bit more than guns and physical prowess. If this is the new feminist of the future- what part does the intellect play? Strength is not only the ability to overpower others- but the control to not do so. One would imagine such a muscular feminist would be the first to protect the weak- instead- she seems to be a woman led around by the opinions and philosophies of a patriarchal church- Far from fighting for the women entrusted to her stewardship- she seems to embrace the power and position afforded to her- but doesn’t seem willing to include her sisters in that empowerment. Besides, what kind of pussycat whines that she is not being treated with ‘respect’ and ‘deference’ by the press?

  • VICTORIA

    Yes Anon- of course there is verifiable proof. And no- politicians and public figures really do not get to decide how much scrutiny they should receive Palin has the wagons circled around her- but they won’t be able to do that forever. Evidenced by the verbatim roteness of her speeches- you cannot fake a richness and depth of understanding garnered from years of experience, education and knowledge. There are 48 years between Obama and Biden- oops- time to start my fast.

  • Anonymous

    Abortions of millions of unborn babies on the one hand and on the other, IVF because of infertility and possible cloning of human beings in the future…

  • Anonymous

    VICTORIA:Yes Anon- of course there is verifiable proof….Thanks for the reasonable tone- I’ll get back to you on verifying facts.September 11, 2008 5:34 AM_______________________________________Until such time you are able to provide verifiable proof for your allegations, it remains one more false allegation meant to discredit a candidate you do not support, and whose candidacy seems to appear as a threat in some measure to the candidates you do support: Obama/Biden.

  • Anonymous

    Cloning animals vs cloning human beings:Animals do not have souls.Animals are not created in the image and likeness of God.Is any human being worth mass production?

  • Anonymous

    Even in cloning two things are needed:The ovum, even if its DNA is removed,The uterus into which the ovum+DNA must be implanted.It is not possible to throw a skin cell into a petri dish, provide nutrition and grow a fully human baby outside a female uterus.Not until now anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Introduction of a physician conscience clause in abortion is one important way of reducing abortions.Many countries where abortion is legal, also has the conscience clause for physicians.The simple knowledge that some physicians refuse to be instruments of killing the unborn seems to have a small impact on the decision women make with regard to abortion.When more and more doctors refuse to perform abortions, more and more women are bound to realize they need to deal with their sexual freedom and reproductive choices differently.

  • candide

    If Catholics offended by the Fascistic policies of the hierarchy and the moral failings of the priest — and this is a large number of people –left the church it would collapse. Unfortunately Catholicism, like obesity, is hard to overcome.

  • dave carlin

    Biden (and other liberal Catholic politicians and voters) make a distinction between what they personally believe and how they act in public office — “Personally I’m opposed to abortion, but I don’t want to impose my beliefs on others.”Would it then have been okay for a German official in, say, 1942 to say this — “Personally I’m opposed to the mass murder of Jews, but I don’t want to impose my beliefs on others”?

  • VICTORIA

    ANON- Honestly. Palin is a boring subject by now. Here is a comprehensive site that investigates all parties neutrally. From the bridge to nowhere- taking Wassila from zero debt to 23 million- repeating the lie about selling the plane on ebay- hthere’s alot to choose from. But I don’t much care- I am interested in the policies of the candidates- not the personality. SO, you’ve sidetracked the original intention of the convrsation- you have your proof- lipstick is not of great interest to me, but as long as we are talking about nonsense- we can avoid scrutinizing the candidates lack of positions- They don’t get to opt put of the process because they have been deferred to by the press.

  • patricksarsfield

    Folks:”If Catholics offended by the Fascistic policies of the hierarchy and the moral failings of the priest — and this is a large number of people –left the church it would collapse. Unfortunately Catholicism, like obesity, is hard to overcome”This is the same silliness Candide’s author was pushing 275 years ago (“ecrasez l’infame”). It didn’t sell then and it is not going to sell now. The Catholic Church continues to grow because it was founded by the most excellent Church Founder Who ever existed: Jesus Christ.The problem with the protestant churches is that they are fundamentally flawed: first, they are not the Church Jesus founded because they came 1500 years + AFTER Jesus founded His Church; and second, they rest on a thorough-going contradiction in that they claim to believe in Jesus but they don’t even believe He could found a good-enough Church.

  • Bob Loach

    Joe Biden is not a Roman Catholic, he is a cafeteria Catholic and why does he insist on identifying himself as Catholic when he does not practice the faith.Since he supports abortion he should simply admit that abortion is part of his belief system.

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