America Undecided

This is the time of year when Catholics are trying to inform their consciences, as our bishops recommend in Faithful Citizenship, before they cast their votes. There is a lot of stuff out there, but one piece that particularly helped me is America Undecided, Catholic, Independent & Social Justice Perspectives on Election 2012 by Ed Gaffney, Doug Kmiec and Patrick Whelan. It is available at Amazon on a Kindle version for 99 cents. The authors do a phenomenal job of pulling together the relevant strands of Catholic social justice thought that are applicable in this election. They deal especially well with the issues raised by some thoughtful Catholics, like the HHS regs on contraceptives and the other life issues, and I highly recommend their work to anyone trying to vote with an informed conscience in this election.

Nicholas P. Cafardi



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Jim McCrea
7 years 9 months ago
These are the important issues:  next appointment to the SCOTUS.  Healthcare.  All else is diversion.



Vote for Obama.
Jim McCrea
7 years 9 months ago
An opinion from Great Britain:
The Tablet Blog
Jesus would have voted in the US election
Liz Dodd
2 November 2012, 9:00
Would Jesus vote in next Tuesday's US Presidential Election? At a debate in London this week Revd Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, managed to convince 214 people (the winning majority) that Jesus would have abstained.

I find that hard to believe.

The percentage of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high. Some 46.2 million Americans live below the poverty line - that's equivalent to the population of Spain. Six million people have no income other than food stamps, the New York Times reported in July. Around 27 per cent of African-Americans, Latinos and American Indians are poor, contrasted with 10 per cent of whites.

I can't believe Jesus would feel apathetic about poverty, war, health care or the environment - issues that are at the heart of the fight for the presidency. Nor would he withhold his vote, which, to pollsters, is indistinguishable from apathy anyway. In a democracy, your vote is currency, and if you're not apathetic about the issues at stake you have a responsibility to use it.

The Commonwealth Fund, a non-partisan health care foundation, revealed the possible impact the Presidential election could have on health care, just one election issue, in a recent report on its website.

Governor Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal 'Obamacare' (the Affordable Care Act) and replace it with the Romney Plan on his first day in office. If this happens, the Commonwealth Fund predicts that 72 million Americans will be without health insurance by 2022.

A separate study by health advocacy group Families USA found that 26,000 Americans (aged 25-64) died prematurely in 2010 because they did not have health insurance. In 2010, 50 million Americans lacked health insurance. People die because they lack access to health care - and access to health care will be determined by the Presidential election.

Not all Catholics agree that Obamacare is a means to help poor Americans escape poverty. Many think that it's inherently wrong because it mandates abortion and contraception. But too much is at stake - whatever side you're on - and refusing to pick a team is no way to absolve yourself from the debate and its ramifications.

Jesus was not afraid of debate. Sometimes voting means aligning with controversy - whether in the form of rights for the poor, the sick, the unemployed. Jesus sided with these people in his life - and he would have sided with them with his vote.
Vince Killoran
7 years 9 months ago
Lots of anger at AMERICA and Catholic Democrats from some of the usual bloggers.  I guess that bodes well for Obama.

I will vote for him but he cozied up to the GOP far too much. He's way too much of a centrist.
Molly Roach
7 years 9 months ago
Taking a lead from Ed, I suggest that in the next presidential election cycle that
the GOP abandons the rhetoric of hatred, disciplines the hate mongers and
comes up with a plausible program for strengthening the country.  Whatever
they want to do for the latter has been lost in the storm of hate talk and lies.
This hate is a virus that has been in circulation for the last four years and has
bitten a lot of people.   
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 9 months ago
Yes.  The rhetoric on both sides is there.  But one must evaluate practical consequences, what you really expect politicians to do or achieve.  Republican-appointed justices already comprise a majority of the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade is fully in place.  Yet, they moved with alacrity on Citizens United, giving the plutocrats unprecedented power over the electoral system.  There is no doubt that one of the justices will die over the next four years, and a Romney appointment will give the plutocrats a stranglehold on the court for years to come, and they will legislate unmercifully in a direction that may have already turned us around the corner as significant as the change of Rome from a republic to an empire.  What frightens me is how the romans learned to love their emporers, even Caligula.  How they accepted empire as the ordinary way of doing things.  I will vote for the weak, compromising Obama whose any efforts for stimulating the economy were blocked by the republicans with all their force.  At best, it is a slight turn from the head-on rush to disaster.  

If Romney wins, I will not completely despair, but will hope that the inevitable rabid overreach will be met by Americans in the street.  How quixotic or not that will prove to be is tbd. If Obama wins, it will be just as necessary to hit the streets.
Tim O'Leary
7 years 9 months ago
Kevin #6
You are completely right that the Democrats are doubling down on abortion this year, and the ''Catholics for Obama'' group will be remembered post-election for their collusion with the destroyers of the poorest of the poor in our human community.

Obama and his supporters were never sincere when they said they wanted abortion to be rare, unless they believe it is some sort of necessary evil. But they could never use that term, as it would be an admission of the humanity of the unborn. The proof of the lie is they want to subsidize it, as no doubt, Obamacare is trying to do, through regulations when they can't get it done by law.
JR Cosgrove
7 years 9 months ago
Mr. Murphy,

''America Magazine should have made clear that Cafardi, Gaffney, Kmiec and Whelan are all members of Catholics for Obama. '' 

This is what America (the Jesuit magazine) is, a very liberal political site that sometimes covers religious topics and often quite well. But it is constantly using the facade of religion to justify their political positions.  It tends to attract a lot malcontents of various stripes both with the Church and anything that smacks of conservative viewpoints.  Since it is sponsored by the US Jesuits I read it to see just what their state of mind is on the Church and society.  It is a fascinating insight on just what has happened to this great force within the Church

So this particular OP is no different than a lot of others published here.  Conservative bad, liberal good but never with any real justification for their position other than rhetoric.  The irony is that they try to use social justice or Catholic Social Teaching as a justification for their positions when the policies they advocate have wrecked havoc on the poor in this country and have essentially expanded the culturally and spiritual poor in the US.  One of the more amazing aspects of the constant drum beat here.
ed gleason
7 years 9 months ago
This last burst of Con posts about abortion and Benghazi, the abortion tragedy upheld under  decades of GOP rule, Benghazi tragedy under the CIA's  GOP general Petraeus,  sounds like a last ditch and futile effort to change the inevitable. I suggest in the next presidential cycle the GOP get a more believable/likeable candidate then Romney.. The just anti-Obama stance is not a winnable strategy. You could see defeat on Carl Rowe's face last night   
Stephen SCHEWE
7 years 9 months ago
From Frank Bruni's column "The Far Side of Acrimony" in the NYT for November 4:

"...In the end it’s possible to see whoever prevails in the presidential election not as the less principled, more fortune-kissed candidate but as the one whose message had the most appeal and whose prescriptions voters felt like putting their chips on, at least at this particular juncture.  And granting that person an initial degree and grace period of trust seems to me not only the democratic thing to do, but also the constructive one. Maybe he’ll choose sensible solutions over sharply partisan ones. Wait and see and nudge and hope, because the alternative simply perpetuates the political dysfunction in a country being steadily diminished by it. The alternative doesn’t get us any closer to solving problems that grow bigger and bigger with time."
Thomas Piatak
7 years 9 months ago
Here is a subtitle for the book:  "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Abortion."  True, it's adapted from Dr. Strangelove, but it still works for this book ny three Obama partisans.
Kevin Murphy
7 years 9 months ago
America Magazine should have made clear that Cafardi, Gaffney, Kmiec and Whelan are all members of Catholics for Obama.    (Mr. Whelan is actually an Officer at the organization.)   This post is not asking us to obectively examine the issues but  encouraging us to vote for Obama.  The twisted logic that somehow Jesus would have approved of the mass termination of innocent life as long as the greater good is served is evil sophistry.   Also, America should drop any pretense that it holds to Catholic teaching on abortion and own up to its pro-choice advocacy.   
Frank Gibbons
7 years 9 months ago
JR Cosgrove,

An excellent description of "America."  It is a blatantly partisan organ.  The editors need to to take a deep look at themselves and ask if this is the mission to which the Lord has called them.  
Tim O'Leary
7 years 9 months ago
As regards getting rid of the hate, that has been the strategy of the last several months of the Obama Campaign, trying to disqualify the Republicans as racists, homophobes, anti-women, and anti-poor. The whole strategy of the Occupy Movement was to try to isolate a 1% in our society that could be maligned and hated, a scapegoat.

The Obama campaign spent over $300 million trying to paint Mitt Romney as a bad person, as an unacceptable person. It all fell apart in the debates. Similarly, this ''Jesuit'' magazine tried to paint Paul Ryan as unacceptable. But, that too failed. The Obama side chose fear and hate as their strategy because they couldn't run on their failed record. So, I hope they learn next Tuesday that that approach doesn't work, at least in America.
Thomas Piatak
7 years 9 months ago
It is amusing to see partisans of Obama and the GOP cry about "hate," while their own candidate and party campaign as champions of abortion, which has claimed the lives of over 50,000,000 unborn Americans since Roe v. Wade.  As John Noonan wrote about abortion in "Abortion in America in the 70s," "No plague, no war, has so devastated the land."  The devastation continues, and Obama and the Democrats pronounce the devastation good and pledge that they will never allow the devastation to end.
Tim O'Leary
7 years 9 months ago
From a purely practical level, the Obama administration has failed every promise it made to the poor. It said it would get employment down, but hasn't. It said it would halve the debt it would leave for the next generation to pay, but it has doubled it. The increasing percent of people living in poverty and the increasing need for food stamps are proof that they have failed.

Now they promise universal healthcare when all they are doing is putting its insurance system under state control so they can ration it, control it, and suck the charity (love) and the Christianity out of it - just like they have done with the secularization of the schools.

And now the Benghazi catastrophe/coverup. They can't even protect our diplomats! What a sad end to a misbegotten presidency. 

Jobs, debt, abortion, religious freedom. Change is the only hope we have.
Kevin Murphy
7 years 9 months ago
Adding to my post above, please see this recent Politico article (hardly a conservative source) entitled "Democrats go all in for abortion rights."  (
Please note the following quote:
"Democrats have gone all in for abortion rights, with none of the hedging or defensiveness they’ve shown in recent years — a subtle but striking repositioning with political consequences that extend far beyond Nov. 6.
The evidence of it is impossible to miss. The airwaves are choked with messaging about women’s reproductive health. Abortion rights advocates had prime speaking roles at the Democratic convention. Contraception advocate Sandra Fluke is a prominent campaign trail surrogate. Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, recently introduced President Barack Obama at a Virginia campaign rally.
While Democrats have long supported a woman’s right to choose, this year’s full-throated embrace of abortion rights — from the president down to the most obscure House candidate — marks a historic departure that now places the party as firmly and unyieldingly in support of abortion rights as the GOP is in opposition."
“I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue I think is not paying attention. So that would be point No. 1. But point No. 2, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade,” Obama said at the Saddleback forum with the Rev. Rick Warren in August 2008. “So for me, the goal right now should be — and this is where I think we can find common ground … is: How do we reduce the number of abortions?
Now, the second part of the equation has dropped away. [My italics and bold] Obama just talks about the “right to choose” and warns that Mitt Romney would take it away. It’s all about “Washington politicians who want to … control health care choices that women should be making for themselves,” as he said in his convention speech."
How would Catholics for Obama explain that phrase "Now, the second part of the equation has dropped away," i.e. that the goal is no longer reducing the number of abortions?  To paraphrase Shakespeare, "The 'right to choose'  is the thing," no more, no less.  Catholics advocating for Obama must own this fact.  
Carlos Orozco
7 years 9 months ago
The "divine winds" of Sandy -caused by HAARPA- will save Obama's behind. Hope and Change is so discredited that is has resorted to weather manipulation by the military-industrial complex.
John Barbieri
7 years 9 months ago
JR Cosgrove and Frank Gibbons have got it right.

Once again, the key to Obama, to Romney, and the rest of us - starting with me - is wither or not our actions match our words. All of us act on what we truly believe at best or think we can get away with at worst.

Don't be blinded by ideologies.
The best guide to future behavior is past behavior.
Look at how Obama and Romney behave 
Do their actions match their words?  
Yes or no?
Then pick, choose, decide!


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