Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Paul Horwitz has a typically thoughtful post up, at Prawfsblawg, about religion and politics -- including, specifically, the efforts by the Catholic bishops to focus attention on threats to religious freedom -- and the election. In the comments, responding to the report that many Catholics apparently believe that the Church should focus more on social-justice matters and less on "social issues" like abortion, I wrote that "while I don't think it's realistic to expect Catholic bishops to retreat from their public witness on the abortion question -- it is, for them (as it is for me) a foundational 'social justice' question -- it is essential that this witness not be perceived as (because, in fact, it is not) merely partisan." Yes, this witness will be criticized, as "partisan", whether it is or not, by partisans, but . . . it must not be.
There will be lots of triumphalism, and lots of despair, around the blogosphere, and also in its Catholic neighborhoods -- I voted for the other guy, and really wish, for the good of the country and the future of my children, that he had won -- and lots of "what if's?" and "here's what really happened" diagnoses. Two thoughts from this amateur-at-best observer: First, to me, it appears -- and, I admit, this makes me very sad -- that the HHS mandate, the "war on women" nonsense, the foregrounding of Planned Parenthood, and the association of Republican candidates generally with a few candidates' mis-statements on abortion "worked" for the Democrats. Apparently, the country has not moved as much in a pro-life direction as I had hoped. Next, it also appears that the party that is, and that is likely to remain, the party that better advances the causes of legal protections for the unborn, education reform, and religious freedom is getting only negligible support from African-Americans and Latinos. This cannot -- for the sake of those causes, and also because none of us should tolerate a situation in which party identification is so racially polarized -- continue.