Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Abortion Politics and the GOP

Amy Sullivan has an interesting post at Washington Monthly (thanks to Christianity Today for spotting it):

Remember last spring, when John Kerry couldn't take a step without some reporter trying to examine his molars for evidence of unswallowed communion host? The issue of whether or not Kerry should, as a pro-choice Catholic, take communion was pressed by conservative Catholics with a partisan agenda and it was wholeheartedly accepted as a relevant story by most major news outlets.

How many reporters do you think are going to ask Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki or Arnold Schwarzenegger if they should refrain from taking communion? Or will call up the bishops of these men and ask whether these PCRCs should be denied communion? Shouldn't it be a story that Republicans get a pass for the sole reason that they are Republicans? And that certain conservative Catholic organizations only care about abortion when they can use the issue to knock around Democrats?

The silence coming out of the Catholic League regarding the prominence of a bunch of heretical babykillers at the GOP Convention is simply deafening.

Sullivan's argument can be expanded to raise questions about the GOP itself. Perhaps groups like the Catholic League are willing to cut back a bit on their prophetic role in order to facilitate what they perceive as the bigger picture considerations of the current political reality. The current political reality, though, may be murkier than it seems. The apparent double standard necessitated by the GOP's convention strategy lends support to those who are skeptical about the sincerity of the GOP leadership's intentions regarding abortion law. If the GOP wins the election by giving itself a pro-choice face, what does that say about the centrality of the pro-life position to its platform? Certainly you won't see a convention lineup of speakers calling for taxes on the wealthy to be raised, even though that could appeal to many swing voters. Is the pro-life commitment an identity-defining issue for the GOP hierarchy, or is it simply a mantra that ensures the continued party allegiance of abortion-focused evangelicals and Catholics?



Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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