Sunday, October 31, 2004
I appreciate Mark's paper. His demolition of the "I can't impose my religion" argument is, well, just that. And, his exploration of the dilemma that some politically progressive, pro-life Catholics are facing -- a dilemma that has been explored thoroughly on this blog in recent days -- is, as the saying goes, "fair and balanced."
I would add two friendly amendments, though: Mark says (below) that "the two candidates thus leave us with no choice but to confront the question of whether it is possible to support a candidate like Kerry whose record on life is beyond the pale because his opponent's record on everything else shows a disregard for the consistent ethic of life." Now, I do not believe that Bush's "record on everything else shows a disregard for the consistent ethic of life." And, with respect to those matters (say, the death penalty and pre-emptive war) where Bush's record might be said to show such a disregard, it is not clear to me that Senator Kerry would, as President, be any better, from a pro-life perspective. (President Kerry could not -- and, I'm confident, would not even if he could -- do anything about the death penalty in the States, and it is worth remembering that he has also endorsed the idea of pre-emptive wars).
In any event, though, I think that we should all add to the mix, in addition to the "seamless garment" of life questions, the issues of religious freedom (e.g., for Catholic hospitals and social-service providers) and educational choice. On these crucial issues -- issues to which the Catholic Social Thought tradition speaks with some force -- I think it is clear that a Bush Administration and Bush-appointed judges would be superior. And, it seems to me that this fact should at least be part of the "for whom should we hold our nose and vote" decision with which many Catholics are wrestling. Mark, what do you think?