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.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A question for Jim Wallis

Having read, at Steve S.'s suggestion, Jim Wallis's presentation of his candidate-selection calculus, my first question would be, "Mr. Wallis, isn't a bishop in a very good 'position to tell [Roman Catholics in his diocese] what is ‘non-negotiable'"?  Putting aside the question of what, exactly, is non-negotiable, and also questions about form, tone, timing, etc.:  Isn't Mr. Wallis being a bit presumptuous here?  Shouldn't he have said (somethign like), "as a Protestant, I do not believe that anyone is in a 'position to tell anyone what is 'non-negotiable'"?

My next reaction is to be pleased that, apparently, Mr. Wallis is going to vote for Sen. McCain!  After all, he writes:

And on abortion, I will choose candidates who have the best chance to pursue the practical and proven policies which could dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America and therefore save precious unborn lives, rather than those who simply repeat the polarized legal debates and ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ mantras from either side.

Quick, McCain-campaign types:  Jim Wallis wants a candidate whose policies will "save precious unborn lives", which would seem to rule out a candidate who supports increased public funding for abortion around the world, a roll-back of abortion regulations, subsidization of clone-and-kill embryo-destroying research, etc.  Get the word out about this endorsement!  (Heh.)

UPDATE:  Mr. Wallis might, when trying to bring others around to his new point of view, want to refer them to this essay, by Michael New, over at Public Discourse:

As Election Day approaches, the mainstream media is, as usual, showcasing self-identified 'pro-lifers' who are supporting the Democratic Party's pro-abortion presidential nominee. In 2004, a number of media outlets cited an analysis by ethicist Glen Harold Stassen which claimed--wrongly--that the number of abortions had increased slightly since President Bush's inauguration in 2001. The New York Times published an op-ed by Dean Mark Roche of Notre Dame encouraging pro-life Catholics to vote for John Kerry. This year the story is similar. Former Reagan administration Assistant Attorney General Doug Kmiec and Duquesne University Law Professor Nicholas Cafardi, both of whom claim to be opponents of abortion, have received plenty of media attention for their support of Barack Obama.

Their arguments are the same ones put forward in 2004. They have not improved with age. Most of these authors attempt to make one of two points: either a) that there is little that elected officials can do to curb abortion through legislation, or b) that the pro-life movement has not reaped any real benefits from supporting candidates who oppose abortion. Voters should, therefore, they argue, place greater emphasis on other issues. However, an examination of the history of the pro-life movement and a careful analysis of abortion trends demonstrate that these arguments are deeply flawed. In fact, the success of pro-life political candidates has resulted in substantial reductions in the abortion rate.

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Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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