Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Why this election can’t be reduced to one issue
William J. Gould
Significant portions of the Catholic Church in the United States appear committed to the proposition that the only acceptable political manifestation of being a Catholic entails embracing the Republican Party. Clearly this is the (at least de facto) position of many prominent prelates such as Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver and Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton. It is also quite clearly the position of EWTN, which furnishes a one-hour commercial for the Republican Party every Friday night at 8 Eastern (Of course, I’m referring to The World Over, hosted by Raymond Arroyo). Nor is that support confined to high-ranking church figures and leading Catholic media outlets. On the contrary, at Mass in my parish two weeks ago, a very young, newly ordained priest encouraged his listeners to vote Republican solely on the basis of the abortion issue.
In this political and religious climate, I find Doug Kmiec’s support for Sen. Barack Obama a salutary and refreshing development. I say this as someone who does not fully share Kmiec’s enthusiastic embrace of Obama or his high expectations regarding what an Obama presidency is likely to achieve. Instead I write as someone who has long been disenchanted with American politics and who fully expects that we will continue to be ill-governed no matter who wins the election.
Why then do I regard Kmiec’s contribution in such a positive light? For two reasons.
[To read the rest, which appears in Commonweal (web only), click here.
William J. Gould is Assistant Dean of the Juniors at Fordham College.]