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Friday, September 7, 2012

Democrats should must rethink life

Photo: Barack Obama

My dad’s mother was a Democratic operative—and fiercely so. She was also devoutly Catholic. She knew her Catechism, supported her Church, and said novenas for everyone. Her life was her God, her family, her parish, and the Democratic Party. She was the first female ward chair in her city—taking my grandfather’s spot when he died. When I was a boy, she told me that I should always be a Democrat because Democrats  "take care of the little people."

I doubt my grandmother, who died in 1992, would be a Democrat today. Her Catholic blood would reject the party’s modern platform that encourages the slaughter of children and the redefinition of marriage, even if she would applaud its support for labor, social welfare, and the natural environment.

Last week, I was critical of the Republican platform for its ambiguity over environmental regulation, especially as voiced by Virginia governor Robert McDonnell, Paul Ryan, and a well-delivered, comedic, but deeply troublesome jest by Mitt Romney about responding to climate change. Yes, I have problems with Republicans who do not appreciate ecosystems, even if I support them on many other issues.

But the sheer audacity of death that the Democratic Party favors—with their demands for “reproductive rights” and abortions-made-free-and-easy—cannot be the basis for a sound vision of ecology. As I watched a convention hall full of Democratic delegates cheer wildly over what President Obama said was “health care choices that women should make for themselves”—which is code for ending the lives of their babies—I couldn’t help but wonder why we should support and celebrate the view that innocent human life is anyone’s to end.

(As an aside, I do not write of abortion without sympathy for the families involved. My mom’s mother, also a devout Catholic, had a choice in 1927 to abort my mother. Her mother-in-law didn’t want her son to be a father for the second time in a year, so she provided my grandmother with the chemicals that would induce the death of my mother. My grandmother prayed to St. Anne and decided against this demand. In 1963, when I was unexpectedly conceived, my mother, a good Catholic herself, probably never considered having me killed—although I’ve never had the guts to ask her.)

Democrats talk a good game when it comes to the environment, although I don’t always agree on their follow-through—for instance, I was surprised to hear the president support hydraulic fracking for natural gas (even if he later criticized oil companies). But today’s Democratic Party is dismally unaware of how supporting abortion and embryonic stem-cell research undermines any other support of other forms of life. This is why groups like Democrats for Life are such hopeful voices in a party that has much to offer the nation.

My Democratic-operative grandmother told me that Democrats take care of the little people. But many of today’s Democrats do not take care of the unborn, which are the littlest of humans among us.

Photo: Barack Obama

Sure, Democrats will support programs that teach pregnant women not to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol and they’ll fight for an end to mercury emissions from power plants, which harms the unborn. But then they support abortion—and fiercely so.

So are Democrats good ecologists? No. Their inconsistent views of life are ultimately dangerous for all life.

As the Holy Father notes in the thematic quote of this blog, you can’t choose between supporting the human person or the environment. In addition, B16 has this to say, which certain Democrats and all Catholic ecologists should heed: 
In order to protect nature, it is not enough to intervene with economic incentives or deterrents ... These are important steps, but the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. [Caritas in Veritate. Emphasis original.]
And make sure you read through the concluding benediction by Cardinal Dolan. In it, he makes the very case that without life, there is no liberty or happiness.