Thursday, April 26, 2007

Some clarifications on the Abp. Burke -- Sheryl Crow brouhaha

  • What does Abp. Burke mean that this charity event to benefit children with cancer is a "scandal?"
    Abp. Burke didn't say that the event itself is a scandal. He said he would be giving scandal if he were to remain a chair of the event with Crow performing. This has a very specific meaning for Catholics -- he would be giving the appearance that Ms. Crow's support for embryonic research is not a big deal (see below for why it is).

    If you think that giving scandal by being associated with those advocating policies one considers evil isn't a problem, you probably haven't seen this picture or this one or this one or this one.
  • But those are evil people. Sheryl Crow is just a singer who holds political views which are very much in the American mainstream.
    Sheryl Crow appeared in an ad urging Missouri voters to vote for an Amendment that stripped the state of any ability to regulate research on embryos. The orthodox Catholic belief is that these are human persons, so from our perspective, what Ms. Crow supported is the moral equivalent of supporting something like slavery. Abp. Burke feels he cannot go along with it.
  • But that's Abp. Burke's personal religious belief. He has no right to impose that on others.
    First, it is the belief of the Catholic Church, with which Cdl. Glennon is associated. Second, he's not imposing anything. He's just saying he can't personally go along with it.
  • But the organizers say they don't impose any political litmus tests.
    The hell they don't. I stongly suspect that if Don Imus had been scheduled to appear, he would have been nudged aside. I don't think they would have put on the Dixie Chicks at the height of their controversy. They wouldn't put up a white supremacist, homophobe, or sexist.
  • This is to help kids with cancer. Can't we put aside our political differences and come together on this?
    Abp. Burke likely believes that Cd. Glennon Hospital is able to help the children with cancer in part because of its Catholic identity, which includes seeing human life in all stages as a gift from God. To move away from that would be to disconnect from the driving force of its mission.

Unfortunately, the relationship between Abp. Burke and the local media has never been good, and they seem to relish every opportunity to portray him as an ultraconservative jerk who's primarily interested in promoting Republicans. Would this were not so.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good news -- I'm not a heretic...

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice...

Now to apply it, which can be a tad trickier...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I can be forgetful sometimes

Can someone please remind me which side of the embryonic research debate is about cloying emotionalism and which side is about hard scientific facts again?

Because I read articles like this, which claimes that adult stem cells are "mass murderers" because some treatments are rejected, and I start to think that it is the pro-embryonic research side that bases its case on wild emotional claims rather than science.

But that can't be, because the former chancellor of my university, Sheryl Crow, Michael J. Fox, and others were all over my TV last year telling me differently.

Friday, April 06, 2007

No, David...

This is not the question we need to be asking ourselves, because our goal is to end abortion, not just maneuver the pieces such that there is a possibility that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned. And electing a president who sees no problem with the current legal regime on abortion is not going to make that happen.

But I sure do appreciate you taking the time to condescend to your "pro-life friends" to tell us what the single most important question we need to be asking ourselves is. As you know, we pro-lifers are simple folk who for some reason think that electing a president who wants to fund abortions might result in more abortions, and greater societal accpetance of abortion. Even moreso than electing a president who is friendly with pro-choice Senators. I'm sure glad we have smart friends like you to set us straight.

In that spirit, I will offer the single most important question Republican friends like you need to be asking yourselves -- why the hell should pro-lifers vote for people who have such little respect for what we see as a moral crisis?

Raising the bar on non-negotiable issues

According to several voter's guides that came out in 2004, including one from my own archbishop, when Catholics are determining which candidates to vote for, they shoujld first consider their views on non-negotiable issues. These included abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning, embryonic research, and euthanasia. These are included, and not things like health care policy, welfare, immigration, war, and capital punishment, because they are intinsic evils, that is, wrong under all circumstances, whereas the latter list can be justifiable under certain (albeit narrow) circumstances.

This type of analysis, followed simply, would lead one to choose Bush over Kerry, which I in fact did. Kerry supported unrestricted abortion, and made support for embryonic research a theme of his campaign, whereas Bush opposed abortion and had placed some restrictions on embryonic research. In part because of voters motivated by this type of analysis (including myself), Bush won reelection.

I am unconvinced that Bush's victory has been a victory for those who would be the victims of the non-negotiable evils. In fact, I believe Bush's policy decisions as a prominent pro-lifer have set back the cause of respect for life. The evil of abortion will not be ended in this country by sneaking in enough Supreme Court justices to oveturn Roe v. Wade. It can only happen by transfroming this culture to one that respects life, and values it more than personal autonomy. In my opinon, this will not happen under the leadership like what this Administration has provided.

In order to win my checkmark for non-negotiable issues, it will be necessary for candidates to provide leadership on these issues, not merely that they know what they have to say to win their party's nominations. Their positions on these issues should be part of a coherent respect for life (yes, the dreaded Seamless Garment). Americans, rightly, will not accept absolute advocacy for the unborn that comes packaged with enthusiasm for preemptive war and the death penalty.

From this perspective, observing how GOP candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney have been twisting themselves into pretzels to be considered pro-life is amusing. For Romney, we're supposed to accept this late changing convesion that just so happens to be perfectly aligned with his politicial motivations. For Giuliani, we're supposed to accept his personal position on abortion in exchange for the tacit promise that he would nominate judges and justices who would be inclined to oppose Roe vs. Wade. They want to be president first, and feigning concern for the unborn is a means to that end.

It's going to take more than that to sell me; I'm not that cheap a date. It seems apparent to me that both these candidates are saying what they think they have to say to win the nomination. That's fine. But will they sacrifice for the unborn? Will they invest political capital into working for them? Will the show up or just phone in to the Right To Life March? When we ask what they've done about abortion, will we get a list like this of nice but mostly symbolic and politically uncostly acts?

I don't think the unborn will find the answers to those questions satisfactory. So, they do not earn a checkmark in the abortion column.

Which opens things up on a number of issues -- like poverty, health care, immigration, war and peace, on which I would tend to side with the Democrats


Andy McCarthy has a strong reproach tho those who think we should all just shut up and get behind a Winner for the Good of the Team.

I'll phrase it more succinctly -- if your team supports, or even tolerates, government funding of abortin, it ceases to be my team, and I don't care if it loses every single election.