|Hmmmm, pretty much says it all.|
This morning Michael Sean Winters posted another of his prescriptions for the Democratic party in which, again, he prescribes the absolutist abortion perspective as the way the Dems will garner Hispanic support and secure the future of the Democratic Party. Interestingly enough, he gives the opposite prescription on the gay marriage question. In that case he advises the USCCB to drop it's opposition because it's a lost cause. MSW seems befuddled as to what a true Catholic is supposed to support politically because last I checked it didn't matter if some moral issue was a politically lost cause, it was about the unchanging moral teaching of the Church. The abortion issue, at least as far as overturning Roe V Wade, has been a lost cause for thirty or forty years. Unfortunately it's been such a beneficent issue for Republicans, it's still very valuable as the perfect wedge issue. They can keep bringing it up and never have to do anything meaningful about it. They can also use it to cover over a multitude of other divisive issues. Or to put it differently they can use fetal life to carry the cross for their working in opposition to any social justice issues for the already born.
Bill Lyndsy has a masterful post on this penchant of centrists like Michael Sean Winters and what they really accomplish in this country and in the Church. The following are his ending paragraphs:
....The we-vs.-them politics of Catholic values and identity that have become normative for many American Catholics, including "liberals" like Michael Sean Winters, and which the Catholic bishops have actively nurtured for years now, foreshortens the understanding of human solidarity as something that transcends racial, social, and economic boundaries. It does so by making a "talisman" of the unborn human being--even of the just-fertilized zygote, about whose human status there has long been a diversity of understandings even in the Catholic tradition itself--and drawing a line in the sand: if this life is not respected, no life can be respected. (Absolutely on target.)
A far more compelling ethic in defense of the worth of the unborn would work to build a much stronger sense of human solidarity than this, one not rooted in a divisive we-vs.-them politics of religious and ethnic identity. It would demand a much more heightened awareness of--to take one case among many--the maleficent effects of racism in American culture. And a much stronger intent to combat that racism.
Until the "we" of a Catholic pro-life ethic includes everyone, pro-life politics and the ethic on which they are based will not be persuasive to many thoughtful people for whom the notion of human solidarity is far broader than us-believers-and-the-fetus. Nor should it be persuasive. Without a consistent respect for human life across the board--and this includes respect for the lives of women, gay and lesbian persons, racial minorities, the poor--Catholics and other right-wing Christians who have chosen to make a we-vs.-them talisman out of the fetus will continue to fail to convince many people of good will that they are actually and credibly pro-life. (I don't see how the purveyors of the 'fetal talisman' position can extend respect for the lives of women, when the life of their talisman is given the absolute option over the life of it's mother...a situation which men never face and doesn't effect their intrinsic human value.)
As Bill points out, the abortion issue is now the favorite way of separating a self sanctified 'we' from the secular godless 'other'. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but I suspect it's just been the result of forty years of escalating rhetoric and certain political operatives fueling this debate for the greater glory of the Republican spin machine Kathy Hughes has written a comment to Bill's post which outlines the endgame of this strategy:
Excellent thoughts. My concern is that the religious right will see all of us who don't agree with their political or religious agenda as less than human. David Neiwert has documented the rise of what he calls "eliminationism" in political discussion in the last few years, and he wrote a book titled "Eliminationism." Neiwert calls eliminationism the wish that people who disagree with the political right be physically eliminated, and he points to examples from Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.
American Catholicism is also not without it's own voices of eliminationism. Fr C. John McCluskey comes to mind as Frank Cocozzelli has covered in this piece on Open Tabernacle. McCluskey has a stable full of Republican party Catholic converts and undoubtedly has been influential in keeping the abortion issue as useful as possible in what appears to be his fantastical pursuit of a Catholic theocracy brought to us all by by a culture war turned civil war. That's a lot of agenda to hang on the tiny shoulders of the pre born.
And speaking of Catholic Republicans and extreme positions on abortion, VP designate Ryan has gone so far as to justify his absolutist position to a rape exception by the notion that rape is just another form of conception. He makes no distinction then for Akin's quaint notions of 'legitimate' and 'illegitimate rape'. Conception is conception. Easy for him to say, but then it's always easy for men to say whatever they want about abortion, pregnancy, and contraception. It doesn't effect them in quite at all the same way it does women. Now, that gay marriage thingy, that's a different story. Ain't it MSW?