Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Blind Are Still Blind

Catholics in Alliance voter survey of ‘little value,’ Archdiocese of Denver says

Denver, Nov 14, 2008 / 09:40 pm (CNA).- A consortium of left-wing Christian organizations has released a report on the reasons voters gave for how they cast their ballots in the recent election. Although the poll finds that Americans have rejected a “narrow agenda,” the Archdiocese of Denver says the report has “little value” because it is skewed by the preconceptions of the groups that commissioned the survey.

The newly released survey, which questioned 1,277 voters, was conducted November 5-7 by Public Religion Research for the groups Faith in Public Life, Sojourners and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

While noting that only 21 percent of white evangelicals voted for Barack Obama, the consortium pointed to their finding that “nearly double” (39%) say he is friendly to religion and shares their values.

Dr. Robert P. Jones, President of Public Religion Research interpreted the results of his organization’s survey as showing that Americans desire to reclaim a “broader agenda,” a description that closely echoes the post-election theme of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and its political allies.

Katie Paris, Director of Communications Strategy at Faith in Public Life, agreed with Jones’ reading: "People of faith are tired of the culture wars and hungry for common ground. Evangelical and Catholic voters are rejecting a narrow agenda and embracing the conviction that we must all work together – an approach that will enable the faith community to effect real progress on difficult issues in the days to come," she said.

Yet, the same Public Religion Research poll found that the major deciding factor for voters was the economy and not moral issues, with 70 percent of voters listing it as one of the top two issues they considered when they voted.

Democratic political analyst Mark Stricherz explained to CNA that far from the “rebalancing of political alignments” that Dr. Jones depicts as the outcome of the survey, he sees a more complicated picture.

“The country is in a recession. Of course, Americans are most worried about their jobs, homes, taxes, and health insurance. But their focus on the economic issue cuts both ways in terms of the social issue. They don't want more restrictions on abortion; yet they also don't want taxpayers to pay for more abortions and certainly don't want to eliminate all legal protections for unborn infants, as President-elect Obama has vowed to do under the Freedom of Choice Act,” Stricherz told CNA.

The national poll also touched on the issue of abortion, asking respondents to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the statement:

“Elected leaders on both sides of the abortion debate should work together to find ways to reduce the number of abortions by enacting policies that help prevent unintended pregnancies, expand adoption, and increase economic support for women who wish to carry their pregnancies to term.”

Of those voters surveyed, 83 percent (86 % of white evangelicals and 81% of Catholics) said that they would like to see politicians cooperate to reduce abortions.

This result, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and their partners say, should be interpreted to mean that pro-lifers should focus their efforts on economic and social measures to reduce abortion. Other thinkers who agree with this reasoning, such as Douglas Kmiec and Nicolas Cafardi, assert that the pro-life movement has failed in the legal arena, and that it should redirect its energies.

However, this past Wednesday the U.S. Catholic bishops rejected the notion that the pro-life movement has failed by assailing Roe v. Wade in their joint statement. “A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law.”

Jeanette DeMelo, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Denver, dismissed the Catholics in Alliance survey and the groups’ conclusions in a statement to CNA on Friday. “This survey has little value, if any, because it is skewed by the preconceptions of the partisan, activist groups that commissioned the survey,” she said. (Unfortunately these results reflect the same numbers of every other post election survey I have read. They can't all be skewed.)

DeMelo also pointed out that “Archbishop Chaput has already said that groups like ‘Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn’.” (It could also be that these same Catholics will save more unborn by their social activism in one year, than in the previous thirty years of legal activism--and isn't that what it's all about, saving lives?)


The blind still refuse to see the changed reality. That's a shame, because instead of pulling together on really trying a new approach to abortion, the vast majority of laity will be at odds with the hierarchy.

The country is in a recession. Every dime people can still spare on the abortion issue should go to preventing abortion not legal wrangling. Maybe it's time to put money where saving lives really happens.

Here's an update on yesterday's story. and a correction. Saxby Chambliss is running in Georgia and not South Carolina. That's what I get for not drinking enough coffee before I start writing.


  1. "(It could also be that these same Catholics will save more unborn by their social activism in one year, than in the previous thirty years of legal activism--and isn't that what it's all about, saving lives?)"

    Well, Colleen, we would think that is what they would want. to save lives. But it does seem to be the case that they just want to make all abortions illegal. It is preposterous and blind for them to believe that this will be so, but this is their stand, and it seems they will not end their tantrums until this is done.

    What I find horrible about their outlawing all abortions is that in the case of the rape of little girls and all women, she has absolutely no say in the matter at all, and would have to carry a child, even at 11, 12 or 13. It is their idea that life begins at conception that this entire notion of outlawing all abortions exists. And so, their belief is that life begins at the time of raping this little girl. It is blind of them, and I believe it is utterly wicked of them to put this little girl who was raped in a situation where she has to give birth, and could possibly die in the process. It is utter nonsense!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Butterfly, this fits right in with a response I made on Audicity of Peace.

    Dear willguy, you claim there have been 530 million abortions in this country.

    Lets take a closer look at that figure:

    There are 300 million people in the US.
    --- that means almost two abortions for every man woman and child.

    Lets assume for the sake of argument that only women have abortions.
    --- that means that every female in the US has had 4 abortions.

    Lets assume that half of the females are girls too young to get pregnant.
    --- that means that every adult female in the US has had 8 abortions.

    Lets assume for the sake of argument that only 1/2 of these women had abortions.
    --- that means that each adult woman in the US had 16 abortions.

    According to your numbers, there have been 16 abortions per woman.

    I went to the Guttmacher Website to check these figures. I found out some interesting information. Contrary to what the antiabortionists are pontificating, (including the Magisterial Authorities), there has been a steady decline in abortions in the US since 1981.

    According to Guttmacher, there have only been 45 million abortions
    "From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred.[2]"

    530 million vs 45 million ... there is just a tad bit of difference there.
    Your figures are overstated by 12 times. There is only one conclusion.

    The antiabortionists are lying.
    The magisterial authorities are lying.
    You are either lying, or you have been deceived. It really doesnt matter.

    The abortion statistics are a fraud. Deliberately overstated in a pathetic attempt to generate sympathy for the cause.

    My gut level reaction ... lying bastards!

  4. I decided replying on one thread wasnt enough. I just posted a new discussion on ethical debates titled "is the anti abortion caucus telling the truth". It includes essentially the same information from my last post. It will be interesting to see what kind of hornets it stirs up.

  5. I went back to Guttmacher stats to check something and found an interesting coincidence: the largest drop in abortions occurred during the clinton administration from 1992-2000. Prior to that the change was relatively flat.

    Abortions decrease substantially during democratic adminstrations.

    Once again, the Magisterial Authorities lied to us. Not only are they blind, they are trying to make the rest of us blind as well.

  6. I wonder why Arbp. Chaput doesn't simply declare the archdiocese of Denver an official arm of the Republican party. The political actions of his archdiocese in recent days make mincemeat of the claims of his book on Catholicism in the public square, which calls on the church to transcend affiliation with a single party. Chaput has sold himself lock, stock, and barrel to wealthy Republicans.

  7. Bill, I think he's been thoroughly co-opted by the Colorado Springs bunch.

    Why doesn't he just let Dobson write his sermons. Well, maybe he does.

  8. Carl, I also commented to someone in John Deer's column about the way information is coming at us and the statistics of abortions, but in highlighting that most abortions are probably not late term which they always depict them as. In the first trimester is when most abortions probably occur.

    I really think this abortion issue presented by the fundamentalists is about control over women by men, not saving lives.

  9. Sorry, it's John Dear.... I haven't had enough coffee. Had another late night editing compositions....

  10. Seeing those little green tractors again? decaffination will do that too you. ;-)

  11. Butterfly, I'm a little more cynical than you are. I think it is about control, but even more about hate. Fundamentalists are full of hate and fear. The abortion conflict is nothing more than a convenient way for them to vomit that hate all over the rest of us, a convenient way for them to let the rest of us know how much they loathe us.

  12. Yea, it is hatred, Carl, hatred toward others, and it's fear based. It's also because they believe they are the righteous and don't need conversion. But they need conversion to the true Christ and it appears that they have only met the god of the OT and Jesus is buried in the shadows of their wrathful god.

  13. Actually Butterfly, the god they serve is not the God of the old testatment, it is the one that we typically depict with a pitchfork and a tail.

    When Christ died, so did the vengeful God of the OT. Christ died to bring a new awareness, a new understanding of God, a God of Love, not a God of wrath. His death was the death of the God of Wrath, his resurrection was the birth of the God of Love.

    This is the message that almost the entire Christian world has missed. Jesus did not die for our sins. He died so that we could experience the love of God in its fullness. Christ died so that we could experience a deeper more intimate awareness of our true oneness and unity with God.

    Within the love of God, there is no sin.

    Within the love of God, there is no judgement or condemnation.

    Within the love of God there is only forgiveness, forgiveness that is granted before we finish the thought asking for it.

    Within the love of God there is only acceptance, inclusion.

    Those who serve a god of hate, a god of wrath, a god of vengence, a god of exclusion, those who pass judgement on others are serving satan.

  14. "His death was the death of the God of Wrath, his resurrection was the birth of the God of Love."

    Wonderful line Carl.

  15. Yes Colleen it is.

    This is the message the Masters have carried through the centuries. The message the Masters have waited to share with us. Christs death was the end of our seperation. His resurrection, the beginning of our unity.

    This is the full meaning of Christs life and death. This is the real "good news" of Jesus.