Monday, June 16, 2008

Barack Obama's Faith


When faith is front and center
By Douglas W. Kmiec
June 16, 2008
Chicago Tribune

A few days ago, I had the privilege of engaging Sen. Barack Obama in private conversation for several hours with Rev. Franklin Graham, Bishop T.D. Jakes and a diverse group of 30 or so religious leaders from Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical and other traditions.

This was an unprecedented sit-down for any political figure, let alone a much-in-demand presidential candidate. Why would the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party devote so much time talking faith rather than politics? Quite simply, because it is the senator's deep personal faith that explains his audaciously positive hope for his country.

Obama's life is one of accomplishment in the face of unexpected challenge—the all-too-usual perils of an absentee father overcome by the extraordinary love of mother and grandparents; a home with little religious practice surpassed by an early education in Catholic schools and a later immersion in the hard work of faith assisting the poor in Chicago. When Obama picks up the political glass it is uniformly half full, and frankly, when he encounters the skepticism of others—as he occasionally did in our meeting—he casts a smile that doesn't discount or disregard doubt, but somehow manages to engage it with the intelligence of everyone in the room.

The discussion dwelt at some length on abortion. Obama said he earnestly wants to "discourage" the practice—despite the distortions of some who think if they affix the "pro-abortion—won't overturn-Roe-label" to the senator, pro-lifers like myself won't give him the time of day. Sorry, good friends, not this year.

Not to understand that there is more than one rather indirect and elusive judicial way to address an intrinsic evil understates the ingenuity of the devout. Describing the abortion decision as a "difficult, deeply moral one," Obama sees it as one only the woman can make. Unless her choice affirms life that is not my Catholic view, and I told him so. But disagreement or not, it is abundantly clear from our conversation that Obama shares a common aspiration to reduce the incidence of abortion.

How? Obama is committed to encouraging "responsible sexual behavior," discouraging unwanted pregnancies, promoting adoption as a more viable, affordable and appealing option than it presently is, and putting off limits in a manner consistent with the law as the justices see it, late-term abortion. Obama will not exclude abortion from medical coverage to fulfill a health exception "rigorously defined."

This replays where we disagree, but the meeting, itself, keeps revealing his appreciation for both the significance of faith and faith differences and an open mind sensitive to the need to protect religious freedom.

Obama complimented my old boss, President Ronald Reagan. Reagan talked in 1980 of "family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom," but never unleashed any systematic revival of the first three, even as he secured—for his time at least—a better peace.

Reagan was high-minded enough, but his prosperous friends did not always notice that the needs of the middle class could be caught in the switches—too well off for help, and stretched too thin not to be subject to spikes of real economic pain. If the middle-class was sometimes left unattended, and it was, no amount of the "trickle down" gospel could effectively answer the "cry of the poor."

Obama's conception of promoting the common good is situated in those regular but welcoming neighborhoods most of us call home—foreclosure aside. He intends to ask government and non-governmental entities—and you and me—to do our part.Frankly, it is more than a little exhilarating to be given that much faith and trust.

Douglas W. Kmiec, who was denied communion by a priest for endorsing Barack Obama, is a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University and was an assistant U.S. attorney general during the Reagan administration.

www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-oped0616kmiec_jun16,0,759034.story

41 comments:

CatholicsForDemocracy said...

Is it safe to remind everyone that the G.O.P. has officially lost it's political strangle-hold over the Republican Catholic Church?

sean said...

Even in 2004 when the GOP pulled out all the stops to win the Catholic vote (and, to be honest, the kerry campaign didn't lift a finger -- see Amy Sullivan's book) still the Catholic vote spilt about 50/50.

The Democrats have got a lot smarter about reaching out to Catholics and other people of faith and it is paying off with a significant shift to Obama.

The hard-edged tactics of a lot of the religious right continues to turn people off. They keep taking more rope to hang themselves with.

Barbara said...

I'm amazed that in all the outrage over Obama's support of the intrinsic evil of abortion, no one brings up the issue of McCain's support of the intrinsic evil of embryonic stem cell research, or of his stance that he believes that doctors should be punished for performing abortions, but that women who obtain them should not be punished. Neither candidate is TRULY pro-life. Consequently, we must look at the other issues in making our voting decisions, or stay home. I choose to fall on the side of social justice and on the side of Obama.

Rustler45 said...

"The hard-edged tactics of a lot of the religious right continues to turn people off. They keep taking more rope to hang themselves with."

Oh BS Sean. There is no one more hard-edged than a liberal so please don't make us listen to your self-righteous hypocrisy.

For liberals, and I mean all the ones in here included, there seems to be a blind spot when in comes to their own nastiness. It's like racism. Only a white man can be a racist and only a conservative can be hard-edged.

You people take any criticism from the right no matter how kind it is and demonize it as "hard-edged" tactics. I have experienced so much of it that I have come to realize that being nice to a liberal is the same as giving them a leg up.

I have dealt with many many liberals in positions of power for 40 years. They are uncompromising, tyrannical, and ruthless. They budge not an inch and never does reason move them to act to the best interest of The Church OR The People. They are power hungry dictators PERIOD. And when a just man is ruling they whine, squeal, and complain like a pig. They will pull every underhanded dirty trick in the book and out of the book to regain control and make the just man look unjust.


So don't make me want to puke. OK?

betty said...

So don't make me want to puke. OK?

Anyone got a mop?

Steve said...

Russ,

Pointing out that you are an a-hole doesnt make me a nasty liberal, it makes me an honest one.

There are plenty of blogs for you to get your theocon jollies. Have at it. You've exposed your hateful self enough here...its tedious....you're tedious.

Steve

Max said...

sean said,

The Democrats have got a lot smarter about reaching out to Catholics and other people of faith and it is paying off with a significant shift to Obama.

When was that election held? I must of missed it. The only actual Catholic votes cast in an election with Obama this year went predominately to Hillary. I live in that state where we cling to our guns and religion. The dem catholic vote went about 72% against him.

When all is said and done McCain will win the Catholic vote. Among Catholics who actually attend Mass it won't even be close.

sean said...

Max,

I was comparing the 2004 presidential race to the polling for the general election.

You are right, in this year's primaries the most Catholic votes have gone to Hillary Clinton. Obama came in second, McCain third in number of Catholic votes.

McCain and Obama are now making agressive pitches to the Clinton voters. We will see who is the second choice of those who voted for Clinton.

Rustler45 said...

STEVE WHIMPERS: Pointing out that you are an a-hole doesnt make me a nasty liberal, it makes me an honest one.

RUSTLER: OK Steve now let's hear the whiney voice.

BTW nothing I said makes you an honest anything. Your post proves what I was saying about liberals.

Thanks Whinner,

Rustler45

Rustler45 said...

A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters from EWTN

That should clear things up for you. It tells everything you need to know as to whether or not you can vote for Obama in good conscience.

Anonymous said...

EWTN, a subsidiary of the Republican National Committee.

Rustler45 said...

Hey Dumo, Gramma is wanting to hear your next installment on the philosophy Aristotle. She said she's not talking about the one Jackie Kennedy married. OK?

Rustler45 said...

Anonymous said...
EWTN, a subsidiary of the Republican National Committee.

No wonder you post anonymously you sneaking, lying little coward.

Max said...

sean,

A new ABC poll out shows McCain with a 14 point lead among white catholics.

Having said that, it is still June and the election is a long way off but I would bet money that McCain will win the Catholic vote.

The poll also states among all adults Obama is up 6, but with likely voters its a dead heat.

sean said...

sean,

I've seen the ABC news poll. You have it right. Obama is up by 6 overall -- certainly not so much of a lead as to cancell the election and not bother. it will be a competitive election. Obama is doing about the same with white Catholics as he is with whites overall. Overall, slightly more Catholics are backing him than McCain, but since both candidates are doing Catholic outreach, nothing is certain there.

While church (and worship) goers overall tend to McCain, it is only modestly so among Catholics while starkly the case with other faiths.

If you work the numbers to find what is the greatest cleavage within the Catholic vote it is not the modest difference between frequently and less frequent Mass-goers, but the stark difference between Catholics who belong to all white parishes (strongly for McCain) and those who do not (substantial Obama lead).

Rustler45 said...

None of that poll business means anything at all. If Obama wins that tells us that something is terribly wrong in this country. Well we know that already considering that the best we can come up with are Obama and McCain. As Screwtape said, "Democracy doesn't want excellence."

The problem is that of a Catholic voting for Obama. If there is a large number of Catholics voting for Obama, and there very well may be, that tells us that we have a serious problem in the Church.

From reading:
A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters from EWTN

I already knew by being knowledgable of my faith that everything said was correct just as when I read that 42 page document by the bishops that it is weak.

So by the Catechism it is easy to tell that Obama is not a choice for Catholics. Even if a Catholic came to read that Catechism and decided that the correct moral choice is Obama he should never consider doing anything other than voting for him. A "Catholics for Obama" website promoting him is certainly out of the question.

McCain is clearly not a choice either, but because all the issues considered he is the lesser of two evils. I would NEVER think of setting up a website to promote McCain even though it seems that I have no choice but to vote for him. Even if you think (although I don't see how you can) that the two are equal when it comes to abortion the other issues clearly tell a Catholic that you cannot vote for Obama. The homosexual issue alone certainly topples Obama's support.

If you think differently it's time for you to go join the Anglican Church. Two of their male "priests" are getting married to each other. Anything goes for them. You'd sure be happier with over there.

It comes down to this. Real Muslims as well as Real Catholics will not vote for Obama. Neither can tolerate Obama's stance on abortion or homosexuality.

Now back to voting. Voting for the lesser of two evils is something I find to be an exceptionally disgusting thing to do. The only way I can justify it in my own conscience is to prevent to worser of two evils from winning an election.

Katherine, your going to communion everyday while promoting the issues you promote makes you a daily sacriligionist.

Your argument Katherine, is not with me, but with the Church. You need to figure out what a REAL Catholic is and make a choice instead of playing the hypocrite.

betty said...

Cindy McCain is up to her old tricks -- her recipe for oatmeal-butterscotch cookies featured in the latest issue of Family Circle appears to have been lifted from Hersheys.com. Just like she stole recipies before. That woman never cooked a day in her life.

Max said...

Besides being the official spellchecker of this blog, you have now assumed the duties of Recipe Police Deputy Betty. The new Barney Fife of our times. Golly, who said that 4th grade education wouldn't come in handy!

Betty Crocker said...

Good grief. We got us a Cookienazi.

Anonymous said...

Cookienazi!

Cindy (Mrs. McCain #2) can't bake. She's just a cookienazi.

haha

McCain didn't cheat on wife #1 with Cindy because of her cooking skills. She is all dessert.

Rustler45 said...

Rustler45 said...
"Besides being the official spellchecker of this blog, you have now assumed the duties of Recipe Police Deputy Betty."

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAaaaaa!!

There's an old bag like Betty (Katherine) who lives on our street. Seems like every neighborhood has one. You know what I mean. All the kids are afraid of her. The little children can't even walk across her yard without getting screamed at. AND NOSEY! She knows everything that's going on just from peaking out between the drapes.

She probably stole that recipe for fishcakes and now the attention that Cindy gets makes her jealous.

Max said...

If I was an Obama supporter, I think I would want to stay away from the subject of the candidates wives.

Prof. Goldblatt Ph.D. said...

Sen. Barack Hussein Obama, you're unelectable an illegitimate candidate

Hussein Obama, you are known by the company you keep (and that includes your anti-American wife, Michelle)

kurt said...

Max,

I find Mrs. Obama an absolutely fine woman. As a Catholic, I cannot approve of John McCain's adultery, divorce and re-marriage (and Cindy's McCain's participation in all of that), I certainly don't find it a topic I enjoy raising and will be happy if others don't.

Marie-Elsie said...

Max,

Why wouldn't a supporter of Senator Obama's talk about Michelle Obama? Let's compare shall we:

Michelle Obama: Grew up poor on the south side of Chicago and through hard work was able to get a scholarship in order to get an IV League education; she graduated cum laude at Princeton University. She became a successful lawyer in her own rights; works as a Vice President in a large health care company. Married Barack and has 2 lovely daughters. If you look at how Barack looks at her, you can clearly see that he is crazy in love with her. He calls her his rock.

Cindy McCain: Inherited large sum of money; attended the University of Southern California, where she was a cheerleader. Had an affair with a man 18 years her senior. That man dumped his first wife when he found out that she was of no use to him. She organized a charity to give medical relief to third world countries. When she became addicted to drugs, she stole Percocet and Vicodin from that same charity she founded. When the director of that charity blew the whistle on her theft, she fired him in retaliation. Her family introduced her husband to all the right connections and he calls her a c**t.

Who would I rather be? I would rather be Michelle Obama ten times over.

Marie-Elsie said...

Prof Goldblatt,

Then I guess that John McCain keeping company with a man who equated rape as the weather by saying that as long as it is inevitable a woman might as well enjoy it is a sexis pig and is inviting rape on women.

Max said...

Kurt,

As a Catholic I wish you had indignation toward Obama's support of abortion.

Max said...

marie-elsie,

How about Obama "keeping company" with Ole Rev Wright for 20 years. Of course BHO was napping during the sermons.

Joined the church for political reasons, threw Wright and the church under the bus, right next to his white grandmother, for political reasons.

He also threw millions in earmarks to his wife's company. You would have thought that might have made her proud to be an American, but he had to win a few primaries before that happened.

kurt said...

max,

I agree with Senator Obama's moral reservations to abortion but strongly disagree with his policy reservations as to legally restricting abortion.

As a Catholic, I appreciate it that you do not even attempt to defend the indefensible adultery of the McCains.

Max said...

Kurt,

No, sure can't defend adultery. However, last I saw, John McCain is not trying to enshrine adultery as a constitutional right. Wish I could say the same about Obama and abortion.

Kurt said...

max,

my understanding is that Senator McCain does not support criminalizing adultery. Do you have some evidence to the contrary?

max said...

Kurt,

Nope, no evidence that McCain does or Obama, or me or you. I guess you proved your point, whatever that may be.

Rustler45 said...

"I would rather be Michelle Obama ten times over."

(Since we're comparing character)

You should, she's 10 times better than you. But that's not much of a compliment.

Rustler45 said...

Marie-Elsie said...
"Prof Goldblatt,
Then I guess that John McCain keeping company with a man who equated rape as the weather by saying that as long as it is inevitable a woman might as well enjoy it is a sexis pig and is inviting rape on women."

WHAT???????

Donna the Democrat said...

Sign the petition!

We, the Democrats of the USA, refuse to vote for Barack Obama, if he is the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, because of the mainstream medias' failure to make public the following failures and inconsistencies of Barack Obama.

The media portrays him as some sort of messiah/Jesus Christ figure who is going to rescue us by a wave of his hand, a John F. Kennedy re-incarnated, a perfect, squeaky clean candidate, who has never done a thing wrong in his entire life. Anyone who says a minor thing against him, even if it is self-admitted, is called a racist. The mainstream media will not cover ANY story that portrays Obama in a negative light, (most notably MSNBC on-airs) while having a field day, 24/7, on Hillary Clinton. Not only Hillary Clinton, but her husband, her daughter, her past, her present, her campaign, her campaign staff, her husband's administration and any story that portrays her in any possible negative light.


-He falsely accused the Clinton campaign, specifically President Bill Clinton, of race baiting. When it was the Obama campaign, specifically himself, his wife and Oprah Winfrey who started the race baiting. It continues to this day with people like Jesse Jackson Jr. threatening violence and rioting if he does not receive the nomination. His wife has said publicly she doesn't think she could support Senator Clinton, Obama himself has said his supporters would not support Senator Clinton, his wife has said 'black people should wake up', she wanted to 'rip Bill Clinton's eyes out'and Oprah has opined to Southern crowds in a suddenly heavy Southern accent all about Dr. King' dream, which had nothing to do with electing a black man president of the United States. THIS is playing the race card.

-Since the Democratic Party cannot seem to run it's own agenda correctly, we have open primaries across the country. It is now a known fact that Republicans have crossed over in record numbers to vote for Obama to 'keep the Clintons out of the White House'. The blame for this lies squarely on the shoulders of Howard Dean and the DNC. Hillary Clinton has received most of the votes of the Democrats, while Obama receives the thumbs up from most of the Republicans.

-Many things in his books, 'Dreams Of My Father', and 'The Audacity of Hope', are simply not true. His 'career' is sketchy to say the least, including making sure he ran un-opposed in races to his suspect meteoric rise in Illinois. He rams NAFTA down Hillary Clinton's throat, when in fact he voted to EXPAND NAFTA. He claims his association with indicted criminal Tony Rezko was simply a friendship, when we all know now it was much, much more. His refusal to distance himself from Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, who has endorsed him. Obama 'distances' himself, but continues to call him MINISTER Farrakhan, and refuses to denounce his racism and militant anti-Semitism.

-He has absolutely no experience to be Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States and President of the United States.

-Obama is a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Many have descibed this church in terms of 'separatist', 'in some cases, even drawing comparisons to a cult', 'scary doctrine', 'something that you'd see in more like a cult or an Aryan Brethren Church or something like that.' The pastor or ex-pastor (depends on who you listen to) Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright is an interesting character, who holds bizarre, racial and anti-semitic views. The church's mantra and belief system is :

'We are an African people and remain true to our native land, the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.'

The church has a 'non-negotiable commitment to Africa,' according to its website, and its pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. subscribes to what is called the Black Value System.

While the Black Value System includes such items as commitment to God, education, and self-discipline, it refers to 'our racist competitive society' and includes the disavowal of the pursuit of 'middle-classness' and a pledge of allegiance to 'all black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System.' It defines 'middle-classness' as a way for American society to 'snare' blacks rather than 'killing them off directly' or 'placing them in concentration camps,' just as the country structures 'an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.'

Obama says he found religion and Jesus Christ through Wright, whom he met in the mid-1980s. He has been attending Wrights' church regularly since 1988.

-Collusion between Howard Dean and the Obama campaign, via Halperin's Time blog: "Obama-DNC Fundraising Deal." "Democratic sources tell The Page the Land of Lincolner and DNC plan to file a joint fundraising agreement soon that will allow donors to give simultaneously to his campaign and the national party. noquarterusa.net/blog/

There are many other reasons which would fill volumes, but space does not allow. We feel these are the most important issues, or until more of the onion is peeled. Please join us in signing this petition (please feel free to add your own reasons) which will be sent to Howard Dean and the DNC to make them fully aware of the what the Democrats of the United States feel about the 2008 election process and the disgraceful and negative way Hillary Clinton has been treated while the DNC stands mutely by, forcing Obama on us.

NOBAMA!!!
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Dems_Who_Will_Not_Vote_For_Obama/index.html

sean said...

you funny, donna

Rustler45 said...

sean said...
you funny, donna

Sean, you are succch a debater!! What a wit. Donna tells us what a lying traitor your favorite candidate is and all you can say is, "you funny, donna."

Sean, you're pathetic.

Rustler45 said...

"I choose to fall on the side of social justice and on the side of Obama."

Fall was the correct word to use. You will fall.

Didn't you study Catholicism enough to know that socialism is not acceptable?

Barbara, you're a Marxist and don't even know it.

Rustler45 said...

KURT SAID: "I cannot approve of John McCain's adultery, divorce and re-marriage..."

RUSTLER: Really Kirt? Since when did you begin disapproving adultery, divorce and re-marriage?

Liberals never care about those things unless their enemies are caught doing them.

So let's not be a hypocrite Kirt.

Don't tell me you haven't committed adultery or fornication Kirt.

sean said...

rustler,

what grade are you in?

Rustler45 said...

sean said...
rustler,

what grade are you in?

RUSTLER: Sean are not paying attention or are you just plain stupid?

I have said at least 17 times that I am in the 8th grade.

Now pay attention you dimwit!

It's sure funny that anytime someone starts kicking a liberal's axx he wants to know what grade you're in and how old you are. He just can't take it.

Sean, since you asked tell us what grade you're in.

I bet you have Ph.D. don't you? Every Ph.D. I have encounted on the internet communicates on a 4th grade level and doesn't seem to know much more than that.