I confess I don't get John Kerry. I don't like being political much anymore, especially here - raises the passions too much. But when the political intersects faith, then it causes me to really ponder. John Kerry claims he is a Catholic. Claims to adhere to the Catholic faith, particularly in regard to abortion. However, John Kerry has never voted against an abortion bill. He has never voted for any bill that limits unfettered access to abortion for any reason, including partial birth abortion. He cannot even bring himself to vote against providing federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. All of these are positions the Roman church strictly condemns. John Kerry claims he can't impose his personal faith on others.
But John Kerry also believes that "faith without works is dead" and that is why he supports various federal poverty, housing and education efforts. Isn't this imposing his faith on others? Why is it that it's wrong for him to impose his faith on the most fundamental of issues - life of the innocent - and not these peripheral areas that people of good conscience can disagree on how involved the federal government should be? Rich Lowry at National Review makes an interesting observation:
Asked at the Arizona debate about Catholic bishops who say it would be a sin to vote for a candidate who, like Kerry, supports unlimited abortion and the destruction of human embryos for research purposes, Kerry said: "I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views."It seems to me that Kerry is "triangulating" morality. He's attempting to appeal to those who believe their faith requires they support government programs to combat a host of social ills (notwithstanding the track record of utter failure, incompetance and inefficiency these programs have over the past 40 years) without totally alienating those who actually take seriously the Roman (and other) church's teaching on the sanctity of life.
Where to start? Saying that you "respect" the view that the destruction of human life is wrong is almost insulting. This isn't like respecting someone's choice to order the merlot instead of the cabernet. The view that the sanctity of all human life is paramount demands to be accepted or rejected. Merely respecting it is a weasely way of saying you reject it.
...Kerry presented diametrically opposed views on the role of morality in public life within about 30 seconds. He went on to say that his environmentalism and his poverty-fighting measures were borne of his faith. In other words, his faith affects everything — including his position on whether the minimum wage should be $5.15 or $7 an hour — but not how he legislates concerning life issues, because it would be wrong to legislate his morality, although he does it all the time.
This strikes me as calculated pandering. But, then, as I've said, I don't get John Kerry.
P.S. Just finished reading Jonah Goldberg's essay on the same subject. Goldberg closes his article with this comment:
And that's what I find a little galling about all of Kerry's God talk. Beyond the naked pandering of it, it's morally and religiously empty. He may talk about deeds backing up faith, but where his faith is unambiguous he wants no part of it. When it comes to the tough issues, what he really seems to want is grace on the cheap. It's as More said: "If honor were profitable, everybody would be honorable."Seems like I'm not alone.