For reasons I don't understand, the issue of abortion rights is a hot button issue in the Presidential campaign. There is little, if anything, the President can do either to criminalize or further to legalize abortion, as I pointed out in an article here last month. Sure, he (or she) can nominate Supreme Court justices, and some may be nominated during the next four years. However, that doesn't count for much, even if the President were successful in getting seated a Supreme Court justice whose views on abortion reflected his own,
Supreme Court justices sometimes do not behave as either the President or the Senate contemplated that they would. They tend, in most cases, to look to the unique facts, the procedural context of the case, and the U.S. Constitution to make up their minds; when they don't, they should. That is their job.
Their job is not to impose their own religious, political or even moral views on the rest of us. Nevertheless, abortion is a hot button issue.
I am an Agnostic/Atheist; Senator Biden purports to be a staunch Roman Catholic; Governor Palin is a conservative Christian. I favor abortion rights, pretty much as set out in Roe v. Wade, as does Senator Obama. Senator Biden's church teaches that abortion is a very bad sin, yet Senator Biden supports liberal abortion rights. Governor Palin's religious convictions have led her to the conclusion that abortion is a very bad sin, and she opposes it; she has demonstrated the sincerity of her convictions on this point in her public statements as well as in her personal life, and has been criticized for doing so.
Senator Obama has several attributes which I admire; Senator Biden, fewer. Senator McCain has several attributes which I admire; Governor Palin substantially more. In the interest of disclosing my personal predilections, It is my intention to vote for Senator McCain and Governor Palin. One of Governor Palin's attributes which I much admire is her tendency to guide her personal life and her public statements in accordance with her beliefs, be they considered religious or moral. She has other attributes which, to me, are very important as well. Unlike any of the other three, she is not of the establishment Democratic Party or Republican Party, which in recent years has seemed Hell-bent on sending the country down the toilet. However, that is not really within the scope of this article.
Let's look at Senator Biden. He advocates liberal abortion rights, which his church vigorously opposes. During an interview on Meet the Press, he said
Look, I'm a practicing Catholic, and it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility. . . . I am prepared to accept my church's view. I think it's a tough one. I have to accept that on faith.
Yet, he continues to advocate liberal abortion rights and to receive communion, even though it has been strongly affirmed by many bishops and others higher in the Roman Catholic Church that he should not.
Archbishop Raymond Burke, who just left his see in Saint Louis to take over the Apostolic Signatura, the highest Vatican court in Rome, said last week that not only should pro-choice politicians abstain from Communion but those in charge of the sacrament have a duty to refuse it.
"If a person who has been admonished persists in public mortal sin and attempts to receive Communion, the minister of the Eucharist has the obligation to deny it to him," Archbishop Burke told the magazine Radici Christiane. "Why? Above all, for the salvation of that person, preventing him from committing a sacrilege."
Presumably, the Roman Catholic Church would also prefer that other Roman Catholics not be led astray.
What is the point of all of this? Senator Biden, a professed Roman Catholic, supports liberal abortion rights, contrary to the teachings of his church, and continues to receive communion, also contrary to the teachings of his church. Governor Palin, a professed conservative Christian, opposes abortion, consistent with her beliefs and the teachings of her church. Does that suggest that her convictions (about abortion as well as other issues of greater substance for the campaign) are sincere and that perhaps Senator Biden's are not? I rather think so. I also think that, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with a candidate's convictions, sincerity in holding them is important. These things also suggest, at least to me, that when Governor Palin says something, we don't have to look to see whether she has her fingers crossed behind her back.
I do disagree with all four candidates, and their parties, in their attempting to make the matter of abortion — as well as any other religious matter — a campaign issue, particularly since it is something about which none of them will, if elected, have any significant ability to do anything. Were the issue one which either candidate could significantly affect, I might well feel differently.Powered by Sidelines