Friday, February 10, 2006

The "Bush is prolife" bait-and-switch

The BustedHalo blog came to an end this week with a little politics--the women's ordination thing just wouldn't go away, so it was time to change the subject. My opposite number, who describes herself as a "prolife Democrat," said she voted for Bush in '04 because he is "pro-life." I think she and all the other "Bush is prolife" Catholics got snookered by Karl Rove and Co. My response:

I hardly see how a man who presided over more than 130 executions as governor and jacked up the war budget 48 percent as president—while cutting social programs for the poor and undercutting environmental standards—can be called “pro-life.”

Despite his “culture of life” rhetoric, not one pro-life cause has advanced since Bush’s election, unless you count the “compromise” on embryonic stem-cell research: not health care for the poor and uninsured, not abortion, not the death penalty, not end-of-life care, not welfare, nothing. Even the Medicare prescription drug benefit was a trillion-dollar giveaway to the drug companies. The Christian right has only abstinence-only sex education to show for its political investment in Bush II. Bush has, of course, gutted the social safety net and pursued policies in direct contradiction to Catholic social teaching on the economy, the environment, and war and peace. (Interestingly enough, liberal Catholics are condemned for questioning church teaching on women, birth control, and sexuality, yet it is evidently OK to dissent on a war that has produced civilian casualties in the tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands.)

[This is probably where I allowed my grumpiness to bleed through too much:]

I’d further argue that Catholics who vote only on abortion are guilty of self-interest. Pro-life policies that actually affect the abortion rate—full funding of food stamps and WIC, childcare tax credits, guaranteed health care for pregnant women and their children—will necessarily result in a tax increase (or a decrease in “defense” spending), definitely not likely to happen under any Republican administration.

How much cheaper it is to simply demand that abortion be made illegal via that courts than to really acknowledge that the gospel, Catholic social teaching, and the common good demand a just system of taxation and a domestic policy that puts the poor—and I count the unborn among them—first. Cafeteria conservatives, heal thyselves.


At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right. That's why there were twice as many abortions as births during the Depression.


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