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Liberal, examine thyself

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, September 7, 2005

With the Roberts confirmation hearings about to begin, and another Supreme Court nomination coming soon, there is most definitely going to be a good amount of debate about pressing social and legal issues, as well as plenty of hysterical screeching. And yes, the Democratic Party will once again show that its core value is abortion on demand.

I hate to bring up such a loathsome topic – I sincerely do hate to – but only the most ignorant could fail to realize that abortion is the underlying cause of all the controversy regarding the Roberts nomination, and all that we are going to see surrounding his confirmation and the forthcoming nomination. What makes the controversy more poignant, and more relevant to Notre Dame, is that Roberts is Catholic.

A few weeks ago, Mario Cuomo, former Democratic governor of New York and sometime Catholic theologian, trotted out his patented and tired “personally opposed but …” argument at an appearance debating the Roberts nomination. Briefly stated, that argument is that while he himself is deeply troubled by abortion and considers it, as a good Catholic, a terrible sin, he cannot impose that belief on others. Of course, I highly doubt he, or any of the other Catholic liberals who trot this line out, are in fact quite opposed to the horror that is abortion. But let me be generous and gullible and take him at his word.

My questions for him, and for any like-minded liberals at Notre Dame, are these:

1) is your personal opposition to abortion a religious belief simply because it is something the Church teaches?;

2) how come so many of you have no problem imposing your other beliefs – such as opposition to the death penalty – on the rest of the public, many if not most of whom disagree with them?

Regarding the first question, consider another hideous act: rape. Now, the Church opposes rape, and I oppose rape. Does that mean my opposition to rape is somehow a Catholic belief of mine? There are certain teachings of the Church, like condemnations of murder or exploitation, which deal simply with the natural law. All human beings with reason, Catholic or not, should recognize these moral truths, and most societies do.

Then there are the other moral teachings, such as the command to attend Mass, which only make sense in light of revealed truths. If I prohibit you from murdering my niece, I am not imposing my Catholic values on you, even though the Church would agree with me. If I forced you to fast on Good Friday, however, I would be guilty of such an imposition. Such a distinction should be very clear.

I opposed abortion before I was Catholic, and if, God forbid, I cease being Catholic, I imagine I will still oppose abortion. If there is any connection at all between my hatred of abortion and my (weak) Catholic faith, it is not that I hate abortion because the Church tells me to. If anything, it is the other way around – my hatred of abortion makes it easier for me to believe that the Church is what it claims to be.

When people like Mario Cuomo and John Kerry speak of their opposition to abortion as somehow a personal religious belief, I am led to wonder whether they are so morally crippled that they would not even realize the evil of it were the Church not to point it out to them.

Yet as I mentioned already, they are often only too eager to impose other Catholic social doctrines on the public, and even to use religious language in doing so. This, of course is hypocrisy, but nobody ever seems to call them out on it.

Many of you, when you stand up for the unborn, will have sneering liberals snarl at you and tell you to go back to church, and to put your rosaries away. But when you stand up for the poor, however, those same liberals leave you alone, even congratulate you. Why is defending the unborn somehow a religious value while defending the poor is not? The Church is consistently on the side of both. Maybe one of you liberals can explain that to me and to the rest of us.

Gregory Pioalumnusclass of 1999Sept. 6