Monday, November 10, 2008

Mormons, The Cardinal, Gay Marriage Roundup

Lots going on at the regular work. More thorough blogging tomorrow. For today, just a few links and thoughts:

1. Prop. 8 passed in California. It's the second time voters in California have passed a citizen initiative expressing their will that marriage be regarded as an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage supporters will for the second time try to overturn the will of the people of California by appealing to the California Supreme Court.

More on this later, but consider the words of San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty as he protested Mormon support of Prop. 8:

"The time has come to take it out there to the people who voted for this awful thing," said San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty outside the Oakland temple. "The Mormon church has had to rely on our tolerance in the past, to be able to express their beliefs. "... This is a huge mistake for them. It looks like they've forgotten some lessons."


Is that a threat? Perhaps Dufty should look up some American history about the bloody threats to Mormon religious liberty before making statements like that. Or maybe he did?

2. Lots of snarky blog comments about the effectiveness and propriety of Bishops' statements defending the primacy of life in this election. OSV has an interesting story which seems to indicate that the Catholic vote in Missouri and Pennsylvania significantly bucked the trend:

In six states Obama lost ground to Kerry's Catholic vote totals of 2004. Catholics in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, and California were less likely than Catholics in 2004 to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. In both Missouri and Pennsylvania, Catholic bishops made statements, widely covered by the media, regarding the importance of life issues relative to other issues in the campaign. These statements potentially had an effect on the votes of Catholics in these states given Obama's voting record and support for abortion. In California voters approved a ballot proposition banning same-sex marriage that was supported by California bishops. It is not possible to isolate these potential effects with the exit poll data released so far but these are potential hypothesis to explore further. . .

The Catholic vote in Missouri may have an historical consequence. At the time of this writing McCain leads Obama in total votes in the state by just more than 5,800. The state has yet to be called for either candidate. If Obama does lose this state, one of the central reasons will be his inability to attract the support of a majority of Catholics. If Missouri is declared for McCain it will have lost its "bellwether" status. Missouri has voted for the winning candidate in every election since 1960 and no Democrat has ever been elected president without winning Missouri.


Bishop Finn also made public statements opposing an English-only law in Missouri. The Missouri Catholic Conference also joined in opposing an expansion of the gambling license in the state. Unfortunately, voters rejected the bishops' advice and overwhelmingly adopted both measures. No analysis on the effectiveness or propriety of bishops publicly opposing xenophobia or exploitation of the poor has been found.

3. Cardinal George didn't skip a breath today between recognizing the tremendously positive historic nature of Senator Obama's victory and the gross irony on which it is based:

. . .this is a moment that touches more than our history when a country that once enshrined race slavery in its very constitutional order should come to elect an African American to the presidency. . .

We can also be truly grateful that our country’s social conscience has advanced to the point that Barack Obama was not asked to renounce his racial heritage in order to be president, as, effectively, John Kennedy was asked to promise that his Catholic faith would not influence his perspective and decisions as president a generation ago. Echoes of that debate remain in the words of those who reject universal moral propositions that have been espoused by the human race throughout history, with the excuse that they are part of Catholic moral teaching. We are, perhaps, at a moment when, with the grace of God, all races are safely within the American consensus. We are not at the point, however, when Catholics, especially in public life, can be considered full partners in the American experience unless they are willing to put aside some fundamental Catholic teachings on a just moral and political order. . .

In working for the common good of our society, racial justice is one pillar of our social doctrine. Economic justice, especially for the poor both here and abroad, is another. But the Church comes also and always and everywhere with the memory, the conviction, that the Eternal Word of God became man, took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, nine months before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This truth is celebrated in our liturgy because it is branded into our spirit. The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice. If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be president of the United States. Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good.