Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
It’s time for Catholics to lead true Democrats to start their own party.
Catholic Democrats are in a terrible quandary. They vehemently disagree with the Republicans’ approach to policy, so they won’t vote for them.
And since the Democratic Party’s leaders stand against religious liberty and for taxpayer-funded abortion, as well as support for stripping marriage of its meaning and endless war, they morally can’t vote for many Democrats either.
The only viable option for a traditional Democrat is to not vote at all.
It’s a terrible travesty that this has come to pass. It is crucially important that we have at least two morally viable parties proposing solutions to America’s problems.
I remember a time years ago when one of my daughters asked me why some Catholics we knew were Democrats and some were Republicans.
“Well, usually Catholics vote Republican because the party platform is pro-life,” I told her. “The Republican Party platform is against abortion. The Democratic platform is all for it.”
“Well, how can Catholics be Democrats then?” she asked.
“Many of them are convinced that Republicans are too pro-war because of the Republican Party's pro-war reputation,” I told her. “And the Democrats used to be known for sticking up for the little guy — before they became so pro-abortion.”
“Aren’t there any political parties that are pro-life and anti-war?” she asked.
I winced. “No, there isn’t,” I said.
“Well, there should be,” she said.
Yes, there should. Catholic Democrats should make it so.
Many Catholics became Democrats back in the days when John F. Kennedy stood on the Declaration of Independence principle “that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
Now, with the HHS mandate, Democrats are legislating as if freedom of religion is a state-given privilege, not a God-given right. And they changed their platform in much the same way. I already wrote about God-gate.
Many Catholics became Democrats back when Sen. Edward Kennedy, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson were pro-life. Since then, the platform of the Democratic Party has changed to be reliably pro-abortion. This year, Democratic Party holds that every woman should be able to abort her child “regardless of ability to pay.”
In other words, the Democratic Party officially wants to take money out of the paychecks of every taxpayer in America and hand that money to abortion businesses to pay for abortions.
That’s an extreme position, but the platform doubles down on it with the next line: “We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”
The convention featured a speaker who spelled out what is considered “any and all efforts to weaken” the “right” to Internal Revenue Service-enforced paycheck-to-abortionist transfers.
“We believe that a woman considering an abortion should not be forced to have an ultrasound against her will,” Nancy Keenan of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America told delegates. So, if a state’s voters refuse to keep women in the dark about what abortion is, the Democratic Party is against them?
That’s a decision that helps the abortion industry, not women. But it isn’t just abortion-industry voices like Keenan’s who were extremists at the convention.
First lady Michelle Obama also promoted abortion — in words that make Todd Akin look like a science professor. She said President Obama “believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies.”
Of course, unborn children — fetuses, if you must — are separate from their mothers. I have experienced this personally, having once been an unborn child. I am not my mother. Even as embryos, we have our own DNA that has already determined many characteristics about us, including our sex.
But abortion businesses need that lie to maximize profits. No wonder Democratic abortion lobbyists don’t want pregnant women to have ultrasounds: The truth would hurt sales.
But the most chilling lines were from the president’s speech.
He clearly knows what makes true Democrats’ hearts beat: looking out for the little guy. He complimented delegates: “You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who'll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.”
Really? The platform says the same health-care plan that helped that toddler could have killed her at taxpayer expense a matter of months before. For true Democrats, the principle that makes you want a toddler to get medical care should forbid you to kill her before (or immediately after) she is born.
He also said: “We believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty … could become the founder of the next Google or the scientist who cures cancer or the president of the United States — and it’s in our power to give her that chance.”
Good point. But think about the 1.6 million abortions in America each year. How many entrepreneurs, scientists and peacemakers end up in medical-waste bags? True Democrats believe a little girl who is offered an escape from being aborted will do great things, too.
But the violence isn’t just in the womb. The degree to which Democrats have embraced war is just as scary. The option for peace needs a strong voice outside of the Vatican and the bishops.
Obama’s Abu Ghraib, the “kill teams,” would have been a months-long story under Bush, but the Democratic-majority media in America mostly ignored them (overseas media didn’t hold back).
People who clobbered Bush for much milder actions turn a blind eye when the Democratic commander in chief bombs Libya with a no-confidence vote from Congress, “turns back the clock” on Guantanamo — and that doesn’t even mention everything that has happened this week.
The time for toleration is past. Democratic voters need to step up and found a new Democratic Party that is true to the traditions of the party earlier in the 20th century.
What to call it? Christian Democrats? That term might have too much European baggage. Traditional Democrats? That might sound too stodgy. True Democrats? I like that one.
At any rate, true Democrats need to do something.
They don’t want to be Republicans. Fine. Who can blame them? But they truly are deserving of blame if they simply enable the abortion-war-and-anti-religion policies of today’s Democratic Party.
Tom Hoopes writes from Atchison, Kansas.