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French author Charles Baudelaire wrote “The Generous Gambler.”
BY the Editors
French author Charles Baudelaire
wrote “The Generous Gambler.”
In the story, the protagonist
sells his soul to the devil and is promised “gold, diamonds and fairy palaces”
in return. Later, he begins to doubt that the father of lies will come through.
So he prays, “God, please make the devil keep his promises.”
The story came to mind as U.S.
Sen. Joe Lieberman lost his re-election bid in Connecticut’s Democratic primary.
Lieberman is a true Democrat and,
in many ways, an honorable man. He’s a man of real faith — he’s Jewish — and
Catholics have been delighted by much in his career.
Lieberman has been a voice of
morality when others were too cowardly to speak up. He denounced the violent
and pornographic content entertainment corporations pump out in CDs, movies and
television. That was a particularly difficult stance: The corporations he took
on are among the most powerful players in American big business, and they pour
money into Democratic Party coffers each election cycle.
He also famously rebuked
President Bill Clinton for seducing a White House intern, using her for sex,
then covering up his offense by perjury. It was courageous to rebuke a
president so wildly popular among members of his party.
When he first ran for the Senate
in 1988, met with Hartford Archbishop John Whealon
and pledged to vote pro-life. The Washington
Times quoted Father Thomas Berry, who worked for the archbishop, saying
Lieberman “expressed himself against abortion, all suicide and euthanasia. His
position on that definitely was well received by the archbishop and priests.”
It’s no wonder Catholics were
shocked when the senator not only voted in full support of abortion, but voted
to protect partial-birth abortion. That’s the procedure in which a doctor
punctures the skull of a child who is being born, then completes what has
become a still-birth.
Many politicians vote reflexively
with an eye to personal gain and give little thought to the morality of
legislation. Not Joe Lieberman. He is a careful thinker known for his
independence. Lieberman took to the Senate floor to note his qualms with
partial-birth abortion. But then he vowed to protect it anyway, saying, “I will
do so with a growing personal anxiety that something very wrong is happening in
Cardinal John O’Connor wrote to
Lieberman, whom he called “a wonderful man in many respects,” to tell him he
was “terribly distressed” by Lieberman’s support of partial-birth abortion.
Rabbis like Yechiel Eckstein also signaled their
disapproval. One rabbinical court excommunicated him.
But Lieberman didn’t back down. He
would go on to vote many times to keep the procedure legal. The reason seemed
obvious: He needed the support of abortion activists to win Democratic
Fast forward to
Lieberman faced the toughest primary battle in his 18-year Senate career. After
he built a radically pro-abortion voting record — distancing himself
from his own religious roots to do so — you would think that abortion
supporters would go all out for Lieberman against Ned Lamont.
Not so. Connecticut’s grassroots abortion activists
didn’t just fail to support Lieberman — they worked hard to see him defeated.
The state’s National Organization
of Women PAC was one of the first to back Lieberman’s opponent. The cream of
the crop of Connecticut
pro-abortion activists got together to found Connecticut Choice Voice and seek
the defeat of Lieberman.
Why did they do it? It’s hard to
say. Some have said it was Lieberman’s support for the war in Iraq — but John
Kerry also campaigned and voted for the war before changing his tune, and the same groups supported him in the presidential
Whatever the reason for their
betrayal of him, Lieberman has found what Baudelaire’s
protagonist found. You never truly gain when you give away your soul.
Joe: We know you are running as an
Independent against two pro-abortion candidates. Catholics would love to
support you, but we can’t. We remember the old adage “Fool me once, shame
on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
However, we also believe in
redemption. If you were to introduce substantive pro-life legislation and
repudiate your pro-abortion mistakes, Catholics could support that position.
Why not? The abortion supporters you counted on are busy hounding you out of
Joe, we both believe in the God
who said “Thou shalt not kill.” Let’s make common
cause, together, in Him. He always keeps