Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Professor Douglas Kmiec: Off the Reservation

Prominent Catholic legal scholar Douglas Kmiec shocked the Catholic legal world when he endorsed Barack Obama for President. Kmiec didn't just make this one statement, he also wrote a second piece where he again reaffirmed his endorsement and--in this author's opinion--naively believes that Obama will be more receptive to an authentically Catholic perspective on the moral issues of the day. But, not to be outdone, it seems that Kmiec again was revelling in the glow that is Obama yesterday.

Some have speculated on Kmiec's seeming overnight change from a political and cultural conservative to a supporter of Obama, arguably the most left-wing and most pro-abortion candidate that the United States has ever seen. Some have opined that he is acting like a woman scorned from betrayals from the Bush Administration over the War in Iraq. Others speculate that the seeming dulling of his exercise of practical prudence is a result of the onset of Parkinson's disease. Whatever the reason, it is clear that Kmiec is not reasoning well in his support for Obama. Consider the following from Kmiec's June 7, 2008 article on Catholic Online (referenced above):

The on-going intelligent and civil discussion also allows us to grasp how no candidate who merely checks a pro-life box in a superficial way should be permitted to blind us from the balance of Catholic social teaching, including the strengthening of the family with a family wage and tax structure that is responsive to the needs of the average family; the ending of an unjust and disproportionate war; the care and stewardship of the human environment; and the structuring of society to look after the most vulnerable among us, including especially the elderly, the poor, and of course those whose voice can only be heard through ours.

Kmiec sounds like a seamless garment kind of guy. "The balance of Catholic social teaching," in Kmiec's mind, seems ignore the very foundations of marriage and the family. While I agree with his comments on the family wage and tax structure, his comments on the other issues seem disturbing. The "ending of an unjust and disproportionate war" is a judgment and position that may be taken by a thoughtful Catholic, but other thoughtful Catholics may disagree and still remain Catholics in good standing. The "care and stewardship of the human environment," is a curious phrase. I'm not quite sure what the "human environment" is. Perhaps it is the family built on stable marriage? Finally, the "structuring of society...," is the most disturbing. "Structuring" or "Re-structuring society" is a favorite buzz-word of faculty lounge and coffee house Marxists. These types generally see big government as the answer and, in the process, they give short shrift to the Church's time-honored teaching of the Principle of Subsidiarity. Based upon his associations--aptly pointed out by Tom Roeser--it is not unfair to put Obama in this camp. Has Kmiec joined him?

Here are the facts:

Professor Kmiec has yet to explain to us why Catholics should vote for Obama.

Oh wait...he has:

"Obama's conception of promoting the common good is situated in those regular but welcoming neighborhoods most of us call home—foreclosure aside. He intends to ask government and non-governmental entities—and you and me—to do our part. Frankly, it is more than a little exhilarating to be given that much faith and trust."

With all due respect, Prof. Kmiec, there is no such thing as a common good that includes the murder of the innocent and the undermining of marriage and the family.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another good response here: