Knights of Columbus leader right on abortion, wrong on Catholic voting duties

Knights of Columbus leader right on abortion, wrong on Catholic voting duties

While Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, is absolutely correct about the unique status of abortion, he is absolutely incorrect if he is claiming Catholics have an unwavering moral obligation never to vote for a pro-choice candidate.

[“Biting the hand that feeds them”?]

Charles C. Camosy
August 8, 2016
KofC-FUNDED CRUX CONTRIBUTOR

Commentary

Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, is undeniably a polarizing figure. Directing what he calls “the strong right arm” of the Church, he is a champion for many conservative Catholics for many of the same reasons the Catholic left considers him deeply problematic.

One major, longstanding reason for such polarization is his prioritization of abortion as a uniquely important political issue. At the Knights’ international convention last week he suggested no other issue could outweigh abortion in our political considerations, given that it is “killing on a massive scale.”

Anderson also appeared to claim that Catholics may not vote for a pro-choice politician.
“It is time to end the entanglement of Catholic people with abortion killing,” he said. “It is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians.”

His statements have drawn the ire of left-leaning Catholics such as Anthony Annett at DotCommonweal. Annett asks “Why is abortion such a unique category?” and expertly demonstrates problems with appeals to concepts like non-negotiability and intrinsic evil.

But Anderson make his reasoning quite clear as to why he thinks abortion deserves unique consideration: millions and millions and millions of horrific killings. One million every year.

On this score, Anderson is surely correct. No other issue comes close to the importance of abortion because no other issue is dealing with the actual, real-life slaughter of the most vulnerable on this scale. These are children who, Pope Francis reminds us, have the face of Christ as the paradigmatic example of the least among us.

* * *

Though Anderson is absolutely correct about the unique status of abortion, he is absolutely incorrect if he is claiming Catholics have a moral obligation to avoid voting for a pro-choice candidate.

Back in February I wrote a piece arguing that Catholics may vote for Bernie Sanders, and much of that argument applies to Hillary Clinton as well. This is not “making excuses,” but simply following the reasoning of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who in his previous role as head of the CDF, said:

“When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation [with evil], which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

* * *

Here are just a few possible arguments that a reasonable person could easily believe serve as proportionate reasons:

Donald Trump is a ridiculously dangerous, child-like egomaniac who cannot be trusted with the presidency, and voting Hillary Clinton is the best way to stop him.

Donald Trump is a fake pro-lifer who cannot be trusted to appoint pro-life justices or to make protecting prenatal children a priority.

The Republican party is a fake pro-life party which, at least at the federal level, has proven over decades that it cannot be trusted to appoint pro-life justices or to make protecting prenatal children a priority.

The Republican strategy of banning abortion won’t stop people from getting abortions any more than prohibition’s strategy of banning alcohol stopped people from drinking alcohol.

Given the options before us, the candidate which will save the most prenatal human lives is Hillary Clinton given her support for social programs (paid family leave, help with child care, etc.) which make it easier for women to choose to keep their children.

* * *

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8 comments on “Knights of Columbus leader right on abortion, wrong on Catholic voting duties

  1. “support for social programs (paid family leave, help with child care, etc.) which make it easier for women to choose to keep their children”–
    This is only valid if had the intention of using the benefits to reduce abortion. Clinton has nothing like this in mind. Moreover, wealth does not reduce abortion, given that the weathiest women are the biggest advocates of abortion, and abort their own if it gets in the way of their careers.
    Donald Trump, at his worst, even if he topples the political system, he could, even advertently, create unforetold opportunities in rewriting our failed political system.

  2. Here are just a few reasons to vote for Hillary:

    1. I don’t like Trump.
    2. I don’t like Republicans.

    There, that should convince you.

  3. Identify the fallacy and the problem with the analogy:

    Quote: “The Republican strategy of banning abortion won’t stop people from getting abortions any more than prohibition’s strategy of banning alcohol stopped people from drinking alcohol.”

    What Catholic institution of learning teaches people to reason in this absurd way?

    First of all, there is a not a Catholic teaching that supported Prohibition in the case of alcohol. If the analogy were to prostitution, stealing, or the murder of adult human beings, such prohibitory laws do not prevent these crimes from happening either. Moreover, the abortion issue is not just an all or nothing one. It includes whether federal funds will be used for abortions (this WILL happen under Hillary) and what kind of Supreme Court justices will be appointed. There is a moral imperative to limit the use of taxpayer funds for abortion because this takes money away from Catholic families to pay for abortions, thereby morally corrupting the culture and bringing Catholic voters closer to formal cooperation with grave evil. What about funding of Planned Parenthood? The same principle is involved. The moral damage to the country by having a crazy pro-abortion woman as president is also an issue. The argument presented for voting pro-choice on abortion is sophistical. Liberal pro-abortion candidates also oppose school choice and support Common Core which provides yet more reasons to vote against them. Hillary is maniacally anti-Catholic and anti-Life. Destroying the country will not serve any Social Justice issue.

  4. The KofC is under the Lodge. No surprise here.



  5. Kwai Chang: Master, if all is One, how do we have good and evil? Why do I practice how to beat the living daylights out of another man?

    Master Po: The stronger of heart brings Oneness to the Tao, Grasshopper. Laws work against the fulfillment of purpose; the weak give no heed. Be then a dragon to rise above, as you do not have heavily armed escorts as does The Hillary.

  6. Küng Fu: Modernism the Legend Continues



    Master Po: The wheel of karma turns swiftly, Grasshopper. If the Hawk and Eagle did not feast on vermin in the field, think of how much more we would need to spend on mouse traps and cheese.

    Kwai Chang: Is that why Hillary wears loud plus-size pantsuits in annoying colors, Master?



    Master Po: Strange are the illusions of maya, are they not, Grasshopper?



    Kwai Chang: But she looks so uncomfortable, Master. What kind of culture would pick such a creature as leader of the free world?

    Master Po: We must never underestimate the stupidity which the illusions of maya seek in its victims, Grasshopper! Rakshasas take many forms to carry out their deceptions. Who is to say they do not wear plus-size pantsuits when taking on the form of shrill, mid-western Alinskyite harpies who wrote Marxist theses at Wellesley College?



    Kwai Chang: But it looks quite terrifying, Master. As if Bea Arthur had been crossed with some passive-aggressive PhysEd teacher from a feminist-controlled all girls school, looking for a health class to terrorize with excessively-detailed puberty lessons!



    Master Po: In time you may have to face such terrors, Grasshopper!
    Possibly even before the Wood Sheep Year of the 17th Rabjung Cycle has passed….



    Kwai Chang: That does not sound pleasing, Master.

    Master Po: Facing the She-Demon Rakshasa of the Alinsky followers during the Kali Yuga will be a test of courage, patience, and great concentration, as you pass through the trials of strife and discord.



    Master Po: Until then you must wander through the deserts and mining towns of the American West defending yourself from passive-aggressive hillbillies and passing ruffians, stuck in the cycle of samsara, who may not understand the way of dharma and nirvana



  7. Captain Kirk: Mister Spock! A She-Demon Rakshasa taking on the form of a shrill, mid-western Alinskyite harpy who wrote Marxist theses at Wellesley College, wearing the Hillary plus-size pantsuits in an effort to win the White House during the Wood Sheep Year of the 17th Rabjung Cycle…. analyze using your usual superior Vulcan logic!



    Spock: Fascinating, Captain. Deceptive, meddling, and hostile spirits have been known to do such things. However, I must caution you that we no longer speak of logic as being “superior” out of a concern not to be accused of excessive rigidity or neo-Pelagian triumphalism in the microaggression alerts of multiculturalist liberals who do not recognize the authority of logic in their emotivist appeals for social justice.



    Robin: Gosh, Batman, what if a hostile She-Demon Rakshasa assuming the form of Hillary Clinton in plus-size pantsuits wins the White House by using emotivist epistemology at campaign rallies during the Kali Yuga?

    Batman: That’s a very disturbing thought, Robin. Liberal and progressive modernist appeals to emotivism will continue, but I warned you about the dangers of the decline of the study of Aristotelian logic in too many of our colleges and universities.



    Batman: How’s that Latin homework coming, Robin? Keeping up with all of that Cicero translation, the Aquinas treatises, and the proper case endings of third declension Latin nouns?

    Robin: It’s coming, Batman. But since it’s still summer vacation, I thought I should take a break for a while. I’m sure I’ll get right back into the swing of things when school starts back up again.



    Batman: Let’s not risk falling into a lackadaisical attitude of some slacker on this, Robin. We can never spend enough time on Latin homework and reciting the case endings of Latin declensions.

    Robin: I guess this means you want me to recite the third declension case endings for rectitūdō again?



    Catwoman: You did say that we could review the different types of neo-Gnosticism after the lecture, didn’t you, Batman?

    Batman: If you think we’ll have time for that.



    The Professor: Why, yes, Gilligan, there are many different types of neo-Gnosticism which range from the medieval Bogomils to the immanentized outbursts of neo-Kantian epistemology within progressive modernism and certain unusual antics of ex-nuns during weekend Enneagram seminars…



    Ginger: Oh, isn’t this exciting? Gilligan’s getting ready to take the neo-Kantian Transcendental Turn on the way to the immanentization of the eschaton!

    Mary Ann: I just hope he can remember the directions to Louvain!

    Ginger: I hear they have good beer there.



    Catwoman: How long does it actually take?

    Batman: The survey and analysis of the different forms of neo-Gnosticism or the neo-Kantian Transcendental Turn?



    Professor Derrida: Here Batman is subverting the discourse….



    Dr. Jacques Lacan: By sketching a diagram of the hermeneutics of this process it will be easier to visualize the influence of Cartesian dualism, existential self-estrangement, and commodity fetishism on the bourgeois decentered ego as the Angst and Geworfenheit of modernity imperil Batman’s search for logical resolution.



    Father Mulcahy, S.J.: Of course, they have very fine beer in Belgium.

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