Deal W. Hudson, a Catholic political analyst, has criticized Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for his stands on abortion and marriage. Hudson has also alleged that some Obama supporters are concealing aspects of the senator’s record which would negatively affect Catholics’ opinions of him.
“Barack Obama's stances on all life and marriage issues are antithetical to Catholic social teaching,” Hudson argued, writing in an article published on Tuesday on InsideCatholic.com. “Only with the departure of Clinton from the campaign has Obama picked up steam with Catholic voters,” he said.
Hudson said that, while there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of Republican-voting Catholics, in 2008 the Iraq War “has destabilized the dynamics of the Catholic vote” and has given Obama a “surprising” traction among Catholic voters.
In Hudson’s view, a “key breakthrough” for Obama came when he was endorsed by Prof. Doug Kmiec, a well-known Catholic pro-life professor of law who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Hudson accused Catholic Obama supporters of exploiting Kmiec’s endorsement and creating a perception of moral equivalence between their positions on prudential matters and what he called “non-negotiable life issues.” The present Catholic political debate, Hudson wrote, concerns whether prudential considerations trump “the obligation taught by the Church toward protecting unborn life and families based upon the marriage of a man and a woman.”
Obama backers, Hudson wrote, are lobbying “very effectively” to distract attention from Obama’s support for abortion, which includes support for the procedure known as partial-birth abortion. “They are well-funded and led by people with extensive experience in the Democratic Party and in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,” Hudson claimed. He also reported that pro-Obama e-mails are now regularly sent to the executive directors of several state Catholic conferences.
Among the negative developments that Obama has experienced with Catholics is the revelation that his Catholic advisory council has a high number of pro-abortion Catholic members. Hudson recounted how Catholic League president Bill Donohue’s call for the committee to disband made national news and was soon followed by the removal of all references to the committee from the Obama campaign’s website. The presence on the committee of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius could also have become an issue after Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann warned her that her support for legal abortion contradicted Catholic morals and that she should not present herself for Holy Communion.
“The last thing the Obama campaign wants is a replay of 2004 when John Kerry was dogged by story after story of bishops who said they would deny communion to politicians who obstinately support abortion rights,” Hudson wrote.