.- Catholics for Obama has launched its 2012 initiative with a focus on economic issues, in an apparent shift from its 2008 presentation of the presidential candidate as “pro-life.”
“We endorse the President because of his tireless focus on economic security for middle-class families,” the national co-chairs of Catholics for Obama wrote in an Aug. 13 letter, kicking off their effort to target a key voting bloc in the closely contested election.
Proclaiming their commitment “to our faith and our country,” the 21 signers devoted much of their letter to jobs and the economy, along with a variety of foreign policy items which have been seldom-mentioned in the presidential campaign.
A brief mention was made of the president's health care law, which has created a major controversy with the nation's Catholic bishops after it led to the formulation of a rule requiring insurance coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs.
The letter cited the Catholic teaching “that every human being is made in the image of God,” as a warning against Republican policies that the signers said “would shred our nation’s compassionate safety net” by “gutting” social assistance programs.
A nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by the president was described as a “a priority for Catholic bishops around the world,” said to be “moving us closer to a world with no nuclear weapons.”
President Obama was also praised for concluding the Iraq war, and “working to bring our troops home from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.”
The focus on economic issues and foreign policy items contrasts with Catholics for Obama's 2008 effort, during which time its website declared: “Is Barack Obama Really Pro-Life? The answer is 'yes.'”
During that campaign, Catholics for Obama reached out to Church members with the slogan: “The most positive pro-life stance we can take may be pro-Obama.” The campaign material argued that Obama would reduce abortions though“anti-poverty programs,” “day care” and “job training.”
In contrast, Monday's letter from the national co-chairs did not directly mention abortion, though the president's “support for pregnant women and the Adoption Tax Credit” were briefly cited alongside his “pursuit of immigration reform.”
Although his administration's contraception mandate has been criticized as a threat to religious charities, the co-chairs of Catholics for Obama asserted that the president “understands Catholics and our values, because he understands the importance of an active faith in pursuit of the common good.”
Catholic voters, they suggested, should regard the election as “a make-or-break moment for the middle-class” and for the country.
According to the co-chairs, the president's “record, his character, and his values make the choice in this election clear.”