Obama’s pro-life backers risk usurping bishops, critic says

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius


Though some have hoped that pro-life Catholic supporters of President Barack Obama would persuade the president to moderate his “extremist” abortion agenda, they have instead attacked other pro-life advocates and have possibly usurped the place of bishops by redefining Catholic “life and action,” one commentator warns.

Catholic defenders of both Obama and the pro-abortion “rights” Catholic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius may even be assuming the place of bishops by redefining unrestricted abortion advocates as advocates of the true pro-life position, constitutional law attorney Matt Bowman claims in an essay at the American Spectator website.

Bowman, who also directs the website and blog www.AbortObama.com, writes that pro-lifers had hoped President Obama’s pro-life backers might “really oppose” his abortion policies, dreaming “that Doug Kmiec might actually do some good, by using Obama’s listening ear by convincing him to moderate his extremist abortion agenda.”

He charges that Catholic backers of Obama were “silent” when Obama opened international funding to abortion-promoting organizations by rescinding the Mexico City Policy.

Their position became especially doubtful, Bowman says, when several of them attacked the pro-life campaign against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), “even though that campaign is the only thing keeping FOCA from becoming reality.”

However, any remaining hopes have been “smashed” by a recent letter defending Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, nominee to become Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“They have declared full-scale war against Catholic and evangelical pro-life political activity,” Bowman claims.

On Sunday, the group Catholics United released a statement signed by 26 Catholics who defended Sebelius’ nomination. The statement claimed “Kathleen Sebelius has made clear that she agrees with church teaching that abortion is wrong and has lived and acted according to that belief.”

This argument risks redefining Catholic life and action, Bowman cautions.

“By claiming that Sebelius ‘lives and acts’ not just any high-minded ideals, but specifically pro-life Catholic teaching, the letter's signers are donning their own miters and claiming to teach Catholics what the faith is. That is a role only a Bishop can fill, and if Catholic Bishops recognize the attempt to usurp their own authority they just might respond,” he writes.

He notes that the letter contradicts Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph Naumann’s request that Gov. Sebelius refrain from receiving Communion until she publicly repudiates her position on abortion.

Comparing “Obama Pro-lifers” to the group “Catholics for a Free Choice,” Bowman suggests that they may be “largely neutralized” in much the same way by the bishops repeatedly condemning their errors.

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