Obama’s views ‘echo the Pope’s teachings’
No wonder he finds a soulmate in Tony Blair, who also appears to have encountered a blinding light on the road to Rome to which also he has submitted himself.
Cranmer has previously written on the religion breakdown of those who voted for President Obama, but it is increasingly evident that his election to the White House was considerably aided by the specific targeting of the Catholic vote.
Over recent decades, most Roman Catholics have voted Republican, mainly out of hope of overturning Roe v Wade. But the migration to the Democrats – even by some staunchly conservative Catholics – has come as a result of Barack Obama sounding more compassionate and friendly towards religion than Senator McCain ever managed – and also, quite possibly, because they believe the battle over Roe v Wade is lost.
It is known that during his campaign Senator Obama hired specific ‘outreach directors’ to target specific denominations – on a much greater scale than had ever been done before. He had ambassadors for the Catholics, the Protestants, the Evangelicals, and emissaries to the smaller religions.
He did not finally win over the Evangelicals, not least because of one solitary interview he did with Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. Pastor Warren asked him about same-sex marriage, stem-cell research, and when a baby is entitled to human rights. Senator Obama gave precisely the kind of fudged response for which Evangelicals have little patience. He said: "Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."
And so the older Evangelicals stayed with McCain, but the younger generation – who do not place the issues of abortion or same-sex marriage at quite the level of their parents – switched their votes to Obama.
And so did the Catholics – old and young alike.
But what Cranmer did not know is that President Obama ‘has a significant Catholic experience in his background’. At least according to the Jesuit Thomas Reese. Apparently, President Obama ‘attended Catholic school for three years when he lived in Indonesia’. And when he lived in Chicago, ‘he worked out of Holy Rosary Parish, and his program was funded by the Catholic Bishops Campaign for Human Development’.
This apparently laid the foundation for the President’s appreciation of the ‘Social Gospel’, which Fr Thomas Reese explains as ‘Jesus’ commands to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, fight injustice’. Obama summed it up in a recent speech: "My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won't be fulfilling God's will unless I go out and do the Lord's work."
Doug Kmiec, an anti-abortion Catholic who served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, observes that President Obama's ‘views on health care and wages, on immigration, war and family, echoed the pope's teachings’. He said: "On almost every topic that Catholics are asked to form their conscience about, Senator Obama was hitting if not a home run, then a triple into those dead corners of the ballpark."
Cranmer does not speak American, but he believes this to mean that President Obama is the answer to the prayers of many Catholics: his policies accord with those very issues about which the Roman Catholic Church exhorts its adherents to weigh in their conscience before voting. But he is not the answer to the prayers of the Evangelicals, for whom abortion and same-sex marriage remain the pre-eminent social issues.
America’s uncodified ‘Christian alliance’ is fracturing, apparently because ‘traditionalist Catholics have a broader agenda’. Same-sex marriage may undermine the family, but the economy is in free-fall; babies may be being aborted by the million, but millions are losing their jobs and homes. ‘Pro-life’ may be important, but hundreds of thousands of Americans are without adequate healthcare. The Roman Catholic Church rightly exhorts believers to judge candidates by their stand on a variety of moral issues.
And it seems that President Obama accords with the Vatican on two papal encyclicals: Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII, in which the plight and misery of workers' was first acknowledged; and Quadragesimo Anno by Pope Pius XI, which developed the notion of Corporatism, are laid the religio-political foundations for Roman Catholic social teaching.
So President Obama has redrawn the religious map, aided by Vice President Biden’s brilliant exposition of Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. The Obama administration will seek to undermine the Anglo-Saxon and Protestant economic model of the USA and harmonise it with that of the EU in a kind of ‘Third Way’ social Capitalism or benign Communism. It is, you understand, for your own good. Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno finally go global.
And for the Catholics for Obama, the continuing murder of the unborn is simply collateral damage; a necessary evil.