Tom Brokow

More On Life From Nat Hentoff

As we posted last week, liberal and pro-life columnist Nat Hentoff wrote an insightful column about liberal politicians' pro-abortion views. That column ("Democrats and abortion") is very well worth the read (click here). This week, he's followed up with another brilliant piece ("Abortion wars crescendo")  which we cannot  recommend highly enough for you to read as well (click here). In it, Hentoff highlights some astounding — and very unfortunate — shifts in the Democrats' national platform. In a telling sign of just how far left those who controlled the levers of power at its convention are, the party even eliminated the Bill Clinton abortion platform plank of "safe, legal and rare." (Wonder if Hillary would've left that in?)

It also is "strongly and unequivocally" supportive of Roe v. Wade and opposes  any attempts to "weaken or undermine it." (Which shows more than a sad policy position. It shows weakness and hypocrisy at best, and ignorance at worst. Most liberals think an overturn of Roe would ban abortions. It would not. It would return the decisions to the states. If the country is so supportive of abortion on demand, what are pro-aborts afraid of? A little democracy? Why so afraid of a little voting here and there?)

Here are some other jaw droppers from Hentoff: 

» Barack Obama is a co-sponsor of the "Freedom of Choice Act" that would make partial-birth abortion legal, contrary to a Supreme Court decision. (Why is it okay for pro-aborts to try to change a Supreme Court decision, but not for pro-lifers?)

» For you libertarians who don't think abortion is an issue, Obama is leading the way repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. (Joe Biden also supports taxpayer funding of abortion despite what he said to Tom Brokow per his September 7 Meet The Press interview. Click here for the record. In fact, Hentoff notes from The Nation, that Biden has a perfect 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood.)

» Obama voted in the Illinois Senate to block a bill requiring the notification of at least one parent of a minor from another state seeking an abortion in Illinois.

» The well know fact, by now, that Obama voted to deny life-saving treatment to babies born despite surviving an abortion.

» Hentoff cites from an August 24 Washington Times editorial, "Planned Parenthood Targets Blacks," (read here) that one-third of all its abortions in 2007 were performed on blacks and a majority of its facilities are in minority neighborhoods.

Speaking of Planned Parenthood's apparent racial profiling, Hentoff ends by citing a black leader, a prominent Democrat, who once was fiercely eloquent in his defense of life. Until he, too, ran for president. Said this man several years ago:

"Don't let the pro-choicers convince you that a fetus isn't a human being. That's how the whites dehumanized us. ... The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify that which they wanted to do and not even feel like they had done anything wrong."

That man is the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

"Pope" Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi leads a hard life. Look at all she has to do day-in, day-out: She's the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. That's tough enough. But she's just published a book (that's sold a whopping 4,000 copies); she's trying to "save the world" — her actual quote; and reassure jittery convention delegates that her choice for president, Senator Barack Obama, really doesn't have lousy poll numbers (a negative Biden bounce per today's Gallup Poll, an unprecedented decline after naming a running mate and after the first night of a convention). After all, she believes Obama was chosen by God Himself to rescue the world — from America. Adding to that slug of theology, Speaker Pelosi has added the responsibilities of Pope to her gig. On Sunday's "Meet The Press" on NBC, she responded to a Tom Brokow question about when life begins by declaring 2,000 years of Church teaching wrong. Seriously. (See it here, on YouTube.) 

Okay, I'm not being straight up. The fact is, to be completely honest . . . she out-and-out lied!

Ms. Pelosi, who was raised Catholic, had the Everest-sized chutzpah to say the Catholic Church is not clear on its teaching of when life begins and that it has lacked clarity since its beginning. She implied that it even accepts cases of elective abortion. Then she said she had "researched" the issue for years and certain Church doctors (i.e., philosophers) had declared life begins three months after conception. Ms. Pelosi (contact here) considers herself a practicing Catholic. She needs to practice harder. As in Michael Phelps hard.

Rebukes were swift, sure and sharp. Chief among them, His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York. Today he said, in part (click here to read in full):

Anyone who dares to defend that they (the unborn) may be legitimately killed because another human being "chooses" to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name. (Emphasis added.)

Yesterday, His Eminence, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committees on Pro-Life Activities and Doctrines, respectively, issued a joint statement. It said, in part (click here to read in full):

In the course of a "Meet the Press" interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion. 

In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (No. 2271) (Emphasis added.)

The Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Donald Wurhl, issued a statement which reads in part (read it in full, here):

We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: the current teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as it was 2,000 years ago. The Catechism reads: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception . . . Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (Catechism, 2270-2271)

The Catechism goes on to quote the Didache, a treatise that dates to the first century: "'You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.'"

Never before has any Catholic politician, much less one in such high authority, been so heavily rebuked by so many Church authorities so quickly and universally, for such a blatant, purposeful misrepresentation of Church teaching. In the past, several bishops have said they would withhold Holy Communion from Catholic lawmakers who supported abortion on demand. However, those politicians never disputed Church teaching. Rather, they subjugated their proclaimed agreement with the Church to the perceived law of the land (i.e., "our hands are tied"). Pelosi has grossly surpassed this already grievous miscalculation by proclaiming her views equal to Church teaching.

In addition, the Archbishop of San Francisco, George Niederauer, of Pelosi's home diocese, published the USCCB statement on the archdiocese's Web site and will publish his personal response this Friday in the archdiocese's weekly, Catholic San Francisco. (Excellent reporting on all this is at American Papist.) So, Pelosi clearly has it coming from all corners, and justifiably so. Her comments, intended to minimize the authority of the Church and — worse — relegate it to nothing more than a subjective think tank with no more understanding of Church teaching than a hack who's done "some research" is appalling and ranks near blasphemy and sacrilege. 

Cardinal Egan said it best: She is not deserving of her position of leadership. Neither, we add, are any of those who agree with — or apologize for — her. If Speaker Pelosi firmly believes her secularized version of Catholicism is correct, she needs to start her own denomination. No one is stopping her. Then, she can wear a papal hat of her own and make any proclamation based on her "research" she wants.