Special Report

Kerry’s Conceptions

He now says he knows when life begins -- and he’s happy to end it right then.

By 7.7.04

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Whenever Democrats mock George Bush for holding that human life "begins at conception," they will also be mocking their own presidential candidate. John Kerry agrees with Bush. "I believe life does begin at conception," Kerry said this past weekend. "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion." This also echoes his wife's comments earlier in the year when she let slip that "I don't view abortion as just a nothing" and that abortion means "stopping the process of life."

Catholic Democrats like Kerry assume that making this sort of show of their personal moral distaste for abortion will make their "pro-choice" views more respectable. But it only makes them more disgraceful. Kerry can't even claim lack of culpability on account of cluelessness. He knows that abortion destroys a human life but promotes a right to it anyway.

"Vatican II is very clear. There is something called freedom of conscience in the Catholic Church," said Kerry, once again mangling Catholic teaching. It would come as news to the Pope that freedom of conscience gives a Catholic permission not to have one.

Kerry is still relying on Mario Cuomo's utterly lame and unconvincing distinction between private faith and public duty. "I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," said Kerry, as if killing an unborn child is a prohibition peculiar only to Catholicism, a prohibition akin to abstaining from meat on Good Friday. Kerry's public/private talking point is a sophistry most high school debaters would be embarrassed to use. Will Kerry oppose laws against bank robbery since the Catholic Church regards that act as unjust? Will he say, "I can't impose the Church's opposition to theft on non-Catholics"? You don't have to be Catholic to oppose abortion or theft or kidnapping, etc. Just human.

Kerry falls back on saying that priests shouldn't influence politics. He even once scolded the Pope for "crossing the line," saying, "it's important to not have the Church instructing politicians." But why didn't this secularist scruple apply to John Kerry's support for Fr. Robert Drinan and "Father" Aristide? As long as the priest is politically liberal, Kerry will urge him to instruct politicians and even become politicians themselves. Kerry dropped out of a congressional race with Fr. Drinan out of deference to the pro-abortion Jesuit.

Kerry says he doesn't want any theology in politics. So why did he praise the "liberation theology" Aristide introduced into Haitian politics? (Kerry continued to call Aristide "Father" long after he had been defrocked from his order, because Kerry hoped the title would drum up political support for him in America.)

Kerry turns his Catholicism on and off like a tap, depending on the political need of the moment. When abortion is discussed, his faith is a private matter; when minimum wage comes up, his faith is suddenly public again as he tries to shoehorn his liberal version of Catholicism into the agenda of the Democratic Party. The most stark example of this tactic was Kerry's urging Americans to read the U.S. bishops' pastoral letter on the economy, an amateur-hour attack on Reaganomics by liberal bishops in the 1980s. "The bishops' pastoral letter is an important document which should be read by Catholics and non-Catholics alike," he said on the Senate floor before placing the letter in the Congressional Record.

Kerry can impose a faked-up socialist version of his faith on the American people, then turn around and say that his Church's teaching on homicide is of no relevance to the public weal. If his Catholicism shouldn't influence his public duties, why does his campaign website biography mention it in the third line?

Not so long ago Kerry, while campaigning in a church ("crossing that line" is of course okay with him), caricatured Bush as a man of empty faith, a man who talks about his religion but doesn't act on its civilized imperatives. The description fits Kerry far better. His faith produces no civilized deeds on abortion and he is proud of it, boasting to audiences of his 100% NARAL voting record.

Later this month at the Democratic convention we can expect to hear a great deal more about Bush's faith but "no deeds," as Kerry puts it. We will hear about the human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib on Bush's watch. But we will not hear about the human rights abuse of abortion, even though John Kerry knows what happens to unborn children far more clearly than Bush knew what was happening to prisoners in Iraq. Kerry will talk about applying the Geneva Convention to prisoners of war, but he won't dare talk about applying the Ten Commandments for the protection of unborn babies.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.