Anthony Stevens-Arroyo over at the Catholic America blog for Newsweek / WaPo has cleverly deduced that Barack Obama is a “Secret” Catholic.
The evidence for this claim is so fantastic, so elusive, and so absurd that I believe even Jesus would be surprised by Obama’s Catholicism.
Barack Obama’s July 1 speech in Zanesville, Ohio, suggested a “secret” connection to Catholicism. I say “secret” because Obama has never fully explained his work for the Catholic Church’s Campaign for Human Development in Chicago. He did say that the experience “led me into public service.” Whatever the origins of his neighborhood work in Chicago, he has offered a theology of social activism consonant with Catholic teaching.
Obama’s Catholic-sounding theology came in response to an attack a week before by James Dobson, Evangelical leader of the Focus on the Family. Among Dobson’s vitriolic accusations were that Obama “distorted the bible” and held to a “fruitcake interpretation” of the Constitution. To find ammunition for his attack on the Democrat, Dobson pointed to a June 2006 address Obama had made to the Catholic* organization, Call to Renewal. On that occasion, Obama’s presentation embraced a reasonable facsimile of Catholic Natural Law doctrine. Unlike faith which is based on belief, said Obama, “politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality.” That same day, Obama articulated the Catholic ethical principle of proportionality, modified his stance about abortion and confessed admiration for the saintly Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker organization.
The claim that Obama’s policies and hsitory is in any way consonant with Catholic theology is absurd. If I say that I don’t care for ham, it doesn’t make me jewish. Additionally, Why exactly would an explanation be necessary for Obama’s with the Campaign for Human Development? Even if needed, is it not possible a simpler explanation might be available? Has he heard of Occam’s Razor. Might shameless pandering be a likely option? Beyond that, how can one say that support for abortion on demand and infanticide so that women are not punished with babies is a reasonable facsimile of Catholic Natural law? It is not possible to think of anything more contrary to the natural law than the murder of innocents on the altar of convenience.
In his Ohio speech, Obama promised to give “faith-based partners like Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services and secular nonprofits like Public/Private Ventures the support they need to help other groups build and run effective programs.” Thus, instead of pitting the Church-related groups against non-religious groups in the Bush-Dobson style, Obama says he’ll put them together.
No, not bush Dobson style. After this speech, Obama qualified his remarks to make sure that his base was satisfied that any faith based program that had anything to do with faith would remain funding free.
Is using Catholic theology to be followed by Obama becoming a Catholic? Since the Illinois Senator is looking for a new church to replace the UCC congregation of the Rev. Wright, one might speculate. (If there is to be an official conversion, I think it would come at the end of political office as happened with Britain’s Tony Blair). But you don’t have to endorse Obama to admit that his position merits attention in Catholic America.
The answer to that ridiculous question is simply, no. Obama’s positions merit attention in Catholic America for certain, as completely incompatible with the faith. As for his speeches, any discerning will know them for what they are, shameless pandering.