Tim Kaine: Nuanced Politician, Bad Catholic

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) (photo credit: US Department of Education via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Last week, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) was announced as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s running mate for the White House. A bland but experienced politician who gave a fantastic debut speech in Florida, Kaine was picked at least in part because he can help Clinton win the battleground state of Virginia.

He was also picked for his liberal take on Catholicism — a religion with which he identifies, but regularly undermines and opposes by backing abortion and marriage’s redefinition.

It is abortion that has drawn perhaps the greatest attention during the run-up to Kaine’s acceptance of the VP slot.

According to the Senator, “I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn’t intrude.”

“I’m a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions,” Kaine continued in his CNN interview. “In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don’t need to make people’s reproductive decisions for them.”

But while Kaine has a 100 percent rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, liberals have long been suspicious of Kaine’s support for abortion. He has backed informed consent, parental notification, and a ban on partial-birth abortions. As governor, he allowed “Choose Life” license plates that sent some of the proceeds from the plates to pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.

But like his party, Kaine has gone to the left on abortion over time. Continue Reading

NY Times Columnist Wants Even Less “Catholic Guilt” Over Sex, Never Mind the Body Count

Pope Francis (photo credit: Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0 BR)

My column this weekend at The Stream:

Pope Francis reminds us of the Joy of Love, and in the New York Times, journalist Timothy Egan rejoices because he thinks that means the crushing load of Catholic guilt has been lifted:

“I can’t tell you how many Catholics I know who are trying to work through the consequences of those sexual strictures. They wonder if there are still people doing time in purgatory because of the misdemeanor sins of masturbation or premarital sex. Life was all don’ts and dark thoughts.”

Now that that “medieval millstone” has been lifted, “The new teachings, from a self-professed less-judgmental church, go to the everyday lives of people who don’t believe that they should be constantly reminded of their inadequacies.”

Constantly. Reminded. Of inadequacies? What parish has Egan been attending, and can I go there?

I am only half-joking. I never know quite what to make of these kind of histrionics. Feeling good about ourselves has never been harder apparently than in the post-sexual revolutionary hedonistic utopia.


Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Does the Pope Want to Undercut His Own Authority?

Pope Francis (photo credit: Aleteia Image Department via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

As I write I do not know what the final synod report will say. One of the drafters described it as being more questions than answers. “The questions will be clear,” said Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai at a press briefing Thursday. “The answers will not be so clear.”

So, after a two-year rollercoaster ride toward this synod, the Church may be left embracing more questions than answers, which is to say issues that have been considered closed for 2,000 years will likely remain open questions in Catholic life for the foreseeable future.

Absent a strong intervention from Pope Francis to affirm the Catholic teachings, the result is likely to be a profound dislocation in the authority structures of the Catholic Church.

We know that many synod fathers made powerful arguments in favor of the unbroken, distinctive Catholic teaching on marriage, drawn straight from the words of Christ and affirmed by Saint Paul. We now also know, thanks to the modern world, of the many bishops and cardinals who really wish to give Communion to people living in second marriages while their first spouse still lives. We cannot un-know what was on display, thanks in part to Pope Francis’s desire to build a more authentic church, with less hypocrisy, to let us in on the secret, to be frank about where the Church is.

We know from polls and from parish life that many, many ordinary churchgoing Catholics do not support many Catholic teachings.

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Huckabee Defends the Pope and Kim Davis

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Last Friday, Mike Huckabee was on CNN, where he was asked to respond to the latest news surrounding Pope Francis’ meeting with embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.  You can read his remarks below:

KATE BOLDUAN: Another issue, a very important issue for you and this all happened in the last minutes. Kim Davis’ meeting with the pope, Governor, the Vatican, just a short time ago put out a statement to kind of pushing back on the meeting saying that, yes, that — acknowledging they met but saying that shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement of her position. When she left that meeting, she seemed to think that the pope was supporting her and telling her to stay strong. What do you make of the Vatican’s pushback on that? Because this is something so near and dear to your heart.

MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, we know the pope told ABC’s Terry Moran that people have a right to religious liberty. He said that to him on the plane back to Rome. This morning, Matt Staver, the head of the Liberty Council, who is Kim Davis’ attorney, also released a statement, and clarified the meeting happened at the invitation of the Vatican. It wasn’t initiated by Kim Davis or her attorneys. It was a private meeting. It wasn’t one of a long line of people lined up. It was private. A car was sent for her. They took her to the Vatican embassy in Washington.

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Bush Defends the Pope, Kim Davis, and the Bakers and Florists

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump are both to the left of. . . Jeb Bush when it comes to defending the livelihoods of gay marriage dissenters, as Bush made clear in a forum in Greenville, S.C.:

Bush also shared his views on religious liberty at the forum and during his interview with The Greenville News.

He said he was surprised but “pleased” to learn that Pope Francis had met privately during his recent trip to the United States with Kim Davis, the Kentucky court clerk who went to jail rather than sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. (The Vatican clarified later that she was part of a group and did not have a private audience with him.)

Bush, a Catholic, said small businesses such as bakers or florists should not be compelled to sell goods or services for a gay wedding, though they should be barred from discriminating against gay customers outside of the wedding context.

“I think that’s the common ground where a majority of Americans feel comfortable,” he told The Greenville News. “They don’t want to have people discriminated against, and they don’t want to force people to go against deeply held religious views.”

I wish he would explicitly endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, but he is so much better than the supposed outsiders at taking the real heat in this race.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Trump Can’t Win The Latino Vote. Here’s Why.

While the pope may be back at the Vatican, speculations on how the “Francis Effect” will impact America are still circulating — especially regarding our heated immigration debate.

In a recent article, the Guardian notes that Latino activists “have been on a rollercoaster” since 2012.  Their mobilization helped re-elect Obama and prevent the deportation of about 4 million people, though the courts blocked his executive action. Now as Trump amps up his anti-immigration campaign with calls for a giant wall and mass deportations, Latino voters have a new incentive to mobilize. 

Since Trump announced his run for the presidency, Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan group which mobilizes Latinos to participate in politics, has recorded a 66 percent monthly rise in voter registration.

This number, along with the results of the 2012 election, shows not only that Latinos are active participants in the political process, but that rhetoric matters. While Trump’s dramatic and degrading flare-ups may be stirring up frustrations within the base of the Republican Party, there are many indications that the election will soon blow up in his face. 

One of those indications is Pope Francis. His “counter-rhetoric,” if you will, speaks of hope, inclusiveness, and the American Dream — all messages that are woven deeply into the fabric of our nation.  He seeks to appeal rather than to accuse.

Pope Francis (photo credit: Gabriel Sozzi via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Felipe Benítez, a spokesman for Mi Familia Vota, told the Guardian that it had incorporated the pope’s message into campaigns in Arizona, Texas, and California, as well as 2016 swing states Colorado, Florida and Nevada.  Continue Reading

The Vatican Secretly Hates “The Hug”

Someone in the Vatican clearly hates the Kim Davis hug. CBS News reports that high-ranking secret sources in the Vatican may believe that the meeting should never have taken place.

The Vatican released a statement with Pope Francis’ approval saying, “The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

Just before flying out to Rome to join the synod on the family, Chicago’s Archbishop Cupich downplayed Pope Francis’ meeting with the embattled Kentucky Clerk, saying, “It is his way of saying that walls of communication need to come down. Meeting with someone is not an endorsement of that person’s position.”


Chill out, guys: The Pope hugged Kim Davis. If that’s not reaching out to the marginalized and excluded, what is?

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Huckabee: “Stunning” that Democrats Still Defend Planned Parenthood

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mike Huckabee was interviewed by the Washington Examiner this week, during which he discussed Kim Davis’ meeting with Pope Francis as well as the continuing controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood:

Examiner: The big news lately for you has been involving Kim Davis. I was wondering what you thought in two ways. What did you think about her changing parties and coming over to the Republican side, and also, do you think the media was unfair to her, especially now that it’s come out that [Pope Francis] talked to her as well?

Huckabee: Well, I think it’s very significant that the pope had a private meeting with her, and that he affirmed her, not only as a person but that he affirmed her actions as conscientious objection. I’m anxious to see if some of the media on the Left will be as thrilled about reporting the content of that meeting as when they thought the pope was being critical of capitalism or advocating for climate change legislation. I’m just really anxious to see if it will be a consistency of that. I thought it was very powerful and significant. My gosh. I think there are millions of Catholics all over America that would like to meet the pope, so why did he choose to meet with her privately? Because he has great respect that she followed her conscience, and that she represents a person that was actually criminalized because of her Christian faith.

Examiner: I want to talk about the Democrats for a quick second … yesterday Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood, testified before Congress, and one of the things she said that was noteworthy was that she said that Planned Parenthood is “proud” of their involvement in provided aborted fetal tissue for medical research.

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Hugging Kim Davis

They hugged. Kim Davis asked in advance whether it would be okay to hug the pope and was told yes. So she hugged him and he hugged her back.

Preach incessantly. Use words when necessary.

The Left was confused, and perturbed in their efforts to misunderstand Pope Francis as “one of them.”

“The news that Pope Francis met privately in Washington, D.C., with Kim Davis throws a wet blanket on the goodwill that the pontiff had garnered during his U.S. visit last week,” Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an advocacy group for gay Catholics, told the New York Times.

It was a gesture worth a million words. He’s not one of “us” and he’s not one of “them.” He’s Catholic, this pope, seeking a way out of ideology and into truth with love. It’s not easy.


Read the full article at National Review.

UPDATE: The Vatican released a short statement today on the meeting.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Huckabee: Media Should Stop Hijacking the Pope

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mike Huckabee appeared on “The Kelly File” last night to address the media’s hyperventilating over the news that Pope Francis met with Kim Davis, which shattered their world.  You can read Huckabee’s reaction below:

MIKE HUCKABEE: The pope gave an affirmation to somebody who had conscience; who carried out her faith. He respects that, he appreciates it, and he expressed that to Kim Davis. He even said to Kim, ‘pray for me.’ She was overwhelmed with the sense that the pope would talk to her. She’s not even Catholic. I thought it was an incredibly powerful experience not just for Kim Davis, but for so many people who stand with her and believe that she’s doing what she should do, and that’s follow her faith.

MEGYN KELLY: They talked about how this ‘undermines everything he accomplished on his visit here.’ That’s what Esquire says. And that he undermined the healing message that he brought. Why? It’s no secret that the Catholic Church opposes gay marriage.

HUCKABEE: Not only do they oppose gay marriage, but they also stand very strongly for the sanctity of every human life. The Catholic Church hasn’t changed its doctrine. Neither has this pope. And I know that a lot of people on the left would like to believe that he somehow is soft on marriage, soft on life – he met with the Little Sisters of the Poor. He affirmed them. They hear what they want to hear, but that’s part of the problem.

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