Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our first black President

Instapundit tipped me (and everyone else) to this article which I think makes some good points. I'll make my own in my own way.

None of us who are committed to the prolife cause can be happy to have another president who is committed to legal abortion. We would rather be celebrating the election of an African-American president who didn't have that terrible baggage.

That being said, we can--and should--celebrate something remarkable about our nation. Our nation elected a black president; even five years ago, who would have thought it would happen so easily? It says something good about our country, because don't we want to live in a country where anyone can rise to positions of public or private achievement, regardless of race or ethnicity or their family history?

Why shouldn't we celebrate the fact that our nation, which has things to be ashamed of as far as prejudice and denial of rights to blacks in particular, has come so far, so fast (from a historical point of view), so easily, as compared with so many places in the world? Consider how racial, religious and tribal differences have meant so much shed blood, in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and here we are, we have made the transition from Jim Crow to today, not without some shed blood, but so much less than anyone could have hoped.

We are accused of being a terrible nation, racist from top to bottom. Well, we're sure not perfect, but this mostly-white nation just elected a black president! And did you notice? The polls actually did not conceal a "Bradley affect"--people claiming to be for an African-American candidate, but actually not voting for him.
And while there is anxiety and distress on the defeated side, there is not a terrible sense of disaster...because we elected a black president. Those who are upset, are upset because of the agenda they expect him to press, which is normal, same every four years.

One more thing. I've seen, here and there, some early signs of what might be called "Obama Derangement Syndrome." Whether anyone likes it or not, Barack Obama will be our president. We have a duty to pray for him, and to help and support him in his responsibilities. That doesn't mean we don't oppose him when we disagree. But there's a right way to do it, and a wrong way. It does no one any credit to be hateful or ugly, and really will only work to the advantage of the very agenda you will be opposing, unless it really is just about hate?

I talked to the schoolchildren today about praying for our new president, and about the remarkable fact of this historic moment, and I said we wanted to encourage him to be mindful of protecting all people, including the weakest and most vulnerable. I even suggested they might want to write to him and wish him well, and tell him what hopes they have for him, including in defending human dignity. That's our right, and our duty.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

The students at your parish school are fortunate to have you as their pastor.

I was affected listening to Juan Williams on Fox last night. His emotion when describing how he felt about a black man becoming President seemed very genuine and I felt a real gladness for him.


Tim Lang

Anonymous said...

Father,
Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
My devout, strongly pro-life octegenarian mother, appalled by the senseless war George Bush inflicted upon us, appalled by the lack of respect for life in that venture, in torture and so much more, chose to put an Obama campaign sign in her yard.
For this, she received an uninvited visit from a middle-aged woman in her town who began screaming at her that she was voting to kill babies. I might add that my mother knows quite well, probably much better than the fanatic on her porch, what a dead baby looks and feels like, having buried one of her own many decades ago.
When she told the visitor that she was voting for Obama in spite of his stance on abortion, not because of it, the woman told her, flying in the face of everything the Church teaches, that she would have to go to Confession after she voted.
There is a way to have these discussions. And it is not to shout and bully anyone, especially not senior citizens who attend Mass seven days a week and do an amount of charity work that would exhaust people half their ages.
Arguing the correctness of single-issue voting is a discussion that will probably never lead to an agreement.
Being passionately pro-life is admirable. Being rude, belligerent and bullying and attempting to intimidate thoughtful people of faith in pursuit of that goal is anything but admirable and hurts, rather than helps, the pro-life movement.

Anonymous said...

Father, please help with my something:

Media types everywhere are celebrating how our nation has overcome its race issues with the election of Obama. But how can we say we have surpassed racism when most of the ppl voting for him did so for no other reason than he is black? They couldn't look beyond his skin color to look at his voting records, and potential policies.

I am praying to accept this, but so far, I am just in such a state of disbelief and I have seen nothing to show me that I am wrong about this man.

Thanks,
TracyW.

Father Martin Fox said...

Tracy:

Well, I am sure a number of people have voted for Mr. Obama purely because of his race, without regard for his positions, but I have no way of knowing how many. Nor can you or I know if he could have said or done something to lose their vote. But notice, Jesse Jackson didn't get this far; it seems to me Obama deserves some credit for this accomplishment.

That said, I don't get too upset about blacks voting for Obama because he's black. I'm not saying solely for that reason; I'm saying, if I were black, sure I'd want to help elect the first black president. Not saying it wouldn't matter what he stood for, but I might give him a lot of leeway. I don't think that's so awful; same if it were the first Jewish president, or first Catholic president, and so forth. It seems very natural to want one of your own to get there, especially if your own have never gotten there.

Anonymous said...

Father:

I understand what you are saying
but I am very disappointed that our Bishops and priests did not stand up and speak the truth about the most important issue of our time which is abortion. Obama made no mistake of his support of abortion. Beside B. Chaput (sp?) and other strong Bishops - they were not strong in speaking out. We hide behind the separation of church and state - I believe a thin veil when we will be judged.
We for the most part have become a political correct country. I am encouraged by a first black president - I am frustrated at how (Catholic leadership) tip toed around an deep moral issue.

God save our country -

Jim said...

Given the fact that approximately 85-90% of African Americans vote Democrat already, I don't think you can make a credible case that African Americans voted solely on the basis of race. Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele, Alan Keyes and Lynn Swann have all ran for high office and none have received an overwhelming amount of support from the African American community.
In regards to a Catholic president, have you forgotten JFK? Obviously not the model Catholic, but a Catholic none the less

Anonymous said...

Father, this post of yours is a model of reasonable,compassionate, objective thought.

May those who become bitter and angry when the topic of abortion arises absorb something positive from your approach and accept your counsel.

I am strongly prolife myself. But I do not believe Pres-elect Obama is evil or promoting a culture of death. If you listen to his views you see he is prochoice, which in fact is not the same as proabortion. Some may not see the difference on first glance. The difference is that he is saying it is not the federal government's place to make this choice for an individual. This is not at all the same as "wanting" or "telling" pregnant women to get an abortion.

Look at it another way. When there
is choice, even if your government permits legal abortion you are under np obligation to get an abortion. You can (and should!) choose not to do that. It is the individual who makes the choice of yes or no on abortion, not the president or the government. No one is making you choose yes.

Somehow it seems like many Catholics have the idea that if one person is prochoice, then it causes others to get abortions. This is incorrect. It is the pregnant mother who makes the choice. Instead of lambasting those who are prochoice, why not work to encourage pregnant women themselves to make the right choice?

Having a choice available does not cause women to make the wrong choice. But the human conscience directs us to make the right choice.

Finally, it was my understanding that we do not vote or withhold votes from a candidate on the basis of a single issue. There are
numerous ways to respect or disrespect life and some politicians may assert they are against this or that practice while secretly supporting or participating in them. We don't really know the heart of any powerful and influential people.
For instance, many politicians and healthcare businesses have made it impossible for the sick and poor to receive medical treatment they cannot afford, and these people suffer and die for it. Is their death less important than the death of an unborn child? Yet the same people who oppose legalised abortion look the other way and make no protest.

There's no way we can control powerful people who make decisions for better or worse, nor can we easily change their opinions. If we could, then we would be in charge of things - and obviously we are not.

We can only take a stab in the dark hoping we vote for or support persons or companies who will at least try to make equitable and Christian decisions about all human life.

Additionally, who knows how long a person will espouse a given conviction? Shall we not love the sinner and pray for his or her conversion instead of unloading wrath and hatred on them?

Sometimes when Catholics become
incensed and lash out in tirades it only repels others who would be better served with friendly information and rational debate.

Annie

Jackie said...

It is certainly true that we have no way of knowing why a person votes as he does. I also remember the pride I felt when Geraldine Ferrarro was nominated for the VP slot for the Democrats in '84. At the time, I was at a military academy. As you can imagine, woman were not particularly welcomed with open arms at the time. So the moment, for me, was particularly poignant.

But as an adult, I stopped making decisions like that based on emotion when I was 14. I certainly didn't vote for someone who had nothing in line with my views - she is pro abortion and liberal.

Lastly, while we can't know why people vote the way they do, the fact that 80 - 90% of blacks are one party, the fact that some areas exit polls show 100% of the black population voting for a black man would at least show the possibility of prejudice or a prejudiced view.

Regardless, because as a conservative, I don't whine, Mr. Obama is President Elect Obama. We will pray for him - that he is guided by Our Lord - first and foremost in the defense of human life and families - to lead our country.

Lastly, based on the numbers, it is abundantly clear that there is no systemic racism against blacks in the United States. A black man is President and elected with 53% of the population. Blacks make up 12 % of the population.

Racism against blacks in this country has been dead awhile (it certainly didn't happen 3 days ago) and this is the proof.

It's a wonderful thing for our country. It's a wonderful thing for blacks to not have to wonder if something happened was due to racism. Nope - now it's just ability and hard work. One of the silver linings in this election.

Wayne said...

Father,

Thanks for putting things into perspective for a disappointed and scared voter. My prayers are bing sent his way.

Annie,

This comment will probably have no effect on your views as you have probably heard all the arguments surrounding them, but I must disagree with the fact that allowing abortion to be legal does nothing to affect the choice of a pregnant woman. In this country, the government does make decisions about what is legal and not legal. One such issue is murder. If you kill someone, you are punished for doing so. Does that mean that murders do not happen, of course not. The choice is left to the individual person, but they make that choice with the knowledge that there are consequences. The same reasoning could be applied to abortion. If the government decided it was illegal (which doesn't infringe on a woman's right to chose any more than "murder is illegal" infringes on the right of anyone to chose), the number of abortions would certainly decline, but would not go to zero. People would still have the choice, they would just be making that choice with the knowledge of the consequences and would then have to face those consequences. If murders were legal (and technically they are in the case of the unborn), the number of murders would most definitely rise. If abortions became illegal there would be a ripple effect that would start with the decrease of abortions and would decrease the rate of premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, etc.

Heather Viz said...

Yes, we all should pray for our new President, especially for his conversion. Still, as a Catholic you can not vote for or support a candidate who supports abortion of any kind. This is what was related to us at our parish, and what I have always known to be the truth. Those "cafeteria" catholics out there may think it is o-kay to do so, but it is not. President-elect Obama is not only pro-choice, he is promoting the culture of death - he wants to sign as law the Freedom of Choice act which will allow aboritons to occur right up to the baby's due date, and will also allow a woman to decide to kill her newly born child after it is born. You don't think that that is the culture of death? Also, doesn't the cathechism state that anyone who has anything to do with an abortion might as well have committed the act themselves. I'm sure it is put more eloquently than that, but that is what I remember reading. As a Catholic, and as a pro-lifer I can only vote for those people who will support life in all of its forms. Economy, war, health care and such come in by a very far second.

In His Peace and Love,
Heather

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Father Martin. Very well said, and I agree with Tim Lang, the students at your school are indeed fortunate to have you as pastor. God bless you.

IN the meantime, we long-suffering citizens of the Province of Quebec are being subjected to a useless election (right after our own federal election in October), which was announced for Dec. 8 (Immaculate Conception, and my husband's b'day! -- how dare they!). Please pray for us here in Canada -- we need all the grace we can get!

Regards,
Patricia Gonzalez

Afro Seminarian said...

Fr.
I want to thank you for your wonderful Comments on this blog. I feel tha this is a time for healing for our country, and we all have to work at improving and making sure that all life is protected.
It is a wonderful ideal to get your the schoold children involved in praying for our future leader, because he has a big job to do to lead this country in the right direction.

Reggie

Anonymous said...

I think that when we use the term "the most vulnerable," we need to be sure to explicitly mention the unborn and elderly as examples of those who fit into that category.

Anonymous said...

Father, Thank you for your response. I will continue to pray for all that you do in his service. I do so love your blog.

I will pray for our President.

In the meantime, I will pray for our country and do what I can...

God bless,
Tracy

yourhnic said...

Richard Pryor was WAYYYYY ahead on this:

http://www.1stnigger.com

Classic!

The HNIC

Feisty Muse said...

Dear Annie,
You wrote:

"It is the individual who makes the choice of yes or no on abortion, not the president or the government. No one is making you choose yes."

It is unfortunate for innocent life that you are sadly misguided and misinformed about this. As has been proven many times, abortion is VERY often pressured by well-meaning parents, unthoughtful and abusive spouses, pedophiles, and the like.

As a formal pro-abortion volunteer who had hoodwinked herself into believing she was merely advocating a woman's right to choose for herself, I witnessed these situations and more. Saying someone who is pro-choice is NOT pro-abortion is akin to saying those who advocate for the legalization of street drugs are not pro-addiction. Street drugs lead to addiction and "Choice" leads to the destruction of innocent life and that is unacceptable no matter what you call it.

Ask those who have procured abortions in the past if their lives are better for it. Abortion doesn't hurt just the innocent babe, it kills the spirit of the woman who experiences it as well, EVEN if she wanted it, and many do NOT.

Women who approach clinics for abortions are under tremendous stress from spouses, parents, family, abusers, and more. They are NOT free agents, choosing something they believe will benefit them. They are scared deer facing the headlights of an oncoming semi truck... there is nothing liberating about that.

Steven Cornett said...

Well, I can be sure to help by making sure he has a quick transition to the "Office of the ex-President in November 2012

Mark said...

I believe that Bishop Finn's (diocese of Kansas City) message on the eve of the election is worth reading. See link below.

http://catholickey.blogspot.com/2008/11/bishop-finns-election-eve-homily.html

Anonymous said...

We would do well to keep Barack Obama in our prayers. He will surely need God's mercy...

ignorant redneck said...

Father:

I was appaled at the bumper stickers that said "Not My President" in 2000 and 2004. and Ididn't vote for President bush either time.

Sen Obama will be our next president. I am afraid of his policies, and am sure I will not like the direction he is going. I will probably be mouthy about it too.

But I hope I don't descend into some sort of Anti Obama neurosis. We can oppose without becomeing deranged.

Although we might get pretty angry.

Leoneli said...

But Father Martin, Obama is not the first black president since he is not pure black, he is white and black. Right?
Anyway, I was so sad this past election because of how some Catholics behaved. We are not really united. I hear some of my friends voted no on Prop 8 and some are still Pro-Choice. I am frustrated by the way they even defend this.

jill said...

It is truly pathetic how many 'Catholics' are caught up in Obamania.
It seems these people have bought into the media feeding frenzy on Republican policies, especially the Iraq war. Obama sold us 'Change' and so many bought the lie. This man has lied to us consistently, has a very questionable background even failing to produce evidence that he is a US citizen. Wake up America. This man is all smoke and mirrors. We saw how celebrity status swayed perception with the OJ trial. The black vote was for their man ....no matter what!
Do people think critically these days? Just wondering. Obama has taken advantage of the goodwill of the those who want him to be the Messiah. Canada? We will be there shortly!

jill said...

A good video on the subject at
www.howobamagotelected.com