Monday, September 18, 2006

Casey, Discussing Abortion And "Faith" Issues, Seeks To Close The "God Gap"

Since the 2004 presidential election, in which voters who attend church weekly voted 2 to 1 for President Bush over Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Democrats have sought to close what some call the "God gap."

Bob Casey Jr., increasingly looking like he will upset Sen. Rick Santorum to represent Pennsylvania, is one of several Democrats who are openly talking about "faith" and related issues. Consider him the poster child for closing the "gap."

In the battle to be inclusive, Democrats need to be a party that has room for anti-abortion candidates like Casey, just as Republicans who want to be inclusive need to make room for the beliefs of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who favors abortion rights as well as gay rights. The party that does a better job may have a leg up on wooing the Reagan Democrats/Clinton Republicans who will likely decide the 2008 presidential election.

Casey, speaking this weekend at Catholic University in Washington, gave Democrats a refresher on how to be inclusive.

In truth, Casey was advocating many of the ideas supported by President Clinton and Vice President Gore in the 1990s -- reducing the rate of abortions, supporting programs that aid women and children.

Casey discussed at length his "understanding of the common good." In effect, he was talking about what it meant to truly be a "compassionate conservative" on social issues.

It's not enough to just say that you oppose abortion rights and to pass restrictive laws. That doesn't end the reasons some women seek abortions; it just causes unnecessary suffering.

A common misconception -- promoted by the conservative noise machine -- is that Democrats who favor abortion rights favor abortions or want "abortion on demand." It's the same mindset that suggest that Democrats think abortion is a "lifestyle choice," or that Democrats support women coming up with any old reason to have late-term (or as conservatives call it, "partial-birth") abortions.

Another misconception pushed by conservative ranters is that favoring abortion rights increases the number of abortions. Statistics show otherwise -- the rate of abortions dropped in the 1990s. (In the current decade, the rate continues to drop, but at a slower pace.)

***

While arguing that all Americans should "unite ... behind the understanding that the common good requires us to value all life," Casey cited legislation proposed by House Democrats that would target "the underlying factors that often lead women to choose abortion."

He added: "If we are going to be pro-life, we cannot say we are against abortion ... and then let our children suffer in broken schools. ... We can't claim to be pro-life at the same time we are cutting support for Medicaid, Head Start or the Women, Infants and Children's Program."

Casey took a swipe at those who simultaneously consider themselves religious conservatives, but who fail to support programs that are built on a "foundation of social justice."

"Justice demands our understanding that the hungry, the impoverished and the uninsured in this country are not statistics; they are children of God," he said.

Hard to argue with that.

32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats it Democrats. Speak of something that means nothing to you just to fool the people into voting for you. Kind of reminds me of the good old days when BJ and Hillary would walk out of church. Bill had his little black book under his arm. Oh wait that was the Bible. Looking like a real American made church gong family. All the while breaking at least half of the Commandments.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bullshit, anonymous.

Casey became anti-abortion to win a Senate seat?

Bullshit.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, more than likely. Anything for a vote. Hell, Hillary became a New Yorker to win a Senate seat?

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Empty conservative spin. You simply don't know what you're talking about.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous MaineDem said...

There are many many Democrats who are people of faith

We cannot ignore them. We need to join them together to discuss ways in which the Democratic principles fit into their faith.

Making sure children don't go to bed hungry is a value-issue. Making sure people have adequate medical coverage is a value-issue. These are values that people of faith certainly believe in.

Not everyone who preaches religion (think GWB) is religious and not everyone who believes her/himself to be religious makes a big deal about it.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous skipos said...

Like me

I think Dems need to focus on making sure the maximum amount of people understand and relate to their message. It doesn't involve changing the message or pandering at all.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous PurityOfEssence said...

Our joyous future: Fascist Theocracy or a Kinder, Gentler Theocracy

People have crammed god into our politics like never before, and it's not gonna go away.

Somehow it's gotten into everybody's heads that we have to fight their god with our god. The problem is that even if we win, we'll be stuck with god at center stage of our political lives. Evoking god's support will be necessary for policies, and individuals who don't believe will simply not be full members of society.

I look forward to a future where fantasy and superstition are more important than logic and pluralism. Just can't wait.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Hush2Sparkly said...

Harold Ford's speeches and interviews are also freely peppered with God references and seem (to my ungodly ear) sincere.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought libs were big on separation of church and state yet Mainedem said, We cannot ignore them. "We need to join them together to discuss ways in which the Democratic principles fit into their faith." So in other words, use the faithful only in November. Like I said anything for a vote.
Hillary became a New Yorker to win a Senate seat in NY is empty conservative spin yet you are all so full of shit your eyes are brown.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Dave G. said...

I thought libs were big on separation of church and state yet Mainedem said, We cannot ignore them. "We need to join them together to discuss ways in which the Democratic principles fit into their faith." So in other words, use the faithful only in November. Like I said anything for a vote.

You're really not good at handling two concepts at once, are you?

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Bill McBlueState said...

I don't like it when Democrats publically acknowledge a "god gap"

To publically acknowledge a "god gap" admits that maybe the Republicans were right all along; that Democrats are somehow hostile to religion and need to fix that problem.

But every single Democrat in Congress has a religion, and so do all the governors and state legislators. There are no openly atheist leaders in any branch of government. And Kerry takes his religion at least as seriously as Bush does. So we're just as religious a party as they are.

I think, instead of the mea culpa that we sometimes hear from folks like Obama, a better response is as follows: "People of faith can be found among Democrats and Republicans alike. And faith inspires many of us to work harder for a strong and fair country. But the Democratic Party values the protections laid out in the First Amendment: that no one religion is privileged in this country, and that people of all religions and people of no religion are equal under the law."

3:35 PM  
Anonymous ElboRuum said...

The big Religious Fallacy...

If 95% of the people in this country believe in a god of some form...

And let's say that 50% of the country is Republican...

The fallacy is that a not insignificant percentage of "people of faith" are Democrats. It's numerically impossible for Democrats not to be well represented by people of faith. I'm surprised that it took THIS long for the Democrats to realize that they've got as much a right to appeal to god-fearing people as anyone else.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous enough already said...

Oh Happy Day!
A bible-thumping, anti-choice "Democrat" in the Senate! I can hardly contain my excitement!

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Warpy said...

Clinton went to church every Sunday with a bible under his arm

Pandering to religious crazies is going to be seen as just that. Honest believers like Clinton were simply dismissed by crazies and will continue to be so. Their minds aren't just closed, they're nailed shut.

Casey is antichoice. That's the only thing that's giving him any street cred with the religious crazies. Does the Democratic Party want to sacrifice the most basic right of more than half its members, the right to determine what happens to their own bodies, in the name of political expedience?

If the answer is yes, then they have lost my vote forever. Men have no idea just how basic this right is to us. Cavalierly tossing it aside so that men can get elected is not the answer and will cost the party even more than selling the working class out has.

Think.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Sapere aude said...

I do not think we should even have the debate in the party.

We most likely have both anti abortion and pro-choice dems in the party but I do not think we need to encourage either side. If we need to pick a side because the right pushes the anti abortion issue we need to be solidly pro-choice. Imagine a Congress that the majority is anti abortion because we have a lot of anti abortion dems in Congress. One anti abortion member is not much of a threat but as the numbers increase it then becomes a threat. I think we should pick pro choice candidates when ever possible.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous bobbolink said...

And turning backs on poor is another one. So, just jetison all the planks of the Dem's Platform, become just like the RW, and all will be fine.

It's just TOOOOOO HAAAAARD to be real leaders, and actually SPEAK to people about what the Dems stand for, and WHY.

Leadership is haaard werk.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous hyphenate said...

Regardless "in which voters who attend church weekly voted 2 to 1 for President Bush over Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)"

I would say that 75-80% of those "attending church" were likely hypocritical assholes like fundies and the other Pat Robertson fakes, so they have a very dim view of what real "Christianity" is and only are looking for someone to lead them into the "end times" and the other 25% were likely really stupid assholes who don't give a fuck about a lie as long as it's not about a blowjob. We've already got the number of most Bush voters, so anything they say or do is irrelevant, anyhow.

Real Christians would definitely know the difference between truth and lies, and while many of them probably didn't vote or did vote for Kerry, their erstwhile and dubious counterparts on the far religious right were in a frenzy to vote, to keep the godless liberals away from the white house. Even then, we know the vote was rigged in Ohio and in a few other states, so they really lost but would not have been capable of winning unless the fix was in.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, either youre for religion or youre not. Its that simple. We cant be bringing religion into the elections now can we? I mean its not right when the President invokes God in his speeches now is it?

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave
Seems to me that a lot of the supporters of this blog dont want any religion from this guy. Seems to me good old Casey better start being a good atheist democrat.

Bill, You are the only one who is right. Democrats are hostile towards religion. You have made my point. Lets get religion on our side just for November. After that we can go back to being anti-Christian.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Dave, either youre for religion or youre not. Its that simple. We cant be bringing religion into the elections now can we? I mean its not right when the President invokes God in his speeches now is it?
I'll try to keep this simple, using your earlier rant about how "separation" and "people talking about God." They're 2 different things.

Talking about your faith as a candidate for office. Fine.

Talking about your faith while you're in office. Fine.

George Bush talking about God while he's in office. Fine.

Attempting to erase the wall between religion and state, via laws that would make it, say, mandatory to pray in school, or laws of that ilk. Not fine.

See if you can understand that.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous CornerPerro said...

Democrats aren't truly religous like Republicans. They just pander

get ready to hear that talking point every day of your life, if you want to try reaching out to the religious.

And, yes, people who let religion guide their decisions, ESPECIALLY their political decisions, are religious freaks and are EXTREMELY dangerous

5:04 PM  
Anonymous jsamuel said...

the god gap will not be closed that way, it was opened by megachurches and it can only be closed by them

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Hubert Flottz said...

I'll pray for fair election tabulation. But I won't hold my breath.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous TheFriedPiper said...

It sucks that we even have to consider what crazy people think

But crazy people vote, too.

It's ridiculous that religion is discussed as anything but an ancient superstition. NO political decisions should be based on myths.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David G. You say "Attempting to erase the wall between religion and state, via laws that would make it, say, mandatory to pray in school, or laws of that ilk. Not fine."

Does that include and form of prayer in school? And I was wondering why all you libs get upset whenever the Preisdent speaks of religion in his speeches. I'll be waiting for your hypocritical answer.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey fried,
Do you consider islam an ancient superstittion or do you just hate Christians and Jews?

5:26 AM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

If Dems do not widely advocate religion in politics it is quite simply because the Constitution demands "separation of church and state."
The Rethugs never appear to have learned this.
The framers of the constitution understood the absolute most corrupting influence in government throughout history has been religion with all its predjudices, racism and hypocrisies.
Your average racist, predjudicial and hypocritical Republican needs a history lesson including a study of the constitution.
It is the right that tries to contort the meaning and spirit of the constitution through endlessly trying to drag religion into the political debate.
Just go away, please.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Dave G. said...

Does that include and form of prayer in school? And I was wondering why all you libs get upset whenever the Preisdent speaks of religion in his speeches. I'll be waiting for your hypocritical answer.

Jeez, reading comprehension isn't your strong suit. First question, I can't answer, because I don't know what you're saying. And as for the second, I already told you where I am about it. Bush discussing God, fine. I don't have to love it, but it's protected speech.

Please respond with something coherent, or I will once again have to ask the site administrator to import better trolls.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You libs have no idea as to what the separation of church and state means. I realize you think you can re-write the constitution but you cant. It means that the the government will not establish a religion. That's it. It doesn't mean I cant pray in class. Tell me, if we truly do have a separation of church and state as you would like, then why are my tax dollars funding Korans in Gitmo. That should be a no-no.

Is it at all possible for you uneducated libs to have a debate without resorting to defamatory remarks. Why am I a racist. You don't even know me yet you come to that conclusion. You all are so juvenile its amazing. But I guess when you cant win an election and are always on the wrong side of history you have to resort to something. Have fun in you misguided world. Let those who know what they are doing continue to lead. Us conservatives. Just keep on bringing up the rear. You can follow a former NJ governor.

9:12 AM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

I had my tounge-in-cheek with my above comment.
What I meant had nothing to do with prayer in school.
I was talking about Rethugs using their Bible-dictated sensibilities on homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia as political wedge issues.
Just be sure not to shatter the Rethugs' self-defined righteous foundation through peppering capital punishment, an occasional racist view (whether about Arabs, Indians or blacks), and collateral damage through war into the debate.
That would expose the hypocrisy like the water thrown on the Wicked Witch of the West.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

There's a reason they call them "public schools."

If you establish religious practice in public schools -- silent prayer, public prayer, organized New Testament readings, etc. -- then you are not separating church and state.

Hard for some people to believe, but a large number of Americans don't believe we live in a Christian state.

If you want to pray, pray at home, pray at church, pray at private religious school, pray in private groups, pray at your office, pray at the game.

But don't force kids to pray at public school. Don't try to Christianize public schools.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Dave G. said...

Shorter anonymous: liberals call people names, which makes them fucking jerks. But that doesn't count as name-calling. Because me smart. Guh-huh-guh-huh.

12:40 PM  

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