And Gallup released a poll on Friday entitled “The New Normal on Abortion: Americans More ‘Pro-Life.’ ” It buttressed the finding from last summer when, for the first time since the question began being asked in 1995, more people self-identified as “pro-life” than as “pro-choice.”
The liberal columnist goes on to deride conservatism as being bereft of ideas. Well, as a Catholic, I do not vouch for American political conservatism per se or for the political agenda of any one group, even one calling itself conservative--but I do know one powerful intellectual, logical idea that pro-lifers are not bereft of: the simply truth that "if in doubt when life begins, then it must come out--alive and kicking." Anything else is to risk murder.
This post is also a good opportunity to clarify the boundary, as I see it, between being a loyal Catholic and the conservative political agenda here in the United States. The two circles (loyal Catholic and American political conservative) may overlap on some or even many issues, but they are definitely and emphatically not fully overlapping or identical. For example, Catholic social doctrine strongly favors providing help--if necessary, by the state--for the most economically and socially vulnerable among us. Catholic social doctrine is also not libertarian, an ideological streak prominent among U.S. conservatives. Catholic social doctrine also does not deify the maximization of monetary profit, whether corporate or personal. In sum, on many social issues, loyal Catholics do have a lot in common with many political conservatives. Yet, that common ground is not the whole story, by any means. The lack of complete ideological agreement is why, more and more, I think of myself, for example, as a Catholic social conservative with strong economic, social justice concerns for the poorest among us. I am not a typical "American conservative"; and, in my opinion, neither should my fellow Catholics be "typical American conservatives." The Gospel always comes first; and the Gospel does not worship the free market, even though I have studied the free market closely as a graduate student and appreciate its tangible benefits.