Obama and Democrats Slap Archbishop Chaput

Is the Archbishop of Denver the new Bob Casey? Recall Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey was not invited to speak at the 1992 Democratic Convention in New York because of his pro-life views. It has been revealed by the Washington Times that Archbishop Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Denver, has not been invited even to say a blessing at the Democratic National Convention taking place in his city. His apparent transgression: being pro-life.

Blackballing Casey in 1992 has been an ongoing embarrassment for the Democrats, because it underscores not only the extreme views of the Democratic Party on abortion but their refusal to brook any dissent at all on the topic.

This year the Democrats believe that they can attract pro-lifers by righting the wrong done to Casey. The Democrats have invited Governor Casey’s son Bob to speak. Unlike his father, though, in his first year in the U.S. Senate, Casey the Younger has a garnered a 65 percent positive rating by NARAL Pro-Choice America, which included his approval of U.S. funding for the U.N. Population Fund, one of the main international culprits in coerced abortions in China.

The Democrats are also inviting Pepperdine University Law Professor Douglas Kmiec to speak. Kmiec worked in the Reagan Justice Department and testified a few times on pro-life issues before Congress. That, however, was back in the 1980s and long-time senior pro-life leaders are hard-pressed to name anything Kmiec has done for the movement lately.

The Democrats are touting their platform on abortion, too. The generally good group Democrats for Life are pleased that they at least got a meeting with the platform committee this time. But what came out of the process was a more radical Democratic platform than ever before.

The platform language on the abortion “right” is more extreme than the 2004 platform, which talked about supporting a right to abortion “consistent with Roe v. Wade.” The new plank talks about supporting Roe in addition to supporting a distinct and potentially broader “woman’s right to choose safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”

While the platform makes nice noises about adoption and parenting, it also calls for the adoption of the Freedom of Choice Act, a scurrilous measure co-sponsored by Senator Obama which may escape the notice of those who do not know its details. In it, you will find things like the requirement that government not “discriminate” against abortion in the “provision of benefits” or “information.” Remember Rust v. Sullivan? That was the case affirming the government’s right to favor childbirth over abortion in its funding decisions. The Democrat plank would overturn Rust and require that even programs for adoption and parenting promote abortion.

No wonder they don’t want Chaput there, even to offer a blessing.

Archbishop Charles Chaput is one of the leading lights in the Catholic Church in America. He leads a young, vibrant, growing, and largely brown-skinned archdiocese of 400,000 Catholics. He is likely more liberal than the Republicans on a whole host of issues, most especially immigration, and comes from a minority community himself, Native Americans. In many ways, he is the ideal Democrat circa, I don’t know, maybe January 1973. Even after Roe, Chaput supported Jimmy Carter over Reagan although he has since regretted that vote.

Like many Democrats, Chaput feels unwelcome in what was once his own party and now he is literally not welcome there. After much back and forth, it seems Chaput eventually was offered two tickets to sit in the bleachers and watch. What a slap in the face not just to Chaput but to Catholics in general. Catholics have been invited to speak but it seems only those who wholly support legal abortion like Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, those who look the other way like Senator Bob Casey, or those who are otherwise neutered like Doug Kmiec.

When will the Democrats become more like the Republicans and open themselves up for a broader debate about these troublesome issues? The Republicans are charged with being closed to debate about the issue of abortion. This is demonstrably not true. The Republicans are inviting a whole host of pro-abortion speakers including former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani. This certainly does not make pro-life Republicans happy; still it demonstrates which party is open to discussion and which is not.

Archbishop Charles Chaput is the new Governor Bob Casey. The rejection of Governor Casey is a black eye to the Democrats that still lingers. The rejection of Archbishop Charles Chaput should linger longer still.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-Fam.