By Jonathon Van Maren
Just as faith groups of every stripe here in Canada are beginning to realize that the Trudeau Liberals—and the Left in general—are overtly hostile to many of their values after the government demanded that organizations sign an “attestation” agreeing to a laundry list of progressive ideologies in order to access the Canada Summer Jobs Program, religious groups south of the border are realizing the same thing. In a move that is far more significant than many might think, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with the blunt title “The Democrats Abandon Catholics.” Consider this powerful excerpt:
The values Archbishop Hughes and Dolores Grier cherished—the dignity and sanctity of human life, the importance of Catholic schools, the defense of a baby’s civil rights—were, and still are, widely embraced by Catholics. This often led Catholics to become loyal Democrats. I remember my own grandmother whispering to me, “We Catholics don’t trust those Republicans.”
Such is no longer the case, a cause of sadness to many Catholics, me included. The two causes so vigorously promoted by Hughes and Grier—the needs of poor and middle-class children in Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb—largely have been rejected by the party of our youth. An esteemed pro-life Democrat in Illinois, Rep. Dan Lipinski, effectively was blacklisted by his own party. Last year, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez insisted that pro-life candidates have no place in the modern Democratic Party…
More sobering, what is already the most radical abortion license in the country may soon be even more morbidly expanded. For instance, under the proposed Reproductive Health Act, doctors would not be required to care for a baby who survives an abortion. The newborn simply would be allowed to die without any legal implications. And abortions would be legal up to the moment of birth.
The “big tent” of the Democratic Party now seems a pup tent. Annafi Wahed, a former staffer to Hillary Clinton, recently wrote in this newspaper about her experience attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. She complimented the conservative attendees, pointing out that most made her feel welcome at their meeting. They listened attentively to her views—a courtesy, she had to admit, that would not be given to them at a meeting of political liberals.
I’m a pastor, not a politician, and I’ve certainly had spats and disappointments with politicians from both of America’s leading parties. But it saddens me, and weakens the democracy millions of Americans cherish, when the party that once embraced Catholics now slams the door on us.
To Archbishop Hughes, Dolores Grier, and Grandma Dolan, I’m sorry to have to write this. But not as sad as you are to know it is true.
Those are incredibly strong words for Dolan, who has come under fire in the past for his willingness to wine and dine with high-ranking Democrats, including President Barack Obama. Many in the pro-life movement pointed out that when Dolan was photographed yukking it up with extraordinarily pro-abortion politicians who were overtly hostile to religious liberty, it gave these politicians a very valuable opportunity to present themselves as friendly to religious groups like the Catholic Church, while simultaneously working to undermine the freedoms these same groups. Obama’s administration, after all, sued the Little Sisters of the Poor for refusing to provide contraceptive coverage in their healthcare plans.
In a particularly awkward moment during the Al Smith dinner in 2016, Donald Trump said–in the presence of Hillary Clinton, Cardinal Dolan, and many other prestigious personages–that, “Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private. For example, here she is tonight—in public—trying to pretend she doesn’t hate Catholics.” Trump was booed, but the moment was so palpably uncomfortable for so many people because he wasn’t wrong. The Democrats, in both their policies and their pubic statements, indicate their contempt for people of faith who hold to pro-life and pro-family values while simultaneously attempting to still garner their votes. It has worked, too. A significant number of Catholics and Protestants voted for Obama, who ran an administration overtly hostile to religious liberty.
This statement by Dolan is long overdue, and a very positive step. Orthodox Christians need to band together in what Chuck Colson used to call “the ecumenicism of the trenches” and meet the so-called progressive politicians who relentlessly attack their values head-on. Hopefully, many who voted Democrat will read Dolan’s column, and realize that the Democrats have moved from abandonment to antagonism–and that it is time to fight back.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.