U.S. Intellectual History Blog

U.S. Catholic Intellectual History: The Significance Of Douglas Kmiec’s Support For Barack Obama

No matter your politics either this election year or in the past, Pepperdine Professor Douglas Kmiec‘s recent book, Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question About Barack Obama, is a game changer. I have read the book. My bold prediction is that it permanently modifies the debate about abortion politics and Catholicism for future elections.

While U.S. Catholic history is not one of my primary professional specialties, at a minimum it qualifies as an intense interest. As a Catholic convert, I know enough about Church history to identify historical landmarks. To the best of my knowledge, Kmiec’s book is the first time a well-known, conservative, pro-life Catholic and former Reaganite has spoken out in favor of a Democratic candidate favoring a pro-choice legal position (in Obama’s case, not to be confused with pro-abortion) while Kmiec also—and this is supremely important—retains his pro-life philosophy.

I realize this might be difficult to do, but let’s discuss the real and potential significance of this book in terms of U.S. Catholic intellectual history. Here goes:

1. To begin, do you agree with my assertion about the book’s historical significance?
2. Has another book like this been written since 1973?
3. Have any other prominent pro-life Catholic intellectuals articulated a position against a nominal (in my opinion) pro-life Republican?
4. What sort of event compares with this in the intellectual history of U.S. Catholics?

Let’s keep this civil. – TL