Fake Catholic Groups Working Overtime for Healthcare Bill

Deal W. Hudson
December 14, 2009

It’s sad to report, but report we must: The same fake Catholic groups that helped President Barack Obama get elected have rallied to the cause of the health-care bill, abortion funding and all. As reported by LifeNews.com, Catholics United (CU) and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) are warning Catholics not to get too hung up on things like federal funding of abortion.

Interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor, CU president Chris Korzen commented, “The wrong thing would be for anyone to be so firmly entrenched in their positions on federal funding of abortion that they’re not willing to come to the table and talk about a compromise.”

Victoria Kovari, the interim president of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, claimed, “We share all the bishops’ concerns,” adding that the “difference is [our] feeling that we would be morally remiss if we walked away from all of the health care [reform]. We have to take seriously our call to be about what’s good for the whole human family.”

In other words, pass the health-care bill, even if it contains abortion funding. This is precisely the kind of proportionalist reasoning that I fear many Catholics are using to brush aside concerns about abortion funding: The evil of abortion, those like Korzen and Kovari argue, is offset by the many benefits of health-care reform.

Catholic teaching explicitly rejects such self-justifying tactics (see Veritatis Splendor 75), and the U.S. bishops have been unwavering on this point. As Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat, remarks in the same CSM article, “There are moral absolutes that we can’t get beyond.”

Kovari evidently doesn’t believe the bishops would help defeat the health-care bill because of abortion funding. She told the New York Times, “There are certainly some strident voices out there that want to see health care reform abandoned on the back of this issue, but I don’t think that is where the bishops are.”

Kovari, in fact, does rub elbows with people who know the USCCB from the inside. Her predecessor – Alexia Kelley – worked for the USCCB before CACG. (Kelley left when appointed by Obama to work in the faith-based office of the Department of Health and Human Services.) CACG’s treasurer-secretary is Francis Xavier Doyle, who worked for the USCCB for 24 years. Tom Gehring, deputy communications director, was assistant director for media relations at the USCCB.

In a fascinating article on billionaire George Soros’s funding of Catholic groups, Cliff Kincaid notes that Tom Chabolla, now assistant to the president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its representative to the CACG board, formerly worked as associate director for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) at the USCCB (during the period CCHD was funding ACORN.) While at the USCCB in 2004, Chabolla addressed a statewide meeting in Sacramento devoted to “increasing voter participation in Catholic parishes.” In 2008, after leaving the USCCB, Chabolla served on Obama’s National Catholic Advisory Council. (See Frank Walker’s interesting article on other members of the CACB advisory council.)

Kovari grew up in a working-class Romanian neighborhood in Detroit. According to her CACG biography, “For the last 27 years, Kovari has worked as a community organizer, political consultant, and non-profit housing developer. Prior to her joining the alliance, she worked as an organizer with MOSES, an affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation, directing campaigns in Michigan for regional mass transit and health care.” The Gamaliel Foundation is the same group where President Obama began his career as a community organizer in Chicago.

Kovari doesn’t agree with the “strident voices” who would oppose the health-care bill if it contains abortion funding, yet after the passage of the House version of the bill containing the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, she was quoted by Catholic News Service calling the House bill “a victory for all people who believe in the fundamental dignity of every human life,” adding:

Catholics across the political spectrum speak with one voice in supporting health care reform that promotes the common good and protects the sanctity of all human life by providing families and children with quality, affordable health care.

If the House bill was a victory, then the Senate bill must be a defeat for everyone who believes in “the fundamental dignity of every human life.” Why not say so – instead of shilling for a piece of legislation that runs directly contrary to a non-negotiable teaching of the Church?

With their close connections to powerful Democrats, labor unions, and funding organizations, both CACG and CU should use their leverage to remove the abortion-funding loopholes from the health-care bills, rather than looking for ways to justify them.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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