Sed Contra: Gore’s Catholic Strategy

Deal W. Hudson
June 1, 2000

Vice President Gore had the opportunity to address the Catholic Press Association at its May convention in Baltimore, Maryland. He decided not to at the last minute, but I couldn’t help thinking about what he might have said. Here’s how I imagined the question-and-answer period following his speech:

During the primary, you and Sen. Bradley argued about which of you was more pro-abortion. Given your support for all forms of abortion, including partial-birth abortion, why will Catholics vote for you?

Catholics don’t really care about the abortion issue. Most of them voted for President Clinton after he vetoed the ban on partial-birth abortion. Your bishops talk in general about the issue, but we politicians don’t have to worry much about them criticizing us by name. The only guy who has gotten in trouble is a Republican, Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

I mean, look, if the Catholic Press Association can invite me to speak without a word of protest from your Church leaders, why should I be concerned about my position on abortion? Only pro-life extremists really care about the issue, and the media will keep them out of sight.

You consistently condemned choice in education while your own children attended private religious schools. Aren’t you concerned that this will alienate Catholics who are committed to their parochial schools as an option to public schools?

In all my years in politics, I haven’t found any issue that really alienates Catholics. They just don’t seem very interested in defending their faith or its institutions. Catholics bend over backward not to offend or to be offended. That’s why we politicians don’t pay much attention to them. Sure, we create photo ops with collars and habits, and speak at Notre Dame, and, of course, all the Jesuit colleges.

What do you think of the Catholic idea of subsidiarity, that we should first tackle social problems at the local level?

That’s fine. That’s the right thing to do. And we should do that. But let’s remember that not everyone in every community will do the right thing, and that’s when the federal government needs to step in and get the job done.

It’s wrong for people to call the experts in Washington “bureaucrats.” These are highly trained people who know what is right for this country.

They know how to raise children, educate them, and they know what a family should be. They know what employers owe their employees and what kind of atmosphere they should work in and what kind of benefits they should receive. These people are not bureaucrats—they are the experts we should rely on to lead this country to greatness.

Your wife, Tipper, used to crusade against the dirty lyrics of pop songs. She doesn’t do that anymore. Do you think it is no longer a problem?

Since I became vice president, Tipper and I have learned a lot. We have actually met people in the recording and movie industries, and they are good people who want what is best for America.

Music and movies give young men and women, who are often from impoverished backgrounds, a chance to express themselves. Naturally, what they say will not always sound nice to our middle-class ears. The important thing is that they are expressing themselves and the culture they represent, thereby affirming the marvelous diversity of our society. Many of these young artists will become wealthy and influential, which will be a sign of hope for those who are trapped in poverty.

You have sent a letter supporting a group of homosexuals, lesbians, and transsexuals demonstrating in Rome the first week of July. They plan a demonstration at the Vatican. Aren’t you concerned about offending Catholics?

Like I said earlier, nothing really offends Catholics—well, just the right-wingers. After all, you guys invited me here, didn’t you?

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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