By Tom Quiner
It’s considered one of the top one hundred speeches in American history.
I refer to President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address fifty years ago. Right at the beginning of his speech, Mr. Kennedy says:
“We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom — symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
This great speech came up over the lunch hour today when I was talking to a guy I met named Joe. We were all praying in front of Planned Parenthood for an end to abortion.
Joe, like the rest of us there today, is Catholic. We were discussing the disconnect that members of the Catholic Church tend to vote Democrat, despite the Church’s ardent pro-life views and Democrat’s anti-life public policies.
Well-over half of Catholic voters went with Mr. Obama in the last presidential election cycle.
Joe related an interesting story. He went up to the Democratic Party’s booth at the Iowa State Fair a number of years ago. He reminded them of President Kennedy’s assertion “that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
How did the Iowa Democrat in the booth respond? “We’ve moved on.”
Democrats seem to have no fixed values. Critical positions on issues of Life are quickly discarded for political expediency, as they were by another Kennedy, Ted. He once held a pro-life position, as beautifully articulated in this 1971 letter:
“While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old. When history looks back at this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.”
When the political winds began to change, Ted Kennedy changed.
He rejected his earlier conviction that a human being has a right to be born.
He considered the right to grow old and to love to be an outdated abstraction.
Most significantly, he publicly opposed his Church’s public condemnation of abortion and abortion rights legislation.
Mr. Kennedy led his party to become the party of death. Life, in the view of the Democratic Party today, as opposed to the Democratic Party of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, comes from the generosity of the state. God has nothing to do with it.
They’ve moved on.