From the WSJ Political Diary. 4/21/08
Boxer Versus the Pope
You wouldn’t think there would be much to criticize about Pope Benedict XVI’s splendid and uplifting visit to Washington. But leave it to Senator Barbara Boxer of California to spoil the celebration and aura of high spirits, nonpartisanship and good will. The trouble started when Senators Sam Brownback of Kansas and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania sponsored a Senate resolution to honor the Pope and his visit to the nation’s Capital. The resolution pays tribute to the Pope’s message of love and compassion. It also recognizes the “vibrance of religious faith in the United States, a faith nourished by a constitutional commitment to religious liberty.”
The resolution also contains language about the “power of hope over despair and love over hate.” All very noncontroversial stuff.
Except for one clause that stated: “Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable, witnessing to the value of each and every human life.” This is a statement that perhaps 99 out of 100 Americans would agree with, and even celebrate. But Senator Boxer huffed that this language hinted toward an endorsement of the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion. As one Senator told us in confidence: “There was not a single word or phrase of the resolution mentioning abortion, or life beginning at conception, or of the unborn. What Boxer objected to was the word ‘life.'” She demanded that the phrase “the value of each human life” be, well, snuffed — or else there would be no resolution at all.
Senate Republicans in particular were enraged by the Boxer protest. Many wanted to call her bluff and make her complaint public so Catholics could see first-hand an act that smacked of, at best, bad taste, at worst, bigotry. But with the clock running on the Papal visit and in the spirit of cooperation, Senators Brownback and Casey relented. The resolution passed without the “objectionable” passage about “the value of each human life.”
“I wish the Senators had stood up to her,” says Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute. “What have we come to where the term ‘value of life’ is not worthy of inclusion in a Senate resolution?”
Ironically, this dust-up happened just a few days after Barack Obama’s swipe at religion in Ms. Boxer’s backyard of San Francisco. Democrats have tried to reassure Christians in particular that the party isn’t hostile to church-goers, but Ms. Boxer’s antics this week make one wonder.
— Stephen Moore
HKO comment- Boxer really made an ass of herself on this one.