(The following is an interview I didn’t have, but can imagine having, with President Obama.)
BISHOP TOBIN: First of all, Mr. President, congratulations on your election and inauguration. They were certainly historic events that inspired a renewed sense of unity and hope for many Americans.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, Bishop Tobin. Yes, the goal of my campaign and election was to bring people together, to heal the divisions of the recent past and to inspire new hope for all the citizens of our great country.
TOBIN: I think we’d all agree that your goals of unity and hope are very worthwhile. But for that very reason, many of us were surprised, and even disappointed, that you signed an executive order overturning the so-called “Mexico City Policy” within the first few days of your administration. As you know, your action directs that American tax dollars be used to fund abortions overseas. Why did you have to act so quickly on such a controversial policy?
OBAMA: Well, I believe it was important for me to fulfill the campaign promises I made to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. After all, they’re among my biggest supporters and I don’t want to disappoint them.
TOBIN: But the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions is very controversial. It’s a divisive policy. It violates the conscience of millions of Americans who respect life and oppose abortion. Isn’t that completely contrary to your goal of fostering unity in the nation?
OBAMA: Bishop Tobin, let’s be clear. I said in my inauguration speech that with all the problems our nation is facing we have to overcome narrow ideological positions and move beyond childish behaviors.
TOBIN: But, Mr. President, providing tax money to support abortion – isn’t that in itself an ideological position?
OBAMA: No, not in my view.
TOBIN: But do you consider the heartfelt convictions of pro-lifers to be “childish behaviors?”
OBAMA: Well, not exactly, but let’s move on . . .
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