By DAVID C. COCHRAN
Protecting Human Life
Kerry D Bush C
Supports abortion-on-demand, stem cell research, therapeutic cloning and
physician-assisted suicide, all of which conflict with Catholic teaching.
Opposes the death penalty (except, apparently, for terrorists). His policies
are likely to be more consistent with traditional Catholic just war teaching,
but he probably wont significantly cut the size and scope of the American
Opposes abortion. Signed partial-birth abortion ban, but thinks the
country isnt ready to outlaw most abortions. Supported some federal
funding for stem cell research. Opposes cloning and physician-assisted suicide,
but neither was much of a priority in his first term. Enthusiastic supporter of
the death penalty. Positions on military matters are all deeply at odds with
Kerry B- Bush D
|The very rich should do just fine under a Kerry presidency, but there
will be more policies benefiting those across the economic spectrum. Positions
on taxes, unionization, the minimum wage, antipoverty programs and Social
Security are all closer to Catholic teaching, though unlikely to go as far as
tradition calls for.
||His first term saw government grow larger and more likely to intervene
in the economy. Preferential option for the rich, not the poor. Policies on
wages, working conditions, unions, antipoverty assistance and Social Security
all conflict with Catholic principles. His only real edge is support for
faith-based organizations in delivering social assistance.
Kerry C+ Bush D+
|Longtime advocate of expanding health care coverage and quality of care
to those in need, but unlikely to support the dramatic reform Catholic teaching
calls for. Keep in mind his support for stem cell research and
||No real attempt to address the moral scandal of over 40 million
Americans who lack health insurance. Recent Medicare drug coverage reforms are
poorly designed and intended primarily to inflate drug company profits.
Kerry C- Bush B
|Opposes same-sex marriage but does not support constitutional amendment
banning it and favors civil unions granting same-sex couples the same legal
rights as marriage. Positions on wages, overtime, family leave and related
issues more in line with Catholic teaching. Opposition to school vouchers, on
the other hand, is at odds with the Catholic position.
||Opposes same-sex marriage and supports a constitutional amendment
prohibiting it, though there is little role for the president on this issue.
Less supportive of Catholic positions on policies that help families make ends
meet -- living wage, overtime regulations, family leave, etc. Supports vouchers
giving parents public money to send kids to private schools.
|Race, Ethnicity and Immigration
Kerry B Bush C+
|Civil rights enforcement likely to be stronger, as it usually is in
Democratic administrations. Supports affirmative action. Positions on economic
issues with racial and ethnic implications are closer to Catholic teaching.
Unlikely to make any significant reforms in how undocumented workers, refugees
and asylum seekers are treated.
||Worked hard to repudiate the anti-immigrant rhetoric some Republicans
have used in the past. Opposes affirmative action. Positions on economic issues
that affect racial and ethnic minorities like wages, housing, public
transportation, health care and so on are at odds with Catholic social
teaching. Has done little to change stingy refugee and asylum policies.
Kerry B+ Bush D-
|His record as senator is promising, and he is much more likely to pursue
an environmental path, though not one as dramatic as that called for by
Catholic teaching. It is doubtful he will make a politically courageous case
for economic sacrifices in the interest of global ecological health. Has also
been willing to sell out environmental priorities for votes on current issues
like gasoline prices.
||His record is at odds with Catholic teachings calls for dramatic
action to protect the global environment. Has done nothing to address global
warming and resource depletion. Has eroded existing standards in clear air,
clean water and conservation. Short-term interests of his corporate allies in
oil, coal, timber and agribusiness consistently trump long-term needs of
Kerry C Bush D
|Less wedded to harsh criminal justice policies of the last few decades,
but unlikely to do much to change them either. A bit better on gun control, but
not likely to change gun policies beyond a few reforms around the margins like
tighter gun show regulations, better background checks and an assault weapons
||Built his political career supporting get tough approaches
to crime that recent Catholic teaching has sharply criticized as emphasizing
retribution, being harshly punitive, having racially disproportionate effects
and swelling prison populations to shocking levels. Strong opposition to any
kind of gun control.
Kerry B- Bush F
|Likely to shift back to the more cautious path of Clinton and the first
Bush administration. Has more respect for things Catholic tradition emphasizes
such as diplomacy, multilateralism, international institutions and economic
development. As a U.S. senator, worked for democracy in Central America and
helped heal relationship between United States and Vietnam. More likely to
emphasize engagement over confrontation.
||His foreign policy is marked by an aggressive use of military power
without regard for traditional just war principles, by disregard for
international treaties and institutions that the United States has worked for a
half-century to build, and by the assertion that American interests trump those
of any other country. Catholic teaching in this area emphasizes nonviolence,
economic justice and the importance of multilateral treaties and
Senator Kerry C+
President Bush D+