From His Excellency Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, RI, in the 12 Feb 2009 Rhode Island Catholic.
WITHOUT A DOUBT
My Interview with President Obama
Posted Feb 12, 2009
BY BISHOP THOMAS J. TOBIN
(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 . . .
TOBIN: Is it safe to assume that you consider the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions overseas to be good foreign policy?
OBAMA: I believe that people overseas should have the same rights we Americans have – the right to kill their children and use abortion as a form of birth control.
TOBIN: But shouldn’t we be using foreign aid for more positive reasons – for example, to provide food, clothing, shelter and medicine to impoverished children?
OBAMA: Bishop, obviously you’re missing the point. If you control the population and eliminate the children, you don’t have to worry about giving them food, clothing, shelter and medicine now do you?
TOBIN: Mr. President, during the campaign you said that you wanted to reduce the number of abortions. And yet now you’re providing American tax dollars to encourage abortions overseas. Isn’t that a contradiction?
OBAMA Let me be clear. During the campaign, I was talking about American babies. People in other countries have to make their own decisions about killing their children, and if that’s what they want to do, I’m willing to help them. But let’s move on . . .
TOBIN: Sir, you’ve taken a very strong stance against the use of torture, a decision that’s been widely applauded. But at the same time, some scientific studies have shown that the procedures used in abortion cause terrible pain and suffering for the unborn child. Isn’t that a form of torture too?
OBAMA: Um . . . let me get back to you on that.
TOBIN: Mr. President, there’s a very good chance that during your term in office you’ll have the opportunity to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court. When that opportunity comes, will you use the support of abortion as a litmus test for their appointment?
OBAMA: I don’t believe in litmus tests for court appointments. But you can rest assured that no one who respects the right to life for unborn children will get anywhere near the Supreme Court.
TOBIN: Mr. President, don’t you see the contradiction in what you just said?
OBAMA: No I don’t, but please . . . can’t we just move on?
TOBIN: Alright, then let’s get to the heart of the question. Mr. President, when does life begin?
OBAMA: That question, Bishop, is way above my pay grade.
TOBIN: Mr. President, you have a consistent record of supporting abortion, and you’ve been called the most pro-abortion president ever. In light of your radical pro-abortion stance, can you and your administration give any hope at all to pro-life Americans?
OBAMA: To quote my favorite campaign slogan, “Yes we can.”
TOBIN: Can you be more specific?
OBAMA: No I can’t. But, Bishop Tobin I see that the clock is ticking away and our time is up. Unfortunately we’ll have to wrap-up our interview.
TOBIN: Thank you for your time Mr. President, and happy Presidents Day.
OBAMA: Thank-you, Bishop Tobin. And please extend my appreciation to all my friends in Rhode Island who voted for me.
Catch his follow up piece: Jesus Wasn’t Always Nice.