Religious Conservatives Unhappy with Daschle Pick

As President-elect Obama’s cabinet appointments continue to be announced or leaked, (Hillary Clinton was just tapped as Secretary of State moments ago) blogs and news outlets have flooded the discussion with everything from substantive analysis to wildly biased criticism.

Tom Daschle’s appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services, yesterday, has once again brought his Catholic faith into question. Headlines from the blogs and news sites of the religious right read “Pro-Life Nightmare” and “Pro-Abortion Catholic to Head Department of Health and Human Services,” interpreting Daschle’s appointment as further proof that the Obama administration will promote a “radical anti-life and anti-family agenda.”

After recovering from the outright absurdity of the accusation that the Obama administration will be anti-life and anti-family, the absurdity of considering Daschle a radical kicks in. Daschle had a 26-year congressional career representing the State of South Dakota, where he was born and raised. He has faithfully represented and advocated for his state, seeking support for rural healthcare and jobs, and in a state which feels particularly conflicted over reproductive health issues, he remained true to his constituency.

Though Daschle comes with a long list of credentials, Life-Site News chose to focus on the following:

The former Democratic Senate majority leader gained notoriety for his liberal views on abortion when he opposed the partial-birth abortion ban, endorsed taxpayer-funded military abortions, and supported taxpayer funding to provide morning-after pills to young public school girls.

It’s interesting that as far as gauging someone’s legitimacy as a Catholic, as a person of faith, the buck stops at one’s stance on abortion. Here is a man who is poised to reform health care so that the “least among us” can also be served. Nevertheless, the religious right turns a blind eye to how health care reform could reduce the need for abortion and continues to stand on their single-issue soapbox.

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