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The Catholic vote

Timothy Kincaid

March 20th, 2012

Here’s a little factoid that missed my notice: (NYT: Bruni)

Exit polling suggests that [Santorum] lost the Catholic vote to Mitt Romney, a Mormon, by 7 percentage points in Michigan and by 13 in Ohio. These weren’t isolated cases. In primary after primary, more Catholics have gravitated to Romney than to Santorum (or, for that matter, to Newt Gingrich, a Catholic-come-lately who collaborated with his third wife to make a worshipful documentary about Pope John Paul II).

Seems the Catholics in America are just not all that fond of the idea of having the mandates of Rome dictated by a theocratic state. Probably because they are familiar with them.

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andrew
March 20th, 2012 | LINK

Interesingly, read Orson Scott Card… he pegged the affinities between the Catholic and Mormon cultures 20 years ago in his fiction.

Lucrece
March 20th, 2012 | LINK

Well, the LDS dictum replacing the Catholic hierarchy’s isn’t that much better a position to be in.

Romney openly campaigned with the intent to support a federal constitutional amendment. Both options are disastrous for gay people.

Priya Lynn
March 20th, 2012 | LINK

The Catholics I know don’t consider the pope their leader, to them Catholicism is more a personal thing and they make their own decisions about what it means to be a Catholic and what they feel is right.

Jim Burroway
March 20th, 2012 | LINK

I think many Catholics would beg to differ with Orson Scott Card’s “affinities” in Mormon culture. In fact, they would differe with Card in an awful lot of things.

That said, and as I wrote earlier today, it is highly predictable that very few Catholics are going to vote for Gingrich, and even fewer for Santorum, both of whom are Catholics and who are running on a very socially conservative agenda, moreso than Romney (at least they, like most other people, see Romney’s social conservatism as opportunism rather than conviction.)

To the extent that there is a Catholic voting block — and I believe there is not one and there never was one (prior “voting blocks” were based more on immigrant and economic status when the Catholic church in America was much less heterogeneous) — those Catholics who vote Republican are generally going to shy away from the kinds of candidates who remind them of the bishops and popes who they may like for other reasons but who they have long rejected as an authority on sexual matters. This goes all the way back to 1968 and Humanae Vitae, which institutionalized the ban on birth control. Most polls show that 98% of all Catholics, as well as similar majorities for devout Catholics, have long rejected that position. They are definitely not going to eagerly embrace a candidate who has voiced support for banning birth control as a matter of policy.

Timothy Kincaid
March 20th, 2012 | LINK

The funny thing is that evangelicals don’t support those positions either.

I don’t know of a single protestant church that has a blanket prohibition on birth control (though there are some nutcases at the edge, like the Duggars). It really is Bizarro Land when hard-core protestants who think that the Catholics are a bunch of idol worshipers are voting for a guy who unapologetically wishes to implement the Catholic Church’s teachings through federal law (or at least through the Justice Department and the laws which they defend or pursue).

Donny D.
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

Apparently Santorum is responding to the news that he doesn’t do well generally with Catholic voters by saying that he does do well with people who take their faith seriously:
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/santorum-says-he-loses-catholic-vote-because-he-only-does-well-among-people-who-take-their-f

Blake
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

Ah thanks Donny D. I forgot that there’s only 1 good way to be Catholic & it’s Santorum’s way. Evey Sperm is Sacred, y’all. Either take ridiculous pronouncement seriously or get out of my church!

But I wonder. All Churchs’ membership numbers have been in decline. This theology of “I’m Right!” represents a new strategy. People do prefer black/white dichotomies & perceived order versus complex realities and a nuanced worldview. On a gut level, I wonder if expunging doubt allows for a more convincing religious experience.

Andrew
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

Jim, I tend to agree with you… I did say cultures, not faiths. In his case, he was predicating his worldview on a situation in which population limitations had been severely mandated, making intermarriages plausible (!). Heck, it’s science fiction. They’re also two religions used to being looked at skeptically by a Protestant majority (it was drummed into me in CCD that I would almost certainly be persecuted for my Catholicism). And, written from the Mormon point of view, Card can probably be excused for not realizing that American Catholics had already moved on from the 1960’s at the time of his writing. But yeah, none of the Catholics in my extended family thinks that much of Santorum.

Paul in Canada
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I believe that the Pastor’s ‘introduction’ to Santorum screaming that liberals and non-Christians should ‘get out’ of America is a turning point in this GOP election cycle. It was so over the top, that any thinking person would have to discount him as a viable candidate.

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