National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

RC Vote Breaking To Obama

According to Pew, the Catholic vote has swung decisively towards President Obama in the last few months. Dan Burke at RNS has the story here.

This poll cannot be separated from other polls, all of which show the electorate as a whole breaking towards Obama. Burke notes that it appears the religious liberty issue has not broken through with Catholic voters, certainly not enough to offset their other concerns. I think that this is a case of the Catholic electorate concluding de minimis non curat lex. For most Catholics, the issue of religious liberty has suffered by being tied to the issue of a contraception mandate, and we all know what most Catholics think about contraception. As well, the USCCB really mishandled its response to the President's "accommodation" in February, emphasizing the need for an invididual exemption for all employers, not just non-profit religious employers, that made them look like the ones unwilling to craft a compromise. Finally, several bishops took to their pulpits and preached on James Madison, not the Gospels, and they tended to get Madison wrong.

The issue of religious liberty is real. The dangers are not all found in the Obama administration. It is time for the USCCB to take a step back and think about how they wish to approach the issue. They need to stop listening to the doomsayers who want the Church to hunker down and shut out the world. They need to consult Democrats as well as Republicans. They need to be even-handed in denouncing GOP encroachments on religious liberty, like the anti-immigrant laws, as well as the Democrats' encroachments via HHS. And, for pete's sake, turn off Fox News. As these new polls show, if you live in that parallel universe, where last night much time was spent denying the validity of polls showing Obama opening up a lead, your information will be skewed and you will simply appear more and more out of touch with your people. Head down to the Dunkin' Donuts or the Shoney's and talk to some people.

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