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What the Election Means for Catholics

Tuesday, November 4, 2008, was not a great day for Catholics. Vote-wise, a majority of baptized Catholics (54 percent) sided with the presidential winner, Senator Barack Obama, as they have in every election since 1972.

White Catholics cast 52 percent of their votes, however, for the GOP standard bearer, down four percent from 2004. Sixty-seven percent of Hispanics voted for Obama, up eight percent over Kerry’s 2004 total.

Although practicing/church-going Catholics (who represent ten percent of the electorate) gave McCain 55 percent of their vote, many in the rust belt regions of Pennsylvania and Ohio stayed home because they were disenchanted with the Republicans; angry at Bush; or unhappy with McCain.

On the bright side, exit polls indicate America is still a center-right nation. Thirty-four percent of voters consider themselves conservatives, 22 percent liberal – unchanged from the 2004 election, and essentially the same breakdown as has existed since Reagan recentered the electorate to the right.

Four out of five Green ballot issues went down to defeat – two of them in California. In Arizona, California, and Florida, same-sex marriage bans passed with the overwhelming support of African-Americans and Hispanics.

On the dark side, Democrats who will control on January 20, 2009, the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, will be positioned to implement their extreme leftist social agenda. In their new social order, rights will be the weapons of self-interest; responsibility based on a moral hierarchy will be anathema.

Here’s what Catholics can expect:

• The executive ban on funding abortions in U.S. overseas health agencies will be eliminated.
• The executive order barring federal financing of embryo stem-cell research will be eliminated.
• Culture-of-death judges who believe in a “living Constitution” will be installed at all levels of the federal judiciary.
• Reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine will eliminate radio and television discussions of issues that matter to Catholics.
• The enactment of the Freedom of Choice Act will codify abortion and partial-birth abortion as fundamental rights. Abortion will be an entitlement that government must condone and promote. Catholics will have to subsidize and promote abortion with their tax dollars.
State “conscience clause” exemptions for Catholic hospitals will be eliminated. If Catholic hospitals stay open, they would not be allowed to oppose abortion and could be forced to perform them.
Barack Obama made his position clear on this issue during the campaign when he said: “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’ll do.”
• A national “gay rights” bill that will confer special status on homosexual men and women will be enacted. This will establish a new federally-protected class based on one’s sexual orientation.
• A national “hate crimes” law will be enacted. This will create a new class of victims who will receive greater attention than victims outside those groups and who suffer similar injuries. Assault on a homosexual person will be a greater crime (with greater penalties) than assault on a heterosexual person.

Also, after the inner-city Saul Alinksy community organizers descend on Washington and grab control of the federal bureaucracy, Catholic institutions will be harassed. Expect the I.R.S. to go after Catholic dioceses, colleges, think tanks, foundations – and their donors – for promoting their faith in the public square.

For forty years, radical groups promoting secular ideologies such as Marxism, Darwinism, Freudianism, and behaviorism – all of which deny man’s spirituality and declare him free of all moral constraints – have been plotting to get their hands on the wheels of the federal government. Well, on November 4, they and their fellow travelers finally succeeded.

Catholics must realize that for these ideologues man is an individual without intrinsic value; he is not a person in the traditional sense, just the highest animal on the evolutionary scale. For these ideologues the human person is irrelevant. Universal ideas and absolute values are meaningless because man’s existence has no spiritual dimension. The concept of liberty as freedom to do what one ought to do is, in this view, absurd; freedom means license to do whatever is desired. Values are merely a matter of taste; the common good is disregarded in favor of the collective good or individual good.

Practicing Catholics in the public square must get it through their heads that while the new regime’s rhetoric may be appealing and sound sophisticated, nevertheless, there is an underlying and serious distaste for Catholicism. Catholics will be viewed by these secular humanists as public villains and in their salons, anti-Catholicism will be an even more acceptable prejudice than it already has been.

Catholics must brace themselves for the worst and be prepared to be public defenders of the faith.

George Marlin is the author of The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact. (St. Augustine’s Press)

(c) 2008 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights write to: info at thecatholicthing dot org

George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic Voter and Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner. His most recent book is Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man.