The Catholic News Agency reported last week that President Obama’s “Catholic strategy is in shambles”. “At least we have clarity,” wrote Kansas Catholic Conference Director Michael Schuttloffel. “Willful blindness regarding this Administration’s true intentions is no longer possible.”
Schuttloffel was referring to the President’s trampling of conscious rights in the Obama administration’s recent mandate forcing the nation’s health insurers to provide contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations, despite his professed commitment to find common ground on conscious rights at a 2009 Notre Dame commencement address.
But conscious rights are not the only thing Obama has stomped on. Obamacare, in spite of his public promise that it wouldn’t, blatantly funds abortions. He also turned his back on traditional marriage by ordering the Justice Department not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, he increased federal funding for a form of stem cell research that destroys embryonic human beings, and he has persistently supported taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood which kills 1000 babies every day.
Most recently, he has militated directly against the U.S.Catholic Bishops by defunding their program to aid women harmed by sex trafficking because the bishops would not allow referrals for contraceptive services and abortions. Of course all this is in addition to his well-documented, persistent attack on life in the womb, averaging at least one pro-abortion bill signing, appointment, speech, or other action every two weeks since he took office.
And then there is his general attack on religious liberty that is so openly hostile to the Catholic Church that the USCCB was prompted to form a special ad hoc committee to counter it. (But one wonders what good such a committee is when the same bishops just reissued an election guide that was criticized by Archbishop Raymond Burke, the highest ranking U.S. prelate in the Vatican, for essentially handing Obama the election in 2008!)
All the above should be onerous to Catholics and should cause one to wonder why Obama shows no qualm in trampling Catholic concerns given that Catholics formed his largest single base of support in the 2008 election.
It would seem the President has a political death wish in regards to carrying the Catholic vote in 2012. However, not only is Obama’s Catholic strategy NOT “in shambles”. It’s brilliant!
Obama knows he can stick it to the bishops and still count on the “Catholic” vote. Here’s why: Obama knows that the clergy sex abuse scandal has eviscerated the public credibility of the nation’s bishops, allowing him to dismiss, mock, ignore, or skewer any protest or opinion that might come from the USCCB; and, he knows that most Catholic voters could care less about their Church’s moral teaching and are actually more sympathetic to his own “culture of death” policies. He knows this because he reads the polls.
On abortion, a Gallop poll shows that 40% of Catholics support abortion as “morally acceptable” and 63% support stem cell research on human embryos. The poll analysis concludes: while official church doctrine is “distinctly conservative”, such is not the case “when it comes to average American Catholics”, stating further that U.S. Catholics “are actually more liberal than the non-Catholic population.”
On contraception, a Guttmacher Institute report revealed that 98% of Catholic women use church-banned birth control, which means that not only are most Catholics NOT opposed to Obama’s contraception mandate, they are probably happy that contraceptives are now fully covered by their insurance. In addition, most Catholics are most likely elated that Obama’s mandate forces full coverage of vasectomies and “tubals”, as sterilization is reportedly the “Catholic birth control of choice”, since it supposedly only needs to be confessed once!
On gay rights, a Public Religion Research Institute poll shows that 75% of Catholics favor either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry (43%) or allowing them to form civil unions (31%). And 60% support adoption by gay and lesbian couples.
Some Catholic commentators attempt to distinguish between the poll responses of Catholics who attend Mass regularly and those who don’t. But, a recent CARA poll shows that only 23% of Catholics attend Mass “regularly”, and “regularly” was dumbed down to mean only once or twice a month! Given that missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin (CCC 2181), attendance once or twice a month means that a large percentage of those who still go to Mass are not what the Church could even call “practicing Catholics”!
No, Obama’s “Catholic strategy” is anything but “in shambles”. What’s in shambles is the state of the U.S. Catholic Church. And it’s just what Obama, the most pro-abortion president in history, needs to continue his campaign to “fundamentally transform America”, which is one promise he intends to keep.
This column reflects only the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of the Umatuna. Hyperlinks to supporting data can be found on the online version at www.themassneverends.com
Tim Rohr is a contributing writer for the U Matuna Si Yu’os