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Catholic vote will remain pivotal for both parties in future elections


MICHAEL GERSON

Source:
Sacramento Bee
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
11/16/2012

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ABSTRACTMichael Gerson: Catholic vote will remain pivotal for both parties in future elections - Viewpoints - The Sacramento Bee Plus digital subscription sign in Plus digital subscription sign in Reader Services Access your sacbee.com account Place a classified ad Place an obituary Manage your sacbee.com account Manage your subscription Make a payment BeeBuzzPoints Loyalty Club Order reprints Contact us Stay Connected Subscribe to The Bee Newsletters & Alerts Mobile e-Edition e-Edition on iPad Kindle Sony eReader NOOK Version Kobo Help Archives Contact us Site Feedback In Today's Paper Subscribe to The Bee TODAY Viewpoints News Business Local Election 2012 Crime Obituaries Weather Data Center Investigations Nation/World Photos Blogs/Columnists Sponsored By ROSEVILLE TOYOTA Capitol & California Capitol Alert State Workers Election 2012 Politics State News Jerry Brown Marijuana Budget Prop 8 Blogs/Columnists Sponsored By California Credit Union League Our Region Business Sacto 911 Arrest Logs City Beat Transportation Medical Real Estate Our Towns Education Environment Religion Sponsored By Roseville Toyota Sports Kings/NBA 49ers Raiders High Schools Colleges A's/Giants River Cats UFL Golf Fishing Line Blogs/Columnists Sponsored By JOHN L. SULLIVAN CHEVROLET Living Here Moms & Family Pets Appetizers Food & Wine Home & Garden Outdoors Health & Fitness Books & Media Travel Comics & Games Sponsored By Sutter Health Entertainment Events Movies Dining Things to Do Comics & Games TV Listings Travel Books & Media Music Theater & Art Bee Buzz Points Horoscopes Opinion Editorials Head to Head Viewpoints Letters to the Editor The Swarm California Forum Editorial Board Cars Bee Auto Ads Auto Show Buy/Sell Research Shopping Advice Transportation News Car Photos/Videos Jobs Healthcare/Social Service Careers Career Fairs and Events Post a Resume Who's Hiring Employer Resources Search Classifieds Homes Classified Rentals Classified Home Sales Homefinder.com Apartments.com Commercial Real Estate Community News Classifieds In Memoriams Garage Sale Kit Legal Notices Place a classified ad Find n Save Dealsaver Daily Deal Local Coupons Local Ads Golf Card Web Search powered by YAHOO! SEARCH sacbee.com Web Weather | Traffic 50° F 0 comments | Print Michael Gerson: Catholic vote will remain pivotal for both parties in future elections By Michael Gerson Washington Post By Michael Gerson Last modified: 2012-11-16T04:55:41Z Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 17A Copyright 2012 . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Catholic Church – a politically and ethnically sprawling institution – has no natural home on the American ideological spectrum. Neither major party combines moral conservatism with a passion for social justice. So Catholic leaders have often challenged Democrats to be more pro-life and Republicans to be more concerned about immigrants and the poor. But President Barack Obama's first term was a period of unexpected aggression against the rights of religious institutions. His Justice Department, in the Hosanna-Tabor case, argued against the existence of any "ministerial exception" to employment rules. Obama tried to mandate that Catholic schools, hospitals and charities offer insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients. His revised policy still asserts a federal power to declare some religious institutions secular in purpose, reducing them to second-rate status under the First Amendment. On top of this, Obama ran a stridently pro-abortion re-election campaign, seeking culture-war advantage on an issue he seldom mentioned four years ago. The Catholic hierarchy and more traditional Catholic laymen reacted as you'd expect. Bishops issued pastoral letters in defense of religious liberty. Conservative and pro-life groups organized in battleground states. The result? According to the first cut of exit poll analysis by the Pew Research Center, Obama's support among white Catholics fell to 40 percent – seven points lower than four years ago. It was one of the largest swings of any portion of the electorate. John Green of the University of Akron argues that the religious liberty issue came to "encapsulate other concerns such as abortion and marriage" among many regular mass attendees. In a close election, this reaction might have made all the difference. But the election wasn't particularly close. And the trend among white Catholics was partially offset by Latino Catho.......