Saturday, February 19, 2005

Historical details I didn’t know about the US RC-labour-Democrat connexion
The tie, made during the late 1800s as immigrant labour reacted against unfair management, isn’t as strong throughout history as I’d supposed! As this well-written posting explains:

The first Republican whom Catholics found sympathetic was McKinley
Who egged on by William Randolph Hearst brought America a very stupid war of conquest fuelled by propaganda about the Black Legend of Spain and a need to ‘Christianize’ (that is, protestantize) the well-churched Filipinos.

and by the time the Democrat Cox ran to succeed Wilson (whom Catholics also did not like at all) the majority of the Catholic vote went to the Republicans.
And on that they were right.

HOWEVER, when the Catholic Al Smith ran in 1928, all the latent anti-Catholicism of the Republican Party of the day came boiling to the surface. The campaign against Smith (primarily because of his religion) was vicious and disgusting. Catholics, who felt that they had been deceived and betrayed by the Republicans, returned to the Democratic Party en masse. They stayed loyal to that party
Understandable given the common man’s reaction to the Depression.

until the election of Eisenhower, when they once again gave the majority of their votes to the Republican (Stevenson, the Democrat, was divorced, and not clearly an anti-communist).

The Kennedy campaign brought Catholics back to the Democratic Party
Jack the big nothing didn’t fool everybody: the No. 1 RC in the States, Francis Cardinal Spellman, sensibly favoured Nixon.

and they also preferred Johnson (and his Great Society program) to the right-wing Goldwater, who wanted to abolish Social Security.
And there they were wrong. Goldwater should have been president. Johnson lied in 1964 about being a peace candidate!

However, Catholics voted for Nixon over McCarthy [sic: I think he means McGovern] in 1972, and also preferred Reagan.

The idea of the Catholic voter as a knee-jerk Democrat is therefore a myth.
Now I know. And:

Like evangelicals, they consider moral issues important, although with some difference of approach: for example, like evangelicals they consider homosexual activity immoral; unlike evangelicals, they do not favor criminalizing it.
Essentially ‘where this blog is coming from’.

The biggest difference surveys show between evangelicals and active Catholics is in economic issues -- evangelicals poll two to one in favor of the concept that big government is bad, and that government should not be involved in spending on large social programs. Catholics go two to one in the other direction -- they poll in favor of the concept that sometimes government intervention is necessary to control economic injustices and to provide for the poor. This is not surprising, as it comes from one of the basic theological differences between evangelicals (each of whom sees Christ as his or her PERSONAL savior, and who relies on INDIVIDUAL interpretation of the Bible as the rule of faith) and Catholics (who see themselves as part of the communion of saints, and as components of the larger Mystical Body of Christ.)
The evos were closer to the truth on this one and one doesn’t have to buy their bad theology to get there. A read of some LRC writers, among whom are Roman Catholics who are authentic Catholics, can disabuse well-meaning fellow Christians of socialist notions.

That is, many evos made conservative/libertarian noises as recently as second-term Bill Clinton (whom they feared but who made a serviceable president in retrospect) and the first Bush campaign. All that’s changed now that they’re sort of in charge.

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