In a week that saw a spate of anti-Catholic rumination by the media on the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, others in the political spectrum were also concerned with religious issues. In their continuing confusion regarding these matters, some Democrats seek to placate the faithful, while others look to eliminate religion from the public sphere altogether.
One of the former — sort of — is 2008 White House hopeful Senator Joseph Biden. The Delaware Democrat — whose presidential run in 1987 was tripped up by plagiarism charges — recently took to the hustings of Kentucky to convince voters there that he really was one of them. In a state where President Bush beat John Kerry by twenty points in 2004, Biden acknowledged the problem:
“We have put up too many candidates who can’t connect with middle-class Americans. In the last two [presidential elections], the Democratic Party has lost its base, the middle-class votes….And we have played into the hands of the Republicans. We’ve allowed so-called social issues to be so divisive.”
Religion is one of the issues that divide liberals from folks in red states like Kentucky. Once a dependable part of the “Solid South” that voted exclusively for Democrats, it’s now a Republican stronghold. Part of the reason is that Kentuckians, like most Americans, take their religion seriously.
Yet in a state that is overwhelmingly Christian, including over half a million Catholics, you’d think Biden would stay away from comments like, “If I’m the nominee, Republicans will be sorry. The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”
Mr. Biden’s charming and reverent reference to his Marian devotion aside, his comments illustrate the anger and bewilderment many in his party feel toward the “religious right.” The secular left simply doesn’t comprehend that it takes more than just a politician’s profession of faith to win the votes of those for whom religion is not merely a so-called social issue.
Biden, like many Catholic politicians, tries to separate his religion from his job. And as any Christian knows, this is not an option; if the two are in conflict, you have to renounce one or the other. Biden actually alluded to this last year in referring to some Republicans as “a little like me as a Roman Catholic denying the existence of the Trinity. It is not possible to do.”
What he does find possible however, is to deny other basic precepts of the Code of Canon Law of his religion, such as unalterable opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage; the last of which he calls “inevitable.” He continues, “It’s going to be something we have to go through as part of the maturation process of the nation.”
Last year, Biden and his liberal brethren tried to pooh-pooh the abortion issue by claiming they voted “Catholic” on issues like the death penalty, immigration, gun-control, and increasing the minimum wage; none of which are covered by Canon Law. Said Dick Durbin with a straight face, “Unfortunately, recent media attention has focused on one or two priorities of the Catholic Church, while obscuring others.”
It seems all wings of the Democratic Party — while still officially endorsing the practice of killing infants in the womb — wish the word “abortion” would simply disappear. Interviewer Chris Matthews was amazed last week when DNC Chairman Howard Dean even balked at uttering the politically-correct term “pro-choice”: “Now, you’re getting hesitant on the war and hesitant on abortion rights. It’s very hard to get clarity from your party.”
After seven attempts by Matthews to clarify the party’s position on abortion, what was Dean’s final response? “A woman and a family have a right to make up their own minds about their health care without government interference. That’s our position.”
Abortion as health care and same-sex marriage as a maturation process. These are precisely the types of euphemistic deceptions that only widen the gap between Democrats and voters concerned with so-called social issues.
Meanwhile, back in Kentucky, State Senator and former Democrat Governor Julian Carroll bravely maintained, “If we define who we are, the middle class will vote Democratic again.”
They’d better start saying their prayers.