Deal W. Hudson
July 19, 2017
There’s been much consternation following the publication of an article in Civiltà Cattolica attacking the alliance between Evangelicals and conservative Catholics in recent presidential elections. The authors, Antonio Spadoro and Marcelo Figueroa, don’t manage to produce a single charge that was not already thrown at President George W. Bush under the marquee heading of “Theocracy.”
The only reason this article is receiving attention is the close connection between Civiltà Cattolica and the Vatican, thus giving the impression that the co-authors speak with the support of the Curia and Pope Francis himself.
I was in charge of outreach to Catholic voters for George W. Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 elections, and subsequently wrote “Onward Christian Soldiers,” a 2008 book about the developing political alliance of Evangelicals and conservative Catholics. Catholics are the swing constituency in American politics, and delivered 14 percent more Catholic votes for George Bush in 2000 than Bob Dole received in 1996. That was a major factor in Bush’s victory.
In 2008 Catholics voted for Obama, but in 2016 they were plus seven for Trump, 52 to 45 percent. White Catholics were plus 23 for Trump, and this was crucially important in the rust belt states that put him over the top. The dynamics I described almost ten years ago in “Onward Christian Soldiers” were still churning in Trump’s direction.
The Democrats didn’t seriously campaign for Catholic votes in 2016, but liberals seem to have finally figured it out, and that’s what’s behind the charges of theocracy. As if Catholics and Evangelicals want to impose some kind of Holy Fascism, Iranian-style.
Spadoro and Figueroa cite three figures — Lyman Steward, Pastor Rousas John Rushdonny, and Norman Vincent Peale — to find Christian Trump supporters guilty of Fundamentalism. They suggest that that’s what Reagan and Bush secretly wanted. But anyone with the slightest acquaintance of either man would roll their eyes at this. Only Italian academics with the visceral hatred for American conservatism could come up with such nonsense over their lattes.
I once asked President Bush what he thought about Rushdoody, the founder of Dominionism, and he answered, “Rush-what-did-you-say?” I had to briefly explain to him that Dominionism taught that the Book of Genesis gave humanity “dominion” over creation. He didn’t seem interested in hearing much more about it. But our diligent co-authors use Dominionism to explain lack of enthusiasm for getting on the climate change bandwagon shown by Trump and his backers.
Nevertheless, our “political Manichaeism” is blameworthy because we employ a “political strategy for success becomes that of raising the tones of the conflictual, exaggerating disorder, agitating the souls of the people by painting worrying scenarios beyond any realism.” Perhaps the co-authors didn’t pay much attention to the highly charged rhetoric of President Obama, such as:
“Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction.” (Emphasis added)
If any one person or party is sounding apocalyptic at the present moment, it’s the Democratic Party and its leadership. Need I illustrate?
And speaking of Obama, the co-authors play the racist card by noting that the fundamentalism embraced by Reagan and Bush was born in the “deep American South” and was composed “mainly of whites.” I guess they’ve never heard of the greatest of all revival preachers during that period, Billy Sunday, who was born in Chicago. Or the fact, somewhat later, that Billy Graham’s career was launched by the Los Angeles Crusade held in 1949.
Attempting to put all Catholic Trump supporters in the worst possible light, the co-authors throw in a few quotes from an organization called Church Militant, led by the very marginal Michael Voris. The authors seem unaware that Voris has played no political role in any presidential election since 2000. In fact, Voris publicly scolded EWTN news director Raymond Arroyo and me for holding a conference call about Donald Trump with some Florida Catholic voters.
The real religious fanatics are people like Spadoro and Figueoa who want to demonize Catholic Republican voters in America. They suppose that American Evangelicals are the cartoonish bigots that our elite media portrays them to be, that they are Hillary’s “deplorables.” That’s nonsense, of course. They’re our neighbors, and we know them to be good and decent people. There was a time when Catholics took some heat from Protestants who worried that we’d take political direction from the Vatican. It turns out that that’s exactly what Spadoro and Figueroa are trying to do — dictate to American Catholic voters. They should be ashamed of themselves.
“Make America Great Again” was the theme of Donald Trump’s campaign and now his administration. Where is the fear in that? The only fear it evokes is in the likes of Spadoro and Figueroa who would rather see the U.S. remain under the thumb of the Clintons, the Obamas, the United Nations, and George Soros.
Read Newsmax: Theocrat Trump Accusation Laughable, Unoriginal | Newsmax.com
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Deal W. Hudson
April 13, 2017
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has issued a statement that “welcomed the State Department’s April 4 announcement that it will withhold federal funding from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) because UNFPA monies go to Chinese agencies that perform forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations.” Cardinal Dolan goes on to praise the Trump administration, but without a specific mention of President Trump who is primarily responsible for the defunding.
“This is a victory for women and children across the globe, as well as for U.S. taxpayers,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We are so grateful to the Trump administration for taking this important action to end U.S. support for UNFPA so long as it remains committed to China’s coercive abortion and sterilization programs.”
Why mention the lack of President Trump’s name? In the month of January alone, during President Trump’s first 11 days in office, the USCCB issued five public statements critical of the president, by name, on the issue of immigration: January 25, January 26, January 27, January 30, January 31. However, Cardinal Dolan did praise President Trump for restoring the Mexico City Policy:
“We applaud President Trump’s action today to restore the Mexico City Policy, which withholds taxpayer funds from foreign non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas (often in violation of the host country’s own laws).”
In the month of February, the USCCB issued two more statements critical of President Trump or his “administration” on immigration, February 17, February 23, while on February 10 praising the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for overthrowing President Trump’s Executive Order for a 90-day moratorium on issuing visas from seven nations on the Middle East.
On February 16, the USCCB issued a statement complaining, “The President has not yet signed the executive order on religious freedom.” On February 16, the USCCB praised the “Message from Modesto,” which specially called for the “disruption” of administration policies, and on February 17, the USCCB urged the “Trump administration” to “Care for Creation.”
In March the basic pattern continues: On March 6, a statement from the USCCB says President Trump’s latest Executive Order still puts vulnerable populations around the world at risk. A “pastoral reflection” on March 22, reiterates the bishop’s concern about immigration policy. And on March 29, the USCCB states, “President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order on March 28, 2017 that rescinds and weakens numerous environmental protections, and effectively dismantles the Clean Power Plan (CPP)…”
Press statements are always carefully worded. The avoidance of addressing the president by name, or the substitution of “administration” or “Trump administration” signifies the unwillingness of the USCCB to treat the new president fairly. The attitude seems to be: use “President Donald J. Trump” when criticizing, but avoid the same when something positive has to be officially recognized. Among all the USCCB statements, only Cardinal Dolan has given the president the respect he deserves.
Read Newsmax: Cardinal Dolan’s Praise for Trump Interrupts USCCB Pattern of Criticism | Newsmax.com
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