In the wake of President Trump’s election, the Democratic Party that nominated the first Roman Catholic for president, Al Smith, and elected the only Roman Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, has been trying to divine how best to restore its appeal to “blue collar” voters—a vast swath of whom are culturally conservative Catholics.
Yes, that’s correct. For many reasons, including union affiliation and family tradition, many culturally conservative Catholics still consider themselves Democrats. In the 1980s, these voters were called “Reagan Democrats” because, while they loved the Gipper, their love for him did not extend to his political party, which never captured their affections in quite the way he did. We saw this with Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, as many of those traditional Democratic voters returned to their party of origin, believing Clinton was a “moderate.” Hillary Clinton, of course, has never matched her spouse’s appeal to these voters. In the Midwest especially, blue-collar, culturally conservative Catholics voted for Donald Trump because they were fed up with Washington’s “swamp”—notably the elite’s contempt for traditional morality and for those who, however imperfectly, attempt to stand by it. Most people dislike the coercive imposition of elitist secular dogma as the nation’s “civil religion.”
At the moment, notwithstanding the “Russiagate” fable and their incessant attacks upon President Trump, the Democratic Party’s efforts to entice these culturally conservative Catholics back into the fold has met one all-important obstacle: the Democratic Party.
Driven and riven by the hateful Left, it is at once revealing and ironic that the Democratic Party would unwittingly expose its loathing of faithful Catholic voters by applying an unconstitutional religious test to law professor Amy Barrett during her confirmation hearing for a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It stretches credulity to expect that Catholics would not notice this was an infringement of Barrett’s First Amendment rights. You don’t exactly need a law degree to figure that out.
Feeling “very uncomfortable” with Barrett’s past exercise of her constitutional right to the free exercise of religion—i.e., being a faithful Catholic—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) patronizingly impugned the nominee: “You know, dogma and law are two different things. And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.”
Gee, what issue would that be, senator? Never mind pointing out to Feinstein that “large numbers of people have fought for years in this country” to protect the sanctity of life. But in the Left’s secular civil religion, only those who toe the line of legally allowing unborn children to be butchered on demand are worthy of consideration and confirmation to the federal bench. In sum, faithful Catholics need not apply.
Sounding as if he were Joe McCarthy and Torquemada’s love child, Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) inquisitorial line was blunt: “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” Hey, Dick, why didn’t you follow that one up with “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” This is particularly rich coming from a person who, while a U.S. representative, was pro-life but converted to the pro-abortion position just before he ran for senate. Say what you will about Durbin, but he sure leveraged a better return on his divestment from “orthodox” Catholicism than 30 pieces of silver.
It is all too easy and painful to note there would be an apocalyptic outcry if one took these senators’ bigoted statements and substituted a religion other than “Catholic.” But the hateful Left has long targeted Catholicism for extermination—save those who forsake its infallible doctrine on the sanctity of life. Put simply, embracing Catholic apostates while excommunicating faithful Catholics from the ranks of “civil” society, the Left is attempting to redefine a “good” Catholic as Nancy Pelosi, not Paul Ryan.
Truth is, dogma is not exclusive to religion. The hateful Left and their U.S. Senate inquisitors view politics as life; faithful Catholics see politics as part of life. It’s an age-old conflict. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the patron saints of Leftism, wanted a “civil religion” that must be believed above all others. In consequence, the hateful Left schemes to foist their civil religion upon Americans by fiat, fear, and force. Resisters—such as faithful Catholics—would, according to Rousseau, be “forced to be free.”
Fortunately, in Caesar’s realm, there remains (for now) one place where the Democratic Party’s outreach to faithful Catholics cannot extend and where faithful Catholics cannot be forced to do anything: the voting booth.
Given these recent revelations, let us hope that in a moment of blessed reciprocity, blue-collar, culturally conservative Catholic voters will freely, fearlessly, and loudly speak this dogma: “Democrats need not apply.”
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