How the Democrats got religion


Time Magazine’s cover story this week is based on a poll on religion and American politics.

The three Democratic frontrunners are leading a fundamental shift in how their party thinks about religious Americans, which includes the first party-wide effort to target and court Catholic and evangelical voters. Republicans, meanwhile, have been lining up to receive the seal of approval from Pat Robertson and James Dobson. But at the same time, Mitt Romney has gone to great lengths to avoid talking about his Mormonism, John McCain’s religious advisors quit his campaign in disgust, and when the AP inquired as to what church Rudy Giuliani attended, the former mayor essentially told them to mind their own business.

I commented in the comments section of another thread that I’m waiting for someone to ask a Catholic candidate whether he/she/it agrees with the pope that there’s only one true religion.

Now that would be a fascinating debate.

  • purpleblogdog

    “Now that would be a fascinating debate.”

    It would also be bigoted, as is your post.

    Stop Catholic bashing MPR.

  • Bob Collins

    OK, let me see if I have this right. Asking a Catholic candidate if he/she agrees with the pope’s determination that any other religion is not, in fact, a religion but a community — in a campaign in which other candidates’ — say, southern baptist or other evangelical or Mormonism — religion is part of the discussion, is “Catholic bashing?”

    If religion is going to be fair game in politics — isn’t wasn’t me, for example, who advocated denying communion to Catholic politicians who vote for non-church-sanctioned legislation — Catholicism shouldn’t get a “free pass.”

    Why do you think it should, purpleblogdog?

  • purpleblogdog

    Mr. Collins,

    President Kennedy was asked nearly the same question 47 years ago. Back then you could ask all kinds of really intollerant religious questions. After almost 50 years, you can still bash Catholics and get by without the left raising an eyebrow.

    Why is that that the left panders to Catholics on social justice issues when it is convenient, yet attacks them when it comes to doctrine?

    Are you going to assume Keith Ellison holds the same views as muslim clerics?

  • Bob Collins


    You’re giving me a history lesson on Kennedy. It’s not needed because (a) I’m from Massachusetts and (b) I was alive then.

    It really depends on your definition of “intolerant” where questions are concerned. From what I’ve been able to discern, your definition is “any.”


    You ask if I’m going to “assume Keith Ellison holds the same views as Muslim clerics.” The answer is “no,” but the devil is in the details and the details are (a) I’m not going to assume anything but (b) I am going to ask something.

    Your “Catholic bashing” allegation lacks definition but for that I’ve been able to figure out (you didn’t answer the question posed to your allegation above so that’s all I’m left with).

    Why do you think — in an election that has included specific reference to religion — asking a Catholic about being Catholic is “bashing”? And yet a day or so ago when the question surfaced regarding Pat Robertson and evangelicals, you didn’t post anything about stop “Baptist bashing,” for example?

    Kennedy was asked if he would be taking orders from the Pope. The style of the question was a little over the top, but the reason for it, is not.

    These folks want a job and to the extent they inject moral or religious background into their resume, you bet I have every right to ask about their religion and where IT ends and their politics begins.

    When Catholic bishops — some of them — threatened to deny communion to lawmakers who voted for legislation that ran contrary to church doctrine, what exactly do you think the church was trying to do — other than maintain the sanctity of communion.

    Maybe it’s Catholic bashing, but I’m going to guess it was trying to influence the political decisions of a lawmaker who also happened to be Catholic.

    I cannot answer your question directed to the “left” because I don’t speak for the left. I speak for me. And all I want to do know is as much as I can about someone asking for a vote.

    If that candidate says “yeah, I think a Jew is not as sacred in the eyes of God as a Catholic is,” and “yeah, I don’t think a Baptist is a religion”, then, yes, I have every right in the world to ask that question. And, by the way, I’m going to ask whether a Catholic thinks a Keith Ellison is as close to salvation as a Muslim as you are?

    My question to you remains unanswered. “Why don’t you?”

  • purpleblogdog

    Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

    My question to you is this: If you think it is “facinating debate” to challenge a Catholic about the teachings of the church, why is it less facinating to make a muslim politician squirm when confronting the teachings of his or her church?

    My problem is when certain churches are fair game and not others. Catholic bashing is, whether you are willing to admit it or not, is the last fair game religion when it comes to politically correct bigotry.

  • Bob Collins

    In your rush to shout “stop Catholic bashing” you forgot to read what I wrote. Asking whether a politician agrees with a particular teaching of a church (I think few probably agree with ALL of it) is not the same as challenging the politician on those beliefs.

    So far in the last year, we’ve seen a Muslim asked about Islam and a Mormon asked about the Mormon church.

    Unless I missed something, no candidate has yet been asked about his Catholocism and yet you sound like they’ve been somehow victimized.

    Like I said before, why?

  • purpleblogdog

    “Unless I missed something, no candidate has yet been asked about his Catholocism and yet you sound like they’ve been somehow victimized.”

    You have proposed it. That is the reason for the post.

    Show me any time you have been “wainting for someone to ask a ” candidate whether he/she/ agrees with the ” tenants of their faith and I will leave this alone.

    Edit this out if you like, but please consider this in the future.

  • Bob Collins

    By your reasoning, the people who asked Ellison about the Nation of Islam and, later, about his Islamic faith are bigots merely for asking the question. The people who ask Romney about his faith are bigots, merely for asking the question, the people who asked the candiates about their faith at both the recent GOP and Dem debates are bigots merely for asking the quesiton.

    Obviously, I disagree. I think everything about a candidate is interesting, including thei religion, ESPECIALLY in a campaign in which many are seeking the “religious vote” (read the Time article).

    I ask again…. why do you think Catholics should be treated differently?

    And also — IF — a candiate is guided by his/her faith and if part of that faith says that only Catholics are a true religion, does that become an issue for a president who represents all people?

    Yes or No would do nicely.

  • purpleblogdog

    If you were “waiting to hear a muslim politician” defend the teachings in Iranian madrassas, and define it as “facinating debate” I would question that as well.

    Holding Ellison to be an apologist for all aspects of his Islamic faith (which may vary a lot from cleric to cleric) would never be tolerated by the media, nor should it be.

    Questioning Ellison’s fundraiser held by pro-Hamas CAIR, is a little different.

  • Bob Collins

    Purpledog, you have a fascinating way to change people’s words. I didn’t say, as I’m sure you well know, that I was ‘waiting to hear a muslin politican defend the teachings in Iranian madrassas, and of course I never asked any politicians to separate himself from the Pope, nor did I say I held ellison to be an apologist for all aspects of his Islamic faith.

    What I said of course, is that I’d like to hear candidates talk about his faith, what are the guiding principals, how do they reflect — in a campaign in which people are including religion — their values, how does their religion guide their values. How do they interpret the religion’s teachings, especially as it regards the campaign and their role as president.

    I look forward to such a discussion in some form in this campaign.

    I wonder if any of the candidates will say theirs is the only real religion.