Friday, February 29, 2008

McCain Endorsed by Anti-Catholic Minister

NOTE: I post the following because it is the big news of the day as to Catholicism and the 2008 Presidential Election. I think it is an open question as to if (and to what degree) candidates need to be held accountable to every action and opinion of those who endorse them. Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama are honorable men and neither can be justly called anti-Catholic. The so-called "religious right" includes some troubling elements. It presents a difficultly for a candidate seeking their support without supporting all aspects and elements of this movement.
Also, Mr. Donohue is not always the most temperate and thoughtful Catholic commentator.

McCain embraces bigoted Pastor Hagee

Presidential candidate John McCain said he was honored by an endorsement by Pastor John Hagee, an evangelical who, while he is pro-Israel, has referred to the Catholic Church as "the Great Whore".

Thursday, February 28, 2008 By William Donohue

Yesterday, Senator John McCain said he was “very honored by Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement.” The Republican presidential hopeful also called Hagee “the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement,” citing the minister’s pro-Israel stance. Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this today:“There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but are not anti-Catholic. John Hagee is not one of them. Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’
To hear the bigot in his own words, click here. Note: he isn’t talking about the Buddhists.“In Hagee’s latest book, Jerusalem Countdown, he calls Hitler a Catholic who murdered Jews while the Catholic Church did nothing. ‘The sell-out of Catholicism to Hitler began not with the people but with the Vatican itself,’ he writes.

“For the record, Hitler persecuted the Catholic Church and was automatically excommunicated in 1931—two years before he assumed power—when he acted as best man at Joseph Goebbel’s Protestant wedding. Hitler even bragged about his separation from the Church.
As for doing nothing about the Holocaust, Sir Martin Gilbert reminds us that Goebbels denounced Pope Pius XII for his 1942 Christmas message criticizing the Nazis (the New York Times lauded the pope for doing so in an editorial for two years in a row).

Much to Hagee’s chagrin, Gilbert also says that Pius XII saved three quarters of the Jews in Rome , and that more Jews were saved proportionately in Catholic countries than Protestant countries. Indeed, Israeli diplomat Pinchas Lapide credited the Catholic Church with saving 860,000 Jews. No religion can match that.“Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee.”

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Catholic Principal Inspired by Obama

Obama keeps packing them in, this time at St. John Arena

The Columbus Dispatch February 28, 2008

By Darrel Rowland and Catherine Candisky

...Yesterday, Obama drew what looked to be around 8,000 to the old basketball facility, and that figure was smaller than crowds in Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati.

"It's history in the making, and I wanted to be part of it," said Mr. Laws, 53, a parks supervisor in Chicago whose son works in the Obama campaign. Both Mr. and Mrs. Laws, a Catholic school principal, had purchased and donned "Buckeyes for Obama" T-shirts.

Ersell Jeffers, 74, of Columbus, waited in line 11/2 hours: "I was so excited I didn't know I was cold until I got inside."

Not since taking a day off work in 1961 to watch John F. Kennedy's inauguration has Jeffers been more excited about a political candidate.

"I watch Obama on TV all the time. He is so inspiring. He gives you a message," she said. "We need change in Washington."

Interesting Data on Protestant Voters

New poll demonstrates political diversity of evangelical voters

February 19, 2008 -- Faith in Public Life and the Center for American Progress Action Fund commissioned a poll in two Super Tuesday states, Missouri and Tennessee, to demonstrate what our television network pollsters are missing. Their poll, released last week, showed:
One-third of all white evangelical voters in both states participated in the Democratic primaries.
There were 160,000 evangelical Democratic voters in Missouri and 180,000 evangelical Democratic voters in Tennessee. That's as many or more than all African American voters, all voters over 65, or all voters who said the Iraq war is the most important issue facing the country in those states.

Majorities of evangelical voters in both states support a broader issue agenda that goes beyond abortion and same-sex marriage to include ending poverty, protecting the environment, and tacking HIV/AIDS.

News outlets are picking up the story...

Peter Steinfels column, New York Times, "Evangelical Democrats, Exit Polls and a Matter of Balance", 2/2/08

Chicago Tribune, "WWED: What will evangelicals do?" 2/13/08

Jefferson City News Tribune (Missouri), "Poll finds evangelicals vote in both parties", 2/12/08

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mary, Queen of Viet Nam Parish Welcomes Senator Obama

Pam Dashiell (pictured) of Holy Cross has a lot to say: about the pace of storm recovery, about social and environmental justice, and about the strength of creating change as a community. And Barack Obama listened.

The junior senator from Illinois was in town Sunday morning, the first of several presidential candidates from either party to arrive for the Katrina Anniversary this week. This was his fourth time in New Orleans since the hurricane. After attending an early-morning service at First Emanuel Baptist Church, he toured a section of Gentilly – where he spoke of creating a national catastrophic insurance pool and directing federal resources to local health care, education and law enforcement agencies.

From there, he went across town to Mary Queen of Viet Nam Church, a fixture in the Vietnamese community of New Orleans East. That’s where he met Pam and 75 other community activists and members of All Congregations Together. During his visit yesterday, Obama said the federal government needs to rebuild New Orleans on a new foundation grounded in strong public infrastructure, including levees that can withstand a 100-year storm:
"Let New Orleans be the place where we strengthen those bonds of trust, where a city rises up on a new foundation that can be broken by no storm. Let New Orleans become the example of what America can do when we come together, not a symbol of what we couldn't do."