Friday 7 November 2008

Bishops fail to deter Catholics from voting for Obama

Via Norm: a breakdown of how different religious groups voted in the US presidential election (percentages for Obama on the left, McCain on the right):

45 54 Protestant
54 45 Catholic
78 21 Jewish
24 74 Evangelical Christians

Norm sees an important message in the overwhelming Jewish vote for Obama (if nothing else, it demonstrates that those who tried to alienate Jewish voters by misrepresenting the Democratic candidate as anti-Israel failed miserably). Others have pointed to the slight swing to Obama among evangelical Christians: younger evangelicals seemed positively to like his message, while the rest were just never very keen on McCain. Could this mark the begin of the end for the religious right as a political force?

I was encouraged by the fact that Obama won the majority of the Catholic vote (something that devout Catholic John Kerry failed to do in 2004), despite the best efforts of some members of the hierarchy to convince their flock that voting for the pro-choice Obama was equivalent to endorsing homicide and might even imperil their immortal souls. In the end, it seems that most Catholic voters preferred to support the candidate whose position echoed Catholic teaching on a whole range of moral and social issues, rather than follow those who, once again, tried to turn the election into a referendum on a single issue - abortion. For these voters it must also be gratifying that the vice-president-elect is, like Kerry and Ted Kennedy, a devout but liberal-minded Catholic.

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