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Left at the Altar: How the Democrats Lost the Catholics and How the Catholics Can Save the Democrats Hardcover – June 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"Few observers are as steeped as Winters is in the theory and practice of polities in both the Roman Catholic Church and the United States of America, and few are as passionately engaged in seeking a redemptive common ground." -- Hendrik Hertzberg

About the Author

Michael Sean Winters has worked as a speechwriter for top political candidates including General Wesley Clark (ret.), and is currently completing his doctorate in Church History at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He has written for The New Republic, the New York Times, Washington Post, Washingtonian, Dallas Morning News,, and America, and has appeared as a commentator on “ABC News” and “Capital Sunday.” He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (June 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465091660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465091669
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,906,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andre L. Foster on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is really smart. It goes all the way back to FDR and the New Deal to discuss how Catholics have been involved politically with the Democrats. I hope Obama and his campaign team read it - Obama did badly among Catholics in the primaries. Hillary beat him 70%-30% among Catholics in Pennsylvania. This book will give him ideas about how to win them back. The last chapter on Latinos is especially good.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jeri VINE VOICE on August 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Winters is a good writer, and this is a thoughtful and engaging book, although it does slant left. Essentially, the bulk of the book is a history of Catholics and the Democratic party. This part is outstanding.

There is only a short chapter or two at the end which dealt with the future of the Democratic party and Catholics. This surprised me, given the title.

Winters suggests that the huge, new population of Catholic Hispanics in the United States will eventually create a solid majority of Democrats. "Hispanics may change America...The Catholic Left...can lead the way by making local parishes into effective melting pots" (p 220).

His sympathy for the new immigrants is touching, but I doubt he's right about their connection to the Democratic party.

How can practicing Catholics vote Democratic so long as Democrats insist on abortion on demand?

Winters says "the Left must challenge the Church to put less emphasis on changing the law and more emphasis on changing the culture. The Left must say that although the Church is free to try to persuade women not to abort, it cannot coerce them" (p 187).

There is nothing unclear about Catholic teaching and belief about abortion. You can pick up a Catechism of the church in any bookstore and it will tell you that Catholics believe abortion is a terrible moral wrong. It is the murder of a child. By allowing its legalization 40 million babies have been killed. Catholics cannot vote for anyone who supports abortion.

The Democratic party has tied itself to gay marriage and abortion.

So, what will happen to those millions and millions of Hispanics flooding the US? Right now, many vote Democratic because of immigration issues.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter P. Fuchs on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
All you have to know to understand the odd point of view of this book, and its significant omissions, is that the writer has turned out to be an admirer and de facto defender of Jerry Falwell and a lot of his Republican exploits. This hardly seems to be based in any kind of analysis of day-to-day normality of everyday Catholics actually being more liberal than people understand. Rather it is based in the odd brew the author has cooked up in which the vastly reactionary positions of the Catholic Church nowadays can somehow be seen as less reactionary than they are. It is a rabbit-out-of-a-hat attempt, which has little to do with real Democratic Party thinking. All this from a scribbler who recently careened into the realm of cringe-worthy hyperbole by assailing President Obama with the words J'Accuse. Thus, the only meaning to "left at the altar" in this regard, is that the author feels like a jilted bride whose fabulous lace dress was disrespected, and hardly a modern day Dreyfusard.
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