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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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"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
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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. Polling suggests many do not even know which party supports abortion.
But wait. Sooner or later these immigrants will reach the middle class, and once they do, if they remain Catholic, they know they can't vote for anyone who supports abortion.
So I believe Winters is simply wrong in his conclusion.
One thing his book did not emphasize was the history of anti-Catholicism in America. There are only a few pages and a very brief mention of the Know Nothing party whose party had only one plank: to stop Catholic immigration.
Nor does he mention the issue which has been the flash point for anti-Catholicism the last 150 years--public funding for Catholic schools.
Public schools originally taught Protestantism and anti-Catholicism. Simple as that. They used the King James bible and a curriculum which sometimes called the pope the anti-Christ.
As recently as 1971 the Supreme Court Justice William Douglas wrote, in regards to funding Catholic schools: "In the parochial schools Roman Catholic indoctrination is included in every subject. History, literature, geography, civics and science are given a Roman Catholic slant. The whole education of the child is filled with propaganda. That, of course, is the very purpose of such schools...That purpose is not so much to educate, but to indoctrinate and train, not to teach Scripture truths and Americanism, but to make loyal Roman Catholics."
Actually, things haven't changed that much. I believe many Democrats today would deny funding to Catholic schools for exactly the same reason.