By Tom Quiner
The Fortnight for Freedom rallies around the country reveal the depth of the president’s problem. Barack Obama is losing the Catholic vote.
Here in Des Moines, twenty-five hundred of the Catholic faithful gathered in sweltering heat at the Catholic Pastoral Center on July 1st. We walked a couple of miles in the hundred degree sun to the state capital grounds.
Bishop Richard Pates led the walk. Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad was there. So was Polk County attorney, John Sarcone.
Unlike the Occupy Wall Street protests, ours was dignified. We were clean. We prayed. And here’s a huge difference: hundreds … make that over a thousand American flags were on proud display.
The gathered faithful love their country and her liberties.
They prayed and sang with a fervor that was beautiful. The fervor wasn’t induced by the temperature outdoors; it was induced by the passion burning in their hearts for America and her freedoms.
Barack Obama is taking away our religious freedom. There is no another way to say it. The HHS Mandate would go away today if he so desired. But he doesn’t. He won’t budge in his insistence that faith-based organizations pay for abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception in their employee health insurance plans.
Politically, the stakes are high.
Mr. Obama won 54% of the Catholic vote in the 2008 election nationally. But here in Iowa, he took the state in a landslide, winning 59 percent of the Iowa Catholic vote.
By all accounts, this is going to be a tight election. That means Iowa’s modest six electoral votes will take on added significance this November. Even more, it means that the Catholic vote could swing the state toward the Republican candidate.
Catholic voters present an enticing voting block to politicians: we’re more likely to vote than the general population.
According to Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate (www.CatholicAdvocate.com), we Catholics represent but 16 percent of the state’s population, but 26 percent of the electorate. In other words, Iowa has nearly half a million Catholic voters, eighty percent of whom voted in the last election.
Democrats can’t assume a majority of Catholics will vote for Mr. Obama again. After all, George W. Bush won the Catholic vote by 5 points in 2004.
Much has changed since 2008 for Catholics and the way we view the current president.
The HHS Mandate is but the most recent assault on our religious liberties, resulting in a wave of lawsuits against the Obama Administration.
But there’s more.
Catholic faith is very much animated by Christ’s call to go out and serve our communities. We serve some of the lowliest in society. For example, the Bishop’s Migration and Refugee division reaches out to help women and children who are victims of human trafficking. The Obama Administration cancelled their contract since they refused to refer women for abortions.
But there’s more.
The president refuses to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act which was passed in a bipartisan vote and signed into law by a Democratic president.
But there’s more.
Democrats worked hard to keep the anti-abortion Stupak amendment out of Obamacare. But in spite of the president’s insistence that his Executive Order would keep taxpayers from funding human abortion, it didn’t. Catholic tax dollars are indirectly funding human abortion through back channels.
And there’s more, but not space to list all Catholic concerns about this president’s policies.
Perhaps it comes down to a dramatic philosophical divide. Barack Obama views human life as a disease that needs to be limited, at the very least, and eradicated if inconvenient. On the other hand, Catholics view life as a beautiful manifestation of God’s love.
Back in 2008, Barack Obama didn’t tell us he was going to aggressively stake out radical policies that were so anti-Catholic. He didn’t tell us he would launch blatant assaults on our religious liberty, whether you’re a Catholic or not.
Now we know.
If the Fortnight for Freedom rally is any indication, Barack Obama had better not count on the Catholic vote this year.