Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Catholic Vote—A Closer Look 

Posted by Earl at 11:50 PM

Pres. and Mrs. Bush campaigning in Richland, WIAs Geoff Earle writes in today's issue of The Hill:
Bush's campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, is predicting that Bush will win both the electoral vote and the popular vote on election night. He said the president could prevail even if Kerry were to pull out victories in Pennsylvania and Ohio—an outcome that is a distinct possibility.

"I am confident we're going to win Ohio and Florida," Mehlman said at a Christian Science Monitor lunch yesterday. He said Bush was "in the ball game" in Michigan and Pennsylvania, ahead in Wisconsin and Iowa, and "very close" in New Mexico. "All of these are states that were blue last time that are now within the margin of error today," Mehlman said.
As we enter the closing stretch of the presidential race, "both candidates are spending their last days trying to fire up their own supporters while also trying to pick off wavering supporters from their opponents," Australia's Financial Reviewreports.
Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said this is why the president was holding a bus tour in the more rural, western half of Wisconsin. "It's an area of the state where we feel we have room for improvement," Stanzel said. "Western Wisconsin is home to many conservative Democrats who share the president's values. That includes the sanctity of marriage and right to life. Kerry is 'out of step' here."

While Bush did three campaign stops in Wisconsin, he also flew out to Iowa for another day of stumping in that state and the strategy was the same. In his appearance in Dubuque, Bush planned to try to appeal to conservative Catholic voters who dislike Kerry's pro-choice stance, Stanzel said.
With all this in mind, let's take a closer look at how the Catholic vote is shaping up in two key battleground states.

President Bush wrapped up a two-day blitz of Iowa in Dubuque on Tuesday with a sharp indictment of Democrat John Kerry's record on cultural issues..."The final clear choice in this election is on the values that are crucial to keeping our families strong. And here, my opponent and I are miles apart," Bush said at a late-afternoon rally at the Grand River Center.

"I believe marriage is a sacred commitment, a pillar of our civilization....But Senator Kerry was part of an out-of-the-mainstream minority that voted against the Defense of Marriage Act," Bush said, prompting a chorus of boos from 4,500 supporters at the rally. "Republicans and Democrats came together and agreed we should ban the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion....But my opponent was part of an out-of-the-mainstream minority that voted against the ban."

On his second campaign stop in Democrat-heavy Dubuque, Bush was hoping to improve on the support he received in 2000 by focusing on issues critical to some of the city's large Roman Catholic population.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore beat Bush by about 6,000 votes in Dubuque County, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 10,000. Bush aides said they hoped to suppress Kerry's support among devout Roman Catholics, who disagree with Kerry's support for abortion rights and his opposition to a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Bush opposes abortion rights and has called for an amendment banning gay marriage.

Kerry's campaign said Bush's emphasis on cultural issues was an attempt to divide and distract voters. ("Bush Accents Values, Taxes,"The DesMoines Register, October 27, 2004)

Bush lost Iowa to Gore by 4,144 votes, less than one-third of a percentage point, in 2000.


Voters who "take[their] Christianity seriously" are "a prime target of President George W. Bush's campaign."

He is counting on religious voters—especially women—to win a state that Democrat John Kerry can't afford to lose. And unlike 2000, when he lost here by four points, Bush operatives have been organizing almost pew by pew....

Bush's "values" push has persuaded some Democrats. "Abortion is above all other issues for me," Sandy Beveridge said at her door. "I don't think I can vote for Kerry."...

As part of his appeal to the state's huge Catholic population, Bush recently was granted an audience with Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who, like many bishops, had said Catholics had "a duty and responsibility" to back candidates who upheld church teachings on "life" issues. Kerry's response was to say he "respects" his church and its leaders, "but I respectfully disagree."

Bush has volunteers in every one of the state's 1,000 Catholic parishes. This weekend, as part of a huge get-out-the-vote effort that didn't exist in 2000, volunteers will hand out pamphlets at churches that compare the candidates' positions on a variety of issues, from abortion to tax cuts for children in religious schools.

"If you follow the teachings of the Catholic church, you can't vote for Kerry," said Rob Gleason, who runs Bush's Catholic outreach in Pennsylvania. "I was stunned that [Al] Gore got the majority of Catholic votes here. We're doing every thing we can to make sure that doesn't happen again."...

Bush has a prayer here in part because of inroads with Democratic Catholics and evangelicals. If Bush wins this state, and thus the presidency, he literally can thank God—and thousands of volunteers who spread his and Bush's word. It would mean Bush's religious strategy netted more new voters than it repelled. It would mean his gamble paid off. ("Strategy Could Turn Women Off," Newsday, October 27, 2004)

Bush lost Pennsylvania to Gore by 4% in 2000.

Supplemental Reading:

Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch

Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.


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Contributing Editors:

Oswald Sobrino of
Catholic Analysis

Earl E. Appleby of
Times Against Humanity

Jeff Miller of
The Curt Jester

Ad Limina Apostolorum

Christopher Blosser of
Against The Grain

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Kerry's Critics


Ad Limina Apostolorum
The Black Republican
The Blog From The Core
Catholics for Bush [Blog]
Catholic Light
Defensor Fidei (Jimmy Akin)
Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.
The Galvin Opinion
Just Being Frank
Laudem Gloriae
Let's Try Freedom
Mark Shea
[The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian]
The Mighty Barrister
Open Book
Thrown Back
TriCoastal Commission


Catholics Against Kerry
De Fide
Kerry Wrong For Catholics
Priests For Life

News Resources

Google News
Mallon's Media Watch
New York Times
Yahoo News

Kerry Communion Watch @

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?




National Catholic Reporter
National Catholic Register
The Hill
Crisis Magazine
National Review
Weekly Standard

Related Documents & Articles

Worthiness To Recieve Communion: General Principles
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Evangelium Vitae
Pope John Paul II

Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion, from Archbishop Donoghue (Atlanta, GA), Bishop Baker (Charleston, SC) and Bishop Jugis (Charlotte, NC).
August 4, 2004

Catholics in Political Life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 7, 2004.

Catholic Politicians and Bishops. By Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis. America June 21-28, 2004.

A Time For Honesty, Pastoral Statement by The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark. May 5, 2004.

Why Communion Could Be Denied to Anti-Life Legislators. Interview with Father Thomas Williams, dean of the School of Theology of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Why Don't Catholic Politicians Practice What the Catholic Church Preaches?, by Judie Brown. Washington Dispatch April 19, 2004.

How to tell a Duck from a Fox: Thinking with the Church as we look toward November, by Archbishop Chaput. Denver Catholic Register April 14, 2004.

On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility, a Pastoral Letter by La Crosse Bishop Raymond L. Burke.

Blood On Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians, by Mark Stricherz. Crisis May 2003.

The Failure of Catholic Political Leadership, by Robert P. George & William E. Saunders. Crisis 18, No. 4 (April 2000).

Denying Holy Communion: A Case History, by Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida. [PDF Format].

Ten questions regarding the denial of the Eucharist, by Barbara Kralis.

Recommmended Reading

John Kerry, Abortion and the Catholic Church

Irreconcilable Differences", by Matthew Mehan. NRO Sept. 16, 2004.

John Courtney Murray and the 'Liberal Catholic' Justification of Abortion Investigative report by Christopher Blosser. August 30, 2004.

"Please answer the question, Senator Kerry", The Mighty Barrister. August 2, 2004.

You wouldn't even ask. Fr. Pavone (Priests for Life). July 2004.

Kerry isn't making abortion stand clear, by Raymond J. Keating. Newsday July 27, 2004.

Senator Kerry May Be Human . . . But is He a Person?, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 23, 2004.

Kerry's Catholic Problem, by Brent Bozell. July 7, 2004.

The Body Politic and the Body of Christ: Candidates, Communion and the Catholic Church. Debate btw/ Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and George Weigel. June 23, 2004.

The Kerry challenge, by George Weigel. May 5, 2004.

Rites and Wrongs: Why John Kerry should not take communion, by Philip F. Lawler. Wall Street Journal April 30, 2004.

John Kerry's Catholic Problem", by Cal Thomas. April 26, 2004.

Kerry Distorting Catholic Doctrine. interviews George Weigel. April 16, 2004.

"Personally Opposed, But…" Five Pro-Abortion Dodges, by Todd M. Aglialoro. Crisis April 1, 2004.

On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

Reagan vs. Reagan and The Stem-Cell Cover-Up, Catholic Kerry Watch, August 14, 2004.

Senator Kerry dismisses religious convictions as "ideology"  Catholic Kerry Watch. August 9, 2004.

Ron Reagan & Functionalism, Revisited, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 29, 2004.

Out of Touch, by Michael Fumento. Refuting Kerry's claims on the use of embryonic stem cells. Citizen Magazine August 2004.

Stem Cell Defection, by Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review August 16, 2004.

Stem Cell Research: Fact Sheets, Letters to Congress and Articles from the USCCB.

On Voting, "Proportionality" and Cardinal Ratzinger's Memorandum

What Ratzinger Said, by James Akin. Sept. 9, 2004.

Bishops Refute Flawed Theology (of Andrew Greeley) Barbara Kralis. August 22, 2004.

Thoughts on Proportionality, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 12, 2004.

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