Monday, March 22, 2004

Voyage of the Damned

It’s back. Actually, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for the question to be raised.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John F. Kerry (D, Mass.) will be the first Catholic to get the Democratic nomination since John F. Kennedy, another Democratic senator from Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry will also be the first divorced and remarried Catholic to face an incumbent president.

President Bush’s re-election campaign intends to target evangelicals and young conservative Christians. Mr. Bush has taken such steps as endorsing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, publicly bowing his head in prayer before meals, and repeatedly avowing his belief in Jesus Christ. Mr. Bush’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, has been out-front in saying that appealing to the religious right is a paramount goal of the campaign.


Some in Washington are wondering whether the furor [over gay marriage] could be a significant social issue this election, possibly even as important as the war in Iraq and the debate over jobs in deciding the next president. Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry both oppose gay marriage, but Mr. Kerry is against putting a ban on it in the Constitution.

So far no polls are showing that Mr. Kerry’s Catholic religion will come close to being a particle of the thunderbolt that Mr. Kennedy’s was four decades ago. There has been some concern inside the Kerry camp about the fact that he is divorced and remarried and whether this could be a problem for some devout Catholics who do not believe in remarriage.

But in Massachusetts, which has a large Catholic population and which has another Catholic divorced and remarried Democratic senator – Ted Kennedy – Mr. Kerry was re-elected to a fourth Senate term with 81 percent of the vote.

Jim Towhey, the White House director of faith-based initiatives, said, “I’d be very surprised to see [Mr. Kerry’s Catholicism] as a factor in this race.” He said he sees religious tolerance in America growing, not declining.

Paul Weyrich, a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, said if he were advising Mr. Bush, he would tell Mr. Bush that he needs to spend less time with Catholic hierarchy and more time with Catholic-oriented societies, stressing his achievements and positions they approve. (Emphasis added.) [The Blade]

Someone better clue Mr. Towhey into his pals in the Religious Reich. And have we learned nothing from two millennia of history? Religion has been key factor in nearly every aspect of human conflict since the time of the Roman Empire, and it’s responsibile for every battle we’re fighting now. How ironic that something that is supposed to provide comfort and a link to a higher power is the source of cruelty and blind hatred.