CatholicVote peddles far-right politics in religious dredging

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Every now and then the algorithmic gods decide to have a little fun. And so, last week, I received in the mail a “Catholic Opinion Research Poll” from the right-wing group CatholicVote.org. “Poll” Shows Almost Everything Wrong About The Current State Of The Church In The United States

First, this is not really a poll, but an in-depth, sophisticated poll. Push polls are a form of negative publicity that has been condemned by the American Association for Public Opinion Research as “an insidious form of negative campaigning, disguised as a political poll.” – phone calls disguised as research aimed at persuading large numbers of voters and influencing election results, rather than measuring opinions. “

So, for example, when this CatholicVote “survey” asks, “Why do you think the leaders of the National Democratic Party, including Joe Biden, continue to omit God when they cite official documents from our nations? It is not really your opinion that they are after. They try to smear the president, who is often mistaken, as anti-God. They also attack, unwittingly, the patriotism of the Founding Fathers who omitted God from the Constitution.

Interestingly, the group is also pushing polls on a church issue. “Do you think that politicians who promote these radical left policies that directly violate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church are causing confusion and division, and that they should not be running for Holy Communion?” Sorry, but in the Catholic Church we don’t decide such complicated issues by doing a poll.

Second, the “poll” seeks to smear all Democrats with the extreme statements of a few. He quotes a flippant remark made by US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about a statue of Father Damien from Molokai and a tweet from activist Shaun King. So? Just as I don’t believe everyone who voted for Trump is racist, I don’t believe all liberals cling to every word that comes from Ocasio-Cortez, let alone every tweet from someone who doesn’t. has no official affiliation with the Democratic Party. It would be like equating everyone who voted for Trump with the racists who marched through Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting, “The Jews will not replace us.”

In any political coalition, there are nuances of opinion. On some issues I agree with Ocasio-Cortez and on others I do not. “If you agree with me on nine out of twelve questions, vote for me,” New York Mayor Ed Koch used to say. “If you agree with me on 12 of the 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.”

Third, the purpose of this exercise is not at all a matter of opinion, but a matter of fundraising. “The only way we can fund this BATTLE PLAN for the all-important 2022 Congress midterm elections is with donations faithful Catholics like you who love America and do not want to see our great nation destroyed forever by the radical anti-God and anti-family left, “the letter read.

The language is meant to ignite: “only”, “A BATTLE PLAN”, “all-important”, “faithful”, “destroyed forever”. This hyperbole works with some people and causes them to check the boxes marked “$ 20” or “$ 50” or even “$ 500”. And that’s after you donate $ 10 as a “survey processing contribution.”

Nothing, let us repeat nothing, of this “survey” speaks well of those who sent it, not as Americans engaged in politics, let alone as Catholics.

I am aware that there are groups on the left who seek to baptize their political positions. The Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, has a “progressive faith and politics project” that does not deviate one iota from the creed of secular progressivism. The Faithful America group is more of an activist organization than a think tank, and some of its emails and petitions make me cringe, but nothing as crass and crass as the CatholicVote “poll.”

If you want to know if you value your faith more than your politics, there is a simple test that applies equally to Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. Ask yourself on what issue your faith makes you differ from the position taken by the ideology or party with which you most identify. Or ask if your political preference has distorted your understanding of church teaching in a way that distorts that teaching.

I think many liberals and conservatives have forced their understanding of religious freedom into a partisan mold, rather than letting the actual teaching of the church – or the Founding Fathers, for that matter – shape their understanding of it. important right.

Unfortunately, how many commentators can you count who are willing to swim against the tide because their faith requires them to?

Myopia is a moral flaw that can be found across the political and ideological spectrum. What CatholicVote is doing is much worse. The organization uses discredited methods to spread misleading information and ignite grassroots passions. He peddles political propaganda and tries to conceal it in a religion which is not reducible to any political position.

It is bad for politics and worse for religion. CatholicVote is a counter-witness to the Gospel, a scandal for the faithful.


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