A Concerned Catholic looks at the Democratic Party


A Concerned Catholic looks at the Democratic Party

By John Mallon

The Daily Oklahoman, 03/10/2000


BEGINNING with the great waves of European immigrants—including Irish and Italian Catholics—in the latter half of the 19th century, an informal alliance formed among the Roman Catholic Church in America, labor unions and the Democratic Party. 

The struggle for acceptance by Catholics in American society reached its zenith in 1960 with the election of John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, as the first Catholic president of the United States. The grandson of Irish Catholic immigrants, who no doubt were greeted by signs reading "Irish need not apply" as they sought jobs to support their families, rose to the presidency. 

Sometime after Kennedy's heartbreaking assassination things rapidly went downhill for this old alliance. Since then - while maintaining a pretense of being the party of "compassion," the "little guy" and "the poor”—the Democratic Party has betrayed the core values of Catholics by abandoning the poorest and "littlest guy" of all: the child in the womb. 

One need look no further than the amorality of the past eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration to see that the amorality which three decades ago gave us abortion on demand, for any or no reason for the entire nine months of pregnancy, has come to fruition and infected other areas of public and private life and has utterly polluted the Democratic Party. Immorality in one sphere of life quickly spreads to others. 

Yet some Catholics are still in denial about this betrayal. They think increasingly hollow rhetoric about "social justice" will stand in the face of 40 million unborn dead since 1973. 

The moral capital of the Democratic Party is so bankrupt that the best Al Gore and Bill Bradley could do, during their recent presidential debate, was stand and accuse each other of being a bigger racist - live at the Apollo! 

In effect, each is trying to exploit the laurels of the noble civil rights movement of the 1960s. Meanwhile the "man from Hope" is "solving" the "problem" of inner-city blacks by attempting to eliminate them, with stepped-up calls for more "family planning" funds for those target areas. 

The big labor unions continue to support the Democratic Party, posing a serious dilemma for Catholics whose ancestors they helped to lift up. One may even hear right-to-work legislation condemned from the pulpit from time to time - while those forced to join unions in order to feed their families see hard earned union dues (or "agency fees") going to Democratic candidates whose public positions are morally repugnant and inimical to the Catholic faith. 

No person, party or philosophy has a monopoly on virtue, but it's no wonder that millions of faithful Catholics have moved away from the party of their forebears and toward the party of Lincoln. Their new political home is imperfect, but a better fit than the party of Clinton. 

Nobody cried "separation of church and state" a few decades ago when the saying was, as a local priest candidly related to me, "You can't be a good Catholic and vote Republican!" That was never quite true, of course—but now, unfortunately, it looks like the opposite is true. 

Mallon is a contributing editor at Inside the Vatican magazine. 

The opinions of the writer are not necessarily those of The Oklahoman. 


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