by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC
Despite a presidency that was based on attacks on Catholics, with aggressive promotion of abortion and attacks on religious liberty via the HHS mandate, President Barack Obama received the majority of Catholic votes on Tuesday.
Exit polling showed 25 percent of the electorate consisted of Catholic voters and they went for Obama by a 50-48 percentage point margin. Exit polls revealed that churchgoing Americans were more likely to vote for Romney and less frequent churchgoers sided with Obama.
The results are not surprising given that a final Gallup poll showed Catholics favoring Obama 52 to 45 percent.
That makes it appear Catholic Church leaders need to do more to engage nominal Catholics who do not attend religious services frequently and may be less disposed to the pro-life views and teachings of the Church.
“The collision course of the Obama Administration with the Catholic Church could have been averted yesterday, but now it is assured instead,” Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life responded. “Many in Church leadership failed to connect the dots between personnel and policy. They prayed and preached against the HHS mandate, but then were silent about the election, and called the police to remove citizens who leafleted the Church parking lot trying to inform voters about where the candidates stood on this issue.”
But Catholic advocate Deal Hudson says progress was made.
“Catholics, once again represented 25% of the national vote, with Catholics voting for Obama by 49%, and for Romney by 48%, which represents a 5% loss for Obama and a 3% gain for Republicans from 2008,” he noted. “We needed a bigger shift of Catholic voters. “We do not yet have the breakdown of religiously-active Catholic voters, but you can be sure it was close to 60% for Romney.”
“What held down the shift we needed? In our view, it is the growing influence of the Latino Catholic voter. Latinos represented 10% of the vote this year and went 69% for Obama, 30% for Romney,” he added. “We also could have used louder voices among our clergy and our bishops — fewer alphabetical voter guides and more insistence on the civilizational issues at stake.”
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League suggests more battles are forthcoming from a second Obama administration.
“In 2007, Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that the first thing he would do if elected president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Because of opposition from many quarters, including the Catholic League, the bill never got to his desk. But it may now come back, and if it does it could mean that Catholic hospitals would be required to perform abortions lest they lose federal funding,” he told LifeNews.
“The fate of the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that would force Catholic non-profits to pay for abortion-inducing drugs is sure to reach the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “We can’t wait until FOCA and the HHS mandate are thrust upon us, so we need to act now.”
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America said pro-life Catholics need to do more voter outreach.
“We are clearly a divided nation. Women of faith both Evangelical and Catholic voted their values but we did not have the conversation needed to convince our friends and neighbors,” she said.
Hudson, a Catholic pro-life advocate and writer, concludes: “The fight for our Church and our Country, however, remain before us, and there is simply, no giving up, none.”"I, for one, do not concede that the Catholic Church in this nation, or any for that matter, is going to allow a government to roll over its natural, God-given, right to believe, worship, and practice the faith. Even if it take not another four years but another 20 years — God willing! — I will be in that fight.”