A month ago I wrote here about a “Catholic Voting Scorecard” prepared by Catholic Democrats to remind voters and the media that abortion isn’t the only issue on which the Conference of Bishops has taken a contentious stance, and that it shares more of them in common with the Democrats than the Republicans. Now Nathan Newman shares a survey of Catholic Senators compiled by Senator Durbin:
Unsurprisingly, Democratic Senators do poorly on the pro-life rating, but the news is in the Domestic and Foreign Policy ratings. Using the stated legislative priorities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Durbin has ranked the Senators on Catholic positions from the minimum wage to the right to unionize on the domestic front to the Iraq War Resolution and Global AIDS funding on the international side. And some Catholic Republicans are way off the Church’s legislative priorities. Senator Sununu and Santorum received the lowest domestic ratings (23%) with Bunning and Santorum tied with the lowest ratings in foreign policy (6%). Other Catholic GOPers with notably low ratings were Senator Domenici (27% Domestic, 12% International) and Murkowski (33% Domestic, 7% International). BTW Kerry had the highest domestic rating of any Catholic Senator (95%). Of course, conservatives will say only the abortion issue counts. Now, many Catholic leaders may say it counts more– and Durbin gives it its own rating, but it should raise questions in some quarters– hint to the media– that additional stories on who is a “good Catholic” could be done.
Now the Republicans can only be expected to keep exploiting the mantle of faith as long as it appears a potent strategy. But it’s time for the media to wisen up and broaden its sense of what construes Catholic politics. It’s time for the Church to levy the kind of pressure it has on behalf of what it calls “unborn children” towards fighting the poverty faced by children born in this country every day. And it’s time for the Democrats, religious or not, to stop shrinking from hypocritical attacks from Republicans.