Religion, Politics Make Fickle Bedfellows

By Turner, Darrell | National Catholic Reporter, October 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

Religion, Politics Make Fickle Bedfellows


Turner, Darrell, National Catholic Reporter


Ralph Reed may be barking up an imaginary tree when he talks of a political alliance between evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics.

The two groups joined in helping people like Ronald Reagan and former Pennsylvania Gov. William Casey win victories at the ballot box and helped to deliver a conservative Republication majority in Congress in 1994 , but their differences are far more significant than their similarities, according to several researchers who study voting behavior of religious groups.

Furthermore, these researchers say, talk of a monolithic Catholic vote is unrealistic. "In analyzing the Catholic vote these days, I think you have to ask which Catholics, which candidates and which issues," said John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron, Ohio.

In Evangelicals at the Ballot Box, just published by Prometheus Books, veteran political analyst Albert J. Menendez writes that "Catholics remain more liberal on most issues than white Protestants, but they have defected in large numbers to the GOP," as shown by their move 8 percentage points in that direction in the 1994 elections.

However, Menendez says, Catholics are still more likely than evangelicals to vote Democratic both for president and for Congress. He cautions that "Catholics are likely to be the losers in any alliance with evangelicals. Two evenly sized groups with such different cultures and divergent historical memories will not coexist as equals for long."

Fundamentalist strongholds in South Carolina went big for Pat Buchanan in this year's GOP primaries. And the Christian Coalition made a point to feature Catholic Republicans like Buchanan, Alan Keyes and Bob Dornan at its annual convention in Washington last month. But this didn't impress Menendez.

On the one hand, he told NCR, "Pat Buchanan would never win a majority of Catholic votes in any general election." On the other hand, he said, "evangelicals only like Catholics who are really Protestants."

Menendez said the right-wing Protestants who favored Buchanan in the primaries saw him "as a candidate who talked almost in an evangelical and fundamentalist terminology, who spent almost all his time in evangelical and Pentecostal churches."

Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, said another difference between evangelicals and Catholics is that the former have a much more ready conservative political base in their churches and organizations.

"One of the particular strengths of the religious right movement is that it does involve the leadership of many of the evangelical denominations," Smith said. "The ministers play a very important role. If you look at a group of conservative Catholics who are conservative on all issues, they can't bring in any comparable group of religious leaders."

Green agreed with the cautions voiced by Menendez and Smith but said this doesn't necessarily rule out some ad hoc alliances between evangelicals and Catholics.

Although most Catholics "are simply unlikely to join an organization like the Christian Coalition," Green said. "they may work together on some specific issues like the late-term abortion issue, and they may support some specific candidates. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Religion, Politics Make Fickle Bedfellows
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.