No longer on the edge of society but in the middle; we now have our best chance to restore the idealism of the nation's heritage. Gospel values should challenge us to give dignity and infinite value to each human--lift an individualistic, consumer-ridden society to go beyond self-serving interest and be a model for all nations. Pastorals are only words unless put into action. New people--new cultures force us to realize for all the American dream.
Comments of an American Catholic Bishop ( 1989)
Questions concerning the impact of religion on political and cultural beliefs and action have been of interest to social scientists for many years, but only recently have they become topics of serious study in the field of political science. The emerging involvement of evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant clergy in presidential elections has attracted attention to the important connection between religion and politics. 1 But one group that has received less attention from scholars is American Catholics. In a predominantly Protestant country, American Catholic politics has been treated as a kind of residual component of American political culture. This treatment is no longer warranted.
Roman Catholicism is now the largest religious denomination in the United States. In recent years, the Catholic presence in American politics has reached new highs. Once denied equal access, Catholics have moved into all levels of economic and political power. American Catholics have reached economic parity with their Protestant counterparts. 2 Roman