Aspiring Senator Bobby Casey, 'Authentic Catholic' and Libertine?
Reporter Alan Cooperman played up Pennsylvania Democrat Bobby Casey's speech at Catholic University in Friday's Washington Post as part of an exciting new trend of Democrats speaking out on religion. (Casey is seeking to unseat Sen. Rick Santorum, who is loved -- and hated -- for his passionate faith-based politics.) His other example of the religious outreach trend was the media's Tiger Beat fanzine idol, Sen. Barack Obama.
Cooperman passes several obvious tests for a balanced article. He includes conservatives and liberals in it, and labels each side. He lets the conservatives underline that Bobby has some positions that please the libertine left, including making Plan B abortifacients available to everyone, including teenagers, and backs "civil unions for same-sex couples." That's a fancy way of saying "gay marriage." But what about the ending?
The story ends with a liberal Catholic claiming the speech was "exciting, because as Catholics we've so often had to choose between the pro-life and the pro-social-justice sides of Catholic teaching. Now we get to have a debate about what authentic Catholic teaching is all about." As if Bobby's un-Catholic political stands are in any way in line with authentic Catholic teaching? The liberal Catholic is allowed to swoon, but its placement at article's end is a reporter and/or editor sending a message that the conservative Catholic vision is incomplete.
Here's another provably incorrect Cooperman sentence: "Since the 2004 presidential election, in which voters who attend church weekly voted 2 to 1 for President Bush over Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Democrats have sought to close what some call the 'God gap' in U.S. politics." That "since" is wrong. Kerry tried strenuously to project himself as religious, quoting the Book of James (causing reporters to ooh and aah). But it didn't work.
You can't say "I'm religious, but it will never influence me," and expect that to influence the religious voter.
At The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez, an alumna of Catholic University who was angry that her alma mater would provide a forum for the political opponent of Senator Santorum, who is at least equally Catholic to Casey, and a stalwart pro-life defender, had a different impression, of a politician who was inarticulate and muddled:
In answering a question by a priest on civil unions, Casey said that he doesn’t think that a politician’s position on a public policy matter can be “based on” or “mandated” by your faith.
In answering another question on religious liberty – specifically the Massachusetts situation where Catholic Charities has been threatened by its position on gay adoptions – he reiterated that faith can’t “dictate” a public official’s views on such matters.
He stressed his independence – from his party, from other factors … like faith.
In the Democratic Party, many formerly pro-life politicians threw their "independence" away to be closer to the party's libertine-left base. What's preventing Bobby, if he's promising his faith won't influence him?