A New Anti-Catholicism Evident in Political Campaigns
By Dr. Jeff Mirus October 31, 2013 2:12 PM
One of the more interesting developments in American political strategy that has emerged over the past few years is designed, at all costs, to keep committed Catholic politicians out of office. It works by relating everything a strong Catholic candidate does to his supposed desire to control your sexual behavior. It does not matter whether the candidate is really interested in legislation which controls sexual behavior, because this particular strategy is based on lies which have absolutely nothing to do with whatever the Catholic candidate has done recently or is proposing for the future.
Our Democratic Party seized upon this tactic during Barack Obama’s run for the Presidency and used it effectively in state and Federal elections to minimize effective opposition to Democratic policies both within the states and in Congress. I’m noticing it particularly this year because the gubernatorial race in my state, Virginia, features a Republican candidate, Ken Cuccinelli, who happens to be strongly committed to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. The ads run by his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, have consisted almost exclusively of claims that Cuccinelli hates women and wants to control what goes on in everybody’s bedroom.
None of this relates to any policy or legislation that Cuccinelli has ever proposed or supported, nor to any vision that he has articulated in any of his campaigns. Enormous wealth is being poured into these attack ads for one reason and one reason only: Cuccinelli actually has strong Catholic values that he will not deny for the sake of political success, and in the absence of a powerful smear campaign he was calculated to win.
The same thing has happened to Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, a personal friend, who has capably represented his district in the Virginia House of Delegates for many years. Marshall too is a staunch Catholic, who does not hide his values. Every so often, then, the Democratic opposition throws massive funds from around the country into defeating him. This year is one of those campaigns, in which his opponent has easy access to three or four times the spending money that Marshall can raise locally, and pours it into scare-claims that Marshall wants to enter your bedroom and steal your contraceptives.
Actually it is even worse than that, as the opposition claims that the purpose of a bill Marshall has introduced is to ban birth control—which is not only patently false, but actually impossible without an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Bob Marshall is incredulous that such claims can be made. But this is the reigning strategy for the defeat of believing Catholic politicians.
It is well beyond the non-profit Catholic purposes of CatholicCulture.org to advocate for the election of particular political candidates. What concerns me is the rapidly spreading campaign strategy of using bald-faced lies to turn the electorate against any candidate who adheres to Catholic values, a strategy which is particularly evident this year in my own backyard. More information about these campaign tactics can be found at Cuccinelli.com and DelegateBob.com.
It seems that the anti-Catholic bigotry which has plagued American history is emerging once again under the guise of secularist fear-mongering. Unfortunately, Catholics now have imposed upon them the task of exposing and uprooting a vicious mythology growing at the heart of our political culture.