Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Catholic Conscience

Conservative Christians get a lot of attention for being "values voters" -- folks who oppose abortion and same-sex marriage and generally vote for the candidates (overwhelmingly Republican) who agree with them.

And yeah, this constituency has been pretty powerful. But nearly every issue on the November ballot has a moral and even religious component to it.

Example: the Amendment 42 rally in Pueblo this morning. Amendment 42 would raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour, and a number of community and labor leaders attended the Pueblo rally.

Also in attendance: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pueblo.

Broadly, Catholics are a values-voter wildcard. Catholic leadership shares the conservative Protestant concern over abortion and same-sex marriage, but they've also been committed to a host of social justice issues, more typically in line with more liberal values.

The Catholic Church has typically defended the rights of immigrants in the immigration reform debates, and many Catholics are active in anti-war efforts. Catholics are pretty evenly split, too: In 2004, about 52 percent voted for Bush, 47 percent for Kerry. Compare that with the all but seven Conservative Christians who voted for Bush last time around.

Just a hunch: Over the next two to six years, Catholics may be the nation's most important swing vote.


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