Religious Right Decides Who’s Catholic Enough

Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States is long over, but the Washington Times continues to doggedly report on one particular angle: the many thousands receiving communion at the pope’s masses included a handful of Democratic politicians, who, like the majority of American Catholics, are pro-choice.

While this seems like the season for picking over politicians’ personal religious lives, the Right has been trumpeting this point of contention for a number of years to use as a wedge between liberal candidates and faith. In particular, John Kerry’s communion became a public issue in 2004.

In 2008, none of the major presidential candidates are Catholic. But that just means the Right has to get more creative.

Last week, Catholic League President Bill Donohue tried to jump on the Rev. Wright bandwagon with his own brand of religious policing, attacking not Barack Obama’s faith, but that of his Catholic advisory council: “If these are the best ‘committed Catholic leaders, scholars and advocates’ Obama can find, then it is evident that he has a ‘Wright’ problem when it comes to picking Catholic advisors.” Donahue’s beef? Many of Obama’s Catholic backers disagree with him on abortion, stem-cell research, and school vouchers.

The advisors complained, bringing up the existence of other moral issues besides the ones that fit the Republican platform: war, poverty, etc. Donohue responded, calling it “shocking” that one could set political priorities on par with abortion.

And then, seeing a chance to attack Obama instead of his advisors, Donohue promptly compared the senator to Hitler (for opposing a graphic bill designed by abortion opponents to establish personhood for the fetus):

“It is so nice to know that Obama thinks abortion ‘presents a profound moral challenge.’ Is infanticide another ‘profound moral challenge’? To wit: When he was in the Illinois state senate he led the fight to deny health care to babies born alive who survived an abortion. That, my friends, is not a moral challenge—it’s a Hitlerian decision.”