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Excommunication.jpgIn today’s episode, E.J. Dionne turns to the story of Obamican law professor Douglas Kmiec, who was denied communion by an overzealous priest at a mass held for a group of Catholic businessmen he was addressing. Along with an argument that such denial violated the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ recent statement on how the faithful may cast their ballots (“Forming Consciences for Faith Citizenship”), Dionne raises the possibility of a major outcry within the Church against acts of this kind. The geographical locus of excommunicatory threat runs through the heartland, with Archbishop Burke of St. Louis at the eastern end and Archbishop Chaput of Denver at the western. Missouri and Colorado are among the swingiest of swing states this year.
Over the past few days, there’s been something of a dawning sense that it would be a good idea to dial back the religion-in-politics thing: for the Protestants, fewer inflammatory preachers; for the Catholics, less cracking of the hierarchical whip; for the Jews, less of a party line on Israel. On the cusp of the general election campaign, the time may be right. But I’m not putting down any bets just yet.