Tim Rutten: The end of the Catholic vote

What we’re seeing in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Missouri and Colorado is the end of the Catholic vote, as conventional political strategists traditionally have expected it to behave-in part because it’s now so large it pretty much looks like the rest of America; in part because of its own internal changes.

A new line in the abortion wars

The always-on-top-of-things Michael Paulson up at The Boston Globe has a good story this morning that ties together all the loose ends in dissecting how the Catholic/abortion question has played itself out this election season. The bottom line, in Paulson’s own words: “The urgency of the bishops reflects an increasing concern about a new argument posed by some antiabortion intellectuals and organizations: that the legislative battle to outlaw abortion is hopeless and that antiabortion groups would be better off devoting themselves to preventing unwanted pregnancies and persuading pregnant women to carry their fetuses to term rather than trying to change the laws of the land. The discussion is taking place within evangelical Protestantism, as well as among Roman Catholics, but it is more visible in the Catholic Church because of the high profile of Catholic bishops.”


This is an ad that will live in infamy. And Campbell Brown’s commentary deserves to be remembered too.

Marriage in the Land of Steady Habits

On Tuesday, CT voters get to decide if the state should hold its first constitutional convention in 40 years–the fond hope of those who would like to do away with same-sex marriage, as recently mandated by the state supreme court. And indeed, according to a new Hartford Courant poll, the voters seem to want to go ahead and have the convention. But not because they are against same sex marriage. What they want are citizen ballot initiatives. They oppose amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage by 55-41.

Bishops take note

According to the latest Le Moyne/Zogby poll of Catholic attitudes, barely 13 percent of Catholics who agree with their church’s position on abortion say they would be unlikely to vote for a candidate who disagrees with them. Correction: Make that 13 percent of all Catholics say they would be unlikely to vote for a candidate who disagrees with the church’s abortion position.

Evangelical Hoosiers

The race in Indiana is tied at 45 each, according to a new Indianapolis Star poll. In this usually dependable red state, it is not good news for McCain that evangelicals are supporting him by less than 2-1 (57-33). In 2004, they backed Bush 77-22. Bush won Indiana by 21 points, 60-39. Evangelicals constitute 35 percent of the Hoosier vote, so their 31-point shift toward Obama represents about half the total shift in the partisan breakdown from 2004 to now.

COMMENTARY: Helping us to help God

c. 2008 Religion News Service CHICAGO _ A few hours before the bodies of singer Jennifer Hudson’s murdered mother and brother were discovered on the city’s South Side last Friday (Oct. 24), across town one of the world’s greatest peacemakers began his remarks at the Hotel Intercontinental by addressing head-on Chicago’s daunting problem with violent crime. “I want to give a special message to a group of people sitting in that corner _ it is families who have lost sons to the gun violence that is so rampant,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, motioning toward a table at the far end of the ballroom. Among those seated there was Ron Holt, whose 16-year-old son died shielding another friend from gunfire on a Chicago bus in May 2007.

Supreme Court to weigh limits of broadcast indecency

c. 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ While the rest of the country heads to the voting booth Tuesday (Nov. 4), the U.S. Supreme Court will be taking on television obscenity in a hearing that could lead to the first ruling in 30 years on standards for regulating public airwaves. The case, FCC v. Fox Television Stations, follows a challenge by Fox Broadcasting to the Federal Communications Commission’s policy on obscenity and profanity during daytime and early evening hours on radio and television. Fox was reprimanded for two incidents in 2002 and 2003, involving singer Cher and actress Nicole Ritchie, in which variations of a vulgar four-letter word were broadcast during live award shows.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service Two Jesuits found murdered in Moscow VATICAN CITY (RNS) Two Jesuit priests have been found dead, apparently victims of murder, in their Moscow home. The bodies of the Rev. Victor Betancourt, 42, and the Rev. Otto Messmer, 47, were found in their shared apartment in the Russian capital on Tuesday (Oct. 28). According to a statement from local prosecutors quoted by the Reuters news agency, the two “had skull and brain injuries.

Paranormal beliefs aren’t always treated equally

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) On Friday (Oct. 31), no one will be surprised to see ghosts and goblins on the loose. But for some Americans, ghosts _ along with extraterrestrials, Bigfoot and UFOs _ aren’t the stuff of seasonal sightings or tabloid teasers. They’re real _ as real as a resurrected Jesus and a devious Satan are to millions.