In an article in The Hill’s Healthwatch, Alexander Bolton raises the specter that President Obama has not only lost the support of some Catholic voters over the religious liberty issue, but that the situation could worsen when the U.S. Catholic bishops stage their planned religious liberty rallies during the two weeks leading up to July 4th. If the protestors engage in civil disobedience, which is apparently a strategy being considered, then the media photo-fest of nuns and priests in handcuffs would spell bad news for Mr. Obama.
The religious protest might even throw the election to the Republicans, said a pollster for The Catholic Association, an organization I had never heard of. I tried to find out, but its Web site defines it as “dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square.” The site includes no address and no names or photos of real members, leaders, or backers; it gives an email and phone number for a single media contact. One can almost see the Great Oz behind this site, pushing buttons from behind the curtain, only the curtain is Internet anonymity. Virtual reality is over the rainbow, where you can make up a new name and “found” hundrends of organizations if you have the time, money and inclination. And this organization does; it has paid for a national survey on religious liberty, the results of which are to come soon.
Still, the arrest of sincere religious protestors does sound like a situation the Obama administration (or any) would want to prevent. It is troubling that the many avenues of negotiation and dialogue possible between religious and political leaders seem to be obstructed during an election year. I wonder how much resolution either side is seeking now. Mr. Obama’s opponents seem to prefer litigation to negotiation; litigation always pays off, at least for the litigators.
Karen Sue Smith