Is Obama a Secret Catholic?

Barack Obama’s July 1 speech in Zanesville, Ohio, suggested a “secret” connection to Catholicism. I say “secret” because Obama has … Continued

Barack Obama’s July 1 speech in Zanesville, Ohio, suggested a “secret” connection to Catholicism. I say “secret” because Obama has never fully explained his work for the Catholic Church’s Campaign for Human Development in Chicago. He did say that the experience “led me into public service.” Whatever the origins of his neighborhood work in Chicago, he has offered a theology of social activism consonant with Catholic teaching.

Obama’s Catholic-sounding theology came in response to an attack a week before by James Dobson, Evangelical leader of the Focus on the Family. Among Dobson’s vitriolic accusations were that Obama “distorted the bible” and held to a “fruitcake interpretation” of the Constitution. To find ammunition for his attack on the Democrat, Dobson pointed to a June 2006 address Obama had made to the Catholic* organization, Call to Renewal. On that occasion, Obama’s presentation embraced a reasonable facsimile of Catholic Natural Law doctrine. Unlike faith which is based on belief, said Obama, “politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality.” That same day, Obama articulated the Catholic ethical principle of proportionality, modified his stance about abortion and confessed admiration for the saintly Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker organization.

Dobson, for his part, places faith and reason in opposition, making dialog about ethics impossible except among believers. Moreover, every word of scripture – Old Testament as well as New Testament – is literally true, without the nuance used by Obama and Catholic doctrine. I won’t attack James Dobson for his Evangelical theology, but that doesn’t mean that I have to believe it is as good as Catholic theology. In fact, I think it’s time in politics for attention to a religion other than that of Evangelicals; hence this column.

In his Ohio speech, Obama promised to give “faith-based partners like Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services and secular nonprofits like Public/Private Ventures the support they need to help other groups build and run effective programs.” Thus, instead of pitting the Church-related groups against non-religious groups in the Bush-Dobson style, Obama says he’ll put them together.

He argues: “I’m not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular nonprofits. And I’m not saying that they’re somehow better at lifting people up. What I’m saying is that we all have to work together – Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim; believer and non-believer alike – to meet the challenges of the 21st century.” This is consistent with his statement that poverty represents not just a “security crisis or a humanitarian crisis but a moral crisis as well.”

The senator’s community organizer approach relies on experience in poor neighborhoods rather than ideological purity about separation of church and state. Liberal critics who oppose all faith-based initiatives need to recognize the Senator’s pragmatic approach to combat poverty in places where churches are central. Moreover his proposal would tend to fund neighborhood coalitions that include churches, while prohibiting funding one church alone.

He uses Catholic Charities as the model: not to use federal money to proselytize and not to discriminate against clients or staff on the basis of religion. The money will go directly to the program and not to the Church. This formula — used by Catholic Charities — has been chosen by Obama as the model for his administration, even though it reverses the Bush policies.

Is using Catholic theology to be followed by Obama becoming a Catholic? Since the Illinois Senator is looking for a new church to replace the UCC congregation of the Rev. Wright, one might speculate. (If there is to be an official conversion, I think it would come at the end of political office as happened with Britain’s Tony Blair). But you don’t have to endorse Obama to admit that his position merits attention in Catholic America.

*I should have listed Call to Renewal as an “ecumenical” group to which Catholics belong. –AMSA

About

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is Professor Emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College and Distinguished Scholar of the City University of New York.
  • Eggy

    Yeah, Obama is a Catholic in the mode of Boniface VIII.McCain 2008!

  • Daniel A Turner

    Thanks for a reasoned article that represents not only Catholic Social Doctrine well, but recognizes that Christianity is more than the “right wing”, “our way or the highway” neo-Evangelicalism of such as Dobson, Falwell, et. al.I say “neo” Evangelical, because the religious right is but a faint resemblance to classical Evangelicalism and its emphasis on personal faith and social righteousness after the manner of my own hero, John Wesley, and Methodim.

  • Angela

    Mr. Anthony Stevens-Orroyo,What an absolute farce! I’ll ask you the same question that I posed on another post: Do you believe abortion, including partial birth abortions is ok? Do you believe that gay marriage is ok? Do you believe that all roads lead to heaven? Or to put it bluntly: do you believe that Jesus thought all of the above was ok? In addition, what is Catholic doctrine. Isn’t their one Faith, one baptism, one Lord. Catholic Charities is not the only charity that gives: there are plenty. In addition, what makes your theology any betther than James Dobson theology. Being a good Catholic and taking communion doesn’t get you into heaven. James Dobson is a true believer not a ear-tickling, good works doctrine preacher. Read the old and new testament. God have mercy on His church and especially those who speak false, man-made doctrine.

  • Paganplace

    Well, Angela, if you don’t want to help, just say so. :)

  • Paganplace

    Oh, by the way, Professor, nice article. I’ve been trying to tell, well, really, ‘both sides’ what Obama’s plan here actually entails. Bush’s plan particularly stuck in a lot of secularist craws, especially those Pagan groups who found who lived where there were enough of us who could be open about their religion without too much fear of losing their jobs or homes or being harassed, unserved needs in the community, and the organization to make it happen, only to find that the programs were in fact used for the government to defame Pagans as ‘uncharitable’ for… Trying to form charities. If Obama wants to turn that nonsense to something Constitutional and more effective, drawing on his vast experience *doing* that kind of work, I do think we should be all for it. And as for Dobson calling ‘Catholic’ theology particularly ‘crackpot,’ well, he doesn’t much like anyone, does he?

  • Angela

    Paganplace: I already help in everyway I can i.e., give to several charities, servant of the Lord inside and outside the church. However, I and most of my sisters and brothers in Christ all around this country who believe God’s word “MY WORD STANDS FOREVER” and “I CHANGE NOT” will in no way, vote for Obama. We follow Christ’s teachings “love our neighbor as ourself, “guard your doctrine” and do not confom to society’s norm.

  • Cranky Catholic

    This commentary is a joke. Call to Renewal, where Obama was a keynote speaker, is not a Catholic organization nor does it claim to be. I think you’re confusing Call to Renewal with Call to Action, a goofball organization of “Catholic” dissidents.

  • vales

    Oh course Catholic theology is better than Evangelicals (all faith) or secularists (no faith); however, just because now Obama panders to the religious base, does not mean that he should commended as a reasonable actor on this stage.The fact of the matter is that faith groups ARE better at aid and education than secular groups and all one has to do is look at stats for Catholic schools or giving to see this fact.Obama is hopes to be a “secular savior”…let’s hope the sheep on the left and right catch on.One thing he will not save are the millions of children killed in federally funded abortion mills.How about the separation of state and secular extremism?

  • Paganplace

    Then, Angela, it looks like you’re going to have to choose which candidate is ‘literal’ enough for you about helping the poor. Cause the Republicans get pretty ‘creative’ about what’s good for the sick and hungry and oppressed. Just not in a good way. It’s not ‘virtue’ to claim they’ll ‘save the unborn’ and then let the born starve cause that’s the ‘wages of their parents’ sin.’ So. If you’d like to damn almost everyone, why do you choose the rich?

  • vales

    Angela, Can you tell me where in the Bible does it say that intentions and Word of God should be interpreted by “solo scriptura?”Oh, that’s right – it does not say that and, if you remember, the Word became Flesh, therefore, your separation of the sacred from the profane is a false one.The Bible is not a “dictation” from God to his secretary…..it is man’s interpretation of the Word of God via prophets and, finally, by Jesus Christ.P.S. – the Gospels were complied by the Catholic Church (you know, the one Christ established with Peter) with the guidance of the Holy Ghost.Use of faith AND God-given reason is why the Catholic Church is still standing after 2000 years and why the Protestant sects are falling apart.

  • berrymonster

    When campaigning in Iowa, Obama tried to defuse rumors that he had been a muslim. So, Obama said: “My mother was a Christian from Kansas. I’ve always been a Christian”.Well, Obama’s mother was no Christian. In terms of religious beliefs, she was somewhere between an ATHEIST and an AGNOSTIC. And, politically, she was a COMMUNIST.Later, at his famous speech on race, Obama said he was introduced to Christian Faith by Jeremiah Wright.CONCLUSIONS: 1) Obama lied when he said “My mother was a Christian from Kansas”. 2) Obama lied when he said I’ve always been a Christian”.3) Obama is a LIAR.Are Catholics supporting a LIAR for President?

  • Paganplace

    “Are Catholics supporting a LIAR for President?”Or do certain Christians like to call anyone they don’t like ‘not Christians’ and then act like it was a logical fact? No, Obama’s mother wasn’t a Fundamentalist. That doesn’t mean she was ‘not Christian’ …no matter how many times you scream she wasn’t.

  • candide

    Most American Catholics don’t give a damn about Dorothy Day or her socio-economic activities and thought.

  • Angela

    Paganplace: I am not a republican nor a democrat and although it seems that when you’re a christian who believes the teachings of Christ are to be taken literally, we are called extremists. Do you believe that we, as those who love all of God’s creation would stand by and allow babies to die in orphanages. Take a look at the following websites: compassion.com, lifeway.com, worldvision.com, citivision.com, CityHarvest.com. These are just a few. I am what you would probably consider a conservative because of my views but it tends to come w/a stereotypical response. I vote w/moral convictions and in line w/scripture. Do you really believe that people want to starve innocent children because of their parent’s mistakes….That’s extreme…May you know the truth and the truth shall set you free..!God Bless You…

  • vales

    “Most American Catholics don’t give a damn about Dorothy Day or her socio-economic activities and thought.”You sound bitter, Candide, as this is a falsehood.Dorothy Day, Merton, anti war groups etc. loom large in Catholic charity groups and I happen to have just volunteered at an active Catholic Worker House last week. There are a variety of ways to live the faith.Perhaps you should try the same and report back on your findings, Candide?

  • Paganplace

    Thanks for the ‘blessing,’ though, even if you probably meant it more like, ‘May my God compel you to agree with me.’ Same thing, in your book, right?May freedom set you toward truth. Cause I see that as a more pressing issue right now.

  • Matt Watkins

    “to admit that his position merits attention in Catholic America.” No it doesn’t. Look at what happened at Catholic Charities in Richmond.

  • berrymonster

    PAGANPLACE,Ann Dunham (Obama’s mother) was certainly an interesting, uncommon character. Very few white American girls would have married a foreign man from Kenya. Very few American women would have then moved to Indonesia after marrying an Indonesian man. Very few women would have sent his son to live with the grandparents in Hawaii while she spent many years living in Indonesia. Vey few mothers of any race or religion would have chosen not to tell her son that she was dying with cancer.Anyway, Ann Dunham was NOT a Christian.And there’s nothing wrong with that!!!!!The problem is not Ann Dunham. The problem is Barak Obama affirming that her mother was a Christian. That is a gross LIE !!!Why would Obama lie in such a gross manner? Oh yeah: He was campaining in Iowa.

  • Angela

    Paganplace; I never said that Obama was a muslim. Not surprising our words always get twisted and distorted.

  • Paganplace

    Sorry, Angela, I get so used to literalists using the words ‘Possibly Non-Christian by my standards’ and ‘Liar’ so interchangeably.

  • Paganplace

    And, yes, Barry. Obama’s mother was a remarkable woman, whatever she believed at any given time in her life. Not being a Biblical literalist doesn’t mean a son doesn’t know his own mother’s religion, by the standards of we mere mortals. If I recall the biography properly, she did a lot of good works without being a Christian most of her life, but died as one, which is apparently good enough for most Christians to claim all the good she did for Christianity unless they want to defame someone. Or call them a ‘Commie.’

  • Alex

    fr Angela:>…James Dobson is a true believer not a ear-tickling, good works doctrine preacher…Sorry, no, he’s not. True believers do NOT advocate beating small children and dogs with implements, nor do they spout anti-gay filth.

  • Alex

    fr Angela:>…James Dobson is a true believer not a ear-tickling, good works doctrine preacher…Sorry, no, he’s not. True believers do NOT advocate beating small children and dogs with implements, nor do they spout anti-gay filth.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Hopefully Obama’s Catholic theology is that of reality Catholicism and not that spewed by a bunch of old “celibate” European males i.e. orthodox Roman Catholicism. A synopsis of reality Catholicism for the “newbies”Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/ simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a mamzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). Analyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, On Faith panelists) via the NT and related documents have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus’ sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects. The 30% of the NT that is “authentic Jesus” like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus’ case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics. earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html For added “pizzazz”, Catholic/Christian theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the “pew people” to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the “filicider”. Current crises in orthodox Roman Catholicism:Pedophiliac priests, atonement theology, limbo and original sin.

  • Dette

    For Senator Obama to consider what a true Catholic Christian is and what the Catholic Church is really about, he would have to first believe in the what the Church teaches in dogmatic moral truths according to the Holy Bible. He would have to accept the fact that any agreement with abortion(s), of any kind, or same sex marriage, homosexuality, is a grave mortal sin. And anyone who participates in accepting either of this lifestyle practices would be condemned by the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church follows the dogmatic teachings of the Holy Bible. This Holy Bible is what Jesus Christ Himself is teaching and should not be watered down to fit one’s political agenda. The Holy Bible is dogmatic in these two mortal sins regarding the sanctity for life and against the perversion regarding same sex marriage is against the Word of God. There is no way around it. He has the free will to either love the Lord God with all his heart, all his mind and all his soul for his eternal soul sake, or he can choose the ways of the world that are opposite to God’s Holy righteousness. You cannot serve God and manna, should you really be a true Christian, especially if he chose to be a devout Catholic.

  • Dave

    For “Concerned Christian now liberated”Regarding your post below ……..You’ve posted all that too many times before.One trick pony?Get over yourself.

  • Paganplace

    “No true Catholic would vote against the “Infants born alive act” as Obama did not once but four times”Ok. For one, you *do* realize it’s not Obama claiming he’s a ‘True Catholic?’For another, you do realize that *laws before Congress* have more *words* in them than the title? Like how Kerry was accused of ‘voting against’ equipment appropriations for our troops, because the early go-rounds didn’t provide *enough?* Details, details.

  • Paganplace

    I mean, Kerry, of course, who wasn’t ‘Catholic’ enough to try and elect himself Pope could be defamed by the Church for not being ‘Catholic’ enough about things that werent’ in his job description, or the one he was running for, well, it was perfectly OK for the Church to say, ‘You must vote against *him,* but we’re of course not responsible for the misdeeds of the dude we did the kingmaking for.’ Laws are complex. Kerry was called ‘anti-our-troops’ for opposing a bill which said that the soldiers had to use inferior armor from a no-bid contract of which not enough could be produced, but if our soldiers *Mommies sent care packages of privately-bought Dragonskin they scraped their pennies to obtain* then the soldiers had to go unprotected rather than violate the no-bid monopoly.* Not approving of whatever garbage or bad precedent comes along with a bill promoted as ‘Pro-Life’ doesn’t make him ‘All for abortion’ or a flip-flopper. We used to call that ‘being a legislator.’

  • Anonymous

    Angela sez:”I and most of my sisters and brothers in Christ all around this country who believe God’s word “MY WORD STANDS FOREVER” and “I CHANGE NOT” will in no way, vote for Obama. We follow Christ’s teachings “love our neighbor as ourself, “guard your doctrine” and do not confom to society’s norm.”Hmm. Would you vote for an adulterer, Angela? You know, someone who broke the 6th commandment?

  • TonyS.

    Thanks for uncovering the true obama secret! Actually, he was raised by nuns in a vatican. No wait, actually He painted the Sistine Chapel!! And after he’s finished as president, he’s going to become pope, yeah that’s it!! Well, unless those racist Catholics won’t let him.

  • Jason Leins

    Obama learned in the field after Law Schhool how to help people. He likes doing it. He wishes to structure good works in a way that will be successful. Catholic Charities is VERY successful. I know many non-Catholics who have been helped in their final days by CC and their families have never forgotten the good works. They work with all denominations and do not carry religious prejudices around their necks like 100lbs bags of sand. Its time for a leader who wants to make the system work. For those of you who love the broken system, love to criticize and vent how only your religion is the correct path, I say that you simply do not understand what he is trying to do. But God knows and he will succeed in spite of Hannities and Limbaugh’s of the world.

  • neb nilknarf

    James Dobson may claim to be an “evangelical” Christian but he’s not the Pope. A lot of old school Roman Catholics still think of most Protestants as bunch of heretics(Mr. Dobson included)who need to come back to the “one, true faith” of Catholicism. So if Obama is inspired by the traditional Catholicism, maybe that heretic Christian pretender, Mr. Dobson, ought to do the same reverently bending a knee to Rome in repentence, with multiple “mea culpas”, for his less than Christian behavior and his sin of pride thinking he’s a qualified arbiter of the “true” Christian faith.

  • GOP Republican Failures

    GOP Republican McCain-McBush Have Many Many Many Crisis To Answer For

  • Rick

    How can a guy who sits and listens to Black Liberation Theology for 20 years now be considered a closet Catholic? This is more of the MSM fawning over Obama’s words, not his actions. He can say anything he wants but his actions show what he really values – victimhood, abortion rights, homosexual marriage, gays in the military, etc, etc, etc. Too liberal for me!

  • realistic

    I support Obama for Pope!!!I’d rather see Jeremiah Wright’s disciple preaching about fathering to an audience of virgin cardinals in the Vatican, than allowing a pro-abortion nutcase make decisions about life and death in the White House.OBAMA FOR POPE 2008 !!!

  • Premier

    What a crap. Now Obama is claming to be a Catholic? Give me a break.I am a Catholic, and I’ve never heard him talking about God or true faith. Now are you saying that he suddenly turned to Catholicism to get votes? If anyone still supports Obama, the person should be retarded.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Dave, Dave, Dave,Note the “for newbies” only.

  • Paganplace

    ” Rick:”How can a guy who sits and listens to Black Liberation Theology for 20 years now be considered a closet Catholic?”Hey, if you learn *one* thing out of twenty years of Catholicism, it’s how to sit still and not believe everything you hear. ;)(OK, so it’s an ‘ex-Catholic’ joke. :) )

  • Paganplace

    ” Premier:”What a crap. Now Obama is claming to be a Catholic? Give me a break.”Btw, no he’s not. A *Catholic* is claiming he’s ‘really’ a Catholic. They’ll do that.

  • Rachel

    I don’t know if one needs to be a “closet Catholic” in order to recognize that a majority of the Catholic church does a lot of good for a lot of people. I was raised in the Lutheran church, but my father was raised Catholic and I currently work for a congregation of nuns. My father and many of the nuns I work with are socially liberal people. They believe in living the mission of Jesus Christ by helping one another, especially the poorest among us. If that doesn’t sounds like the Obama platform, then I don’t know what does.

  • Athena

    Okay… I’m one confused Goddess. First Obama is a secret Muslim. Then he was a secret radical Black activist. Now someone is claiming that he’s a secret Catholic? It’s enough to make my head spin!

  • Paganplace

    I think the Professor meant the comparison as a compliment, really, Athena. :)But apparently some people are too used to taking things ‘literally.’ :)

  • Jim

    His active support for abortion, which the Church has designated a grave injustice, puts him lightyears from Catholicism. The Church’s position on abortion is part of an ethic of life and dignity that informs its views on immigration, capital punishment, war, and euthanasia. It’s not a set of detached views that people can choose from. This article betrays a basic misunderstanding of Catholicism.

  • Arnold

    What we Catholics do not need is someone who never saw an abortion he didn’t like. This wolf in sheeps clothing has too many catholics and christians fooled by his lies. He does not believe in any restrictions on abortion, including partial birth abortion. You know, the one where they suck the brains out of the baby’s head after it is partially delivered. God help the christians that vote for him. They will live to regret it.

  • Skyliner

    Mr Obama is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He has already appeared before pro-abortion groups promising to appoint judges that will allow a woman to partially deliver a baby just enough to permit the doctor to suck the brains out.

  • musing

    As an old veteran I am getting so sick of all this Obama!Obama Are we soon to hear that beatification is about to take place in Rome.this guy is about as R.C. as Saddam Hussein was. This complete love in is getting a little scary. to think we could be about to elect a president with as little as two years in office. we are becoming a nation of american idol types. Why don`t we just have a contest with call ins to elect the president. If you are older now days and not into pot pornagraphic movies and American idol you should just fade away like General McCarthur

  • holy cow

    Anthony Arroyo wrote “Whatever the origins of his neighborhood work in Chicago, he has offered a theology of SOCIAL ACTIVISM consonant with Catholic teaching.”In many catholic countries, many of this so-called SOCIAL ACTIVISM involves LEFT LEANING N.G.O.s (non-govenment organizations) which help communist rebels. The help range from moral support upto organizing it themselves.Because of these so-called SOCIAL ACTIVISM of the Catholic church, many catholic countries become much poorer because of the strife. Nobody is working the farm anymore because of fear of being abducted by these rebels, killed or asked for revolutionary tax.This DEVIL CHURCH is always working hard that they be paid by the government to continue their SATANIC kind of Gospel. Where there is a little catholic chapel in a far-flung Catholic area, you can be almost sure that there is anti-government activity around.

  • Old Coot

    I will say it again, I have met and heard more bigots and hypocrites in places of worship than I ever have in bars. I have spent a lot more time in bars then places of worship and usually with a lot better class of people.

  • Tom

    Obama is pro-abortion, pro-gay unions, pro-stem cell and pro-euthanasia. And that’s enough to disqualify him for any Catholic votes b/c pro-life is the MOST important issue for Catholics. Even on the issue of social justice, liberals intentionally lie about what the Catholic Church teaches about that issue. The Church has advocated helping poor people, but the Church has never advocated that the Government should point the gun at people’s head to tax them for the poor and lazy bunches. In fact, the best way to help poor people is to get them off the welfare and get them to work. Obama is a not even a Christian to begin with, if he thinks being baptized by Mr. Wright is how he became a Christian.

  • DAN

    If you are so pro life shouldn’t war trump abortion?

  • Heyer

    A well thought-out article. This is yet another example of Obama’s common-sense pragmatism that individuals at both extremes of the political spectrum criticize and will continue to criticize. If Obama continues to steer an even keel with such well reasoned, realistic approaches that are not driven solely by political ideology, he will surely reap significant rewards come November. The electorate is seeking a “doer” in this election, not a walking political advertisement.

  • Heyer

    A well thought-out article. This is yet another example of Obama’s common-sense pragmatism that individuals at both extremes of the political spectrum criticize and will continue to criticize. If Obama continues to steer an even keel with such well reasoned, realistic approaches that are not driven solely by political ideology, he will surely reap significant rewards come November. The electorate is seeking a “doer” in this election, not a walking political advertisement.

  • Jack O’Rourke

    For further evidence that Obama may be closer to real Catholicism (as opposed to Catholics who profess belief in Jesus but don’t believe a word He said), read Pope John Paul’s second UN adress.Parts of it sound like Obama’s stump speech.And that was before JPII said the Iraq War was a threat to humanity.

  • Roy

    It was bad enough that the neocon swift-boaters started false rumors about Obama being Muslim but now rumors he’s Catholic, too?

  • Roy

    You mean “Doris Day” don’t you? Was she Catholic, too?

  • Nadeem Zakaria

    The devotees (groupies) of Barry Hussein will be sadly dissapointed half way through his term as President. We will still be in Iraq and gas will be $6 a gallon. Now that’s change I can believe in!

  • Alan Shapiro

    Essentially, I’m an atheist; But. like Obama. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Dorothy Day. Though she was a Catholic, her actions played out in a secular way. Simply, she gave everyone respect and did her best to make their lives better. What their beliefs were was not important. For Obama, what the particulars of his faith are is not the important things; These things are personal. In his actions he shows that he cares about truth in all of it’s complexities and that he cares about doing good for people. What more could you ask for?

  • OBrien

    Plenty of anti-Catholic bigotry in the US still.It kinda reminds me of Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom which has Anglicanism as a state regilion and anti-catholic laws on the books).As they say there “God made the Catholics and the Armalite made them Equal!”.You want to bring that on, Protestant fundementalist?(talking to you too Bob Jones!)At the end of the day there is a lot to be said for a Secular State.

  • dunnage

    He’s a Calvinist.

  • Obama is a fraud

    Obama opposes school vouchers for poor kids in his very own neighborhood on grounds of separation of church and state, and yet he sends his own children to private school and also supports government money going to these so-called “faith-based” organizations and also supports Medicaid payments being made to private hospitals – this is hypocrisy at its worst.

  • Tina

    I just have one point to make. Remember way back in the primaries when Obama said that people cling to their guns and religion. Stop “clinging” people you’re making the sinners look good!

  • Jan

    Obama? A Catholic? Impossible. You cannot be Catholic and at the same time be “pro-choice” or pro-abortion. The two are completely incompatible. You can still show up at Mass, but the sanctity of human life is the most fundamental, basic principle of the Catholic and Christian faith.”You cannot take a vote on the truth.” – Pope John Paul II

  • Anonymous

    Tony, did you read this over before you posted it?

  • spiderman2

    OBrien wrote ” Plenty of anti-Catholic bigotry in the US still. “Faith and good works” versus “Amazing Grace by Faith alone” ? “I’ve seen lots of “good works” Catholicism has been doing. They promote SOCIAL ACTIVISM” but in reality, it’s POVERTY (communism, rebelion, corruption, etc) that they are really promoting. Catholic nations are almost always at the top ten of most corrupt countries. Judas once chided a woman for “wasting” oil into the feet of Jesus instead of giving it to the poor. That is what true Catholicism is. They preach good works but you can never see it in their action. Chaos and poverty is what governs almost all Catholic countries.In fact almost all atheists and pagans here are former Catholics. The same can be said of liberal protestantism. They embrace almost similar doctrines.”For we are His wormanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works”.It is salvation first before good works. False religions like Catholicism, etc does the reverse and usually because it’s not by the power of Christ, the so called “good works” becomes very bad works. The killing continues in many parts of the world where their so called SOCIAL ACTIVISM was planted.

  • Shane

    Two points:1) As suggested by an earlier poster, “Call to Renewal” is not Catholic. It’s an ecumenical, or more accurately an Evangelical organization that no longer exists. Just after Obama’s speech, which occurred at a “Sojourners/Call to Renewal” conference, where I was a participant, CtR officially merged with Sojourners, a faith-based political movement began in the 70′s at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. They are dedicated to applying Evangelical theology to the public sphere, in such a way that highlights the Bible’s abiding concern for poverty, social justice and a consistent ethic for life; ideas not incompatible with Catholic Social Teaching, just not directly derivative.2) I appreciate the author’s ability to understand the links that occur between various progressive manifestations of Christian faith, but correlation does not equal causation. Catholic Charities, an incredible and faithful organization, works hard in Chi-town (and throughout the world, I believe) to mobilize the faithful in service of the downtrodden and marginalized (faithful or otherwise). That, however, does not make them THE model for Christian civic involvement. Obama’s (funny how this comment box underlined Obama’s name with a red-scribbly, as if the Presidential candidate’s name isn’t spelled right…) support for faith-based activities seems to cover a vast range of Christian activities, Catholic or otherwise. Indeed, many Protestant and Orthodox (not to mention Jewish, Muslim…) inspired or funded organizations use a similar model, though deriving from different sources: love the poor first and only; let evangelism remain God’s work. Some might say that’s not JP2 or John 23′s idea, but Jesus’. The point being this: while I retain much, much respect for the faithfulness and teachings of the Catholic church, and agree deeply with the author’s desire to lift up Christian influences in politics that are equivalent with “Evangelical” (indeed, Obama (again, the red squiggly) attended a mainline, not Evangelical church, the UCC), non-Evangelical does not equal Catholic, especially when the candidate in question was never Evangelical in the first place.Yet the author’s main point still stands; Obama certainly does merit attention for American Catholics, American Christians even. After all, the Bible and the Church, at their best moments, call all the faithful to care deeply for the most distressed in society, and to seek God in the most vulnerable among us. As a presidential candidate, Obama (and McCain, for that matter) should share that priority for the poor (as Catholic and Protestant Liberation Teaching suggests…).-A mainline Protestant pastor

  • joannis

    As it presently stands, neither Obama nor McCain are good options for the sincere voting Catholic – or any Christian. Obama (please see Deal Hudson’s article on Obama’s infanticide voting – voting against a law protecting a new born infant if the abortion failed). In short, he is the most Pro-abortion candidate for President in american history. Then McCain too is problems for a voting Catholic and Christian. Many of his inner circle are Neocons – those deluded by Rollback ideology in foreign policy – to advocate rollback is to advocate premptive war which is to advocate the culture of death internationally in global conflict. Neither candidate for President is worthy. Both offer huge violations to Natural Law, to the Commandments of God. Let’s pray for them but look elsewhere.

  • Jim

    If Obama moves sharply right on abortion he gets my vote.

  • Anonymous

    Even for this most liberal Catholic, who believes women should be offered legal abortion to protect their life and health which is endangered if women are forced to resort to quacks, I find the stand of Senator Obama on what is being termed infanticide impossible to stomach.The need for abortions should be reduced with comprehensive education. Abortion in the earliest stages should be considered the lesser of the two evils if a mother absolutely refuses to carry her child to term. A mother could hurt the child in thousands of ways if she is forced to have the child against her will. But kill a child that has escaped abortion attempts? It sends a chill down my spine. I have delivered over thirty babies in my student days (none since then). I have never performed an abortion. I cannot imagine killing a child that is born or a mother permitting it. I’m a woman who has not known the joys of being a mother. I have neither used contraceptives nor aborted a child of my own. But if I had become pregnant there is no way I would have aborted a child. I would have looked out for adoption if I didn’t want to keep the child. I have heard of far too many stories of women who suffer because of their infertility.

  • Anonymous

    Those who fight for the rights of an unborn child should fight equally for the needs of children who are born. Forcing a woman who is mired in poverty to carry a child to term when the child is sure to be neglected and abused and find none of the support it needs is a living death for children.So abortion in its earliest stages is the lesser of the two evils. It is not a moral right as being proposed by many, including women.Legal abortion merely protects the health and life of the mother.

  • Shootingsparks

    I got the same read on Obama as the columnist.

  • Anonymous

    The universal Catholic Church as per Vatican Council II offers a real spiritual home for a universal Senator Obama with his openness to accept all religions. He could attend Mass secretly in a monastery, have a deeply spiritual director who would never divulge his confidences, and without attracting any media attention, assured that monks would not try to cash in on his visits to attract public attention for themselves.

  • lwps

    So Catholics are now defined by a single issue, abortion? Sickening.

  • Lesley

    OK, so next we are going to hear that Obama has secret Jewish roots.And that would be the ultimate absurdity.Give me a break!

  • socrates3333

    So, Obama is so desperate to get away from the negative press surrounding his choice of church he attended for 20 years that his camp wants us to now believe he’s really a Roman Catholic??? Please, this is too much.

  • Babek

    OK, so next we are going to discuss Hilary Clinton Jewish roots.

  • Lesley

    Dear Babek:1. Hillary is not running for president at this time.2. Hillary’s religious background was an open book.3. A president’s religion is relevant – at least Kennedy thought so, and he addressed it head on.Poor fellow – he’s got a racial AND religious identify problem. Though as Johnny Cash sung in A Boy Named Sue, it does do something to toughen the psyche. Or maybe just someone’s unquenchable thirst to be president.

  • GeorgiaSon

    Wow. What a joyful noise unto the cause of the common brotherhood of all mankind. A call for unity and ecumenicalism to deal with the common scourges of the earth. Not to mention a plug for equating Catholic charity with good deeds.Does this mean, Mr. Stephens-Arroyo, that some wretch of a non-Catholic like me may yet make it into heaven? Will my soul cross the Pearly Gates if I join you and Barack Obama in faith-based initiatives to help the poor–despite your Pope’s recent affirmation of Catholic doctrine that my soul can forget about salvation if I haven’t joined the Catholic Church?Inquiring minds want to know.My prediction: No Catholic, much less Mr. Stephens-Arroyo, will bother to answer my question.Which leaves me no choice but to fall back on the legacy bequeathed me by my white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant forefathers–the ones known as America’s Founding Fathers–who, in their never-to-be-equaled genius, enshrined in our Constitution the concept of separation of church and state. In short: To tell Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Stephens-Arroyo to take their faith-based initiative and shove it where the sun don’t shine. We non-Catholics may be doomed to eternal hell, but we know a Trojan horse when we see it.

  • Barak Obama

    Yep that’s me the Catholic-Muslim church of America.

  • Ricky Galileo

    Bravo!Senator Obama is welcome at our Catholic church 24/7.As, I should point out all you readers are!Reject Fear & Anger. Ricky Galileo

  • Ricky Galileo

    Bravo!Senator Obama is welcome at our Catholic church 24/7.As, I should point out all you readers are!Reject Fear & Anger. Ricky Galileo

  • VACYMRO

    I would like to believe Mr. Galileo’s welcome but I know I am not welcome to participate in Holy Communion at any Catholic Church. In mainline Protestant Churches there is an invitation to all baptized Christians to partake. I am a strong believer in ecumenicalism and have no truck with the likes of Mr. Dobson, Mr. Falwell etc, but the Catholic Church needs to review the still in force proscriptions of the Council of Trent.

  • R.S.Newark

    Like Esquire Magazine used to say; “Why is this man laughing”.

  • PJ

    Belly-laughing funny: Barack Hussein Obama – a man of ALL religions – black liberation theologian, muslim, and now catholic. What’s next? He’s really a closet Jew? Hindu? Wiccan?Gotta be all-inclusive to be sure to get the vote.

  • Evileconboy

    The Financial Times has been speculating that Bush would go Catholic, now we speculate Obama will?Who cares, really? Well, I guess some really scared people do. I’m an enormously lapsed Catholic, but I am still stunned by the vitriol that pours out of some people regarding Catholicism, and I don’t mean about their policies on women, gays or birth control which are big points of contention. I mean there are still people out there that HONESTLY equate Catholicism with Satan worship.Meanwhile, Vatican 2 has at least recognized that all religions are seeking answers to the same questions regarding the human condition– not that most Catholics know that. If the church that forced Galileo to repent can come this far, why can’t some people get beyond Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and the fire and brimstone?

  • PJ

    Gee, anonymous – Truth hurts? Maybe the rock is a better place for YOU to lick your wounds, poor baby.

  • DickNH

    Yikes…I’ve never read such hate filled commentaries as I’m reading here, with few exceptions! If most of you would just follow the “Golden Rule”, we’d all be better off! It always amazes me to find that zealots can be so hurtful! Lots of glass houses crashing down here!

  • Martin

    Trolls seem to be roaming the net invading every blog with vitriol for the sake of vitriol. We are in dire straits and all you can do is spew venom while the country under George Bush and conservatives ROTS! Almost a trillion dollars of our wealth has been captured overseas by our enemies because of conservative neglect and greed. You could all at least act like you love your children and think and speak rationally!

  • TomfromNJ1

    While I enjoyed the article, I think many of these comments went off the deep end. May I offer a little reality check.When it is convenient, James Dobson bills himself as a doctor of psychology and claims to speak from that platform. But if that is the case (and I doubt that many of his views are in sync with the mainstream of that field, but I will give him his claim), then why should he be able to pontificate on theology?I do have a graduate degree in theology and I find many of the claims people make here to be totally out in left field. For example, people throwing the word “Communist” around to attack social justice. I see absolutely nothing in the Bible about capitalism (I doubt that the word was even known to the Evangelists) of free enterprise. And, of course “communism” had yet to be coined also. But I do see in the Acts of the Apostles the story of Ananias and Saphira. It certainly indicates that these earliest Christians were living a life where material goods were shared in common – a tradition that still stands in Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant monasteries and convents. This is a MUCH older tradition in Christianity than laissez faire capitalism (which, indeed many people seem to think originated with the Caliphate and so would me Islamic in origin not Christian at all – this is not my field so I will leave it to historians to discuss this). We do know that early Christians were forbidden to charge interest on loans in a very strict interpretation of the word “usury” which differs from our contemporary view showing that indeed Christian interpretation DOES change. In this and many other matters, the fundamentalists and literalists contradict themselves. (not unlike the “strict constructionists” who want judges to interpret law as meant by the founding fathers but would be horrified – and rightly so – at proposals to adopt their views with respect to black people or their opposition to a standing army). I have heard these so-called Christians somehow equate Christianity as being opposed to higher taxes. Yet we know that despite how despised tax collectors were in Jesus’ time, He was criticized for associating with them and when they tried to trap Him into saying that they should not have to pay taxes, He asked for the coin and uttered His brilliant “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” I suggest that this may have been the first seed of what was to become known as the separation of Church and State.I could go on and point to those who forbid alcohol despite the literal use of wine by Christ at Cana, the Last Supper, etc. Hardly the view of what I would understand as a “literalist.” But these same people will go to the mats for their literal interpretation of say creation. As it happens, I am old enough to remember these same people using the Bible to promote racial inequality (for example, check out why the Southern Baptists were founded) or when they condemned the Catholics as being un-American because they sent their children to separate schools rather than the American public schools. And when did that view change? Right after the Supreme Court integrated the schools. All of a sudden, all of these so-called “Christian Schools” sprang up and the same people who so opposed any aid for Catholic schools now wanted vouchers. I am sorry, but to me such people have no principals. And it is not Republicans and Democrats. When I was young, these Conservatives were Southern Democrats. They only became Republicans after the Democrats supported Civil Rights (see Nixon’s Southern Strategy or look to the parties of Helms or Thurmond for example). So, I find it hard to take these people serious when they try to apply their religious views to politics. And I equally find the idea of a Conservative Christian to be an oxymoron. Finally, regarding Obama’s mother, I believe that hr parents had her baptized as a child. Thus according to my belief, she became a Christian by that fact. She indeed rejected that and did become an atheist or at least an agnostic as she grew older. So those are NOT contradictory at least by the beliefs of many of us who see Baptism as the initiation into Christianity.

  • Paganplace

    “3. A president’s religion is relevant – at least Kennedy thought so, and he addressed it head on.What, like by going on television and giving a long talk about what his religion and controversial ex-pastor *does* mean to him, so roundly-ignored by those who’d rather claim he should, rather, be suspected of being anything but what he is?

  • Angela

    neb nilknarf: How dare you? Good works don’t get you into heaven nor does taking communion. Evidently, you should read the Holy Bible and stop criticizing James Dobson and look at Jesus instead of being filled w/religiosity. If you are someone who professes to be a Christian and doesn’t think abortion and gay marriage is wrong, please meditate on Exodus 20 and also 1 Corinthians 13:5.

  • Angela

    neb nilknarf: How dare you? Good works don’t get you into heaven nor does taking communion. Evidently, you should read the Holy Bible and stop criticizing James Dobson and look at Jesus instead of being filled w/religiosity. If you are someone who professes to be a Christian and doesn’t think abortion and gay marriage is wrong, please meditate on Exodus 20 and also 1 Corinthians 13:5.

  • Mortal

    So Tom thinks that “pro-life” is the most important issue for Catholics in this election?I am a Catholic, and my Top 10 issues for this presidential election are (in no particular order):1. The War in IraqHmmm… “pro-life” nowhere on that list.

  • Mari

    Let’s stick to reality, here, shall we? I know Obama engenders a great deal of fantasy in people’s minds, but there is nothing about the man that indicates he is going to “become a Catholic.” This is standard politician pandering, working the Catholic vote, and nothing more.How funny that President Bush was denigrated for seeming “too Catholic” (because he’s prolife) but Obama is being touted as “SO Catholic!”What an intellectually dishonest article.

  • Anonymous

    can BLACK Obama enter WHITE house

  • Paganplace

    I don’t think the columnist actually intended to suggest Obama’s really Catholic, never mind about to become one; just pointing out that he approves of some similarities he sees.

  • Fred

    Words? Just Words? When Obama said bitter people “cling to their guns and religion.”Words? Just Words? When Obama said he was ashamed of his white grandmother’s “typical” white person talk.Words? Just Words? When Obama said he could no sooner disown Rev. Wright than he could the black community — then went on to disown him anyway.Words? Just Words? When Obama said he wouldn’t want his daughter to be “punished” witha baby.

  • mcamele

    TomfromNJ1… I enjoyed your post, just interesed to know how would you interpret Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the Temple (one of the few times that Jesus was portrayed as truly angry)?

  • Joe

    Nice list! Here are my top five Protestant issues. I have placed an asterisk by the ones that are grounded in my faith. 1. Health care*Numbers 1,2,3 and 4 are pro-life issues. It’s amazing to me how Christians hate abortion but are supportive of not providing food or life-and-death health care after a child is born. If the key to heaven is faith, not works, is being gay not a ‘work’? We are all sinners, and the hierarchy of sin is up to God. If He judges that greed and war are worse than being gay, many so-called Christians are in BIG trouble.

  • Maggie

    Obama is courting the Catholic vote which explains the Catholic language he’s using. Doug Kmiec is helping Obama deceive Catholics into voting for him despite his support for abortion on demand and infanticide. Faithful Catholics will not vote for Obama!

  • Racism Is SIN

    Anonymity is fertilizer to the cowardice of racism.

  • Cranky Catholic

    Anybody using the term “Catholic Vote” doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There’s no such thing.

  • paul c

    Dr. S-A is a strong Democrat and this, like other articles, is meant to show how Catholics could support Obama.

  • Anonymous

    Since Senator Obama seems to fit the Vatican II Catholic bill, Catholics only need to ask what his support for what is being infanticide means.Offering legal abortion in the earliest stages to protect the health and life of a mother who would otherwise seek the services of a quack is one thing, but to kill a child that is born in spite of attempts to kill it is another.Since it is a man made law, it can be changed. But a dead infant cannot be brought back to life.Comprehensive sex education, availability of contraceptives for all women is a must. It has to do with reducing the number of abortions and STDs.

  • Anonymous

    Rights for the dignity of Lesbians, Bisexuals, Gays and Transsexuals (LGBT) is a human rights issue.LGBT are created by the same God as the heterosexuals and have as little choice about their sexual orientation as heterosexuals do. It is not right to play God and deny them their human right for happiness in a committed relationship.

  • TomFromNJ1

    I have no idea if this blog does a Cinderella at midnight, but for what it is worth, I want to post a few responses.First to MACAMELE, thanks for the kind words. I would say that the chasing of the money lenders from the Temple is a condemnation of greed, hypocrisy (as you no doubt recall, He was very big on criticizing the hypocrisy of the established religious leaders of the time – a lesson we should never forget).And to ANGELA who seems to be almost deifying Dobson, You quote extensively from St. Paul, but I have no idea where you found that translation. I just checked a half dozen bible translations from very different traditions and I can find nothing mentioning “male prostitutes.” In fact, I am not sure such thing existed back then although clearly homosexuality did. But when you make these things up or translate the Greek to suit yourself, that calls into question your motives. In that, I believe you are indeed very similar to what I have seen of Dobson.Like most conservatives, he picks and chooses to serve his political agenda, not the Lord’s. To make my point, when is the last time the Conservatives called upon the government to practice “turning the other cheek,” turning swords into plowshares,” “love your enemies,” “do good to those who hate you.” I admit I have a hard time practicing some of these in my every day life – but nobody said Christianity is easy. But just maybe our country would not be in the mess we are in if had followed more of what God said instead of honing in on a few principles that are not too difficult to follow. As a male, I have no trouble not having an abortion. As a heterosexual, homosexuality is not a temptation so it is easy to be against them, but loving that guy who just took my parking space is not so easy. Remember is was these same so-called Christians who went after Dukakis who gave perhaps the most Christian answer to Bernard Shaw’s question about his wife being raped. If I am going to claim to be a follower of the same Jesus who said “Father forgive them,” who put the ear back after Peter tried to defend Him in the garden. I say if we take literally what we say each day about “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” then Dukakis is a much better Christian than I am. But who came after him and condemned him? Not the left. I have no problem with people debating his or any other person’s politics, but the Conservatives apparently feel they cannot win that so they attack the person and with regard to religious values. Does the word “Pharisee” ring a bell?And I see hypocrisy throughout. Isn’t it odd that the same people who are so critical of criticizing judges for overturning the vote of the majority and thus “legislating from the bench” have literally rejoiced when the same court voted 5-4 to overturn a law favored by the majority of voters in DC and thus try to reinstate the attitude of the old west which our ancestors had the good sense to change. Oh, they will argue, this is a guaranteed right. But what it really is is exactly the same as what they condemn – the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the right. If one does not think that is true, note that 4 of the 5 did not agree. I hope this gets on in time for someone to read it.

  • TomFromNJ1

    WHOOPS That should have read “4 of the 9″ not “4 of the 5.” Sorry for being so careless.

  • VICTORIA

    interesting that you inutited the homophobia present in paul’s writngs-

  • lucy van pelt

    Anyone who thinks Obama even remotely resembles Catholic teaching would be an easy mark, er, prospect to buy that bridge in Brooklyn.

  • Unsavable

    My premise…any one of us who has more than he/she needs, has that “extra” at the expense of any one who has less than he/she needs. Per God’s/Nature’s rules, because of this, we are UNSAVABLE. To put it in a Christian perspective, all fall short of the rightiousness of God and ought to be thrown into the fires of hell (i.e., all are sinners). Only by God’s Grace are we SAVABLE. So, having read all the self-righteous comments here, from all sides, I ask a simple question. Do you have more than one set of clothes? Are there naked people on the Earth? Then why don’t you share your extra to clothe the naked? Do you ever throw away old food from your kitchen? Then why don’t you share your extras to feed the hungry, before you purchase things ultimately to be wasted? I believe all children who die (abortion, starvation, abuse) go right to heaven to be comforted by God Himself. The rest of us have to admit out sinfulness and ask for God’s mercy and Grace. So, why do we fight and call each other names and do just the opposite of God’s command…Love one another? We are indeed a bunch of weak-minded and heartless souls, are we not?

  • Right POV

    You know, I have no idea why I read these crap articles. I must be a masochist. Maybe some day WAPO will ask someone who knows Catholicism to write about Catholicism. What a novel concept. I have serious, serious concern over the line:For instance? How can you throw out such an accusationa nd not provide evidence. And as for Obama “putting them together” you are right- he sure will. Once he tells the Orthodox Jews who run the drug counciling center that they MUST hire an atheist to get funding. Or the Catholic nuns MUST hire this person, or the Protestant shelter MUST hire that person. He will stick them all together: stripped of their identity, of their religious core and their effectiveness. Many people of faith were AGAINST faith-based initiatives exactly for this reason. Because under Bush it works. Under a pragmatist, leftist, hate filled, religion despising radical- it loses all it’s purpose and becomes another way to paganize America. I will stop reading these crappy articles. I will stop reading these crappy articles. I will strop reading these crappy articles….

  • AMviennaVA

    There seem to be some very strict self-labeled ‘Christians’ and ‘Catholics’ here (Catholics please note that some of those ‘Christians’ do not consider you or me to be sufficiently Christian). Out of curiosity: McCain had a wife and mistress (the current saintly Mrs.) at the same time. That is a sin. It also shows incredibly poor judgment, since having a wife and a mistress is very expensive. It also shows a strong tendency to lie to one or the other, or both. (I know these because I have worked with many capable but also stupid people).Since all commandments are of equal priority, can you really support, let alone vote, for McCain? If so, what is your justification and how do you reconcile it with the ‘strict’ and absolute interpretations you present.

  • Anonymous

    The Post is trying oh so hard to make Obama look like the messiah. Why are all the religion articles about Obama these days? Hello…he went to a political organization disgused as a “church” for 20 years that spewed hatred. Please make the Religion section of the Post reflect religion. Stop making this into a political forum. It is a disgrace.

  • anon

    What about Obama is appealing to Catholics? His “social policy” to help “those in need”? What good is social justice if you are in support of abortion, which kills precisely those babies most in need? The most basic right, human and constiutional, is the right to life… liberty and happiness and food and healthcare and all that are meaningless if you are dead! If Obama were a pro-life, anti-baby killing candidate, then maybe Catholics with a conscience could support him over another pro-life candidate like McCain. But in this election, I cannot see how a Catholic can support the most pro-abortion candidate in U.S. history over McCain, who has an excellent pro-life record.Obama actually voted against an Illinois law that would simply save babies who SURVIVED the abortion from being left to die. How do you justify supporting that??And ditto on Right POV’s comments… WAPO is not really interested in a true Catholic representing their views, because that would be counter to WAPO’s views – that’s why they hired this guy for this column.

  • anon

    What about Obama is appealing to Catholics? His “social policy” to help “those in need”? What good is social justice if you are in support of abortion, which kills precisely those babies most in need? The most basic right, human and constiutional, is the right to life… liberty and happiness and food and healthcare and all that are meaningless if you are dead! If Obama were a pro-life, anti-baby killing candidate, then maybe Catholics with a conscience could support him over another pro-life candidate like McCain. But in this election, I cannot see how a Catholic can support the most pro-abortion candidate in U.S. history over McCain, who has an excellent pro-life record.Obama actually voted against an Illinois law that would simply save babies who SURVIVED the abortion from being left to die. How do you justify supporting that??And ditto on Right POV’s comments… WAPO is not really interested in a true Catholic representing their views, because that would be counter to WAPO’s views – that’s why they hired this guy for this column.

  • anon

    To AMVIENNAVA:All commandments are not of equal priority. There is a reason they are numbered as they are, 1 -10. Sins against God such as worshipping idols are worse than sins against man. Murder is worse than lying. Killing is worse than cheating on your wife. You cite McCain’s alleged infidelity. Okay. What about Obama’s votes for abortion? Killing innocent babies (or helping others to via laws you approve and money you give) is 100% worse than cheating on your wife.

  • candide

    Why are you bringing back this silly discussion of Obama’s alleged Catholicism? Is it a way of letting Sally Quinn off the hook?

  • Anon

    Gee, sure looks like we have a bunch of

  • AMviennaVA

    anon: I must note that in your response you did not explain how you reconcile supporting McCain and adhering to the Commandments at the same time.As for you questions to me: Please remember that I am not required to do something that is not illegal. Also, remember that caesar’s law is different than God’s law. Therefore, I consider committing a sin (as you also admit it is), adultery in this instance, a transgression. To the best of my recollection, Obama has not killed anyone, so I do not believe that he has committed that sin. If you maintain that a vote is tantamount to killing, then you must admit that Bush/Cheney/McCain and every Senator and Congressman who voted to go to war in Iraq has killed hundreds of thousands and created millions of refugees. By extension anyone who supports them is guilty of the same.As for the ordering of the Commandments, there are two sets: the first set refer to man’s obligations to God and the second set refer to man’s obligations to man (or society). I do not recall anything in the Old or New Testaments that ranks them in order of importance, nor anything that allows for full or partial adherence, based on the individual’s choice.

  • dunnage

    So stupid.

  • SPIDERMAN2

    OBrien wrote ” Plenty of anti-Catholic bigotry in the US still. “Faith and good works” versus “Amazing Grace by Faith alone” ? “I’ve seen lots of “good works” Catholicism has been doing. They promote SOCIAL ACTIVISM” but in reality, it’s POVERTY (communism, rebelion, corruption, etc) that they are really promoting. Catholic nations are almost always at the top ten of most corrupt countries. Judas once chided a woman for “wasting” oil into the feet of Jesus instead of giving it to the poor. That is what true Catholicism is. They preach good works but you can never see it in their action. Chaos and poverty is what governs almost all Catholic countries.In fact almost all atheists and pagans here are former Catholics. The same can be said of liberal protestantism. They embrace almost similar doctrines.”For we are His wormanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works”.It is salvation first before good works. False religions like Catholicism, etc does the reverse and usually because it’s not by the power of Christ, the so called “good works” becomes very bad works. The killing continues in many parts of the world where their so called SOCIAL ACTIVISM was planted.

  • [email protected]

    “candide: Most American Catholics don’t give a damn about Dorothy Day or her socio-economic activities and thought.”Maybe not, but the Church sure seems intent on making her a Saint. The Post was rather interesting, since right now in the local Arch Diocese “The big read is looking at just the terms presented here in ‘Forming a proper conscience for voting.’ Obama drifting into becoming a Catholic? I’d love to be at the Easter Vigil service where that happens.

  • paul c

    Spiderman2:

  • DaTourist

    Could Obama be a secret Catholic?Was John Kerry a secret Catholic?It seems that both Obama and Kerry were too secretly Catholic for the Catholic laity that votes in Presidential elections.

  • spiderman2

    A qoute from Jose Rizal:”Oh what blindness!! What Lack Of Undersatnding!!”" Consider well that kind of religion that they are teaching you. See whether it is the will of the God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated. Consider what they are preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc., etc.; which they daily keep before your minds; ears and eyes; jostling, shouting, and coaxing, INVESTIGATE whence they came and WHETHER THEY GO and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and SEE whether the PRETENDED OBSERVANCE of the life of Christ does not remind of the fat milk cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat not through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives. “Paul C., Please also note that Jose Rizal loved his neighbor. He even died for them.

  • John D.

    Oe can act according to the social philosophy of Christ without believing in His Theology.

  • Sally in Georgia

    If more people would read Obama’s two books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, comments to this and other Blogs might make more sense. It is my understanding that he won a scholarship to a Catholic High School in Honolulu, which he attended from age 11 or 12 until he graduated. Confirm or Deny–whatever you want to believe, he is well-educated and, win or lose the presidency, has already made remarkable contributions to many aspects of our culture.

  • Sally in Georgia

    Thanks for your correction…I enjoyed the link. The cover story in this week’s Newsweek mentioned he attended a Catholic School in Indonesia when he first arrived there at age 6. This article covers a lot of territory on Obama’s faith:

  • Jim M

    Spiderman, I agree with Paul C. And catholics believe in loving your neighbor’s kids in the most literal sense. Although catholic leadership has demonstrated itself to be chock full of pedophiles, I don’t think that other protestant denoms are much better.And the catholic church continues to believe that it has a moral voice in its leadership. (Only for people foolish enough to believe its leaders).

  • Fate

    Dwight wrote: “as far as the catholic pedophile scandal goes, it taught us there are limits to tolerance for gays…”You obviously have no clue what “pedophilia” or “gay” mean. Its like linking rape with heterosexuality. Get a clue.

  • Tom Moran

    Here’s my list of factors I’m considering when voing in November:1. Not losing any economic or security ground earned during the Bush years.

  • navymcpo

    “Not losing any economic or security ground earned during the Bush years” What planet are you on?

  • Muddy

    I have worked on events with Jewish, Catholic, Wiccan, athesis and of course Prebs which is the faith I nominally hold, and have supported Islamic groups in discussions and debates before. Which religion would the idiot author believe I hold to?

  • bullsh1t

    After the Black Liberation Theology Church he attended for 20+ years, I can’t see how he can claim to be anything even close to catholic.Try maybe Christian….. But definitely not catholic. Stating that he is a catholic after all the Rev Wright bigotry going on, is a slap to the face and an insult to those of us that actually attend real catholic churches…

  • Farb

    My concern isn’t that Obama “is” a Catholic, but that he’s aligned with the Vatican’s policies regarding the takeover of the United States political machinery. They don’t care whether he’s “one of them” if he is allied with them. The Empire of Rome hasn’t been sleeping all these centuries. Their colonization of the U.S. from Ireland, Poland, Portugal and now from Mexico and Central America over the past hundred years or so is part of that policy. Notice that gun control is law in the areas that have already been taken over: Maryland, New York, New Jersey, California, etc. Why was (Irish Catholic) McCarthy so big on finding communists in the STate Department in the 1950′s? It was a distraction so no one would notice that Catholics were taking over the State Department. And subsequently, the CIA. As soon as those Catholic colonists’ U.S. citizen babies grow up to be registered voters, the world will be in for big trouble.

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