Catholic Protests Set for June Could Impact Elections

Political strategists are warning that the U.S. bishops planned two weeks of protest in June and July could lead to powerful images of nuns and priests being led away in handcuffs, scenes that could have an enormous impact on the 2012 presidential election.

The Hill is reporting that the protest, which was announced several weeks ago in the U.S. bishop’s statement on religious liberty entitled, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty, is calling on Catholics to engage in two weeks of public rallies from June 21 to July 4 to protest the government’s increasing encroachment on religious freedom. The protests are expected to include priests and nuns and with some activists predicting civil disobedience, the kind of images the public will see during these protests will certainly cast the Obama Administration in a very unfavorable light.

President Obama has seen his standing among Catholic voters, a crucial segment of the electorate, slip in recent weeks, and a looming confrontation with Catholic activists could make it worse.

“This is the most dynamic situation I’ve ever seen since I’ve been involved in Catholics and politics,” said Deal Hudson, president of Catholic Advocate, who also headed Catholic outreach for the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in 2000 and 2004. “I think civil disobedience is almost inevitable. I think that kind of protest is on the way.”

Republican strategists agree and say the rallies could become powerfully symbolic in the presidential election.

“These would be devastating images for the Obama administration,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist, to The Hill. “You have a very important religious demographic coming out in protest of Obama’s policies and being arrested for their expression. These images would be politically damaging for the president’s campaign.”

In addition to the rallies, plans are also being discussed to join forces with evangelical Christian groups on a broader public relations campaign that will include television and radio ads, all focusing on the infringement of rights that most Americans, religious and non-religious, hold sacred.

Steven Wagner, the president of QEV Analytics, a polling firm that recently conducted a survey for The Catholic Association, told The Hill he believes religion could emerge as a sleeper issue in the election: “Everyone says this election is about the economy. I can see the issue of religious liberty being what decides the race. If Obama continues to lose Catholics by the margin the Pew poll suggests, that means he could lose the key swing states of Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Iowa.”

The latest Pew poll found that Obama’s support among Catholics has dropped eight percentage points since the advent of the HHS mandate controversy in January. With a majority of Americans saying they believe people should be permitted to opt out of insurance programs that provide birth control, abortifacients and sterilizations if it violates an employer’s religious beliefs, the issue will not be a winner for the president.

Obama’s only hope will be to try to convince Americans that the bishops and their supporters are waging a war on women. However, the bishops have sidestepped this ploy by voicing concern over other issues of religious intolerance, such as the shuttering of Catholic adoption agencies because of Church opposition to same-sex marriage. The conference has also accused the government of discrimination when it tried to force the Church to offer victims of human trafficking contraception and abortion services or lose funding.

Plans for the early summer protests are already underway. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishops, said Catholics are “in the stage of preparation about what parishes can do.”

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8 Response to “Catholic Protests Set for June Could Impact Elections

  1. I’m on board! Please spread the information to the lay people – Many of us have parish priests that will NOT address the religious freedoms issue. Yet we in the pews will rally ourselves to preserve our Freedoms……
    -from the diocese of DesMoines, Iowa

  2. I love the timing of this…right about the time the Supreme Court hands down their decision on ObamaCare…

    Go Cardinal !!!

  3. Right you are Colleen..May all faithful Christians rise up..”Rise up o men of God”..

  4. The importance of this issue and the need for our prayer, advocacy and response cannot be overestimated. Let us all take the time listen how God calls each of us in our individual way to respond. We all can contribute to the success of religious liberty and conscience freedom.

  5. I keep you in my prayers. I hope that more people like me from all over the world will pray for your successful protest. What happens in America affect the rest of the world.
    Caroline Roddy, Ireland

  6. Where is this going down in Nashville, TN? My son and I will make signs and hand out Rosaries and pray with the Sisters!!! Thank you, Cardinals, for agreeing to take such a strong stand against this man’s evil policies. We will stand with you through it all!

    And saying that we are waging a war on women is ridiculous! Abortion wages a war on women – a psychological and physical one on those who have them, and murder for the women who were aborted!

    I am a rape victim and single parent who nearly had an abortion, and at first gave my son up for adoption, then kept him, and he has been the best part of my life… so I get sick of hearing the excuses of why children should be murdered. My son is now on the track to becoming either a neurosurgeon specializing in the brain, or a cardio-thoracic surgeon! He may come up with a clinical trial that cures a serious problem… and he could have been aborted. I would have cost the world a brilliant man, and I would have spent my entire life wondering what he would have been like.l.. He is smart, and fun. He loves to play games and discuss physics. His ‘light’ reading consists of Einstein and Hawking, and has since he was 9. He is just like me in so many ways. He is into Dr. Who and cosplays him at conventions. He started programming before he was 10… He is into an alternative scene like me, because I was also a hardcore geek who was learning foreign languages, philosophy, and physics when I was 7. So I could NEVER in good conscience support abortion though I used to, because this world needed my son… I thank God every day that I kept him and that he is still with me. Yes, he looks like his dad, who abused me… but he is a wonderful child who is homeschooled and gets straight A’s and does martial arts and does not want to lose his future to drugs or violence… so I know it is not his fault that he looks like his dad. I could never hate him for that because he doesn’t ACT like his dad. It’s no excuse. If I can deal with all of this, being disabled and also having PTSD, then others can as well. They are just selfish… adoption is always an option. There are even open adoptions where you can see your child occasionally, which was what I originally chose. Giving up 9 months of your life rather than give up your child’s 70-100 years of life is just selfish and unbelievable…

  7. Together with Caroline Roddy, there are others with you
    thru’ prayers.
    Lead on America!
    P. Deubler Germany