How Barack Bamboozled Catholics

By George Neumayr

The most anti-Catholic American president ever scooped up the Catholic vote again, winning half of all Catholics. This is down four points from 2008, but it is still an impressive feat after four years of persecuting the Church.

Historians will no doubt record the grim irony of his achievement with some wonder. He has now won the Catholic vote twice and boasts an honorary degree in law from one of the Church's most prestigious universities, all while breaking her. Saul Alinsky, who pioneered the technique of bamboozling and exploiting the Church, would be proud.

Obama also won the religious vote in general over Romney 50 to 48, another remarkable accolade for a party that tried to remove God from its platform earlier this year. That the Republicans couldn't win the religious vote amidst Obama's open war on religion is either a testimony to its ineptitude or calls into question the Romney campaign's decision to focus almost exclusively on the economy. The last Republican to win, George W. Bush, thumped John Kerry in the religious vote 51 to 48.

Romney fared better than Obama amongst regular churchgoers. But Obama still managed to poach a fair number of these from him. Almost four out of ten church-going Catholics voted for Obama and 55 percent of Catholics who go to Mass a "few times a month" voted for him, according to the Pew Forum.

The work of Obama's allies within the Church paid off. Obama's Fifth Columnists steered money into his campaign (Jesuit college and universities raised donations for him), honored his HHS secretary at Georgeown even after she hatched the contraceptive mandate, erected pro-Obama Catholic front groups like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, motivated Catholic college students to get out and vote for him, and spread propaganda through Sisters Carol Keehan and Simone Campbell that Obama posed no threat to the Church.

Hispanic Catholics, under the tutelage of the Catholic left, voted for Obama over Romney 75 to 21. That was up three points from 2008.

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, who is Congressman Paul Ryan's nemesis, complained earlier in the year that the bishops had given too much aid to "anti-Obama" forces. If that only were true. Once again, the bishops proved feckless and divided. Some bishops raised their voices against Obama; most didn't. Nor did the bishops counter Joe Biden's misrepresentations of "Catholic social doctrine" and "de fide" abortion teaching late in the campaign.

Plenty of mixed signals were sent: depending on which bishop was speaking, Biden and Paul Ryan were either equally good Catholics or equally bad ones. One bishop wrote to his flock to tell them that Ryan was as "inconsistent" in his adherence to Church teaching as Biden. Such bishops served as useful idiots for Biden, who used a campaign commercial featuring images of a crucifix to sell voters on the idea that the Obama administration embodied Catholic social justice.

The Obama campaign was worried enough about the Catholic vote to cut a few ads and set up a Catholics for Obama web site. But given the mixed signals of the bishops and given the unwillingness of Mitt Romney to hit Obama on his secularism, liberals didn't have much to fear. Obama shrewdly sensed that the HHS mandate would prove a greater political boon than liability. It nudged up the female vote and didn't cost him the Catholic one.

The Obama campaign had found a fallen-away Catholic, Michael Wear, to serve as its "faith vote coordinator." According to CNN, Wear was moved from the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to that position in order to put out fires related to the HHS-mandate backlash.

George Soros-backed Catholic front groups also went to work putting out those fires, whose operatives enjoyed ties to Catholic chanceries. Until earlier this year, one of the US bishops's chief political advisers was John Carr, a former White House staffer under President Jimmy Carter. (Carr organized for Carter an event that openly touted support for "abortion" and the use of the federal government's power to promote "family planning" and "homosexual rights.")

Obama's divide-and-conquer strategy was bound to work again in a Church still salted with such operatives. The unholy alliance that he formed with the Church in 1980s Chicago remains intact.

George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author (with Phyllis Schlafly) of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.

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