Did you guys notice the crazy crush the Republicans had on Catholics this year? In the past they were all very invested in the more fundamental Christians, what with their Moral Majority, and GW Bush, but recently they have been pressing the Catholic agenda. I am pretty sure that they looked over and realized they had a whole untapped potential voting block that was WAAAYY bigger than the Baptists.
It all began when Obamacare was mandating that insurance cover birth control. The Catholic Church kind of freaked out, although in this vague "It's not the birth control, it's the freedom" way that really just seemed like a child screaming, "You can't make me."
And the Obama administration, who was just as confused as the rest of us replied, "Well, we're not really making YOU exactly, just the insurance you buy, so..."
And the Church was all, "You're not the boss of me..."
And that's when the Republicans got wind of this. I am sure that you could see stars in their eyes as they realized all the potential locked inside the Catholic voter demographic. There was no way they were going to let this golden opportunity pass them by so did not hesitate to jump into the fray, yelling, "RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!" all Braveheart style.
It was huge and loud and confusing, with people insisting this was about the separation of Church and State, and definitely not about birth control, no absolutely not. It was amazing. And at the end of it, Republicans and Catholics came out holing hands like they had been together since the beginning of time.
For a while there, Republicans and the Catholic leadership aglow with their new found friendship. The Catholic Church began withl, "I hate paying for birth control."
To which the Republican party responded "Me too!"
And the Catholics said, "And hate that gays want to get married!"
And the Republicans, practically squealing with glee, were like, "Oh my gosh! Me too!"
Then Rick Santorum came along and was like, "I love sweater vests!"
And the priests were like, "Hooray!"
Cue the happy moments montage. They pass each other happy little notes, go to each other's rallies, gossip together about Planned Parenthood. Late at night they confide to each other about how embarrassed they got over their own hypocritical leadership. They are going to be BFFs 4eva.
Then last week, Republicans were all, "Hey you guys, don't you hate big government and love trickle down economics?"
The Catholic bishops get all serious, "Wait. What?"
And that's when the juicy stuff started.
The priests at Georgetown started passing nasty notes about how Ryan is a dummy who loves Ayn Rand.
Then Paul Ryan was like, "You guys said you liked that stuff."
And the Bishops were like, "We never said that."
And Ryan was like, "Plus, I don't care. You don't speak for all Catholics."
Right...The United States Council of Catholic Bishops does not speak for all Catholics, but it does speak for those that would be voting in the United States, so....
Then it got very noisy, very fast. Conservative Catholics are standing up for Paul, while liberals are sticking up for the Jesuits. People from both sides and in-between are shouting that the others are immoral, uneducated liars; that the first should mind their own business, or stop being so hypocritical. It's very noisy, and childish, and pretty fantastic.
The truth is, Republicans and Catholics were never going to last. The two have such conflicting philosophies at their core, that a passing alliance on a few social issues is not going to fix. Catholics see sacrament in community and believe it is God's will that individuals sacrifice for the benefit of the community. Republicans cherish the rights of the individual and hate big government. I don't see how these fundamental dogma of these groups can be reconciled.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Republicans can't be Catholic; I am sure that a Republican Catholic is as nuanced in their politics and their religion as I am. What I am saying is that because of their core values, the Republican leadership and the leaders of the Catholic Church were perhaps not the match the Republicans thought they would be.