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Friday, August 3, 2012

Religion, Politics, and Catholics

The Pew Research Center reports:
Catholics who are aware of U.S. bishops’ concerns about restrictions on religious liberty generally agree with the bishops’ concerns. Yet the bishops’ protests against government policies they see as restrictive of religious liberty have not drawn much more interest among Catholics than among the general public. And there are no significant differences in the presidential vote preferences between Catholic voters who have heard about the bishops’ protests and those who have not.
Nearly two-thirds of Catholics (64%) have heard at least a little about the bishops’ protests against a number of government policies, including Obama administration policies requiring religious institutions such as universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive services to their employees. But just 22% of Catholics say they have heard a lot about them. Moreover, only about a third of Catholic churchgoers (32%) say their priest has spoken out on this issue at Mass.
By a 56% to 36% margin, Catholics who are aware of the bishops’ protests about what they believe are infringements of religious liberty say they agree with the bishops’ concerns. Among all Americans who are aware of the protests, there is less support for the bishops’ position: 41% agree with the bishops’ concerns, while 47% disagree.
At the Sacramento Bee's Capitol Alert, David Siders  writes:
Gov. Jerry Brown this afternoon offered a biblical foundation for his November ballot measure to raise taxes, saying the wealthiest Californians have been blessed with an increasing share of the population's income and can afford to pay more.
"For those who've been blessed the most, it's only right, and I think the way to go to say, 'Give some back temporarily, for the next seven years, until our economy finally gets back,' " Brown said at a news conference in Oakland, where he accepted a $1 million contribution to his tax campaign from the influential California Nurses Association.
Later, the Democratic governor invoked the New Testament explicitly.
"Those who we're asking to pay more, I think they can," he said. "And I think it says in the New Testament, 'For those whom much is given, much will be asked,' and that's what we're doing today."
Brown received his religious training as a Jesuit seminarian.  Accordingly, here is the relevant passage from the translation that he would have read, the Douay-Rheims:
41 And Peter said to him: Lord, dost thou speak this parable to us, or likewise to all? 42 And the Lord said: Who (thinkest thou) is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord setteth over his family, to give them their measure of wheat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. 44 Verily I say to you, he will set him over all that he possesseth. 45 But if that servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming; and shall begin to strike the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and to drink and be drunk: 46 The lord of that servant will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour that he knoweth not, and shall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.

Read more here: