Monday, November 17, 2008

Catholics in Alliance Voter Survey of "Little Value," Archdiocese of Denver Says

(Hat tip: Deal Hudson at Inside Catholic)

From Catholic News Agency:
Denver, Nov 14, 2008 / 09:40 pm (CNA).- A consortium of left-wing Christian organizations has released a report on the reasons voters gave for how they cast their ballots in the recent election. Although the poll finds that Americans have rejected a “narrow agenda,” the Archdiocese of Denver says the report has “little value” because it is skewed by the preconceptions of the groups that commissioned the survey.

The newly released survey, which questioned 1,277 voters, was conducted November 5-7 by Public Religion Research for the groups Faith in Public Life, Sojourners and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

While noting that only 21 percent of white evangelicals voted for Barack Obama, the consortium pointed to their finding that “nearly double” (39%) say he is friendly to religion and shares their values.

Dr. Robert P. Jones, President of Public Religion Research interpreted the results of his organization’s survey as showing that Americans desire to reclaim a “broader agenda,” a description that closely echoes the post-election theme of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and its political allies.

This result, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and their partners say, should be interpreted to mean that pro-lifers should focus their efforts on economic and social measures to reduce abortion. Other thinkers who agree with this reasoning, such as Douglas Kmiec and Nicolas Cafardi, assert that the pro-life movement has failed in the legal arena, and that it should redirect its energies.

However, this past Wednesday the U.S. Catholic bishops rejected the notion that the pro-life movement has failed by assailing Roe v. Wade in their joint statement. “A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law.”

Jeanette DeMelo, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Denver, dismissed the Catholics in Alliance survey and the groups’ conclusions in a statement to CNA on Friday. “This survey has little value, if any, because it is skewed by the preconceptions of the partisan, activist groups that commissioned the survey,” she said.

DeMelo also pointed out that “Archbishop Chaput has already said that groups like ‘Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn’.”

Archbishop Chaput has taken particular issue with Catholics in Alliance’s attempts to give equal moral weight to the issue of abortion in its voter education materials.

In a mid-October speech, Archbishop Chaput described their agenda, saying, “All of them seek to ‘get beyond’ abortion, or economically reduce the number of abortions, or create a better society where abortion won’t be necessary. All of them involve a misuse of the seamless garment imagery in Catholic social teaching. And all of them, in practice, seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues.”
(emphasis added)

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