Catholic voters support religious freedom, but aren’t always consistent – ​​Catholic World Report

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Denver Newsroom, July 15, 2022 / 6:00 a.m. (CNA).

Likely Catholic voters tend to be strong supporters of religious liberty and conscientious objection in general, but conversations are yet to take place to help bridge the gaps between Catholic opinion and consistent Catholic living.

The state of Catholic opinion was the subject of a RealClear Opinion Research survey, sponsored by EWTN Global Catholic Network. It reached 1,757 likely Catholic voters from June 15-23. He claims a 95% credibility level of plus or minus 2.58 percentage points.

Survey respondents came from a wide range of self-declared Catholics. About 68% of respondents described their Catholic faith as important to them. Aside from weddings and funerals, 40% of those surveyed said they attend church weekly or more, while a further 40% attend church “month to month”.

Among the topics of the investigation was a 2019 Department of Health and Human Services conscience rule allowing healthcare workers to refuse to participate in abortion, so-called sex reassignment procedures, assisted suicide or to other procedures that may violate their religious conscience. or moral reasons.

On this point, Catholic voters sided with those with religious or moral objections. Only 30% of survey respondents said healthcare workers should be required to engage in procedures to which they have religious or moral objections, while 58% did not.

Stated support for religious freedom appeared strong. About 82% of respondents said they were more likely to support a political candidate whose stance was “supporting religious freedom for people of faith”, and 48% were much more likely.

At the same time, there seemed to be inconsistencies. Catholic ethics oppose contraception, and Catholic leaders have spoken openly against mandates that Catholic organizations provide contraception in health insurance funds.

However, about 46% of self-declared Catholic likely voters said they were more likely to support a political candidate who supports “requiring Catholic organizations to provide insurance coverage for contraception to their employees.” Only 37% said they were less likely.

If drug warrants are related to abortion, respondents were less likely to support them. About 48% said they were less likely to support a candidate who supports “requiring Catholic organizations to provide insurance coverage for abortion drugs to their employees,” while 33% said they were more likely.

Mary FioRito, a Catholic commentator and Cardinal Francis George Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, said the survey results indicate “that voters are realizing that there is very strenuous effort, in some cases , to force Catholic health care institutions, and to force Catholic people more generally, into behavior that directly violates their conscience.”

For FioRito, the results suggest that the survey “is largely aimed at people who are not well catechized”. She told CNA that adherence to Catholic education is “very” tied to religious practice.

“You are likely to have a conscience that is much more shaped by what the Church teaches, and you are actually much more likely to be able to articulate what the Church teaches,” he said. she stated.

She suggested regular worshipers would be much more likely to be aware of pro-religion initiatives by U.S. bishops that aimed to help Catholics understand their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

The bishops also sought to explain “the very real and aggressive threats to our right to free exercise that have been proposed not only by this administration, but by others before it.”

“I think the bishops have done a tremendous job educating Catholics who regularly practice their faith and making them aware of the victories we have won, as well as the continuing threats,” she said.

“It’s very important that Catholics are united in our very quick and decisive responses to these kinds of things,” FioRito continued. “Once you open the door and allow discrimination based on a person’s religion, it tends to have a domino effect, not only on other religious freedoms held by Catholics, but also by our Christian brothers and sisters. evangelicals and our Muslim brothers and sisters and also our Jewish brothers and sisters.

One way to bridge the gap with Catholics who are less consistent or aware of religious freedom efforts is to use “kitchen table” or “over the backyard fence” conversations, whose some are now taking place on social media, FioRito suggested.

“But the path is, first, to understand what you’re talking about yourself, and then, to be able to explain why it’s so important to be able to protect religious freedom.”

In his case, FioRito links conversations on the subject to his parents’ upbringing in Scotland, where Christmas was not a legal holiday until 1958. It was considered a “papist” holiday. His parents’ memories of Christmas morning are about their fathers getting up for work because it was a normal workday.

“I had a very personal appreciation of what it means to be an American and to be able to live out your faith in the public square,” she said.

“Sometimes people don’t even think about the many ways that involve our freedom to practice our religion,” she said. She cited the examples of a Catholic post office worker allowed to wear ashes on her forehead on Ash Wednesday, or a Sikh policeman allowed to wear his headgear at work.

She discussed the recent Supreme Court decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which involved a public high school football coach praying on the field after games. The court ruled the government could not prevent an individual from engaging in personal religious practice, but some misrepresented it as a decision that would require public school children to read the Bible, FioRito said.

“You have to be an informed person and say ‘this is just nonsense’. The facts of this case are totally different, and it did not involve any form of coercion for anyone to pray.

FioRito encouraged conversations that make a Catholic case with “facts, reason and compassion for all members of our community who wish to practice their faith openly and freely.”

“It’s really important to understand and let people know in a friendly but educated way that’s why it’s important,” she said. “It could really restrict the things that affect you right now, like your ability to not have to go to work on Christmas Day. It’s a very entrenched holiday here in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it always has to be either.

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