Obama and Catholic Voters
Just for a change from talking about my books ... .
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal argues that Obama has made a catastrophic blunder, one likely to cost him the election, by requiring organizations run by the Catholic Church to provide their employees with health insurance that covers the cost of contraception. It's an interesting claim, and I wonder if it is true.
On the one hand, I suspect that many, probably a majority, of American Catholics do not accept the church's position on contraception—are, for one thing, willing to use it themselves. One might expect them to accept the requirement, perhaps to approve of it. That might be what Obama is counting on.
On the other hand ... . Human beings have a very strong aversion to being pushed around. I can easily imagine a Catholic who would be delighted if the church dropped its opposition to contraception, who is entirely willing to use contraception, but who is badly offended by having the U.S. government compel the church to pay for services that violate church doctrine.
One interesting thing about this question is that it will probably get answered. After the election, exit polls will provide fairly accurate information on how many Catholic voters supported Obama. If he does considerably worse with them than with voters in general, relative to his past performance, that will be reasonably good evidence that the Journal is right. If not, evidence that it was wrong.
"Most of us never owned slaves and never expect to,
It takes money to buy a slave and we’re most of us poor,
But we won’t lie down and let the North walk over us
About slaves or anything else."
(from John Brown's Body, Steven Vincent Benét's book length poem on the Civil War)