By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Amid controversy over President Obama's upcoming appearance at Notre Dame, a new Gallup analysis finds that Catholic Americans are more liberal than the rest of the country on a handful of so-called moral issues and that they hold the same views as non-Catholics on other such issues. This graph tells the story:
Gallup parceled out committed Catholics and found, surprisingly, that "a slim majority seem to be at odds with the church's positions on premarital sex, embryonic stem-cell research, divorce, and the death penalty." This graph tells that story:
Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport suggests these findings undercut the argument of those protesting Obama's Notre Dame commencement address:
The argument of those who protest the extension of the invitation to Obama is that Catholics have a distinctly conservative position on these moral issues. That is certainly the case as far as official church doctrine is concerned, but not when it comes to average American Catholics. The new Gallup analysis, based on aggregated data from Gallup's 2006-2008 Values and Beliefs surveys, indicates that Catholics in the United States today are actually more liberal than the non-Catholic population on a number of moral issues, and on others, Catholics have generally the same attitudes.
Calling all conservative Catholics who object to Obama's Notre Dame appearance: How do you respond?
I recently met with a top conservative Catholic advocate who said that he and like-minded believers were OK with the idea of a smaller, more orthodox Catholic church in America in the years ahead. In fact, he said they preferred that to a sprawling American church filled with half-hearted believers.
But if an issue as basic as embryonic stem cell research—on which most regular Catholic church attendees oppose the church's view—were to be used as a litmus test for who's in and who's out of that future church, doesn't that leave an awfully small remnant?
Read the full Gallup analysis here.