For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 24 Nov 2013.
The election of John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States was a watershed for American Catholics, but 50 years after his assassination, America is a very different place, according to Catholic news weekly, The Tablet.
Kennedy was “the first President who happened to be Catholic.” He was a secular politician whose Catholic identity was tribal rather than ideological.
Fast forward 50 years, and Catholics now constitute the United States’ largest swing vote. Catholic politicians appear to have nothing to fear by taking positions at odds with the Catholic hierarchy. And as for the Catholic bishops, whom Protestants thought would sway Kennedy’s policy agenda:
their blend of cultural conservatism and economic liberalism – opposing “reproductive freedom” and supporting liberal immigration reform, for example – represents precisely the sort of blend of social conservatism and social-justice liberalism that neither major party is willing to support.
The same is arguably true in Australia.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.