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White Catholic Voters Driven by Baseless Fear and Dark Money

White Catholics favor Trump by 59% as shown by a Pew Research poll conducted July 27 – Aug. 2, higher than the 54% of all white voters. (In this poll, Latinos were only 18% of registered voters.)

“Swing states, such as Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin have an oversized influence on the outcome of the presidential election. Catholics comprise 20-25 percent of the population in these states,” according to the Political Science Now.

“Targeting this group proved effective for Trump in 2016, when he won the Catholic vote in the swing states of Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa by larger margins than his statewide differential. In Ohio, he won the Catholic vote by 20 points, compared to an 8-point statewide win, while in Michigan Trump won the Catholic vote by 18 points, compared to a one-point state victory,” stated Political Science Now.

“Trump has an Electoral College advantage again this cycle” in swing states noted a Sept. 4 podcast by the respected FiveThirtyEight analysts.

The right wing Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat and Raymond Arroyo of EWTN were recently named as “consequential figures in Catholic life” who have “followings and influence” by veteran reporter John L. Allen, Jr.

For more than two decades, Chaput has been the eminence grise of the American Catholic right wing. “The number of initiatives and institutions he formed [while archbishop of] Denver reach across the country,” Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, editor in chief of Convivium magazine, acknowledged.

Chaput is an official of at least two organizations that are energizing Catholic voters to get to the polls for Trump. Chaput is a director of the Napa Institute  and vice chairman and governor of EWTN News.

The Napa Institute

The Institute was “formed to help Catholic leaders” respond to Chaput’s warning about “a growing trend toward secularization in American culture, with Catholics facing dwindling relevance,” i.e. influence.

Fear proved to be a dominant theme” of the Napa Institute’s Aug. 14-15 conference, observed columnist Christopher White. The event was held online due to covid-19. White described it as a “high-dollar gathering that brings together conservative Catholic philanthropists, lay leaders and high-ranking prelates.”

“This is spiritual warfare” proclaimed John Meyer, executive director of the Institute, referring to this year’s mass protests “and the ideologies behind them.”

The Black Lives Matter movement was denounced as atheistic and Marxist. “It’s probably not about race at all if you dig deep,” emcee Fr. Ambrose Criste stated.

“Christians are increasingly under siege in the forum of public opinion” cautioned speaker George Weigel, one of the founding theocons of Religious Right who also exhorted attendees to be prepared to fight for their religious liberty.

To protect the “fragility of their freedom,” Catholics must possess “the same level of passion as Antifa and other leftist organizations and atheistic organizations,” counseled former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum.

“The presumption of identity politics is that the white heterosexual man is guilty,” Georgetown University government professor Joshua Mitchell said to provoke his audience. “All others – women, Blacks, Hispanics, LGBTQ persons – have their sins of omission or commission covered over by scapegoating this group,”

Christians must “stand our ground” in order to avoid “further persecution.” “Are we willing to stand up to say that marriage is between a man and a woman? Are we willing to say Merry Christmas?” Tim Gray, president of the conservative Augustine Institute asked attendees

The conference was filmed by EWTN‘s Orange County, California, studios.  

EWTN

If the Napa Institute energizes wealthy Catholics, then EWTN (the Eternal Word Television Network) prods the rest of Catholics to battle.

EWTN Global Catholic Network is the largest religious media enterprise in the world. In the U. S., EWTN TV “is available through most cable and satellite providers with a reach of around 70 million households.”  EWTN is also available on demand on streaming services Roku, Kindle, and Apple TV. EWTN’s Internet site is viewed three to four million times monthly and EWTN Radio is affiliated with 384 U.S. stations.

EWTN also owns the National Catholic Register newspaper and the Catholic News Agency, a news service with bureaus across America, Latin America and Europe. Both have widely-read websites.

Candidate Trump granted EWTN an exclusive interview on Oct. 27, 2016, days before the election.

The interview was conducted by Raymond Arroyo, named by Allen as one of the three most influential American Catholics. Arroyo is director and former lead anchor of EWTN News and a FOX News contributor. He is also a frequent guest on The Ingraham Angle on Fox News.

“People that are faith-based are not being accepted in our country anymore,” Trump told Arroyo. Clinton’s “been terrible in what she said and her thoughts towards Catholics,” he said.

Asked by Arroyo to comment on Obamacare’s “demand” that “abortifacient services” be provided by the insurance, Trump responded that “It’s going up 50%, 60%, 70%, and next year it’s going to go up again. They’ll be paying 150%.”

As the result of the Syrian civil war, about 5.6 million refugees were forced to flee the country. Clinton said the U.S. should admit more of these refugees. Asked to comment, Trump said “We have no idea – are they ISIS? We’re taking them in by the tens of thousands right now, and Hillary Clinton wants to upgrade that by 550%. I will stop it immediately. We will not have radical Islamic terrorists coming into our country.”

On Nov. 8, 2016, Trump won the Catholic vote in Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa.

The 2020 Campaign

Trump gave his first EWTN TV reelection campaign interview to Arroyo on June 22. Three days earlier, the statue of Fr. Junipero Serra in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park had been toppled. Serra, declared a saint by Pope Francis in 2015 for establishing Franciscan Missions, was “part of the enormously destructive colonization process for Alta California Indians.”

Asked to comment, Trump said “We’re going to do an executive order. We’re going to make the cities guard their monuments, this is a disgrace.”

Referring to the demonstrations held in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Trump claimed, “If Biden got in, this country would be a disaster.”

Arroyo asked Trump about whether presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is pro-life, “I’m pro-life, he’s not … look who he’s putting on the court.”

Then Trump referenced an interview given by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaking about a 2019 bill loosening restrictions on late-term abortions. Northam, a pediatric surgeon, spoke about “cases where a fetus is nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Trump’s response to Arroyo: “Look at the governor of Virginia. He did an execution. [H]is was, the baby was born, and then you can execute the baby. That’s the Democrats. That’s Joe Biden.”

Trump also remarked on a June 6 open letter, already widely disseminated by EWTN media, written to him by former papal ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Viganò. The archbishop said that “the children of darkness – whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days – have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans.”

In this colossal operation of social engineering [in responding to the pandemic] there are people who have decided the fate of humanity, arrogating to themselves the right to act against the will of citizens and their representatives in the governments of nations….

The riots in these days were provoked by those who, seeing that the virus is inevitably fading and that the social alarm of the pandemic is waning, necessarily have had to provoke civil disturbances…..

“[From] the deep state, to globalism, to aligned thought, to the New World Order [they] want to dominate the world by driving God out of the courts, out of schools, out of families, and perhaps even out of churches.”

“The mainstream media does not want to spread the truth but seeks to silence and distort it, spreading the lie that is useful for the purposes of their masters.”

Trump told Arroyo, “Yeah, he’s right in what he says.” Viganò “is highly respected as you know …. a tremendous letter of support from the Catholic Church.”

Trump’s Second EWTN Appearance

Trump gave another interview on EWTN News Nightly on Aug. 4 with the current lead anchor, Tracy Sabol, conducted at the White House.

Sabol urged Trump to talk about shutting down churches.

“The Democrats want to put churches out of business. They have gone radical left,” Trump declared….

Sabol: “I know that you’ve heard about the horrific vandalism. Many, many churches have been vandalized over the past recent weeks.”

Trump: “It’s a very terrible situation… And I don’t think [Democrats] want churches open….”

Sabol: What can be done to stop this vandalism?

Trump: “If Biden got in … you’d have that all over our country….

Sabol: And if there was one message you wanted to say to our viewers, what would it be right now?

Trump: “Pro-life is your big thing. [If Biden wins] I guarantee, the radical left is going to push him around like he was nothing.”

Funding

Both the Napa Institute and EWTN have a 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue tax code. This means that they are exempt from paying federal taxes, contributions are tax deductible but the names of individual donors and the amounts of their donations need not be disclosed.

Other right wing activist Catholic organizations include Legatus,  an organization of business leaders and executives; Knights of Columbus, a huge fraternal society; the Acton Institute, a think tank; The Catholic Association,  an online news service; FOCUS, for college students; and two groups providing legal counsel right wing culture warriors, the Becket Fund and Thomas More Law Center.

Since they all claim to have a “religious” purpose, they also are tax exempt and their donors are secret. Combined, they provide powerful and unlimited funding for a Trump victory.

(Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America.)

2 Responses

  1. hey old friend,
    great news. we now have a member of the opus dei ladies auxiliary on tap for the supreme court.
    amy coney barrett:
    “your legal career is but a means to an end…the end is building the kingdom of God.” (Notre Dame speech to law school graduates 2006.)
    ernesto

  2. What is wrong with you? You are a collection of non-Catholics, you oppose Church teaching. So for your own sake, and for those you would scandalize with your private opinions and evil sexuality, stop calling yourselves Catholic. Remember death, and at death Judgment and then Heaven or Hell.

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