I emailed a devout Catholic (but very liberal) friend of mine to ask what he thought about the Catholic church’s steadfast support of Republicans. He wrote:
U.S. Catholic bishops support conservatives because they are conservatives. Unlike priests and bishops of the past who grew up in blue collar pro union Democratic families most today grew up in more afluent conservative Republican ones. Also, Pope John Paul II appointed bishops who were 100% on board with all Catholic teaching and would be 100% loyal to him. Despite his friendly popularity he was extremely conservative and began what Catholic Retros call “the reform of the reform” rolling back the changes of Vatican II.
I realize that I may sound like a paranoid liberal here, but my view is that conservatives are much more serious about controlling institutions than liberals are. The American Catholic church will always support Republicans, the NRA will always support Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce will always support Republicans. There’s no real analog for Democrats; it’s tempting to think that organized labor is an example, but here in New York State, they often support Republicans in the State Senate and sometimes even endorse them for Congress (though the latter is less and less frequent).
That’s why the movie “Waiting For Superman” frightens me. I see vouchers and, to a some extent, charter schools as a way for conservatives to take education over. It’s one of the few institutions that is not now under conservative control; I would argue that religion, big business, and the national media all function to some extent as proxies for the conservative movement. There’s no denying that conservatives have a hard-on for education: Bobo, for example, not only thinks that vouchers will save our public schools but that colleges should have affirmative action for conservatives.
Be afraid, be very afraid.