It’s a mixed bag when somebody verbalizes what others dare not express. There’s always one loud-mouth that says something that makes people around him feel completely uncomfortable, even if he’s saying something that is at the back of others’ minds.

From David Kirkpatrick’s “Abortion Issues Again Dividing Catholic Votes” in this morning’s online edition of The New York Times:

“One parishioner ruled out voting for Mr. Obama explicitly because he is black. “Are they going to make it the Black House?” Ray McCormick asked, to embarrassed hushing from a half dozen others gathered around the rectory kitchen. (Five of the six, all lifelong Democrats who supported Mrs. Clinton in the primary, said they now lean toward Mr. McCain.)”

Unfortunately, I hear some of the people (loved ones included) from my home when I read this statement. I just have to wonder if some Catholic voters aren’t using the Vatican’s stances on abortion and homosexuality as a pretext, a protective shield for their prejudices. And this gets conflated in reporting about Catholic and Evangelical voters and the issues that will determine these voters’ decisions in the booth.

For one, I’d like to thank the man for articulating a sentiment — racially discriminatory though it may be — to a reporter, in public. I may have cringed, but it needed to be said — in a parish rectory, no less. And thank you to Mr. Kirkpatrick for diligently teasing out the lingering mindset of racial discrimination from social issues girded by one’s faith.

As you can see, I have strong opinions about this. What do you see? What do you think?

Share Your Reflection



Maybe I'm naive, due to my educational and socio-economic station in life, but I just cannot fathom how people can actually think like this! How in the world does this mindset form and calcify? And how in the world can we possibly speak to it.... and reason with it..... and expose its inherent ignorance as gently as possible? And open it up to new ways of viewing the world and other people? That is what I care about. I do not want to condemn anybody.... but I would definitely love to see some minds and hearts opened.

Amen. I saw the NY Times article & wondered about it as well knowing too many Catholics who've abandoned their church because of doctrine they feel is the antithesis of Jesus' model. I sometimes also wonder if Senator Obama's model of empathy & inclusiveness stands obscured in people's judgment of a society with leaders who thoroughly evaluate before acting. Are we a world of reality TV that cheers for the one like us who is voted off the island or can we be a world that values kindness? We cannot, must not, be afraid to voice that hope for a kinder world.

I think it was very important for me to realize that I am not afraid to elect a black person President. And now I can say it loud and proud.

Perhaps it's about time people realize the need to let go of that which divides - politically, religiously, socially - any way you slice it, these are the things that separate and exclude. From a human standpoint, it is just irresponsible and selfish for people to justify this mindset. Zoom-out the universe's camera lens, about 1,500 miles up and away from the ground and what do we see? One big blue planet where we all live. Isn't that the mindset we should be advocating in public?
Just MHO.

We "know" that racism exists, and I'm a social scientist so perhaps know more of the empirical literature than others, and I know that some racists will not vote for a black candidate solely because that person is black but I have been stunned at the extent and depth of racism in people's feeling toward Obama...both the raw obvious racism and the hidden, not admitted "reluctance" about him in people who had no qualms about comparable white candidates.

Should Obama win, we just might be able to start really having that "conversation about race" that Bill Clinton tried to get the nation to begin years ago.

My own religion holds us to "respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person"; I wish more religions more actively did so.

PS see the latest poll, reported at

It's frightening with raw data to match the quote from Kirkpatrick's article.

So many thoughts - now after Sara Pallin - and how people are attracted to her because she is "like us". I was raised in a very closed Catholic ethnic community. I was discouraged from socializing with Catholics from other ethnic groups in my neighborhood. As far as I knew, everyone was a Catholic. We voted for people "like us" - but who is that really?
It happenned that I am gay - so are all gay people like me?
All white people? All Catholics? And now, for me, all Unitarian Universalists? no.
Can I vote for someone not "like me"? maybe not. But I certainly know that Barack Obama is more "like me" than John McCain. Although I am living with the very painful knowledge that Obama does not support gay marriage, at least not in public.
As we move into a larger world, if our eyes are open, if our hearts and minds are open, if we listen we can then start to understand that everyone is just a little "like us". I have found that in regards to racism, until I really look at myself as white, I will not understand racism. It is a continuous process in a racist country. We are all "the other" until we move closer. until then, I will not get beyond what appears to be the same or different to what is really the same or different about people.
Churches, and I use that word rather than religions, can unite or divide people. Sometimes intentionally so. I am afraid that right now the Catholic church in America is seeking to divide, to pull "her own" together in opposition to all "others". Too bad.