A reader submits the following for our consideration:
"Should Catholics active in the Republican Party be leading the charge to oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzalez to be Attorney General?"
As background, you might want to have folks read these columns from Nat Hentoff about Gonzalez' role in 1) the aggressive use of the death penalty in Texas, 2) the use of interrogation techniques that violate the
Why do Catholics active in the Republican Party have a special responsibility to undertake this task? For the same reason that Catholics active in the Democratic Party have a special responsibility to confront the party on abortion. Their loyalty to their party on other issues gives
them the ability to be a distinct voice on issues related to Catholic social teaching.
I'm not arguing that John Kerry and Alberto Gonzalez are somehow equivalent cases. But the positions of both men raise the question of how Catholics involved in partisan politics can retain some kind of "distinct voice" on issues related to Catholic social teaching. If the "Catholic
card" is only played on issues that help Republicans and hurt Democrats, then it is going to be viewed cynically by most Democrats. The result--and I think this is what we already are seeing--is that Catholics in both parties will tend to view their public responsibilities as Catholics through the prism of their partisan allegiance rather than the other way around.