Public Opinion Polls Apart
by Edwin Faust
May 26, 2011
The media’s consummate concern with politics has led to the perpetual taking of polls, as though the electorate were an intensive-care patient whose vital signs must be constantly monitored.
The validity of certain polls is sometimes questioned, as is their purpose. Who chooses the questions, formulates their phrasing, selects the cross-section of the public to be surveyed? There appears ample opportunity for manipulating results, which has added a relatively new word to our lexicon: push-poll.
Two recent polls are topping the news as of this writing: one concerns abortion, the other, homosexual “marriage”.
Catholic bloggers have been encouraged by a Gallup poll that indicates the majority of Americans — 61 percent — oppose legalized abortion in all or at least some cases. But the fact that many who oppose legalized abortion generally think it justifiable in a few instances demonstrates their failure to grasp the fact that abortion is murder — period.
One might expect that the majority opposed to abortion would also oppose homosexual “marriage”. They do not, according to a Gallup poll released May 24. Results show 53 percent of respondents favor granting homosexual couples the legal right to marry.
A breakdown of the demographic favoring the legalization of homosexual “marriage” shows Catholics in the lead, with 74 percent of Catholics surveyed saying gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry should be accorded the same legal rights available to heterosexual couples.
According to Gallup, this year’s results show a huge increase — 9 percent — over last year’s in the number of Americans who favor legalized marriage for homosexuals. For the first time, proponents of gay “marriage” are in the majority.
How might one account for the moral compass of the electorate apparently pointing in two different directions on issues which historically find people united on one side or the other: those who oppose abortion usually oppose gay “marriage”. The Catholic Church and most Protestant denominations are in agreement that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman and that killing an unborn child is murder.
The United States is by and large a liberal nation with a laissez-faire tradition when it comes to doctrine and morals. Even conservatives often separate their fiscal conservatism from their more liberal stands on social issues. And as a wise friend once remarked, logic and liberalism cannot co-exist in the same head.
The majority of Catholics consistently vote for liberal candidates or fiscal conservatives whose social policies appear superficially to be more in line with principles of Christian charity. This leads many Catholics — with their bishops at the forefront — to form political alliances with those who most adamantly oppose Church teaching in matters of sexual morality.
Such alliances are usually maintained by the Catholic parties observing a discreet silence about divisive moral issues. Those who publicly opposed President Obama being honored at Notre Dame were regarded as an embarrassment in the pages of America, a Jesuit publication, which chided them for bad manners.
This slide of the Catholic electorate into the liberal camp when it comes to homosexual “marriage” should come as no surprise. Sermons from Catholic pulpits about sexual morality are so rare they have become an anomaly. Church doctrine deemed politically and socially awkward and inconvenient is increasingly ignored or glossed over, and we are witnessing a de facto reshaping of Catholic moral teaching in America and elsewhere.
The situation can only be corrected when the Catholic hierarchy and laity begin to elevate Faith above human respect. Now, human respect is a good thing, but it is also classed as a sin when it leads one to be silent about the core teaching of the Church at a time when that teaching is being assailed.
At present, in North America the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual morality has been effectively changed and falsified by the liberal culture in which it is immersed. To stand again on its own feet, proclaiming its unalterable beliefs, will require the Church to abandon liberalism, which grants parity to all faiths — and to the absence of any faith — and to insist upon the social Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Can this be done? Only at great cost in popularity and by running the risk of being cut off from the body politic to which the Catholic bishops, priests and many lay people have become attached. It will require heroic virtue, and that means it will require supernatural grace.
Such grace is available. It is time it was applied for. Our Lady of Fatima promised that in the end Her Immaculate heart would triumph and peace would be granted the world. Catholics should put their faith in this promise and not in the false alliances that dissolve the faith in futile hopes.
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