Do Black People Have to be Democrats? Do Catholics?

By Jason Scott Jones Published on April 28, 2018

Rap superstar Kanye West has taken heat for asking uncomfortable questions about the “lock” Democrats have on black American voters. His friend, Chance the Rapper, got so much blowback for supporting West, he has actually apologized. But Kanye hasn’t. He has gone on to praise Donald Trump, even posted a picture of his own signed MAGA hat.

West has been watching and Tweeting about Jordan Peterson’s profound, culturally conservative videos. He has praised black conservative activist Candace Owens, who causes panic in Democratic voter-turnout circles with Tweets like the following.

West hasn’t backed down. Not even when leftists tried to discredit him by floating the rumor that Kanye is having a mental breakdown. (The Soviets used this tactic on their critics, but in America it backfires.)

The Dam Starts to Break

Others in entertainment are risking a quickie mental diagnosis, too. In a blistering podcast (PROFANE LANGUAGE) with left-wing actor Michael Rapaport, co-host Gerald Moody made a devastating observation about the Democrats:

This party uses black people as pawns, and the immigrants as pawns. They need those votes…. The left-wing media want black Americans to view themselves as victims…. I’m not a [BLEEPING] victim.

I leave it to my black friends to answer Mr. West’s question. (Though I have some thoughts on it.) Let me start with what I am, however. I’m a Catholic. Who can’t be a Democrat.

I remember when Catholics, especially among Irish-Americans, thought they had to be Democrats. That began when Democrats in cities like New York and Boston offered Irish immigrants government jobs and other benefits for votes.

The Irish-Democratic Complex

I remember when Catholics thought they had to be Democrats. Especially among Irish-Americans, it was practically the law. That began when Democrats in cities like New York and Boston welcomed Irish immigrants to join political machines. Then traded government jobs and other benefits for votes. Catholic bishops, behind the scenes, helped make the New Deal more pro-family than European socialist schemes.

Back then the Democratic Party was solidly anti-Communist. And morally traditional. There seemed to be no reason to look elsewhere. In fact, if you did, you were almost a kind of traitor.

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This Catholic/Democrat alliance sank deep roots indeed. It grew finally into the indestructible kudzu that we call the Kennedy family. (And the Cuomo family. And the Biden family.) It proved to be a weed, though, when the Kennedys gathered Jesuits to come up with rationales for legal abortion in 1964. As John Zmirak has written, that was “before Roe v. Wade was a gleam in Hugh Hefner’s eye.” But you can see how philandering politicians might find abortion convenient. It makes women disposable, even more effectively than leaving them behind to drown in a car.

(If you think that’s unfair to Democrats, tell me how many took seriously Juanita Broaddrick’s credible charge that Bill Clinton raped her. I’d love to see a list.)

If even 10 or 20 percent of black Americans decided that they were free to choose either candidate in most elections, that would revolutionize our politics.

Bishops Still Haven’t Gotten the Memo

You can still see traces of this old lockstep alliance among America’s bishops, too many of whom speak out only reluctantly on religious liberty and life issues, groaning as if they were passing a kidney stone. But when it comes to growing the government, or opening the borders? They’ll flood the U.S. Capitol with activists. Still, ever more U.S. Catholics are peeling away from the Democrats. A majority voted for Trump. Despite all his personal flaws, they’re likely to do so again.

Why is that? What’s led to one of the most significant realignments in U.S. political history? And could it repeat itself among African-Americans — at least to some degree? If even 10 or 20 percent of black Americans decided they were free to choose either candidate in most elections, that would revolutionize American politics.

Questions We Must Ask Ourselves

For that to happen, more black Americans would need to ask the same questions Catholics did about the Democrats, once Ronald Reagan moved the GOP in a pro-life direction:

  • Do this party’s core values — expressed in its platform — coincide with our community’s deepest beliefs?
  • Has this party looked out for our concrete, legitimate interests? Or is it playing us for fools?
  • Are the government programs, benefits, or jobs that this party throws our way blinding our leaders to the damage this party’s policies are doing to our community?
  • Do we really benefit from being taken for granted by just one political party?
  • Most Americans feel free to choose between two candidates at every election. Why are we different, and only permitted one? Is it right that our only option is just not showing up? Does that make us full citizens, or something less?

I won’t presume to answer these questions on black Americans’ behalf. But I’m very glad that they’re asking them.

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  • David Hess

    thanks for the article. As a fan of John Zmirak’s work, thanks for being yet another Catholic who cannot support the Democratic Platform as it is blatantly anti-Christian, and overtly contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.

  • ArthurMcGowan

    A correction: Mary Jo Kopechne did not drown. There was no water in her lungs. She died of asphyxiation when the air bubble she held her head in, possibly for hours, filled with carbon dioxide.

    Never forget the Popes who appointed, and remained silent about, the bishops who have devised and used the “seamless garment,” who have insisted on giving Communion to pro-aborts, and who have had little or nothing to say about abortion, gay marriage, and euthanasia. No American bishop has ever issued a statement expressing concern about the tens of thousands of Americans (men, women, and children) robbed, maimed, raped (men, women, and children), and murdered by legal and illegal aliens.

  • dan hesko

    I am a Roman Catholic Priest and a conservative Republican.. yes it is possible.

  • Alvin Sarracino

    Loud and proud non-white (traditionalist) Roman Catholic conservative. There are many of us, but you wouldn’t know that if you watch CNN or other mainstream fake news media.

  • Howard

    “Do this party’s core values — expressed in its platform — coincide with our community’s deepest beliefs?”
    Here’s an idea — how about casting your own vote, rather than depending on “a community” to tell you how to vote?

    I say that because I see the same problem happening the other way. There are scads of Catholics who, having rightfully rejected the Democratic Party because of its support for abortion and “gay rights”, are willing to ignore completely the flaws of the Republican Party, and have decided that “all true Catholics” must vote GOP. They own our votes, we are assured, and it is a kind of theft to withhold support for Republicans.

    And before anyone answers with, “But abortion is intrinsically evil!” — nowhere, nowhere, nowhere does the Church teach that only intrinsic evils need be taken seriously.

    • Ken Abbott

      It appears as though a conscientious Christian will find no home in any of the major political parties.

      • Howard

        “Put not your trust in princes” — nor in political parties, either.

        • Ken Abbott

          Sound advice. Of course, it presents something of a dilemma when faced with the ballot.

          • Howard

            Let me put it this way. Suppose you get a nasty cut. It’s a good idea to clean the wound thoroughly to prevent infection. If you get to it fast enough, it might be that just about any soap will do. A bit later, and you might want something with powerful antiseptics mixed in, so your valid choices are more restricted. If you wait until gangrene has set in, the soap doesn’t matter much any more. It’s not really a dilemma to say that neither Ivory nor Irish Spring will cure your infection.

            Uncle Sam has gangrene. To argue that one party is 99.44% pure but the other one “has the fine, fresh fragrance of a spring day in Ireland” is to miss the point. Neither is capable of keeping Sam alive.

          • Ken Abbott

            Well, a timely amputation runs a decent chance of saving the patient. What did you have in mind, doctor?

          • Howard

            Don’t vote for evil under the pretense of voting for the lesser evil. If all the choices are evil, you should not be endorsing any of them. It’s not up to you or to me whether or not this country survives, but we each get to choose whether or not we will be honest with our votes.

            [EDIT] And, obviously, pray. Prayer is much more effective than voting anyhow, and you can do it more than once every two years.

          • Ken Abbott

            In human systems of government, all political leaders will be evil to a greater or lesser extent; it’s called sin. Aren’t you essentially advocating that Christians not participate at all in civil government? Except, of course, with intercessory prayer, as you rightly encourage, and perhaps with prophetic speech.

          • Howard

            I wrote a lengthy response to this, which apparently the folks at “The Stream” chose not to publish. But the answer is that NO, evil is not a necessary condition for life, at least when we are talking about moral evil. Moral evil is always a choice. The choice to endorse “lesser evils” is a choice to endorse evils. IT ALWAYS STARTS SMALL, ALMOST INNOCENT.

          • Ken Abbott

            Here we will disagree. Sin affects every and all aspects of fallen human life, although not to the same degree in every instance. Everything that is not of faith is sin. In no instance do any of us love God with ALL our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, or our neighbors as ourselves. All our “righteousness” is as filthy rags; apart from Christ we can do nothing good. While evil is not a necessary condition for life (as witnessed by Adam’s pre-fallen state and what we know characterizes the new heavens and new earth to come), it is an unavoidable companion to life here and now. That doesn’t mean we have to be satisfied or complacent, and we should always strive for righteousness and holiness.

          • Howard

            Well, that’s a convenient excuse for any sin: “since I am not God, I couldn’t help it.” Oh, it isn’t used for just any sins, only the sins we really want to commit.

            And it’s a lie. No, I’m not making the Pelagian error; we are born in original sin. That does not excuse our choices, however — even if the choice is party membership.

          • Ken Abbott

            No, it’s not. An explanation is not an excuse. Acknowledging reality–especially the depth and degree of human sin, which we have a notorious habit of trying to negotiate–does not mean we do not strive after holiness. Didn’t I say as much in the last line of my previous post? I am no antinomian.

          • Ken Abbott

            No, it isn’t. An explanation is not an excuse. As Anselm of Canterbury said in “Cur Deus Homo,” we sinners have a great capacity for underestimating the depth and degree of our sin. Recognizing this is perhaps the first step toward humbling ourselves before God and seeking ever more diligently to root out sin. Paul at the conclusion of his earthly life spoke of himself as the chief of sinners–when he started out as a Pharisee, he likely prided himself on his moral rectitude. Growth in Christ is like that. But none of that means, as I already posted, that we don’t strive for personal holiness. I am no antinomian.

          • Howard

            This is one of the busiest times of year for me, so I’ll just accept your statement, “He we will disagree.”

          • Ken Abbott

            I can respect that. But just in case I’ve managed to muddy things up, here’s a much better statement of what I’ve been trying to say (from the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter VI):

            I. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory.

            II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion, with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.

            III. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.

            IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

            V. This corruption of nature, during this life, does remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be, through Christ, pardoned, and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.

            VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, does in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.

            And I should add these paragraphs from chapter XIII on sanctification:

            II. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence arises a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

            III. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

          • Howard

            I assume that was intended for clarification, not persuasion.

          • Ken Abbott

            Yes. As a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, I affirm the Westminster Standards. It was a statement of what I believe is an accurate summary of biblical teaching on the matter, put out for understanding more than as an argument.

          • Howard

            OK, I’m knocking off work for the night. For clarification, I’m Catholic, so I accept that there is more grace available even in this life than the Westminster Confession confesses, even though on a few fully avail themselves of this grace. Because those who do are so few, and because disagreements like this cannot be resolved in comment boxes, I’ll set aside the sanctification of sinners for now. That really was not my point, anyway.

            Let me illustrate.

            Suppose Juan Garcia is an innocent man serving a life sentence. John Smith is a lawyer who discovers that Garcia was convicted improperly, probably because he made a convenient scapegoat. Smith puts in a lot of pro bono work to get a new trial for Garcia, who is subsequently acquitted and released.

            No really serious person would say this proves Smith is a saint. After all, Smith’s motives are probably mixed. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knows he will be admired for helping to free Garcia, and that is a selfish motive. He may also expect that the exposure will drive paying customers to him. We have multiple reasons for most of the major decisions we make.

            Having said that, I would not agree that it is evil both to leave an innocent man in prison and also to free him, and the only question is which is the lesser evil. It is actually a GOOD thing to free the innocent.

          • Ken Abbott

            Yes, I figured out the Roman Catholicism. But thanks for leveling the identity thing.

            Certainly it is a good thing to free the innocent (or at least, innocent of the crime for which he was wrongly convicted), but it can never be a purely righteous act. As Charles Spurgeon once remarked, even our greatest good works are “splendid sins.” But it would be a greater sin not to do them.

          • Howard

            At least I can agree with Spurgeon that it was sinful for him to hold that opinion, though no doubt he thought it more splendid than I do.

          • Howard

            And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. — Romans 3:8 (KJV)

            I know I’ve been harsh — no doubt harsher than I should have been — but the reason behind my reaction is this is a really important moral principle. I suspect it can be known by reason alone, yet I do not see how you escape from it, since you (and Spurgeon, apparently) seem to believe that we cannot help but do evil, so we might as well choose the evil from which we calculate the most good to come. But if indeed we assume that we cannot help but do evil, what possible grounds do we have for believing our own (evil) calculations? Precisely none; and reason, backed by history, confirms this. The greatest atrocities have begun with the encouragement, “Just commit to this one little evil, and a hugely disproportionate amount of good will result.”

            The only way to avoid this problem seems to be to accept that NO, some things are always and unconditionally wrong. Take, for example, the situation described in the move “Silence”. Is it permissible to deny Christ — which is what treading on even a bad image of Him is designed to mean — in order to save the lives of others? As the King James Bible would say, God forbid. We are not talking about a firefighter who steps on religious artwork on his way to save people trapped by fire — that would not equate to a denial of Christ.

          • AndRebecca

            Would you like to share the verses in the Bible you are getting your opinions from? They certainly don’t jibe with the Christian Founders of this country, or any Christian leaders I know of, or with any hard core Christians who have fought and died for this country. Jehovah Witnesses believe as you do.

          • Howard

            The way you go on about “the Christian Founders of this country” and “hard core Christians who have fought and died for this country”, you seem to value Christianity in service to your country, rather than seeing your country as answering to God. Oh, and you prefer your idols to be dead, in which case they conveniently cannot contradict you.

            If you were paying attention to the thread, you would have noticed Psalm 146:3 and Romans 3:8. I would add Leviticus 19:11. However, there are some moral principles that, although found in the Bible, are also written on the heart (Romans 2:15); I would argue this is one of them.

            If this isn’t what you’re hearing from your religious leaders, well, too bad for you.

          • AndRebecca

            Christians are killed daily in other countries, and without America doing something about it, more would be killed. That should settle the argument, but of course it won’t. Since our country was founded in the service to God, I think it should be kept that way as much as possible. We don’t live in heaven, and God gave us directions as to how to live on earth. There is government in the Old Testament and of course in the new. Jesus had no problem with Christians being in the service of their country, as long as they were doing legitimate, lawful things. As for idols, I think you have the Marxist idea of Americans worshiping their ancestors, which we Americans do not do. Government is force. Force should be in the hands of Christians as far as I’m concerned. Let me look up your THREE verses which are the basis of your idea of non-participation of Christians in the government. And I’ll get back to you. Also, decisions of any kind are based on a continuum: Better, best, good, bad, worse, worst. It’s not just the lesser of two evils. And, if you make the decision to stay out of the fight against anti-Christianity, that is a decision, whether you want to call it one or not.

          • Howard

            Get a grip on reality.

          • AndRebecca

            What did I say that is not real? I’m still looking up the verses, and so far they don’t apply to politics, unless you think Christian politicians lie. Still looking.

          • AndRebecca

            O.K., I looked the verses up. Two of the verses have to do with doing evil, which of course Christians shouldn’t do, and the third says don’t put your trust in mortal men who cannot save, and I agree, by getting pro-Christians elected, we are living up to our national motto “In God We Trust,” just like the men who founded this country. Many Christian groups have voter guides to help people sort out the truth from the lies that many of the candidates sent out every election. You know, there are all sorts of chapters in the Bible regarding earthly rulers. Samuel 12 is one of them. Remember, in those days they did not get to vote for rulers. The world only had tyranny or tyranny to chose from, so they generally would have thrown their weight behind the lesser of the two tyrants.

          • Vincent J.

            Pray. That’s all we can do. Pray that God gives us a massive, country-wide awakening, repentance, and revival. God will not give a corrupt nation good politicians. We have what we deserve.

          • Howard

            Repentance and revival should be ends in themselves, not the means to obtaining better politicians.

          • AndRebecca

            When good men do nothing (like not vote for either party, or not vote period), evil takes over.

          • Vincent J.

            Vote for the lesser of the two evils. Remember that you’ll be required to explain your vote on judgement day.

      • Vincent J.

        I always tell people that I vote for the lesser of the two evils.

  • ericdijon

    Most RCs don’t/haven’t fight/fought the persistent feminizing of Jesus. Why would they ever consider resisting anything that is a foundation of their faith if they willingly let the secular world reshape its dogma and doctrine? 1960s Black leadership felt solidarity was a winning position – it seems it made racism all the more possible. If it merely sounds good, it isn’t always from above. If it’s truth, you can be certain of it’s origins. Kanye might be onto something bigger than Jonah.

  • Carl G Bowles

    Iam black and conservative. I support Trump and what he is doing. Black civil rights groups are a wing of the Democratic party tasked with delivering the black vote every election,by keeping them in the inner cities. Poverty, ignorance, fear and government dependency get the job done. Black people can do better I believe. I applaud kanye for doing what the NAACP used to do standing up for blacks. This is long overdue. Come out of the closet black conservatives.

  • Guy McClung

    What follows is NOT to say that it is virtue to vote for any republican or any member of any other party. There is a very good case to be made that IT IS A MORTAL SIN FOR A CATHOLIC WITH A WELL FORMED CONSCIENCE TO VOTE FOR ANY DEMOCRAT AT ANY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT. Before the trolls hit, note well the correct definition of “well formed conscience; its tie in with the natural law; and that a catholic with such a conscience knows the facts re the Democrat Party now, and thru its history. Note also that there are ‘INTRINSIC EVILS” that one can never accept, condone, or support under any circumstances. Even the catholic bishops have taught that abortion is an intrinsic evil. It is no response to say that this or that GOP candidate supports an intrinsic evil – that is not sufficient reason to vote for a democrat. And it is never the case that there are only two candidates, a democrat who by definition supports intrinsic evil and a GOP candidate who supports abortion also, or some other evil- because you can always write in someone. And you can and should ignore those bishops and priests who nudgenudgewinkwink implicitly say vote democrat by saying “we are not single issue voters.” If the single issue is intrinsic evil like abortion, we are single issue voters. Guy McClung, Texas

    • MJSoy

      Well said. I think that the question is the reverse of how the author has posed it. How can a faithful Catholic possibly vote Democrat? The answer is that you can’t.

  • MaryB435

    The current Democratic party is fatally attached to abortion. They think it ought to be legal to slaughter innocent babies. Evil. Inexcusable. Disgusting. They’re disqualified.

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