Kerry's Catholicism, Bible quoting are now center of campaign
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has cranked up the religion talk this week, criticizing President Bush on biblical grounds and giving a lengthy interview with Time magazine on his Catholic beliefs.
The Time story, written by magazine political reporters Karen Tumulty and Perry Bacon Jr., not religion reporter David Van Biema, isn't really about Bush vs. Kerry or even Protestant politics vs. Catholic politics. It's Catholic doctrine vs. a Catholic's personal beliefs.
"People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there's a problem with John Kerry, and a potential scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of his stances, particularly abortion," an unnamed American Vatican official tells the magazine.
But Kerry says there's no problem or scandal at all. "We have a separation of church and state in this country," he said. "As John Kennedy said very clearly, I will be a President who happens to be Catholic, not a Catholic President. … I don't tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn't tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life."
There's quite a bit of unpacking to do in that context, and one hopes that in the next few days campaign reporters will be asking some follow-up questions. Does Kerry believe that church leaders shouldn't comment on issues of public morality? Would Kerry also oppose church officials telling American politicians to, for example, work against racism, or support legislation that would help the poor and disadvantaged? If Kerry doesn't believe in submitting himself to the teachings of his church leaders, then why is he a Roman Catholic instead of a member ...1