14 October 2020, The Tablet

Biden leads Trump among white Catholics in US

Biden leads Trump among white Catholics in US

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, with his wife Jill Biden

Joe Biden is leading President Trump among white Catholics by a margin of 51-45, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll.

The six-point margin is largely the result of Trump’s negative ratings for his handling of the coronavirus. Just 43 per cent of white Catholics said they approve of the way the president is handling the virus, while 57 per cent registered disapproval. 

In 2016, Hillary Clinton narrowly won the Catholic vote, 48 per cent to 45 per cent according to the American National Election Studies analysis. Exit polls estimated that Trump had garnered 50 per cent of the Catholic vote to Clinton’s 46 per cent. But, white Catholics broke heavily for Trump, 56 per cent to 37 per cent, according to ANES, while Hispanic Catholics backed Clinton 74 per cent to 19 per cent. 

Meanwhile, the diocese of Brooklyn, New York lost its first court battle against Governor Andrew Cuomo over restrictions he has placed on the number of people permitted in certain churches at one time, arguing the limits violate the First Amendment’s “free exercise of religion” clause. 

Judge Eric Komitee denied the diocese’s request for a restraining order, noting that the churches affected by the new limits were in “hot spot” neighbourhoods where a significant increase in Covid cases had emerged. The judge noted that the governor’s order was primarily targeted at the orthodox Jewish community which has resisted the strict public health measures. Their suit was dismissed the previous day.

“Plaintiff [the diocese] appears to have been swept up in that effort despite having been mostly spared, as far at least, from the problem at hand,” Komitee wrote. “Nevertheless, the government is afforded wide latitude in managing the spread of deadly diseases.”

“We vehemently disagree with the capacity limits being placed on us. They are disrespectful to Catholics who have only been abiding by the rules,” Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said. “We do not agree with such limitations because they completely disregard the fact that our safety protocols have worked.”

In California, a similar request from a Pentecostal church, protesting restrictions placed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, failed when a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the governor’s powers to safeguard public health overrode the “free exercise” claims of the church. 

Texas Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso announced that he had tested positive for Covid and was self-quarantining. 


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