.- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said the 2004 elections demonstrated the importance of religion for most Americans, even though pollsters and the news media âdon't take faith seriously, and if they do, they tend to fear and deride it.â
In an interview with the Denver Post last week, the archbishop said religion and religious issues were at the forefront throughout the year, including the release of Mel Gibsonâs film âThe Passion of the Christ,â abortion and same-sex marriage.
âHuge numbers of Americans take their faith very seriously,â he said. âThey don't need a panel of experts to explain what âmoral valuesâ mean. They root their interaction with the world in their faith.
âIssues like the economy, Iraq, terrorism - these are all very important. But for most people, they come second to the really intimate issues like marriage, family and sexuality, which is why abortion continues to be a such a highly-charged battleground despite every media attempt to sideline it,â he said.
The archbishop recalled that he grew up âin a time when being Catholic and being a Democrat almost always went together.
âThe fact that nearly two-thirds of regular, Mass-going Catholics voted against the Democrats in Florida and Ohio this election is just lethal,â he continued. âOne party ignored its historic constituency on some vital issues, and the other scooped them up.â
When asked if the elections results were an important indication in the national debates over abortion, same-sex marriage and embryonic stem-cell research, the archbishop replied: âA core of committed people of faith are awakeâ¦ [and] political parties would be wise to pay better attention to their concerns.â