It's been 60 years since America elected a Catholic President. Joe Biden will be the second. Despite the fact that I am also a Catholic, Biden's religion doesn't really matter to me. I voted for Barack Obama in 2012, but if he had lost, I would have thought, "Hey, that's kinda cool. In consecutive contests, America elected a black guy and then a Mormon."
Someday in the not-too-distant future, we will have our first Jewish President. But after I die, they're going to have to cut off my head, freeze it, put it on a shelf next to Ted Williams, and then thaw it out in 400 years or so in order for me to see America's first Muslim President.
In the election of 1960, one of the main arguments against John F. Kennedy was born of straight-up religious bigotry. If Kennedy were elected, or so it went, he would be a pawn of the Vatican and take his orders directly from the Pope. If that way of thinking even exists anymore these days, it has faded well into the background. But that doesn't mean that Biden isn't facing criticism because of his religion. He is, and it's coming from Catholics who think that Biden just isn't Catholic enough.
I always wanted to be a straight-A student in school, but if I get into Heaven with a B-minus, I'll be cool with that. I have always tried to be the best Catholic I can be, but, believe me, there is an endless supply of mega-Catholics who are all too willing to tell me where I am falling short. All I know is that I'm as Catholic as I can be and, at this stage of my life, there's no chance that I'm somehow going to enhance my Catholic-iosity.
For certain, I'm not looking to join some cultish offshoot of my church (Like the one to which Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett belongs) where my wife is a called a handmaid and I damn sure don't want any part of a group where women are told, "It is important for you to verbalize your commitment to submission.... Tell him what you think about things, make your input, but let him make the decisions, and support them once they are made." (That comes from the People of Praise's magazine, Vine and Branches.)
Sadly, a certain number of Catholics are single-issue voters, casting their ballots for anybody who claims to be anti-abortion, no matter how vile or un-Christian the candidate's other stances might be. When I was young, based on the gospels I heard in church, I always thought that Jesus was a liberal. He cared about the sick and the poor, two groups that rarely get mentioned in the official party platform at the Republican National Convention. Priests were warriors for social justice. But somewhere along the line, things got hijacked by right-wingers, who then went on to form the ultimate unholy alliance with politicians, leaving many Catholics to wonder what the hell was going on.
In 2009, some members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), a group who used to fight for social justice, joined with conservative Protestants in signing the Manhattan Declaration, a promise to fight against abortion and gay marriage. After they lost on the latter, they went all in on the former, supporting one crackpot politician after another. That includes Donald Trump, who only "became" anti-abortion after he decided to run as a Republican. (Odds are that he has actually paid for an abortion or two in his lifetime.)
In its voter guide, the USCCB argues that the fight against abortion is a "pre-eminent priority" (it isn't). Then, the USCCB declined to add a message from the Pope himself that says "the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned (are) equally sacred as (those of the) innocent unborn." I don't know, but if I were the Pope, I'd be doing some serious Bish-slapping about now.
The Church explicitly instructs its clergy not to tell the faithful how to vote. (Besides the obvious, it could also threaten the Church's tax-exempt status.) But that isn't stopping some tRump-licking members of the clergy. For example:
• The Bishop of Providence tweeted out "First time in a while that the Democratic ticket hasn't had a Catholic on it. Sad."
• A bishop in Tyler, Texas voiced his support for a vile video made by a priest in Wisconsin that tells Catholic Democrats to "repent your support of that party or face the fires of hell." As Robert Wuhl would say, not much gray area there.
And, of course, the Great Satanist himself, Donald Trump (who literally doesn't even know which end of the Bible is up), said of Joe Biden, "...no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God." (He speech funny.)
People shouldn't vote for Joe Biden because he's a practicing Catholic, and neither should they vote against him for that reason. Voting for him simply because he's not Donald Trump is enough.