TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 73 – Dissecting The 2020 Political Landscape With Alfonso Aguilar & Maureen Ferguson!
On this week’s Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie gets a look at the current political season with Alfonso Aguilar, President of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, discussing some of the most important issues to Latino Catholics. We also chat with Senior Policy Adviser Maureen Ferguson about TCA’s Promises Made–Promises Kept List, Trump’s Top Ten Accomplishments for Pro-Life Americans and People of Faith.
1. The party of Lincoln continues standing for life and liberty, Republican National Committee keeps the conservative 2016 party platform in place, By Tony Perkins and Mike Johnson, The Washington Times, September 11, 2020, Pg. B1
There are many contrasts between the two major political parties and their respective candidates, but nothing provides more vivid detail of the divide than the GOP and DNC platforms. As we approach a politically and culturally decisive election less than 10 weeks away, it’s worth taking a look at what both platforms say about crucial issues.
First, the GOP declares itself “proud to be the party that protects human life and offers real solutions for women” and “strongly oppose[s] infanticide.” As Abraham Lincoln declared in 1858, “nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.”

Second, the Republican Party stands, as it always has, for individual freedom against the encroaching power of the state. “The Bill of Rights lists religious liberty, with its rights of conscience, as the first freedom to be protected,” says the Republican platform. It affirms that this liberty “protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives,” and it calls for legislation to prohibit government discrimination against persons, entities and faith-based institutions that do so.

Third, the Democratic platform’s radical agenda regarding human sexuality is far out of step with most Americans. It endorses, for example, the Obama-Biden administration’s redefinition of “sex discrimination” in Title IX to mandate transgender bathrooms and showers beginning in elementary schools and onto university campuses. Applying common sense, the Republican platform calls that policy “at once illegal, dangerous, and (disregarding of) privacy issues.”
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council Action and a Louisiana delegate to the RNC Convention. U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican, is chairman of the House Republican Study Committee.
2. These priests are trying to keep faith alive in the Italian Alps during the coronavirus pandemic, By Kenneth Dickerman and Roland Reinstadler, The Washington Post, September 11, 2020, 6:00 AM, Opinion
Reinstadler’s project follows two priests, father Christian and father Markus, as they tend to the faithful in the villages of the Italian Alps, where faith remains strong even, and maybe especially so, in the face of the covid-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of the lockdown, Father Christian, 48, and Father Markus, 40, were still allowed to visit the old and sick, giving them comfort. But after more than 10 deaths from the coronavirus in the village’s retirement home within a short period of time, they were forbidden from having contact with anyone.

Facebook became the only possibility for the priests to stay in touch with the parishioners. Since the lockdown on March 11, the virus has killed more than 100 priests across Italy. After the Italian government loosened the coronavirus rules on May 18, after more than two months of lockdown, the pastors were allowed to celebrate Holy Mass and visit old and sick people, wearing masks and under strict conditions.
3. Four Catholic-led groups working against President Donald Trump’s reelection, By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, September 11, 2020
While most of the Catholic groups or Catholic-led organizations backing former Vice President Biden (or actively opposing the reflection of Trump) have neither the financial resources nor the infrastructure of their counterparts on the religious right, many are framing this election in the same explicitly religious language as Biden as a struggle for the soul of the nation.
Below is an NCR snapshot of some of the most notable Catholic-led groups and organizations who are leading those efforts.
Catholics for Biden
National Faith Engagement Director Biden for President: Josh Dickson
Type of organization: official campaign committee
Catholics for Biden is the official campaign outreach of the Biden-Harris campaign, one of the many groups under the umbrella operation of “Believers for Biden,” which was launched in July and is led by Josh Dickson, an evangelical and former Republican.

Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Founded: 1971
Executive Director: Sr. Simone Campbell
HQ: Washington, D.C.
Types of organization: 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4)
Annual Revenue: $1,250,148 (as of 2018)
Mission: “To provide non-profit religious based political education which promotes social Justice for all.”
Originally founded as “The Network” — a national organization of religious sisters who voted to set up operations in the nation’s capital to push for federal legislation on issues such as environmental protection, poverty relief and opposition to the Vietnam War — Network was a critical force behind the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

Catholic Democrats
Founded: 2004
President: Steven Krueger
HQ: Boston, Massachusetts
Type of organization: 501(c)(4)
Mission: “To advance the rich Catholic Social Justice Tradition in the public square and within the Democratic Party to help form a more just society and peaceful world, and to responsibly protect God’s creation and advance our understanding of an ‘integral ecology.’ The organization represents a Catholic voice within the Democratic Party and a Democratic voice within the Catholic Church.”
Founded during the 2004 presidential contest when Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry’s Catholic faith was the subject of much discussion and scrutiny, Catholic Democrats was originally formed under the banner of “Catholics for Kerry.” The organization would later help mobilize “Catholics for Obama” in 2008 and 2012 and, according to Krueger, today claims more 50,000 supporters.

Vote Common Good
Founded: 2018
Executive Director: Doug Pagit
HQ: Edina, Minnesota
Type of organization: 501(c)(4)
Mission: “Vote Common Good is inspiring, energizing, and mobilizing people of faith to make the common good their voting criteria and to pursue faith, hope, & love for a change on election day 2020 and prevent the re-election of Donald Trump.”
Rather than convincing individuals to switch their party affiliation, Vote Common Good is working to convince voters to put faith above party, which they believe will lead to a rejection of Trump.
4. New Court Shortlist Adds More Female Judicial Role Models, By Maureen Ferguson, Real Clear Politics, September 10, 2020, Opinion
The Supreme Court will be a key factor for 64% of voters this November. President Trump just announced new additions to his list of potential candidates for the high court. After some disappointing decisions at the end of the court’s last term, conservatives are keenly aware that this year’s election will be decisive for the Supreme Court. And they — we — are thrilled with this revised list of possible nominees.
The updated list is a carefully vetted roster of judicial rock stars, many of them women. Court watchers predict that the female candidates will be front and center if a vacancy occurs, especially if created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s retirement.

The women on the president’s current list have an entirely different outlook on the Constitution. All are highly respected judges and lawyers who have demonstrated a commitment to the Constitution’s original meaning and text. Many also represent a broader idea of who might make a great justice. They transcend the narrow central casting tropes. All were educated at top-notch law schools (but not necessarily Ivy League ones, those impeccably elite but doctrinally progressive institutions). A judge from “Middle America” might be refreshingly uninterested in the approval of the proverbial Georgetown cocktail party crowd.

Some excellent additions to the list – 11th Circuit Judge Barbara Lagoa, Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the Fourth Circuit, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Todd – are new to the national stage. One woman who was previously on the shortlist stands out for her staying power. She is a known quantity and has already been tested in the glare of the national spotlight. She’s also already a hero in Middle America: Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett
Barrett is known for her brilliance, her rock-solid judicial record, her vision of human dignity and her inspirational persona. She clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and was reportedly a Scalia favorite. … 
Her confirmation hearings for the Seventh Circuit sparked fireworks when Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Richard Durbin, ignoring the constitutional prohibition on any religious test for office, went on anti-Catholic diatribes. Barrett displayed grace under fire. She successfully met their condescension and bigotry with her steely strength and feminine genius. The attacks backfired, and Judge Barrett instantly became a heroine to conservative women across the country.
Maureen Ferguson is a senior fellow for The Catholic Association and co-host of the EWTN radio show “Conversations With Consequences.”
5. Two nuns seized by Islamic rebels Mozambique released, By Associated Press, September 10, 2020, 7:43 AM
Two Roman Catholic nuns held for more than three weeks by rebels affiliated with the Islamic State group in Mozambique have been released, the nuns’religious order announced Thursday.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery said Brazilian nuns Maria Inez Leite Ramos and Eliane Costa Santana were freed on Sept. 6. The order said in a statement that the two sisters were resting and receiving medical checks outside the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique where they were seized.
6. Tennessee city will allow abortion clinic, pay legal bill, By Travis Loller, Associated Press, September 10, 2020, 4:39 PM
A Tennessee city that tried to outlaw surgical abortions has agreed to pay $225,000 in legal fees to attorneys representing an abortion clinic, according to an order entered in federal court in Nashville on Thursday.
As part of the order, the city of Mt. Juliet also has agreed to let the carafem abortion clinic operate anywhere in the city that is zoned for professional medical services or physicians offices.
7. China’s foreign ministry: Vatican deal has been ‘implemented successfully’, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, September 10, 2020, 4:00 PM
A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said Thursday that China’s interim deal with the Vatican has been “implemented successfully.”
He made the remark days before the provisional agreement signed by the Vatican and China on Sept. 22, 2018, is due to expire.
“With the concerted efforts from both sides, the interim agreement on the appointment of bishops between China and the Vatican has been implemented successfully since it was signed around two years ago,” Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference Sept. 10.
Bloomberg reported Sept. 9 that two anonymous sources had said that the deal would be renewed in the coming weeks.
8. US Justice Department supports Indianapolis archdiocese in religious liberty case, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 10, 2020, 12:30 PM
The US Justice Department is supporting the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in its religious freedom case, filing a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday at the Indiana Supreme Court.
After the archdiocese was sued by a former teacher at a Catholic school, who was fired after attempting to contract a same-sex marriage, a state trial court in May denied the archdiocese’s motion to dismiss the case, and in June ordered the archdiocese to turn over documentation related to the case. The archdiocese then appealed to the Indiana supreme court to dismiss the case.
“The United States has a substantial interest in religious liberty,” the DOJ said in its Sept. 8 brief in the case.

TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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