By Hillary Senour
As the presidential election draws closer, political expert Brian Burch is telling Catholics that if they turn out in slightly larger numbers at the polls, they will be “the decisive vote this November.”
Although some Catholics tend to shy away from the political sphere with the mindset that it is unrelated to their faith, Burch said that due to recent developments, “we no longer have the luxury of keeping politics separate from religion.”
“Politics in the state, in our federal government in particular, is coming into our religion and we need to stand up now before it gets any worse,” the founder and president of CatholicVote.org told CNA in a recent interview.
Burch noted that in light of the federal contraception mandate and the president’s recent support of “gay marriage,” Catholics have become increasingly aware of how politics are impacting their religion.
The federal contraception mandate, if enacted in its current form, will force employers to purchase insurance which covers sterilization, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs regardless of their deeply held religious beliefs.
On May 21, 43 Catholic organizations across the country, including dioceses, universities, hospitals and private businesses, filed lawsuits against the Obama administration, citing infringement of their First Amendment rights to religious freedom.
“We can’t forget that religious freedom and the role of religion was what our founders built this country on,” Burch said, noting that the colonists originally fled England in order to practice their faith “without the intrusion of the state.”
The Catholic vote is not so much about “converting the Nancy Peolosis and the Joe Bidens of the world” as it is about making sure those who “love our faith and want to see it protected” turn out in larger numbers to vote in November, Burch explained.
According to statistics, “it’s the people that don’t vote that are actually the largest swing vote.” If Catholics turn out in a few percentage points of larger numbers, “we can decide this election.”
Catholic Vote had endorsed Rick Santorum while he was still a contender for the GOP nomination.
The former Pennsylvania senator dropped his campaign on April 10, but has since endorsed his former rival, Mitt Romney, after a meeting in which both men agreed on many issues such as traditional marriage and reining in government spending.
Catholic Vote has yet to formally endorse any other candidate, but Burch said his movement is working with their volunteers and subscribers on the decision and will announce “something very soon.”