Pagans for Biden

Pagans
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Impeccable authorities on all-things-religious, such as The New York Times, are swooning over “perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief in half a century.” That would be President Joe Biden.

That obviously unproven statement is patent political propaganda. Of course, it’s a statement impossible to know let alone claim, least of all as this president has barely been president. In fact, the bizarre piece was published by the Times on January 23, 2021, three days after Joe Biden’s inauguration—at which cumulative point Biden, judged the Times, had remarkably already eclipsed in religiosity Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. No doubt all of them combined.

The title of the Times’ piece was still more revealing of the newspaper’s intentions: “In Biden’s Catholic Faith, an Ascendant Liberal Christianity.” 

Well, there you go. That’s the goal. The liberal media, even the adamantly non-religious and even anti-religious liberal media, will cheerlead such an alleged ascendancy. All of a sudden, secular liberals have gotten religion. Throw wide open the doors to faith in the public square. Here’s a kind of Catholic faith that non-Catholic liberals can embrace and even promote. No separation of church and state here. They’re all in. 

“Gimme that old-time religion!” shouts the hallelujah chorus at the Times.

I’ve been asked about that literally indefensible Times pronouncement for Biden many times, as I am someone who wrote spiritual biographies of presidents and even would-be presidents (Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton), and numerous articles on the wider subject of faith and the presidency all the way back to George Washington. Is the Times’ assessment justified? My answer: There is, of course—of course, of course, of course—absolutely no way whatsoever even a scintilla of enough information to make that statement about Joe Biden.

But for the likes of The New York Times and its gullible readers, accustomed to being given what they want to be given, such facts are irrelevant. The objective of the Times isn’t to accurately assess Biden’s faith but to promote Biden. I don’t even know if Joe Biden goes to Mass weekly, let alone, say, regularly receives the sacraments in a consistent way that, one might reckon, would make Biden “religiously observant,” let alone “the most religiously observant.” 

But again, to liberal media sources, those facts don’t matter. I still marvel at the astonishing piece by Heidi Schlumpf, executive editor of the partisan, left-wing National Catholic Reporter contending that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is nothing less than “the future of the Catholic Church.” This was one of the most confounding head-scratchers I’ve ever read in any publication. 

Truth be told, we don’t even know to what extent Ocasio-Cortez is a practicing or professing Catholic. One of the only somewhat, kind-of, sort-of, semi-self-acknowledgments we have of AOC’s faith is a short and poorly written piece she or a staffer whipped up on criminal justice reform for the Jesuit America Magazine in June 2018. We do, however, have one Catholic-related pronouncement by AOC. Recall that last summer she referred to the statue of St. Damien of Molokai inside the Capitol building as a symbol of “white supremacist culture.”

So, I honestly don’t know if AOC is Catholic, even if the National Catholic Reporter insists that she is, well, nothing short of the future of Catholicism—just as I honestly don’t know the extent that Joe Biden is an observant Catholic. And neither does The New York Times.

But I’m repeating myself. 

With all of that said, I’d like to emphasize here a key demonstrable fact about Biden and religiosity that has been missed in all the craziness regarding the November 2020 vote, namely: One fact not being pointed out by Biden’s progressive protectors in the media has been his strong appeal to the non-religious.

Biden’s open, enthusiastic supporters have been groups ranging from Pagans for Biden to various atheist organizations and humanist” organizations to literal witches for Biden. As to the latter, they joined together en masse to literally cast a spell upon Donald Trump to assist a Biden victory.

The data is indisputable regarding the pagan element for Biden. The largest pre-election survey breaking down voters by religious and non-religious affiliation, done by Pew Research Center in early October (surveying 10,543 registered voters), analyzed by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, found Biden carrying atheists by a staggering 88% to 7% and agnostics by 79% to 15%, both outpacing Trump’s largest group of religious support, evangelicals, who backed Trump 78% to 17%.

Those figures were consistent with how voters cast their ballots in November. One of the better breakdowns was posted by Gallup, which analyzed the two largest surveys of religious voters in November 2020, one by Edison Research and the other by AP VoteCast. The AP VoteCast survey showed that 81% of white evangelical Protestant voters went for Trump vs. 18% who voted for Biden. The Edison exit polls estimated that 76% of white evangelicals voted for Trump vs. 24% for Biden.

And what about Catholic voters? It has been difficult to figure out precisely how Catholics voted in November 2020. If you’ve read sources saying that Biden won the Catholic vote and yet others saying that Trump did, well, that’s because the sources differ—though not by much. Again, here’s the analysis posted by Gallup:

The Edison exit polls estimate that 52% of all Catholic voters went for Biden this year, and 47% for Trump. The Edison exit polls in 2016 showed a 46% Catholic vote for Clinton, and 50% for Trump….

The AP VoteCast estimates of the national Catholic vote this year show an almost even split: 49% of Catholics voted for Biden and 50% for Trump….

How different are these voting patterns among Catholics compared with previous elections? Available data show that Kennedy received roughly 80% of the Catholic vote in 1960 (estimates vary)…. By 2004, when Kerry was the Catholic nominee for the Democratic Party, Catholics went for Bush (52%) over Kerry (47%). 

But how did the non-religious (or non-Christian) vote in 2020? As Gallup notes, the roughly one-fourth of all voters who were white evangelical Christians, and voted overwhelmingly for Trump, were offset by voters who were “nones”—that is, those with no formal religious identity—some 65% of which voted for Biden, thus “providing him a key component of his winning coalition.” Moreover, noted Gallup, “almost all non-Christian groups (those who identify with a religion that is not Christian) voted strongly for Biden.”

Atheists lined up behind Joe Biden, along with pagans, agnostics, humanists, and witches—and The New York Times.

That’s where we are. And it’s The New York Times crowd that’s hell-bent on framing anyone who voted for Donald Trump as some sort of “white Christian nationalist” (or supremacist), in contrast to the sunny Christianity of Joe Biden, the “most religiously observant” president in a half century. As secular liberals push this line, they’ll do damage to faithful Catholics who struggle to explain to their friends the cultural-sexual-moral radicalism of a Catholic president who, on issues from abortion, to marriage, to gender, flagrantly goes against the longtime teachings of his Roman Catholic faith.

But Joe Biden need not worry. He’s got the pagan vote in the bag.

[Photo Credit: Shutterstock]

By

Paul Kengor is Professor of Political Science at Grove City College, executive director of the Center for Vision and Values. He is the author, most recently, of The Devil and Karl Marx (TAN Books, 2020).

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