“Since you asked I suppose it is more than fair that an evangelical give you an answer. I am an evangelical pastor who has served churches in both Canada and the US. While I can’t say I speak for all evangelicals, I am still an insider who is fully aware of what most evangelicals think.
“To be candid, evangelicals on both sides of the border are much more concerned about Mormons and Mormonism than they are about Catholics and Catholicism. Scary bands of door-knocking “cultists” like the Mormons, JW’s, Scientologists, etc. have always captured the imagination of evangelicals. We even share war stories of heated theological battles we have won and lost on our doorsteps as we have encountered their crack troops.
“Catholics??? When was that last time we had a Catholic knock on our door? If any of our Catholic friends and relatives ever make it out to church (and that’s a big if) they certainly haven’t managed to stay awake long enough to form an opinion about anything, much less engage us in any kind of debate. Mormons are scary, Catholics are not. True, once every five years or so some evangelical will stumble across the bile that Jack Chick publishes and become alarmed about a some conspiracy theory about vast zombie armies of baby-eating Catholics coming to burn us all at the stake, but it doesn’t take too long before someone sets then straight.
“On paper, at least, evangelicals have far more in common with Catholics than they do with Mormons. Like us, Catholics believe in one God, while Mormons believe in millions. Like us, Catholics believe the Nicaean and the Apostles’ creed, while the Mormons reject them completely. Like us, Catholics believe that our lives began when we were conceived in our mother’s womb, while Mormons believe that our lives began when we conceived in the womb of some unknown goddess living on another planet (I’m not making this up).
“If evangelicals have a complaint against Catholics (oh, and we do) it is that Catholics don’t put their money where their mouth is. In the eyes of many evangelicals, Catholics are biggest bunch a slackers in Christendom. Which brings us to Guilliani. In theory Guilliani should be a pro-life family man (we’re pretty sure the Catholic church doesn’t look too kindly on abortion, adultery and divorce), but in actuality he’s nothing of the sort. And that’s the problem evangelicals have with him. It’s not that Guilliani is a Catholic that bothers evangelicals, it’s that Guilliani is not a Catholic which causes him to lose evangelical support.
“Why would American evangelicals support a Mormon over a Catholic? It has nothing to do with fear – we’re much more afraid of Mormons. It has nothing to do with theology – we have far more in common with Catholics. It definitely has nothing to do with anti-Catholic bigotry – this is virtually unknown in most evangelical churches. It is because this particular Mormon practises what he preaches, while this particular Catholic does not.”
I was more than a little startled to read your reference to Giuliani’s “supposed views” on abortion, as if there were actually some doubt about his consistent pro-choice record going to back to 1989, which includes monetary donations to Planned Parenthood and a refusal to back a ban on partial-birth abortion. (He has since backtracked from the latter, I must admit, but only when he decided to run for President.) He claims now that he would appoint “strict constructionist” judges to the Supreme Court, but considering that Reagan and Bush I managed to botch three out of their five picks despite their public pro-life stances, I don’t know why we should trust an open pro-choicer Giuliani to do any better. When we further take into view Giuliani’s reprehensible private life, I don’t know why his nominal Catholicism should win him any more sympathy than the nominal Catholicism of John Kerry or Ted Kennedy. Archbishop Burke of St. Louis, one of the few bishops to take on Kerry in 2004, agrees with me.
Furthermore, I would think that you, as a Canadian, would understand the frustration and disappointment of a situation where all the major parties are pro-choice and the nominally conservative party only throws social conservatives occasional bones to shut them up. This unfortunate situation prevails not only in Canada but in Britain, France, Germany, and most other Western nations. The Republican party, for all its flaws, is almost the only major political party in a major nation to have an officially pro-life stance. If Giuliani is elected, I predict that within a decade the Republican party will have removed this plank from its platform and will have leaders indistinguishable from Harper, Cameron, and Sarkozy. I hope this does not come to pass.
P.S. The president of Planned Parenthood spoke yesterday at the university where I am a graduate student. I did not attend, but if the report in the student paper can be believed, she dubbed Giuliani an “exciting” candidate whose popularity she regarded as a potentially serious blow to the pro-life movement.
“Its ALL anti-Catholic. They don’t want Romney because Mormons are evil. They don’t want Giuliani because Catholics are evil. They don’t want Thompson because he tells them to go screw themselves, so they’re left with McCain who hates them and Huckabee who can’t win. Their strategy is to hold the party hostage to Huckabee, but they’re already breaking down. That dude from the Family Research Council totally went for Thompson yesterday.”