It’s hard to imagine. Even though my grandparents were not Catholic, they were devout Christians, Democrat, Pro-Choice, and strongly against right-winged ideology. So was the late Billy Graham. How can a generation older than my parents be more liberal in areas like abortion rights and voting than my parents’ generation and even some of my generation (Generation X)? They took World War II and the Holocaust seriously, they knew what the signs of pending fascism were, they knew what true hardship was, and they opposed right-winged propaganda.
I remember three of my living grandparents telling me that they voted for Barak Obama. My mother’s mother Joanne, who was part of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s and a devout Methodist, would speak and act regularly about her standing in breadlines during food rations, the equal value of racial minorities, a woman’s autonomy, and how trickle-down economics adversely affected the poor. She was also in charge of the Head Start program in Dallas for inner city Black children and a college professor at Southern Methodist University. She was even close friends with two gay people in her own neighborhood. My dad’s mother had the same attitude towards people although she wasn’t active in the Civil Rights Movement or justice causes. I don’t know much about the political affiliations of my dad’s father, but I know my step grandfather, who was Joanne’s husband, was just as liberal as his wife. He was an attorney from the Northeast. Both my mother’s mother Joanne and my step-grandfather were from Indiana and had a long generational history of anti-racist and abolitionist affiliations.
So why is much of the Boomer generation and part of my generation (Generation X) who also identifies as Christian fixated on abortion, the Republican party, right-winged propaganda, and demonizing Democrats. The World War II generation and my kids’ generation (Generation Z) are both opposed to fascism more strongly than Boomers and Generation X (my generation). Simply, they had lived first-had experiences with the dangers of fascism.
Like me, I know many Anglo women in my generation (Generation X) who were commanded and coerced to vote Republican for decades, both in their families and in the Church. It held for a while until Donald J. Trump came on the scene. Starting with him at different points for different people, like the moment Trump mocked the disabled reporter, tens of thousands of Christians and Catholics re-evaluated their political affiliation and how they viewed their faith, especially Anglo women of faith. For me personally, I went through a complete political and theological deconstruction and reconstruction starting seven years ago. I started to lean more on the faith and political affiliations of my grandparents. Like them, everything about Nazism and the similarities makes me sick to my stomach. But for me, I had to break away and think for myself to reclaim the right to vote and develop my own conscience.
Most of American Catholics are pro-choice. Do not let the right-wing fool you. For me, I identify as pro-patient autonomy verses pro-choice. Simply, I believe that all and any medical decisions are between a patient, their doctor, and parents if the child is under 18. I know from first-hand experience, both professionally and personally, what happens when the Church and the government become too intertwined and get into the exam room or hospitals. It many times creates a grave danger to the patient, and I will not participate in that as a mental health practitioner. I believe in science-based medical care, not clergymen and the government dictating doctrine on the nation and laity.