Century Marks

Century Marks

The Catholic vote

Republicans have won the Catholic vote in five of the last eleven presidential elections, but Donald Trump has a huge problem with Catholic voters. While Mitt Rom­ney lost the Catholic vote by only two points in 2012, one recent poll showed Trump is down by 23 points with that group, and another indicates that the gap is 27 points. Catholics make up about a fourth of all voters, a group almost equivalent in size to both nonwhite and independent voters. Trump’s immigration stance—publicly criticized by Pope Francis—is one likely explanation for his poor showing among Catholics. It’s unpopular with Hispanic Catholics and a reminder to white Catholics of the nativism their ancestors faced (Washington Post, August 30).

Banning the burkini

Two French Riviera towns have banned burkinis, the full-body swimsuits worn by some devout Muslim women. One of the mayors said the prohibition is for sanitary reasons. He added: “In France, one does not come to the beach dressed to display one’s religious convictions, especially as they are false convictions that the religion does not demand.” He said nothing about how the ban would be enforced. France already has a nationwide ban on wearing a burqa (The Independent, August 13).

Help yourself

Jessica McClard got the idea for the Little Free Pantry from seeing Little Free Libraries in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she lives. She received a microgrant through Thrivent Financial to build a small cupboard mounted on a post to hold food items, toiletries, and paper goods to which people may help themselves. The small food pantry was placed outside Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. “Peanut butter and jelly, feminine hygiene products, and diapers are in demand,” McClard said, noting that garden vegetables go quickly as well. She has a Facebook page devoted to the pantry concept and is encouraging others to build their own (Huffington Post, July 29).

Summer reading

President Obama’s summer reading includes Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan; The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead; H Is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald; The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins; and Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (whitehouse.gov, August 12).

Sending rain

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has said in the past that natural disasters are a sign of God’s wrath on gay marriage and abortion. During the August flood in Louisiana, his house and cars were flooded, there was about ten feet of water in his driveway, and his family had to be rescued in a canoe (BBC).