A candidate for State Senate in Kansas believes that Catholics, and Christians more broadly, who support Democrats cannot be true believers in Christ. Republican Steve Fitzgerald, challenging incumbent Catholic Democrat Kelly Kultala, told the left-leaning Polish American Club that the Democratic Party had become un-Christian. When asked if he stood by his remarks by the Huffington Post, Fitzgerald escalated:
My main point is that the Democratic platform and policies nationally are an attempt to redefine marriage in effect to say what Christ has said about marriage is a lie. Christ said marriage is between one man and one woman and the Democratic platform said that it’s not true. So therefore, my point was that one cannot support the Democratic platform and be a follower of Christ. …The contention that I said that one cannot be Catholic or Christian and a Democrat is not an unreasonable summation of what I actually said. My actual message was fix the party or leave.
Fitzgerald explicitly excommunicated his opponent, saying that “she calls herself a Catholic and I don’t know how she does that.” However, on the issues Fitzgerald cites, American Catholics are much more in line with Kultala than him: two-thirds support keeping abortion legal and three-quarters favor either full marriage equality or civil unions, with a plurality supporting the former. Catholic theology on assisting the poor is also far more in line with Democratic policy priorities, which seek to sustain a strong social safety net, than Republican ones.
This isn’t the first controversial comment made by Fitzgerald, who has said that Obamacare has put “the American Republic…on the endangered species list.” But when asked about the controversy generated by his remarks on Catholic Democrats, Fitzgerald said that “I can’t believe this is getting attention.”