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 Today's Take:  NCR's daily Web column
Each weekday over the course of a week, a member of the NCR staff offers a commentary on one or more topics in the news.  It's our way of introducing you to some of the people carrying out the NCR mission of faith and justice based journalism.

July 23, 2003
Vol. 1, No. 75




Joe Feuerherd One of 'Ours' for President?

By Joe Feuerherd, NCR Washington correspondent

And the second Catholic President of the United States could be Howard Dean.

Howard Dean?

Yup, Howard Dean. Sort of.

The 54-year-old former Vermont Governor was baptized Catholic -- which means we still get to count him on the rolls.

He's one of ours, though he was raised as an Episcopal, married a Jew, and calls himself a Congregationalist. Once a Catholic well, you know.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is Catholic. Except he's really Jewish. Sort of.

The Boston Globe (what would we do without them?) traced Kerry's ancestry and reported that his paternal grandparents were Austrian Jews who changed the family name from Kohn to Kerry when they became Catholics in the early 1900s.

The good news for we triumphalists, however, is that Kerry sought an annulment from his first wife after wedding ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz. The bad news is that Mrs. Kerry-number-one didn't cooperate with the marriage tribunal. And without meaning to cast the first stone, that does suggest the Catholic-Jewish senator from Massachusetts is living in sin. Very comfortable sin.

Representative Dennis Kucinich is Catholic. No doubt about it. But the twice-divorced former Cleveland mayor (who did an indelicate flip-flop on abortion right as he entered the presidential race) is also a vegan. And while vegan's no religion, it's certainly more than a diet plan.

Former Illinois Senator Carol Mosley Braun is Catholic. She even taught at DePaul University. Except, reports Slate, she's "a Catholic but attends an Episcopal Church." Damn.

Now to the also rans. Richard Gephardt's Baptist, though his wife is Catholic, and he's been known to attend Mass. Lieberman's Jewish -- without a trace, as far is as known, of Catholic in him.

Florida Senator Bob Graham is United Church of Christ, whose synod recently passed a resolution calling for "legislation that will overhaul accounting standards." Like Graham, they're boring, but they're good.

The Reverend Al Sharpton is a Pentecostal. Praise the Lord! He's not one of us.

Finally, George W. Bush (raised Episcopal) and North Carolina Senator John Edwards are Methodists. By God, those Methodists have good hair.

So where does that leave the Catholic voters?

Al? Al? Where are you when we need you?

Al Smith that is.

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