National Media Watch

Bush Gained Hispanic Protestant Voters in 2004

KNIGHT RIDDER, June 27 — A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center showed that religion was a major factor in the Hispanic vote for President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004, said Knight Ridder News Service.

The votes did not, however, come primarily from Roman Catholics. The study found that Bush garnered 33% of Hispanic Catholic votes in both 2000 and 2004. Rather, Bush increased his share of votes from Hispanic Protestants from 44% in 2000 to 56% in 2004.

While the Hispanic baby boom will have an impact two or three election cycles from now, at present Hispanics do not represent a “powerful new voting bloc” because too many of them either cannot vote or are too young to vote, Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center, said in The Washington Post.

Suro added, “Because of a combination of lack of citizenship, a big youth population and voter apathy, only one-fifth of Hispanics went to the polls in 2004.”

Pastor Drives Home Point About Mass Attendance

WABC, June 27 — In response to a lack of Mass attendance, a pastor in New York City's Staten Island borough sent a letter to hundreds of parishioners banning their children from weekly religious education classes, reported WABC.

“Without the Mass, religious education just is incomplete to such a degree that it really doesn'd make sense to have children pass on to the next grade,” said Father Michael Cichon of St. Joseph/St. Thomas Parish.

The letters went out to more than 200 families who had been attending Mass, on average, once a month. The parish monitored their attendance using donation envelopes.

One mother, Lisa LoPizzo, said that the pastor's actions punish her 6-year-old son, when the family faced several illnesses and couldn'd often make it to Mass.

“My son has to suffer because of illness?” she asked.

If parents bring their children to Mass, the families can re-register their children for religious education next year.

Majority of Physicians Influenced by Religion

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, June 23 — A University of Chicago study of physicians’ religious beliefs found that 55% of doctors say that their faith influences how they practice medicine, said the Sun-Times.

“We did not think physicians were nearly this religious,” said Dr. Farr Curlin, author of “The Religious Characteristics of U.S. Physicians,” which was published in the July issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Other surprising findings included the fact that 76% of doctors said they believed in God, and that 90% of doctors in the U.S. attend religious services at least once a month.

The study's findings tend to differ from decades of research that shows that religious belief decreases as education and income levels increase.