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Jacques Berlinerblau Jacques Berlinerblau is an Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the School of Foreign Service. Berlinerblau has published on a wide variety of issues ranging...

A collaboration with Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive's On Faith site, The God Vote explores the role of faith in this year's election. It is featured here as well as on Georgetown/On Faith.

OTHER POSTS

Why Does Santorum Despise the Separation of Church and State?

February 17, 2012

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Religion at the GOP Debate

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December 30, 2011

How to Make Atheism Matter

December 19, 2011

Faith and Values at the Republican Presidential Debate

December 16, 2011

Why the Mississippi Personhood Amendment Self-Imploded

November 9, 2011

Rick Santorum Makes Faith Pitch at GOP Debate

October 19, 2011

For Sarah Palin: God, Family, then Country?

October 7, 2011

Where Does Church End and State Begin?

October 5, 2011

Bloomberg Takes Stand on Church v. State

September 12, 2011

Rick Perry and Rest of GOP Field Get No Values Questions at Debate

September 8, 2011

Rick Perry and the Jewish Vote

August 25, 2011

Faith Up for Debate

August 12, 2011

Piety is the Policy at Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally

August 8, 2011

Religion and Politics After bin Laden

May 3, 2011

Christians in the Middle East: A Minority Victim of the ‘Arab Spring’?

April 29, 2011


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Faith and Life
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Rudy Giuliani: The Perfect Imperfect Catholic

July 20, 2007

To the best of my knowledge none of the leading presidential candidates is an opera buff, save Rudy Giuliani. This raises the related point that none of our aspirants for High Office is anywhere near as operatic as the former Mayor of New York. Say what you will about him, but Giuliani is never boring.

Of course, when running for President of the United States, boring is good. Boring means that you did not have the New York Press core discussing “other women” outside of your marriage for half a decade. Boring means you don’t have fabulous gay friends. Boring means you didn’t appear on Saturday Night Live and refer to yourself as “freakin’ Giuliani” while made to look like the most perfect approximation of a dimwit in the history of stagecraft. Boring means you and one-time chum Senator Alfonse D’Amato never went out to score drugs in an undercover sting operation. Boring means you didn’t have Yasser Arafat and his entire entourage tossed out of Lincoln Center—where the Metropolitan Opera performs no less!

These are the things that make Mr. Giuliani exceptionally interesting to those of us for whom "politics is theater, albeit with grave implications." Yet these are precisely the things, so goes the logic, which will fatally doom his candidacy among “values voters.” For it has long been assumed that White Evangelicals and Traditional Catholics--the sinew of the Religious Right--will under no circumstances support such an interesting candidate. Further, it seems an absolute certainty that they will never support a candidate--boring or interesting, no difference-- committed to a woman’s right to choose.

And then, from offstage, the chorus taunts us with statistics that flummox all of us in the Faith and Values Industry. Last month's Pew Survey indicated that 49% of White Republican Catholics said there was a “good chance” they would vote for him. Among White Evangelical Protestant Republicans, 32% gave the same answer, giving Giuliani a 12-point edge over (the unannounced) Fred Thompson in second-place.

It is as this point that a pundit’s face contorts to assume the shape of a question mark. In Monday’s column I will advance my own counter-intuitive theory to explain his present popularity among these groups and other so-called values voters. I so doing, I hope to call attention to something that many of us who study religion and politics have not thought about carefully enough.