The Widdershins

Archive for March 26th, 2012

So little Ricky pulled one off in the Louisiana Republican primary.

Really, it shouldn’t have been a big surprise.  Louisiana is a part of the conservative South and if you look at any political map of the United States, there’s that little boot of  Louisiana splashed in red along with the rest of the states going from Texas across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Eastern Seaboard.  The only thing I can say is it took Louisiana just a tad longer to get there than some of the other Southern states.

It was almost a certainty that Santorum would carry the primary because of the makeup of the state.  Catholics make up just about one third (survey is from 1990) of the population of the state.  Further, in a post-2008 election survey, twenty-seven percent of the voters considered themselves evangelicals.  Now regarding Catholics in Louisiana, even this group is a bit different than what you would find of Catholics in other parts of the country.  The Catholics of southern Louisiana practice what you might more truly call a cultural Catholicism.  From the linked article:

In southern Louisiana, however, cultural Catholicism may be a better descriptive term, both because it avoids the possibly marginalizing connotations of “folk” and because it signifies the pervasive influence of non-official Catholicism in this region.

Southern Louisiana, unlike other areas of the South, is a place where Catholics are the norm, a region of cultural Catholicism-not only a religion as it is lived and practiced, but also as it affects the cultural beliefs, practices, worldview, and identity of the majority of the people. In the culture of the Cajuns and Creoles, the sacred and secular are often conflated. The Church and its rituals are central in the life cycle and throughout the calendar year-evident from Mardi Gras (certainly at the secular or profane end of the continuum) to All Saints Day (where the sacred is more privileged). The unifying potential of cultural communion and sacramental renewal is present in the rituals and secular sacraments of Louisiana’s Cajuns and Creoles. An emotional connection with the cultural rituals as well as the official sacraments has colored their vision of the world.

Cultural Catholicism in Louisiana is not only a matter of theology. It is based on the traditional interactions and rituals of the Cajuns, Creoles of color, and others of European Catholic heritage-people who shared not only a common religion, but also a common region, heritage, and language distinctively different from the rest of the country.

Another factor, I believe, was that turnout was low.  Out of approximately 775,000 registered Republicans, only 24 percent or 186,000 voted in the primary.  And we all know that when there is a low turnout, it’s the really gung-ho type voters who really believe in their candidate who are the ones to get out and vote; like this voter:

I am against abortion; I am against gay marriage,” said Patricia Sabido, who voted in Metairie for Mr. Santorum and cited his vehement criticism of the Obama administration’s ruling that church-run institutions include contraception in health plans. “I don’t think that should be forced down our throat,” Ms. Sabido said.

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