I'm working on a longer piece about this, but I felt this was a good time to open this topic. The right's pre-election infatuation with conservative Catholics, demonstrated visibly by GWBush attending Mass on Sunday, Oct. 31, is especially ironic in light of the fact that most evangelical, born-again conservative Christians believe that Catholics are NOT Christians.
I used to work with some of the biggest evangelical churches here in So. Cal., designing and building recording studios for their Christian record labels (another topic worth discussing), so I feel confidant to speak on this issue. I spent time with staff, management, insiders, and not just the average parishioners, and I heard comments supporting my thesis many, many times.
In Catholic apologetics, much is made of the various scriptures discussing "works," i.e., how people demonstrate their Christianity. This doesn't mean public piety and pronouncement, but rather quietly helping the less fortunate, and behaving in a caring and selfless manner. "Do unto others..." is really the operative ideal. Demonstrating time and again one's Christian ethics is a noble goal. Of course, one must truly believe in Jesus as the Christ, sent from God to atone for mankind's sins.
The evangelicals, especially the large worldwide churches I worked with, however, pay less attention to the scriptures about "works" and focus on the idea of being "saved." Once someone is "born again," they are "saved," and that's that. Bad behavior is frowned upon, but it will not interfere with being "saved."
They believe that Catholics haven't really gone through this "born again" moment, so they aren't really "saved." I remember working with one man who was in charge of the sound system at one of these very large churches, he was saying that he wished his mother was saved. An Hispanic, he admitted that he had been raised Catholic. I asked if his mother went to church, prayed, and believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and he said "Of course she does. But she's not 'saved.'"
In the eyes of many born-again, Catholics are only slightly better than the evil cultists Mormons. Yet, this election cycle, they were gladly accepted as long as they passed the litmus test, not of being true Christians, but being anti-Kerry (anti-choice.) Utter hypocrisy, much like Nader allowing Republicans to support his ballot presence.