Religion Unplugged

Kamala Harris’ interfaith background draws focus, but some call her anti-Catholic

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

Editor’s note: Every Friday, “Weekend Plug-In” features analysis, fact checking and top headlines from the world of faith. Got feedback or ideas for this column? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at therossnews@gmail.com.

Hang on for a wild ride.

Try to avoid whiplash.

Yes, it was another crazy week in the world of religion news — and we’re going to cover the highlights in a hurry.

Starting with the obvious: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate brings plenty of faith angles.

Elana Schor, the national religion and politics writer for The Associated Press, notes that the 55-year-old Harris “attended services at both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple growing up — an interfaith background that reflects her historic status as the first Black woman and woman of South Asian descent on a major-party presidential ticket.”

Bob Smietana, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service, dubs Harris “the interfaith candidate,” and RNS national correspondent Yonat Shimron offers “five faith facts about Biden’s VP choice.” In a separate story, Shimron suggests that Harris “is also the future of American religion.”

But the crucial angles related to Harris and religion aren’t all positive, even if some news coverage is.

Her selection prompted the National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis to write about what DeSanctis’ article called “Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry.” Even before the Harris pick, Kelsey Dallas, the Deseret News’ national religion writer, had reported last week on Biden’s “tough road ahead on religious freedom.”

At the Washington Post, columnist Michael Gerson opines that the Harris pick “exacerbates Biden’s existing problem with religious voters. He must work to reassure them.”

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

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