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RI Catholic bishop switches to GOP: ‘Would Jesus be Democrat or Republican?’

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While President Obama’s approval ratings continue to dip, support appears to be fading from those he has counted on in the past.  Thomas Tobin, a prominent Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, R.I., is the latest to leave the Democratic Party.

Just in the last week, actor Matt Damon, National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford and CNN host Don Lemon have spoken out against Obama and his policies.

Bishop Tobin at YR meeting
Bishop Tobin at Rhody YR meeting. Photo credit: Ted Nesi/WPRI

Tobin announced that he changed his voter registration from Democrat to Republican, saying the Democratic National Convention’s support for abortion and gay marriage was the last straw, according to CNS News.

“The a-ha moment for me was the 2012 Democratic National Convention – it was just awful,” Tobin said on Tuesday to the Rhody Young Republicans in Providence.

Tobin, 65, the leader of Rhode Island’s approximately 621,000 Catholics, has been a registered Democrat since 1969.

“I just said I can’t be associated structurally with that group, in terms of abortion and NARAL and Planned Parenthood and [the] same-sex marriage agenda and cultural destruction I saw going on,” Tobin told local TV station WPRI. “I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

Tobin said he was greatly disappointed about the same-sex marriage law that passed in Rhode Island in May.

He announced his party switch by holding up two pieces of paper — his letter from the East Providence Board of Canvassers confirming his Republican affiliation and his baptismal certificate. WPRI reported Tobin’s explanation:

“My thesis tonight is that the two of these are related, and can be related very comfortably, and frankly if I had to choose between the two – between my party affiliation and my baptismal record – this is the one that will bring me to eternal life,” Tobin said, pointing to his certificate of baptism.

“Would Jesus be a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative?” Tobin asked. “I’m going to punt on that question and say: all of the above and none of the above. Labeling Jesus or labeling the church or labeling me depends on the particular issue.”

About 60 people attending Tobin’s nearly two-hour discussion on faith and politics gave him a standing ovation before and after he spoke.

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Watch the brief video report here via WPRI.

Read WPRI’s entire report here.


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