RNC Religion

Michael Steele, new Republican National Committee chairman, is African-American; he’s also a serious Roman Catholic who spent three years studying for the priesthood. The former fact is front and center in mainstream coverage of Steele and his new job; the latter is mostly missing, as Terry Mattingly of GetReligion points out. Why do identity politics matter for a party that says it disdains them? Because while Steele is not likely to change many African American votes, ardent Catholicism at the heart of the G.O.P. may be a real factor. It may also point to a new tone in a party dominated by Protestant evangelicalism.