Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
I don’t like the World Net Daily headline “White House confirms it got 2 million red envelopes.” It gives the White House too much credit. The White House did no such thing.
The subhead is more honest: “President’s mail worker claims letter campaign 1 of largest in 35 years.”
The Red Envelope Project began with a man named Christ Otto. He wanted pro-lifers to send thousands of red envelopes to the White House with these words written on the back: “This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.”
As more and more people promoted the idea, it grew and grew.
Undoubtedly, lots of people sent envelopes. But how many? We promoted the project here and in the print version of the Register. My kids sent envelopes.
But how many people joined us? Here’s how World Net Daily got its numbers.
“Last Tuesday 2.25 million were sent all together,” Otto told WND. “There were 1 million sent before that date. I keep getting e-mails, and I know that people are still sending them. This past weekend, there were at least 10,000 more sent just from churches announcing it on Sunday.”
So then, World Net talked to White House mail worker “Steve,” who has handled letters for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for more than three decades. “Every single package and letter destined for the White House goes through his office,” says World Net Daily.
“Asked if he has seen a flood of red envelopes bound for the White House, Steve chuckled.
“‘Uh, yes,’ he said emphatically. ‘Believe me, they made it here.’”
Steve added: “I’ve been here 35 years, so I’ve seen presidents come and go. … This campaign ranks up there with the big ones.”