Letters 10.12.2008

Religion Test

Over the past few months, articles in the Register have served as “puff pieces,” first for Sen. McCain, and later, for the McCain-Palin ticket. Certainly, the view of Sen. Obama on life issues is disturbing, but articles in the Register continue to imply that voters should cast their ballots for McCain-Palin.

Most recently, in “Pro-Lifers Energized by McCain’s Palin Pick” (Sept. 14), it was mentioned that Gov. Palin was baptized Catholic, even though she has not practiced the faith. There was a broad hint there, implying that the religion of her baptism would qualify her to be our country’s vice president. In her personal life, her decision to accept her Down syndrome baby is praiseworthy. But is that a reason to vote that she be elected to serve one heartbeat away from leading our country in all that entails? She hasn’t even completed two years as governor of Alaska. She does have some baggage that she brings to the campaign.

We all know about the views of Sens. Obama and Biden about when life begins, but, to my knowledge, the Register has never asked Sen. McCain about his opinion on when life begins. The Register may wish to consider that possible response. On another matter, he certainly is no model for the sanctity of marriage.

Let’s stop this impromptu “religion test,” unconstitutional as it is, for elected office in the presidential race. Common sense tells us that there is more than one issue that should decide who is better to lead our country for the next four years.

M. E. Elliott

Manteca, California

Editor’s note: For the record, we don’t consider it a positive when baptized Catholics leave the Church.

But as to your charge of bias: The fundamental issue for Pope Benedict XVI, the U.S. bishops and the Register is the right to life. When a politician isn’t willing to honor the right to life, even if he has an exciting personality and is a great speechmaker, he should not be trusted. The 20th century taught us that.

The Register has consistently repeated both the positive and negative aspects of both candidates on that score. When the Register quoted Barack Obama’s answer to the question about human life’s beginning (“Answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade”), we also reported John McCain’s answer to the same question at the same forum (“At the moment of conception”).

Protecting Human Rights

When does a baby get human rights? One of the men asking us to elect him to the highest office in the land couldn’t answer this question. That is “above my pay grade,” Barack Obama said (“Purpose-Driven Discussion,” Aug. 24, “A Dream of Obama,” Sept. 14).

A shocking, evasive response — but not so surprising, given that Obama has consistently voted for the killing of unborn children by abortion with our tax money. Obama even supports the brutal partial-birth abortion procedure. And Obama has taken the killing of babies to a new low by voting to let newborn babies die — babies who were born alive and breathing — fully-formed after surviving abortions late in pregnancy.

And what about John McCain? Life begins “at the moment of conception,” McCain has said. McCain told the Rev. Rick Warren that he would back up his 24-year record of voting for human life by being a “pro-life president” (“Purpose-Driven Discussion,” Aug. 24). In his personal life, McCain has also lived out his pro-life convictions: He and his wife Cindy adopted a needy baby girl, who had a severe cleft palate, from Mother Teresa’s orphanage.

While McCain has cast the most pro-life votes, 31 since 1997, according to National Right to Life, the greatest champion for the human rights of babies in this election is a woman: Sarah Palin. Sarah gave her baby boy Trig life even though she knew early in pregnancy he had Down syndrome. By supporting her daughter Bristol in giving life to another baby, Sarah placed the human rights of that child above politics, popularity and the opinion of the media.

Sarah Palin shares the values of Catholics and other Christians when it comes to family and motherhood — and in protecting the human rights of each and every baby.

Rita Kelly

Harlingen, Texas

Politics and St. Paul

I had an amazing epiphany while reading “Courting Catholics” (Sept. 14). Where was the convention held? St. Paul. In this year dedicated to St. Paul is this a coincidence? I think maybe St. Paul is working in ways we never thought about.

What a blessing it is to live in a country where its very origins are so eloquently documented in the Declaration of Independence. For more than 232 years, America’s citizens have held these truths of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be self-evident. As a U.S. citizen, I could never endorse a candidate who has verbally stated and used his voting right as a U.S. senator to express the very opposite of what our Declaration of Independence declares: the right to life. 

As Catholics, we have a duty to vote in accordance with Catholic beliefs; we are first children of God, and then citizens of our country. When seeking moral clarity in how we should vote, we as Catholics are held to higher standards through the teaching and traditions of the Church.

No matter what the outcome of the election may be, I for one am thankful to finally see a woman in the spotlight who is smart, joyful and proud to love her family and country, is faithful to her husband, and is everything the women’s groups always strive for. She made a choice (she chose to keep her baby); she is a mom and works outside the home; she is willing to stand up and speak out for injustices. What more could any voting woman ask for? Thank you, St. Paul. 

Linda Mainard

Milwaukie, Oregon

Need for Prayer

God bless you for all your efforts to put the issues and the candidates truthfully before the voters (“McCain and Obama on ‘Catholic’ issues,” Sept. 21). However, as this critical election nears, I believe more is needed — namely prayer.
Therefore, I ask that you consider devoting one of your columns to the need for prayer and fasting on behalf of Catholics for the success of pro-life, pro-family candidates.

You have every right to encourage the success of candidates who are most in line with Catholic teaching (without endorsing anyone by name, of course). 

Your opinion carries a lot of weight, and with your encouragement, I’m sure that more Catholics will become “politically involved” in the most powerful way possible.

Don Himmelspach
Saginaw, Michigan

Preserving Dignity

Could I plead with your writers and editors to stop calling children with Down syndrome “Down syndrome babies” as you have done in “A Tale of 2 Down Syndrome Babies” (Sept. 21)? This perpetuates the notion that the extra chromosome defines who and what they are, not what they have. We don’t say “cancer children” or “spina bifida babies.” It is dehumanizing to identify children this way. Please edit these phrases to preserve the dignity of all children.

Carol Kennedy

Aberdeen, Scotland


To describe oneself as a pro-choice Catholic is an oxymoron (“Teaching Moment,” Sept. 21).

Government sanctions that allow some people to live while others are condemned to death are nothing new (i.e. Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia). Lawful and unlawful killings continue every day, everywhere in a myriad of scenarios ranging from self-defense and military combat to genocide. Setting aside euphemism, let’s consider the murder of abortion. Can we as Catholics even begin to address other grievous injustices, when in America alone the womb is a tomb for well over 3,000 babies every day? Bearing in mind that neither child nor mother exist in a vacuum, it is only just that the father, extended family and parish of these mothers and unborn babies share responsibility for the sobering reality of our nation’s daily blood bath. I respectfully submit to your “pro-choice” readers: Please re-examine your current stance in light of sacred Scripture, the teaching authority of the Church and the testimonies of abortion survivors and victims. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an invaluable resource. But more importantly, for those confronted with painful realizations, please know that Jesus and his Church love you, and find encouragement in the words of Pope Benedict XVI while visiting America: “Christ is our hope.”

Rose Chiechi

Huntington, New York

Matter of Science

Your article “Palin the Pro-Lifer” (Sept. 21) was an admirable presentation of Sarah Palin’s pro-life views and pro-life activities. Now that we are about to vote, it is important that we keep the issue of abortion in mind.

No matter how one looks at it, abortion is murder.  A politician who says that he personally opposes abortion but will not vote against it because he does not want to impose his faith on others is talking nonsense. It is a matter of science, not faith.

Charles J. Scheve
Towson, Maryland


In “Holy Role Model: Who Can Measure Up to That?” (Sept. 21), we reported that Marians of the Immaculate Conception Father Donald Calloway is completing his doctorate at the Franciscan University of Steubenville — but that school does not offer a doctoral program. Father Calloway holds a licentiate in sacred theology from the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton. We regret the error.