Archive of August 17, 2008

Archdiocese of Denver to hold prayer vigil at largest abortion facility in U.S.

Denver, Colo., Aug 17, 2008 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Denver announced it will hold a prayer vigil and peaceful protest outside the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Abortion Clinic.  Speaking at the event will be Dr. Alveda King, and Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver.


The archdiocesan Respect Life Office, in partnership with the archdiocesan Office of Black Catholics will hold the “Light in the Darkness” rally against abortion on Monday, August 25.


The main speaker of the event, Dr. Alveda King, the niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Director of African American Outreach for the Gospel of Life Ministries will open the prayer vigil by addressing abortion as one of today’s most pressing civil rights issues.  She will also comment on Planned Parenthood’s history of targeting minority neighborhoods for abortion services.


Dr. King has noted that “The fight against abortion is a new frontier in the Civil Rights Movement,” stated Dr. King. “We are not following Martin’s dream if we do not stand up for the voiceless.”


Additionally, Archbishop Chaput and Pastor Ralph Beechum of House of Joy Miracle Deliverance Church and will offer prepared remarks.


Also in attendance will be Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, Most Rev. James Conley, Pastor Patrick L. Demmer, Jr. of Graham Memorial Community Church of God in Christ and Pastor Willard Johnson of Macedonia Baptist Church in Park Hill.


The bishops of Colorado have spoken out against the new facility explaining that not only is Planned Parenthood among the leading providers of abortion in the United States, but they also are “a supplier of graphic and educational materials.”


The November statement concluded by asking Catholics to offer their prayers to God for the respect of life: “We urge the Catholic community and all people of good will to defend themselves and their beliefs against Planned Parenthood by every legal and ethical means at their disposal.  We ask all Catholics to pray, within their families and parish communities, that the dignity and sanctity of every human life will be upheld at all stages of development.”


The vigil will conclude with a candlelight walk around new facility, which is said to be the largest abortion clinic in the United States.  It is located at 7155 E. 38th Ave. in Denver.   

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Connecticut high school senior trains for 2012 Paralympic contests

Manchester, N.H., Aug 17, 2008 (CNA) - By Lenora Sumsky

Sitting poolside at Glenbrooke Swim and Tennis Club in East Hartford, Connecticut, Kristin Duquette is like any other high school student chatting with friends and enjoying sunshine, warm temperatures, and summer vacation. But, most of the time, Kristin, who is a senior at East Catholic High School, is in the water working to improve her swimming and achieve her objective: to win a gold medal in an international swim competition despite having muscular dystrophy.

While the Olympic Games in Beijing are under way this month, Kristin is focused on swimming in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

“If determination is a factor, she’ll go all the way,” said Cathy Topping, swim coach at East Catholic.

The Paralympic Games, created in 1960, are a multisport event for athletes with physical or sensorial disabilities. This includes mobility disabilities, amputations, visual disabilities and cerebral palsy. The games are held every four years, following the Olympic Games.

Athletes who participate in Paralympic sports are grouped into six major categories, based on their type of disability.

Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease that causes progressive muscle weakness.

Kristin was just 6 years old when she began swimming competitively at Glenbrooke Swim Club. She loved the water, showed great promise and dreamed of swimming in the Olympics. Three years later, after being diagnosed with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), Kristin stopped swimming and focused her energy on playing the violin.

Ironically, swimming is a therapy recommended by the Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSH) Society and is especially helpful in making many movements easier.  However, Duquette’s family weren’t aware of it that back then. Nor did they realize that developing the precise posture required to play the violin was also therapeutic.

In the years that followed, Kristin and her family learned a lot about the disease, for which there is no treatment or cure. Three years ago, she began a holistic regimen that combined physical therapies with a nutritional program that eliminated sugar, gluten, peanuts and dairy products. She began swimming again, this time with the goal of earning a spot on the East Catholic High School swim team.

She e-mailed Coach Topping, described her accomplishments and asked to join.

“She told me I would have a spot on the East Catholic Swim Team. I was so excited,” Kristin said.

Coach Topping said that she didn’t expect Kristin to earn points in competition, but knew her spirit would guide the team. The team won the Northwest Conference and State Championships this year.

“Kristin is well-respected by teammates and was voted most-improved junior,” said her coach. “I don’t think of her as handicapped; she is handi-capable.”

The Paralympic swim team

It was Coach Topping who suggested that Kristin try out for the Paralympic swim team.

Kristin participated in her first international swim meet, the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Championships, in December at the University of Maryland. More than 250 athletes with physical disabilities from 16 countries competed, including all members of the United States Paralympics Swimming elite and national teams.

“It was so awesome,” said Kristin. “I was with swimmers from around the world and competing against swimmers from Australia, France, Mexico and Spain.”

“For the first time, I was surrounded by swimmers who understood where I came from. Every day, I met someone new and they all encouraged me,” she said.

“I learned that elite and national swim teams are made up of humble people,” she wrote in an essay posted on the Manchester Swim Club’s Web site. “Every single swimmer had a physical ‘imperfection’ and had to overcome many challenges to swim, but they swam well and with passion,” she wrote.

Kristin qualified for the 50-meter backstroke and managed to cut seven seconds between the preliminary and final rounds.

“The race was amazing,” she said. “Going to my first Paralympic meet gave me more incentive not just to succeed in swimming and go to the 2012 Paralympics, but to succeed in life. Every swimmer had the determination and belief that they can contribute something even though they don’t have limbs, strong muscles, or sight.”

“Paralympic swimming is a great experience,” said Maura Grusse, a member of St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, who also has a Paralympic swimmer in her family. “It lets physically challenged athletes compete on a level playing field.”

In competition with able-bodied athletes, Paralympic swimmers work to achieve their personal best with little chance of winning their event, she said.

“The Paralympic swim teams provide athletes opportunities to meet and develop friendships with other athletes who face physical challenges,” said Mrs. Grusse, whose daughter, Rachel, is ranked among the top 25 swimmers in the world for two events in her category.

Kristin trains year-round and, in a Paralympic competition last May, established the first American record for the 200 meter backstroke in her category. She swam in the National Junior Disability Championships that were held at Rutgers University, in July as a member of the Wave, a Connecticut swim team that is sponsored by the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain.

During the competition, Kristin earned a world rank for the 50-meter backstroke. She is now ranked 18th in the world and third nationally for this event.

Kristin believes that each competitive swim experience helps prepare her to make the Paralympics team that will compete in London in 2012.

This month, she’ll ease up on her grueling training schedule to travel with her family to San Diego to rest, relax and, of course, swim. Through a program sponsored by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, professional instructors will introduce Kristin to ocean swimming. She’ll also try surfing with her mentor, Ryan Levinson, a triathlon athlete who also has muscular dystrophy.

‘An inspiration’

Kristin applies the same determination in music as she does in swimming. She is a violinist in the Connecticut Youth Symphony of the Hartt School Community Division and has played for St. Christopher Church in East Hartford and St Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford.

“She is a kid with a heart of gold,” said Mr. Brian Frazier, who has served as music director at both parishes. “I’ve met a lot of determined musicians, but Kristin has the focus to stick to her goals and overcome obstacles that she faces every day.”

Kristin also plays in the East Catholic High School orchestra. She is an honor roll student and a member of the school peer ministry team and Student Ambassador group.

“Kristin is such an inspiration,” said Dominican Sister Valerie Noone, who works in the advancement office at East Catholic and was principal at St. Christopher School when Kristin attended. “She has always had a positive, can-do attitude.

“She is a good role model and a wonderful example of what you can do when you put your mind to it,” said Sister Valerie.

“I am grateful,” said Kristin, “to everyone who has been a part of my journey to achieve my dreams and goals; from my friends, who are the greatest in the world, to my family and my community and my sponsors. I honestly have an amazing life.”

Printed with permission from the Catholic Transcript, newspaper from the Archdiocese of Hartford.

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Pope Benedict exhorts faithful to overcome racism

Vatican City, Aug 17, 2008 (CNA) - Speaking before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI recounted the Sunday readings and emphasized the universality of the Church’s mission. He called for the end of racism and encouraged people to reflect on hospitality as a “sign and instrument of communion among human beings” of every race and culture.

Addressing his audience from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father cited the Book of Isaiah’s prophesy of a “house of prayer for all peoples,” the gospel story concerning the healing of a Canaanite woman’s daughter, and the “universality of salvation” taught in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

Pope Benedict expounded on the Church’s responsibility to society to overcome racism, intolerance and exclusion, noting “one of humanity’s greatest challenges today is to end racism.”
The Holy Father observed that many countries, as a result of social and economic problems, are experiencing protests linked to racial discrimination. He asked his audience to pray for the building of a “world built on authentic justice and true peace.”
The Holy Father also asked people to pray for those affected by automobile accidents. He said, “We should not accept this sad reality!” Pope Benedict stated that human life is precious, remarking, “It is unnecessary for man to die or to be injured as a result of something potentially avoidable.”

The Holy Father noted that accidents are often caused by reckless driving. He continued, “Driving a vehicle requires moral and civic sensibilities.” Pope Benedict said that Catholics “must examine their conscience for their conduct as drivers” and that society must educate drivers “to defend human life and to love their neighbor.”

The Holy Father concluded by entrusting these intentions to the maternal intercession of Mary.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father described how with “deep emotion” he had learned of the unforeseen death of the Bishop of Bolzano-Bressanone, Wilhelm Emil Egger. He noted that he had left the bishop only a few days before when the latter was apparently in good health. Saying Bishop Egger was appreciated and loved for his commitment and dedication, the Holy Father offered prayers for the bishop and offered his condolences to the bishop’s relatives and his entire diocese.

The Holy Father also directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims:

“I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Sunday Angelus prayer. In today’s Gospel Jesus invites us, after the example of the Canaanite woman, to profess our faith and our complete trust in God. He alone, through the power of his Word and his Holy Spirit, can touch our hearts and save us. May your stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome draw you nearer to Christ, and may God bless you all!” 

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APA denials of abortion mental health risk contradicted by other studies

Washington D.C., Aug 17, 2008 (CNA) - A recent American Psychological Association (APA) study which claimed that abortion causes no mental health problems for women has been challenged because of its inconsistency with other studies and the apparent refusal of the study’s lead researcher to release supporting data. Meanwhile, more than 100 scientists and medical and mental health professionals have affirmed that, in their experience, significant numbers of women suffer serious physical, mental or psychological trauma as a result of abortion.

Last week the APA issued a report based on the conclusions of a panel that examined whether abortion can cause mental health problems. According to Steven Ertlet, writing at, the panel’s report concluded that women who have abortions may experience some grief and a sense of loss, but claimed there is no evidence showing abortion can cause significant mental health issues.

In the official APA statement Brenda Major, chairwoman of the panel, said “The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective, first-trimester abortion or deliver that pregnancy.”

The report claimed that many studies examining a link between abortion and subsequent mental health issues are flawed.

A Norwegian study conducted by Dr. Willy Pedersen was recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. The study focused upon 5,768 women between 15 and 27 years of age, asking questions concerning abortion and childbirth as well as family.

The study’s abstract said, “Young adult women who undergo induced abortion may be at increased risk for subsequent depression,” while its results said women who reported having had an abortion in their twenties were “more likely to score above the cut-off point for depression.”

A New Zealand study likewise suggested that a young woman who has an abortion raises her risk of developing mental health problems, doubling her risk of anxiety disorders. According to the study, about 42 percent of women who had abortions have experienced major depression within the last four years, double the rate among women who never became pregnant.

The study also said that women who have had abortions were twice as likely to abuse alcohol at dangerous levels and three times as likely to be addicted to illegal drugs, according to

David Fergusson, an abortion advocate who led the New Zealand study, said the results show that access to legal abortions is not necessarily good for women. He also claimed the study confirms abortions can cause mental health issues.

On March 14, 2008 the British Royal Academy of Psychiatrists issued its own position statement on abortion, saying heathcare professionals assessing or referring women who are requesting an abortion should assess them “for mental disorders and for risk factors that may be associated with its subsequent development.”

The statement continued, saying “Consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information regarding the possible risks and benefits to physical and mental health.”

Steven Ertlet claimed that the APA panel was “stacked” with abortion advocates, as did the American Life League.

In a Wednesday statement the American Life League asserted that at least half of the task force panelists studying the question are active abortion supporters, stating that the APA panel member Dr. Linda Beckman is an editor for the Pro-Choice Forum web site.

The APA study’s lead author, Dr. Brenda Major, faces allegations that she has violated the APA ethics rules by not sharing her data on abortion and mental health effects for other researchers to analyze. reports that Major avoided fulfilling a request from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking in 2004 that she deliver copies of data she collected under a federal grant. Major avoided doing so, writing “It would be very difficult to pull this information together.”

David Reardon, biomedical ethicist and director of the Eliot Institute, said one of his colleagues in 2000 had requested a breakdown of details summarized in a table in a 2000 report by Major based on that data set.

“One of her grad students replied on her behalf with the additional summary statistics we had requested within 48 hours,” he said, according to “So it clearly wasn't at all difficult for her team to access the data. Plus, with modern electronic data bases and multiple backup procedures in place at universities like hers, it is nearly impossible to lose such data."

Reardon claimed that Major had not responded to any further requests concerning the data since 2000 and voiced his belief that she is withholding the data to prevent the spread of findings supporting a link between abortion and subsequent health problems.

He said some additional information from research used in Major’s 2000 study showed women interviewed by Major did in fact attribute negative reactions to their abortions, but such information was not published.

“I know of a number of experts in the field who have requested the data, even within the last six months. But she simply doesn't respond to their calls, emails, or letters,” Reardon said, noting that APA ethics rule 8.14 requires research psychologists to share their data for verification of their findings.

“How can we trust the objectivity of a report prepared by a task force composed exclusively of pro-choice psychologists, especially when the chair and lead author has a history of withholding data and findings which may undermine her ideological preferences?" Reardon asked rhetorically.

Turning again to the APA report, Reardon said that though it conveys a message that abortion has no mental health risks, it actually admits that there is evidence that abortion causes negative effects for women who have had multiple abortions, women who abort because of coercion or pressure from others, minors who have abortions, and women with preexisting mental health problems which can be triggered or aggravated by an abortion.

He said women who have had multiple abortions accounts for about half of all abortions, while women pressured into having an abortion could account for between 20 to 60 percent of the women who have had abortions.

The San Antonio-based Justice Foundation has announced that 100 scientists, medical and mental health professionals have issued a joint statement saying they agree that it is common for women who have had an abortion to suffer “feelings of anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, grief, or guilt.”

“It is undeniable that significant numbers of women are injured by abortion and should not be ignored by the medical profession and that significant numbers of women suffer serious physical, mental or psychological trauma as a result of abortion,” the joint statement continued.

Signatories to the joint statement attested that the existence of a causal connection between abortion and negative health problems is supported by the “self-attribution of women themselves,” mental health professionals’ successful diagnosis and treatment of post-abortion reactions, and peer reviewed, statistically validated studies which control for “confounding factors.”

Clayton Trotter, General Counsel of The Justice Foundation said: "Given that the Supreme Court, the Eighth Circuit, the British Royal Academy of Psychiatrists, 100 American Scientists, Medical and Mental Health Professionals and 3000 post-abortive women, and men agree that abortion can potentially severely hurt women we want that truth to be recognized by the American Psychological Association."

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Sen. Obama responds to ‘neutrality clause’ claims during interview

, Aug 17, 2008 (CNA) - Last week, the National Right to Life Committee published evidence showing that Senator Barack Obama has misrepresented his position on the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.  In an interview last night, Obama gave a “heated” response to the allegations stating that this is “a situation where folks are lying.”

Sen. Barack Obama has adamantly stated that he opposed the passage of an Illinois law that would protect infants who survive an abortion on the grounds that it lacked a “neutrality clause.”  However, last week his explanation was undermined when the National Right to Life Committee published evidence proving that a neutrality clause had in fact been added to the Illinois bill by the same Obama-chaired state Senate committee which quickly voted down the amended bill.

The “neutrality clause” was added to state that the bill did not express judgment about the legal status of a human being prior to birth – and could therefore not be used to undermine Roe v. Wade.

Christian Broadcasting News Senior National Correspondent, Dan Brody, gave Senator Barack Obama an opportunity to respond to claims from the National Right to Life Committee.  In the interview, Brody began by asking Obama to clarify his position on the bill while in the Illinois Senate.  “…The one thing I get a lot of emails about and it's just not just from Evangelicals, it about Catholics, Protestants, main -- they're trying to understand it because there was some literature put out by the National Right to Life Committee. And they're basically saying they felt like you misrepresented your position on that bill.”

Obama responded, “Well and because they have not been telling the truth. And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported - which was to say --that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born - even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade. By the way, we also had a bill, a law already in place in Illinois that insured life saving treatment was given to infants.”

“So for people to suggest that I and the Illinois medical society, so Illinois doctors were somehow in favor of withholding life saving support from an infant born alive is ridiculous. It defies commonsense and it defies imagination and for people to keep on pushing this is offensive and it's an example of the kind of politics that we have to get beyond. It's one thing for people to disagree with me about the issue of choice, it's another thing for people to out and out misrepresent my positions repeatedly, even after they know that they're wrong. And that's what's been happening.”

Legislative Director for Wisconsin Right to Life, Susan Armacost responded on Monday saying, "Obama was caught red-handed in his attempt to deceive the American people when NRLC released these documents."

She continued, "This issue is not going to go away, Obama is still blatantly trying to cover up his infanticide votes and the American people deserve to know the truth."

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Pope calls for peace and humanitarian relief in Georgia

Vatican City, Aug 17, 2008 (CNA) - In remarks following his recitation of the Angelus at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI made a strong appeal for peace in Georgia, asking that the truce declared in the region be allowed to strengthen and transform into a stable peace. Offering his prayers for all victims of the conflict, the Holy Father encouraged the delivery of relief aid to affected populations and called for humanitarian corridors for refugees.

"I am following with attention and concern the situation in Georgia and I feel particularly close to the victims of the conflict,” he said. “While I raise a special prayer for the dead, I express my sincere condolences to all those who mourn, and I ask that the severe hardships of refugees, especially those of women and children who might have difficulty in obtaining necessities, be relieved with generosity," the Holy Father said.

Pope Benedict also called for the opening of humanitarian corridors between the region of South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia in order that “the still abandoned dead can receive dignified burial and the wounded can be properly cared for and allowed to reunite with their loved ones.”

In addition, he asked for the guarantee of the security and fundamental rights of ethnic minorities in the conflict, saying their rights can never be violated.

Finally, the Holy Father asked that the current truce, which he said was achieved through the contributions of the European Union, “transform into a consolidated and stable peace.” He then invited the international community to “continue offering their support to achieve a lasting solution through dialogue and mutual goodwill."

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Catholic and Evangelical leaders respond to Saddleback Forum

West Chester, Pa., Aug 17, 2008 (CNA) -

Saturday night, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain responded to questions from Dr.  Rick Warren, author of “A Purpose Driven Life,” and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.  Following the two hour event, evangelical leaders from across the United States gathered to discuss their reactions to the presumptive presidential candidates’ responses.

During the forum, Dr. Warren first posted questions to Sen. Obama covering the topics such as his personal values, abortion, marriage, education, stem cell research, and his vision for the United States; before asking Sen. McCain the same set of questions.

Warren noted in a press release, “I don't happen to agree with everything either of the candidates teach or believe, but they both care deeply about America.  They're both patriots and they have very different views on how our nation can be strengthened.  We've got to learn to disagree without demonizing each other and we need to restore civility in our civil discourse and that's the goal of the Saddleback Civil Forum."  

Following the event, a teleconference, sponsored by News gathered evangelicals from around the country to discuss the presumptive candidates’ responses.


The evangelical leaders began the discussion by focusing on what the presumptive presidential candidates plan to do in regards to the abortion issue.

Moderator of the teleconference, Martha Zoller emphasized that “Obama gave a very long answer to the question, and did so by ‘not saying anything. He’s also got the abortion numbers wrong within that, as well as using old numbers, you know, that Hillary Clinton had debunked a year ago’.”

Sen. Obama answered the question, "At what point is a baby entitled to human rights?"  by responding, that determining when life begins is "above my pay grade.”  He then stated, "I am pro-choice because, ultimately, I don't think women make these decisions casually.  Rather, they wrestle with these things in profound ways." 

Obama added that he is in favor of limits on late-term abortions. 

Sen. McCain, on the other hand, quickly responded that life begins "At the moment of conception.  I will be a pro-life president, and this presidency will have pro-life policies.

Janet Folger, president and founder of Faith2Action noted that “John McCain, without hesitation, bang, life begins at conception, he gets it. The judges that he would appoint, he made it very, very clear. I think he also resonated with beyond the base, to those who are pro-life even within the Democratic Party. I think it was exactly what needed to be done. He said it exactly the way it needed to be said.”

Did McCain ‘close the deal’ with evangelicals?

The leaders participating in the teleconference next discussed whether or not Sen. McCain, “closed the deal with evangelicals.”

Tom Minnery, Vice-President of Focus on the Family, noted that “Senator McCain helped himself. He just will not shake loose of his beliefs that he’s held for a long time on favoring research on embryonic stem cells. But [as soon as] – tonight, he hastened to the safer ground of the promise of adult stem cells as producing progress and disease research. So, he knows that he’s on thin ice with that. But, on the larger pro-life issue, he’s certainly presented himself quite properly as strongly pro-life. So, that was a good step for him.”

Bishop Harry Jackson, Sr., Pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C. and author of “The Black Contract with America on Moral Values,” added, “I think that Senator McCain closed the deal. I think he made a clear contract between himself and Barack Obama. Many evangelicals will vote for him.”

However, Bishop Jackson noted that if McCain chooses a pro-choice vice president, evangelicals may support Obama.  “I think the distinction that we heard tonight was clear, was decisive, was effective. That would be muddied if he mixes the ticket in some way and gets somebody who could become the President – in the event that something terrible would happen to McCain – who would go contrary to the clarity, the focus, and the energy with which McCain came forth tonight.”

Traditional marriage

The group next tackled Obama’s stance on marriage.  During the Saddleback Forum, both candidates agreed that marriage is between a man and a woman, however, Obama clarified that he is still for civil unions for same sex couples.

Michael Foust with Bandiss Press asked, “[Obama] says he supports marriage between a man and a woman, but of course, he says he opposed the marriage amendment in California…do you see some conflict there?”

Minnery responded, that there is conflict in Obama’s position.  “You cannot square the circle as he is trying to do. Either you support marriage or you do not. He says one thing. By his actions, he indicates another thing. And that answer…shows up the hypocrisy in his position on that issue.”

 “I think it would be more refreshing for him if he would just be honest about it and say he favors gay marriage,” Minnery continued.  “He cannot do that, because the American people do not favor gay marriage. And so, he needs to keep twisting and turning, diving on that issue. And it is hypocritical.”

Folger added that in McCain’s answer, “he said that he would not only support – he would support state’s definitions of marriage, the defense in his own State of Arizona, for example, where he has been stalwart leader for marriage as a union between one man and one woman. But he also made it very clear. Here’s the distinction. What John McCain said tonight is his position, that he says that the Supreme Court of California was wrong.”

Folger continued, “What Barack Obama left out tonight is that he actually publicly praised the Supreme Court of California. He said he “supported” the California decision. That’s something that redefined marriage, that undermines the institution that is the foundation of society. And Barack Obama is wrong on it, and that did not come out as clearly as it should have.”

Who won the debate?

Finally, the evangelical leaders discussed who they viewed as a winner.

The group unanimously supported Sen. McCain.  Minnery noted that McCain’s “answers were sharp.  I think he has thought a whole lot more about leadership. I was particularly impressed by his answer on people he admired. He went right to General Petraeus, who did one of the most remarkable military campaigns in recent memory. And I contrast that to Senator Obama, who when asked who influences him the most, he mentioned his wife, he mentioned his grandmother – those are safe nominations.”

Bishop Jackson also chose McCain as the clear winner, “He got energy, he got obviously many more applauses from the people in the room...But, I say this with a caveat. I think he won – if he can continue with the kind of fervor and integration of issues and faith, I think that he may be on to a new high in his campaign. If he retreats to a place of not wanting to talk anymore about these kinds of things, I think it will not help him. So, tremendous win tonight. I think it's a new chapter. I hope it continues.”

CNA also spoke with Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.  He explained that he was "amazed by the performance of both Obama and McCain. Obama was almost aloof, cerebral; certain to excite the hearts of liberals from Cambridge to Berkley. McCain was forceful, engaging, direct, everything we look for in a leader. Obama had a flip answer on the life issues saying it was “above his pay-grade” to know when children should have human rights. Obama made it clear that embryo destructive research is fine by him and McCain, who has not been good on this issue, has shown that he is coming our way."

"McCain also made it clear that as soon as a federal judge imposes homosexual marriage on the states, he would support a change in the Constitution. The difference between the candidates could not have been starker. McCain did himself a world of good at Saddleback."

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