Archive of September 20, 2008

Survey suggests Gov. Palin pick boosts McCain among Catholics

Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2008 (CNA) - A new poll shows Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain leading his Democratic counterpart Sen. Barack Obama by a 16 percent margin among Catholics who attend church weekly. Some of McCain’s new strength is being attributed to his selection of running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The results of the Pew Research Center’s survey of 2,307 likely voters were released on Thursday. The survey claims a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

The survey shows McCain leading Obama among Catholics who attend church weekly 52 to 36 percent, differing from August results which showed the group slightly preferring McCain by 45 to 42 percent.

Catholics who attend church less than weekly are almost evenly split, preferring Obama by 46 to 45 percent. In August, the same group of Catholics preferred Obama over McCain by 46 to 44 percent.

Scott Keeter, director of survey research at Pew Research Center, told the Christian Science Monitor that the selection of Governor Palin was “the big part” of the shift among Catholics.

He said Palin’s large family and her bearing her fifth child despite his diagnosis of Down syndrome embodies pro-life beliefs preferred by many observant Catholics. He added that McCain’s selection of Palin also reassured observant Catholic voters on “a whole constellation of values issues that are important to conservative Christians.”

David Campbell, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame, told the Christian Science Monitor that neither frequent Mass attending Catholics nor inobservant Catholics would swing the election.

“In the middle, however, is a fairly large group of Catholics who still think of themselves as Catholic and they still go to church periodically,” Campbell said.

Lara Brown, a political scientist at Villanova University, said Palin could help close the so-called “gender gap.”

Explaining to the Christian Science Monitor that Catholic men gradually moved to the Republican Party, with Catholic women staying with the Democrats, “Palin gives these women who are culturally conservative an opportunity to say, ‘Wow, someone represents me.’”

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Obama campaign attacks political ad featuring abortion survivor Gianna Jessen

Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2008 (CNA) - The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has responded to an ad which features abortion survivor Gianna Jessen asking Obama to support protecting those infants who survive abortions. In its own ad, the Obama campaign calls the Jessen ad “a despicable lie” and claims it takes out of context Obama’s repeated votes against the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act.

The new advertisement also implies that the original advertisement, which was produced by the 527 organization, is connected to the McCain campaign.

In the Obama advertisement, the narrator says:

“John McCain’s Attacks: ‘the sleaziest ads ever,’ ‘truly vile’

“Now, votes taken out of context accusing Obama of letting infants die?

“It’s a despicable lie.

“Even the bill’s Republican sponsor said it’s untrue.

“Obama’s always supported medical care to protect infants.

“McCain? He’s running on a platform to ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

“Sleazy ads.


“That’s John McCain.”

The advertisement begins with a brief appearance of Obama, who says “I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message.”

The advertisement features Gianna Jessen, was the victim of an attempted saline solution abortion which was performed on her then-17-year-old mother in the third trimester of Jessen’s gestation. The saline solution burned Jessen’s body for eighteen hours until she was delivered at a Los Angeles County abortion clinic at a weight of 2 lbs.

Jessen suffers cerebral palsy as a result of the abortion attempt.

In the original advertisement, she cited Barack Obama’s opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in the Illinois state senate.

She charged: “if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn’t be here. Four times, Barack Obama voted to oppose a law to protect babies left to die after a failed abortion. Senator Obama, please support born alive infant protections. I’m living proof these babies have a right to live.”

In a response to the new Obama campaign ad, Jessen wrote on
“Mr. Obama is clearly blinded by political ambition given his attack on me this week. All I asked of him was to do the right thing: support medical care and protection for babies who survive abortion – as I did 31 years ago.

“He voted against such protection and care four times even though the U.S. Senate voted 98-0 in favor of a bill identical to the one Obama opposed. In the words of his own false and misleading ad, his position is downright vile.

“Mr. Obama said at the recent Saddleback Forum that the question of when babies should get human rights was above his pay grade. Such vacillation and cowardice in public policy almost left me to die and no one should have to go through what I went through.”

Jill Stanek, a nurse who pushed for BAIPA after discovering infants who survived abortions at an Illinois hospital were being left to die in a soiled utility room, also replied to the Obama campaign’s attack ad.

“It is despicable, repulsive and beneath contempt that Barack Obama would attack Gianna Jessen,” Stanek said in a statement on “She is a courageous abortion survivor and living miracle who would not be with us today if Obama's policies had been in place when she was born.”

She charged that Obama “continues to mislead the American people on this issue” and said he voted four times in the Illinois state senate against “medical care and protection for babies who survive abortions.”

“Mr. Obama needs to come forward and tell the American people that he understands people like Gianna Jessen, and that he will support and enforce Born Alive Infant protections -- that these are living, breathing human beings who have come into our world and deserve protection in the law and should receive medical care at health care facilities,” Stanek continued.

“These babies have the same rights as the rest of us.”

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Head Knight of Columbus’ open letter challenges Sen. Biden on abortion remarks

Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2008 (CNA) - Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, has published an open letter to Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden in several major newspapers, chastising his support for abortion and correcting his erroneous claims about historical Catholic teaching on abortion.

Warning that Biden’s public remarks could confuse Catholic women in crisis pregnancies about the morality of abortion, Anderson’s letter also invites Biden to meet with him to discuss the issue in person.

The open letter to Biden, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, was published in USA Today, the Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Delaware News Journal on September 19. Anderson says he writes the letter “on behalf of 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the United States.”

Anderson begins his letter to Biden by saying he writes as “a fellow Catholic layman.” Commenting that the bishops who have publicly corrected Biden’s remarks on historical Catholic teaching on abortion are “far from alone,” Anderson tells Biden his statements “carry considerable weight” because of Sen. Barack Obama’s emphasis of Biden’s Catholic identity.

“You now have a unique responsibility when you make public statements about Catholic teaching,” Anderson writes.

Echoing many Catholic bishops’ responses to Biden’s remarks, Anderson says modern medical science “leaves no doubt” about when life begins.

“It is not a matter of personal religious belief, but of science,” he writes.

Anderson’s letter addresses Biden’s appeal to St. Thomas Aquinas, which the senator used to justify his pro-abortion rights views. Anderson says that the learned saint had “only a medieval understanding of biology” and questions whether any other appeal to medieval biology would be made to justify modern law and policy.

Regardless of St. Thomas’ understanding of biology, Anderson continues, the saint’s view is “in any case entirely consistent with the long history of Catholic Church teaching in this area, holding that abortion is a grave sin to be avoided at any time during pregnancy.”

The sinfulness of abortion, according to Anderson, is taught in the early Christian work of the Didache, as well as the works of Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine and Aquinas.
Anderson cites the Second Vatican Council’s description of abortion as “an unspeakable crime” and its teaching that human life must be protected from the “moment of conception.”

Biden’s remarks have life or death consequences, Anderson explains:

“Statements that suggest that our Church has anything less than a consistent teaching on abortion are not merely incorrect; they may lead Catholic women facing crisis pregnancies to misunderstand the moral gravity of an abortion decision.”

While noting the senator’s opposition to partial birth abortions, Anderson tells Biden “your unconditional support for [Roe v. Wade] is a de facto endorsement of permitting all other late term abortions, and thus calls into question your appeal to Aquinas.”

Comparing the denial of the rights of unborn children to the denial of the rights of
African Americans before the U.S. Civil War, Anderson writes:

“Today, children of all races who are fully viable and only minutes from being born are also denied recognition as ‘persons’ because of the Roe v. Wade regime that you so strongly support.”

Anderson exhorts Biden to change his political stand, saying: “You have a choice: you can listen to your conscience and work to secure the rights of the unborn to share in the fruits of our hard-won liberty, or you can choose to turn your back on them.”

Closing his letter with an invitation, Anderson writes: “I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in greater detail during the weeks between now and November 4.”

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