Loading
Group says faith should be respected in 2012 election
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Thomas P. Melady speaks at the Nov. 2, 2011 press conference at the National Press Club
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Thomas P. Melady speaks at the Nov. 2, 2011 press conference at the National Press Club
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A group of nearly 40 Catholic lay individuals has issued a statement urging “harmony and understanding among all faiths” in the upcoming U.S. presidential election and “rejecting bigoted questions and comments about personal religious beliefs.”

The statement, which was signed by “Catholic citizens of different political persuasions,” called for the avoidance of “all inclinations to raise the issue of personal religious affiliation.”

It asked that “civility be maintained in the public discourse.”

Thomas P. Melady, former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, released the statement at a Nov. 2 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

A press release announcing the event said that the individuals who signed the statement “are concerned about the manner in which religion is surfacing in the current political public discourse.”

It explained that the signatories fear “signs of a regression back to the use of religious bias when discussing candidates for political office.”

The statement was issued in response to a comment made in October by Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Jeffress endorsed Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. and called Mormonism, the faith of GOP candidate Mitt Romney, “a cult.”

Adding to the controversy, Rev. Jeffress was quoted last year as saying that the Roman Catholic Church was the outgrowth of a “corruption” which he called “Babylonian mystery.”

“Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word,” he said. “It comes from that cult-like pagan religion. Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”

Once Jeffress’comments were brought to Gov. Perry’s attention he disassociated himself from the pastor.

The signers of the call for civility noted that the U.S. has a “history of anti-Catholic bias,” citing the 1928 presidential election in which “religious bigotry” was exhibited against Catholic candidate Al Smith.

Smith’s great grandson is among the signatories of the statement.

Although progress has been made, Melady explained that Jeffress’ comments have raised concerns that religious bigotry may flare up again in the upcoming election.

The statement lamented “the unfortunate prospect that the discussion of a man’s particular religious belief may become a major divisive political issue.”

It acknowledged “that a candidate’s character, moral beliefs, and reputation for integrity should be subject to public review,” but denounced attempts to allow “the question of a candidate’s religion to be subject to public ridicule.”

At the Wednesday press conference, Melady emphasized the need to “focus on the issues.” He called for a “discussion conducted civilly” with “respect for the other point of view.”

Melady said that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ad hoc committee on religious liberty would receive a copy of the statement.

Among those who signed the statement were Douglas Kmiec, former U.S. ambassador to Malta, and Fred Rotondaro, chair of the left-leaning group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

Other signatories included Dr. Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America; Owen Smith, chairman of the board of trustees at the Institute of World Politics; and Frank Fahrenkopf, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
23

Liturgical Calendar

November 23, 2014

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 25:31-46

Gospel
Date
11/23/14
11/22/14
11/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 11-12, 15-17
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28
Gospel:: Mt 25: 31-46

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14