Thomas Perriello, a Catholic who is in favor of legalized abortion has defeated Republican incumbent Virgil Goode by 648 votes in the race for Viriginia’s Fifth Congressional District.
On Friday afternoon, the Perriello campaign declared victory, even though Goode will likely demand a recount if the lead remains less than 0.5% of the vote.
Despite claiming to be an ardent Catholic, Perriello ran on an agenda that treats abortion as one of several equally important social issues to be addressed instead of the paramount human rights and social justice violation that Catholics must fight to end.
This theory has been frequently criticized by Catholic leaders, including Archbishop Charles Chaput, who recently described the organization Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good—co-founded by Perriello—as having “done a disservice to the Church.”
Chaput charges that these groups have confused “the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress prolifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.”
“All of them seek to ‘get beyond’ abortion, or economically reduce the number of abortions, or create a better society where abortion won’t be necessary. All of them involve a misuse of the seamless garment imagery in Catholic social teaching. And all of them, in practice, seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues,” Chaput said at a dinner for the women’s group ENDOW in mid-October.
The Catholic Diocese of Scranton has also warned about Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, saying that the group tells people “that a Catholic may vote for a candidate who supports abortion . . . (but) they are neither united nor allied with authentic Catholic teaching. Catholics and non-Catholics alike should not be misled by them.”
Ignatius Reilly, from “rightpundits.com,” says that “at this early stage in his career, his resume (Ivy League education, community organizing skills, and liberal nonprofit causes) is remarkably similar to President-elect Barack Obama. We should keep an eye on Perriello to see how he moves forward from this stunning upset. Meet our newest liberal member of Congress.”
Perriello, the youngest of four children and single, received his B.A. from Yale University in 1996.
Besides “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,” he helped to launch FaithfulAmerica.org, an organization described as “dedicated to bringing together faith-based communities to support liberal causes like a higher minimum wage, environmentalism, and peace in Iraq.”
He is also the co-founder of Avaaz.org, an international on-line community “dedicated to building a liberal global response to problems without borders such as climate change.”