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Open Letter to President Obama

[Following is an open letter to President Obama in which Fr. Frank, and those who sign on with him, challenge the President for the outrageous contradictions between his policies and his words at the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.]

February 12, 2014

 

Mr. President: 

            On February 6, in the Washington Hilton, you addressed the National Prayer Breakfast, and the text of your remarks appears on the White House website (www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/06/remarks-president-national-prayer-breakfast).

            Taken in and of themselves, so many things that you said can and should be applauded, and in fact represent values we strive to live and apply in our nation and its public policy.

            But taken in the light of what you did not say, and in the light of the public policy decisions you espouse, we cannot help but be astonished. This speech raises troubling contradictions, and a glaring blind spot, about which we cannot be silent. Nor do we believe any reasonable person can fail to see what, apparently, you do not see.

            You make reference to freedoms "endowed by our Creator," an obvious reference to our Declaration of Independence. Yet you do not mention the first right that the Declaration mentions, which is life itself. Then you go on to say, quite correctly, "the killing of the innocent is never fulfilling God’s will; in fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal of God’s will." Yet in your own policy positions you fail to apply this to the killing of children in the womb by abortion.

            The blind spot to the children in the womb is reflected again in the fact that you declare, again quite rightly, "Brave men and women of faith have challenged our conscience and brought us closer to our founding ideals, from the abolition of slavery to civil rights, workers' rights." Yet you do not embrace the next chapter in that great trajectory, a chapter unfolding before your very eyes in the America of which you are President. We speak of the pro-life movement, the movement to restore the rights of children in the womb. 

            You even make reference to Psalm 139 when you say in your speech, "Today, we profess the principles we know to be true.  We believe that each of us is 'wonderfully made' in the image of God."  That Psalm refers to human children being wonderfully made in their mother's womb! Yet the very children about whom the Psalm marvels, you are unwilling to protect. The very image of God that you profess to be true, you violate by your actions that affirm legal abortion.

            You go on in your speech to say, "We, therefore, believe in the inherent dignity of every human being -- dignity that no earthly power can take away." Mr. President, this past January 22, you again affirmed your support of the Roe vs. Wade decision, which denied the inherent dignity of human children in the womb, and therefore did precisely what you say no earthly power can do.

            Mr. President, how can a man in your position permit this contradiction, this blind spot, to continue?

            Moreover, in your speech of February 6, speaking of human dignity, you declared, "Central to that dignity is freedom of religion -- the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose" and you rightly decried the denial of religious freedom in various places in the world today.

            Mr. President, we join you in denouncing the violations of religious freedom around the world. But consistency and integrity demand that you denounce the violation of religious freedom taking place within your own White House. The HHS Mandate, which you and your Administration continue to uphold and defend in court, denies countless Americans "the right ... to practice their faith how they choose."

            Mr. President, we are Americans who love our country and respect the office of its President. We know that our national discourse is necessarily marked by disagreements, which must be hammered out through the peaceful processes that we are blessed to have in this nation.

            But the matters on which you display inconsistency in this speech pertain to principles that could not possibly be more fundamental to America and to humanity itself. This demands more than civil disagreement and vigorous debate. It demands, in fact, an accounting to the American people as to why and how you, as their President, would tolerate a blind spot so large as to swallow up the very principles that you spend the rest of your speech vigorously proclaiming.

Sincerely,

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org