Archive for the ‘Vote’ Category

Catching Up with Fr. Frank Pavone On the Election and Voter Guides

Friday, October 5th, 2012

By Deacon Keith Fourmier

Catholic Online

When the history of the great human rights movement of our age is written there will be several women, men, associations, movements and organizations holding a deserved place of honor. Right at the top of that list will be Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) – The great human rights movement of our age is the struggle to restore to the Civil and positive law of this Nation – and the rest of the nations – the legal recognition of the fundamental Human Right to Life.

Without recognizing this first Right, the Right to life, there can be no recognition of any other derivative rights. In fact, the entire infrastructure of human rights is placed at risk. All true Human Rights are goods of human persons. When there is no human person there can be no rights endowed upon them or exercised by them. All the “rights talk” in the world will not change that.

Every procured abortion is intrinsically immoral because it takes an innocent human life. It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life. Medical science confirms what our conscience has always known; the child in the womb is one of us, our neighbor.

No positive law can change that fact. When they seek to do so they are unjust laws which are not law at all. The great civil rights movements of the past two centuries have depended upon the recognition of an objective truth; every human being, at at every age and stage, has human dignity and a right to life.

Civil Rights are those human rights which are first recognized – and then properly protected by – civil government. The American founders stood in the best trajectory of Western civilization in their insistence that human rights are not given or bestowed by government but by the God in whose Image we have all been created.

Truly just governments are instituted precisely to secure these human rights. The first among them is the Right to Life. The Right to Life is revealed by the Natural Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason.

There is no more urgent work in the contemporary culture than the work of the movement called “Pro-Life”. That is precisely because the Right to Life movement is the foundational human and thus civil rights movement.

The egregious sin of the United States of America continues. We fail to hear the cry of our youngest neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers womb. When we allow their killing for any reason and by any means – and then actually call it a “right” – we profane the very word. We also place our future survival as a Nation at risk.

When we allow their innocent blood to be shed and then protect the evil act with the Police Power of the State we betray our claim to being a civilized people. When we deny them the Freedom to be born we undermine the very understanding of ordered liberty upon which our Nation was founded.

Those engaged in the Pro-Life movement assert with the American founders that there are truths that are self evident – such as our equality before God – and rights which are inalienable – such as the Right to Life.

When we are victorious in this monumental struggle – and we will be victorious – there will be many heroes whose sacrifice and courage will be recounted in our history books. They will be celebrated by our children and grandchildren as Champions of Life who overcame the current culture of death, replacing it with a new Culture of life.

When recognition of the fundamental Human Right to life is restored to the Civil and Positive law, these heroes will be remembered, honored and imitated. Right at the top of that list will be a Catholic Priest named Fr. Frank Pavone. He may be of small physical stature, like David of the Old Testament story, but he has a heart which is huge and the courage of a spiritual warrior.

Fr Frank Pavone has wielded his small smooth stones and sling mightily in the battle against the Goliath of the contemporary Culture of Death and that giant staggers as a result. He is one of my heroes and has been for decades. I also have the privilege of calling Fr Frank my friend. We have walked and worked together for several decades.

I recently spoke with Fr Frank about his efforts to ensure what I believe is the proper outcome of the upcoming elections in the United States. By proper outcome I mean electing men and women who recognize the fundamental human right to life and will do everything they can to restore that Right to our civil law.

I asked Fr Frank a few questions. His answers underscored why he is so effective in his work at the helm of the organization he founded, Priests for Life. The first question I asked was “Fr. Frank, can you please help our readers and viewers put in perspective the importance of the upcoming elections”.

His answer, “We need to elect public servants who can tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. If a politician can’t respect the life of a little baby, how is he supposed to respect yours? Each of us has one vote, but we can each influence hundreds of other votes.”

Next, I asked him about the Catholics and other Christians who write to me claiming they were not pleased with either major Party Presidential candidate. Some tell me they are considering either not voting – or voting for an alternative candidate who is incapable of winning.

“Father”, I inquired, “what do you say to those who have decided that neither of the two major candidates are fully Pro-Life and so have decided to not vote or vote for a third party candidate who cannot win. They write to me and tell me in person that they do not want to vote for “the lesser of two evils””.

Fr Frank responded bluntly, “Choosing the better of two imperfect candidates is not choosing the lesser of two evils. We can never choose evil. But we can choose to limit evil, and that is a good.” To which I heartily responded, “Amen”. I hope all who have told me this – in writing or in person – not only read his astute and accurate response but act accordingly!

I next asked how he deals with the opponents of our Pro-Life work who accuse Catholics of trying to impose our beliefs on the American people. I knew how I would answer the question, I have written extensively about it.

“Fr Frank”, I asked, “how do you deal with those who accuse you as a Catholic Priest and human rights activist of trying to impose Catholic values on America?” His answer was again brief, and right to the point. “I am not calling for a Vatican takeover of America; I’m calling for an American takeover of America!”

I have worked with Fr Frank over the years in many Pro-Life efforts. One of the efforts is “Deacons in the Service of Life” an outreach of Priests for Life. I know that during every election cycle, as we draw close to the time to cast our ballots, Voter Guides begin to be circulated.

As a constitutional lawyer I know the requirements for such guides to be acceptable for Churches and other non-profit organizations under Section 501 c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Yet, as a Deacon, I have also experienced the reticence on the part of many Catholic Clergy to allow such guides to be distributed, even when they are in compliance with the law.

Priests for Life just released a Non-Partisan Voter Guide for the 2012 US Presidential election which is completely compliant with the law. It is entitled “Where Do the Candidates Stand on key Issues?” So, I asked Fr Frank two final questions concerning Voter guides.

“Fr Frank, many Catholic clergy are concerned about offering Voter Guides. Can you help us to understand if there is a proper use for them? Are they an improper political activity for a parish?” His response was accurate and simple.

“For the Church to inform her people, in a non-partisan way, of the positions of the candidates is not a political activity – it is a pastoral activity. In fact, it is one of the spiritual works of mercy: instructing those who do not know. It is an equipping of the People of God to go into the world and make a change, consistent with the Great Commission and the New Evangelization.”

“We will hear in the coming weeks, as we do in every election cycle, of numerous refusals by Churches and dioceses to permit the distribution of voter guides. When someone tells me, ‘We can’t distribute yours,’ I challenge them, ‘Well then where is yours?’ But unfortunately, the alternative ends up being none at all.”

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The People Have Spoken

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Thumbs up, hands down, Governor Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate. Remember to vote on November 6, 2012, not just in the national election but also in your state and local races. This is a critical year because life hangs in the balance.

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Respect Life Month Brings Rich, Inter-related Themes This Year

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Happy October! And what a month it will be! There are various powerful observances and events this month whose themes reinforce one another and the overall mission of the Church on behalf of human life.

It is, first of all, Respect Life Month. It’s a time to let the pulpits roar with the Church’s Biblical witness to the sacredness of life.

And the appropriateness of that roaring is accented this month by the worldwide Synod of Bishops that begins on October 7, and the Church’s Year of Faith that begins on October 11th, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

The Synod of Bishops will discuss the “New Evangelization,” the proclamation of the faith with new vigor and new methods. It is for the purpose of embracing anew our faith in Christ that the Year of Faith is being observed. And all of this is, of course, why Churches exist, why religious freedom is important, and why preachers preach.

Moreover, the pro-life message is not something we “add on” to our faith as a hobby or extra-curricular activity. It is at the very heart and foundation of our faith. As I put it in the memo I submitted to the Vatican on behalf of Priests for Life in preparation for this year’s Synod of Bishops,

“The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of Life. The good news of the redemption of the human person in Christ is news about how he unites our human nature with His Divine Nature. The Gospel is precisely about the exaltation of human dignity in Christ. In proclaiming the hope that Christ offers humanity, namely, that he will sit us with him on his throne (cf. Rev. 3:21), the Church cannot then ignore the phenomenon by which that same humanity is thrown in the garbage. Were she to do that, her very proclamation of the Gospel would be compromised and rendered unpersuasive.

“When a society forgets the Creator, the creature becomes unintelligible. The culture of death is precisely a sign that new evangelization is needed. New Evangelization includes, at its core, the proclamation of the sanctity of life.”

We proclaim that message, furthermore, in these weeks that lead up to the most important election of our lifetime, an election that will decide the fate of countless unborn children, and the status of religious liberty in America.

Because the stakes are so high, hundreds of pastors this year will take part in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” in which they will preach sermons that apply Biblical standards to political candidates, and will send those sermons to the IRS to challenge them to clarify the restrictions on Churches against political speech. This has occurred for several years now. In fact, we can do much more than we think we can, but it’s not a bad idea to challenge those restrictions in court.

So, welcome, October! As we enter Autumn, bring a Springtime to our Faith, to our pro-life zeal, and to our informed, responsible citizenship

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Fr. Pavone Launches National Voter Guide Distribution Project

Monday, October 1st, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 1, 2012

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today the formal start of the national Voter Guide Distribution Project, with the release of a training video publicly available at www.PoliticalResponsibility.com.

“Hundreds of people around the country will take to the streets this month to distribute our voter guides on public property,” Fr. Pavone explained. “In this most important election of our lifetime, when the right to life and religious liberty are so much at stake, it is crucial that people not only know what the issues mean, but where the candidates stand on those issues.”

The project makes use of two voter guides that Priests for Life has prepared. One compares the positions of President Obama and Governor Romney on a wide range of issues of concern to the electorate.

The other compares the positions contained in the party platforms of the Republican and Democratic national parties.

Both of these guides are accompanied by letters issued by legal experts attesting that the guides are c-3 qualified, that is, that they may be distributed by Churches and other tax-exempt organizations because the guides are neutral rather than partisan.

The project involves having teams of people distribute the guides on the public sidewalks near churches, to the people coming out of the Masses and worship services.

“This year, more than ever, the faithful are ready to take up a task that, unfortunately, many of our institutions fail to do: to inform their fellow citizens about the positions of the candidates and the parties. We often wait in vain for Churches to distribute voter guides. Many are under the impression that they can never mention a candidate’s name, or that their tax exempt status is threatened by a c-3 qualified guide. From the vantage point of law, such a position is mistaken, and from the vantage point of morals, such a position is cowardly,” Fr. Pavone stated. “Then, we complain that the people we elect are threatening our religious freedom. Before we blame them, however, we should blame ourselves. As our United States Catholic Bishops have stated, ‘We get the public officials we deserve. Their virtue — or lack thereof — is a judgment not only on them, but on us’ (1998, Living the Gospel of Life, n.34).”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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40 Days to Save America Under Way

Monday, October 1st, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 1, 2012

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, is urging all clergy to join him in taking part in 40 Days to Save America, a prayer and fasting campaign that began officially on Friday, Sept. 28.

Father Pavone serves on the Board of Governors of 40 Days at the invitation of Pastor Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America and chairman of the campaign. Hundreds of organizations, ministries and houses of worship already have signed up to take part.

“This initiative combines the awareness that our nation is in an unprecedented crisis with the conviction of faith that prayer, fasting, and action can make a difference,” Father Pavone said. “And the fact that it leads up to Election day reminds believers that along with being in Church, they need to be in the voting booth.”

The 40 Days to Save America effort allows wide flexibility for Churches to use diverse resources and plan their activities. Among the resources Priests for Life provides are for prayer and preaching on the Culture of Life. See www.PrayerCampaign.org for the daily Election Prayer, and www.ProLifePreaching.com for preaching resources.

To sign up for the campaign, visit www.40DaystoSaveAmerica.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Dr. Alveda King Releases New Platform Comparison

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

POLITICAL PLATFORM COMPARISONS
Prepared by Dr. Alveda King,
Director of African American Outreach, Priests for Life

Many would agree that voting is a civil right. Some would go a step further and make the case that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a lot easier to attain if we have the resources to follow our desires.

What seems odd is that for many — if not most — Americans the economy tops the short list of concerns, yet most people do not seem to be connecting the dots between prosperity and moral values.

Voting with your morals could pay off in the long run. It’s also a good way to compare the political platforms of the parties.

Let’s compare the New Independent Christian Party, the Republican and the Democratic platforms:

New Independent Christian Party Platform:

 

The New Independent Christian Party seeks to align all platform issues with the standard of the Word of God. This includes:

The Work Ethic – if a person does not work, he or she will not be able to avoid hunger and poverty

Fair Taxation – all people are entitled to share the responsibility of governance through fair taxation

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Fairness in Voting

Fair and Equal Health Care Reform

Fair Education Reform

Natural Marriage and Family/Right to Be Born

Freedom to Worship

 

Democratic Platform

Robs Social Security of future contributors by supporting abortion.

Includes welfare handouts without providing America’s needy with a work ethic or the dignity of contributing to the society that serves them.

Promotes casual sex with harmful chemical and surgical solutions to consequences.

Penalizes companies that support Bible-based values.

Promotes an unequal distribution of wealth.

Punishes people for considering moral consequences, while rewarding harmful behaviors.

 

Republican Platform

Supports life with dignity from conception through natural death.

Recognizes traditional marriage as being between a man and woman.

Promotes healthy families by allowing human beings to be conceived, born with dignity and live healthy lives as contributors to a growing society which in turn serves them.

Advocates sexual responsibility with financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual consequences.

Seeks to empower Americans with fair taxation, a strong work ethic, and religious freedom that allows employees to express their values openly and freely.

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NOW THIS IS A PRESIDENT!

Monday, September 24th, 2012

This is the kind of man America needs as President. We need to turn back to God in order to receive His blessings.

Make sure you vote in 2012. Go to www.politicalresponsibility.com for up to date information on this year’s political process. For a 501(c)(3) friendly voter’s guide and comparison of your choices visit www.priestsforlife.org/candidates.

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The Long Road Home…

Friday, September 21st, 2012

“God moved on my spirit and he said, ‘The hearts of the people must be changed. We have to take the long road home. He didn’t say ‘no’. It’s (overturn of Roe) gonna happen.” Alveda King, 2006

It seems like yesterday when I spoke these words to a student group. The road is long, with many a winding turn (that’s from a song: HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S MY BROTHER.) The babies are our brothers and sisters. We have to vote for life this fall.

Friends, don’t shun the voting booths this fall. People died so we can vote. Not just Blacks; women and others have had to fight in order to vote. Don’t give naysayers the opportunity to say that we never deserved the right to vote in the first place. We can vote our convictions. We can write in or vote for those on the ballot. We also must vote down the ballot for other candidates.

Be wise, don’t cast away your vote or your confidence in God.

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No vote? Not optional! People died so we can vote, says Dr. Alveda King

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

“I have come to see more and more that one of the most decisive steps that the Negro can take is that little walk to the voting booth. That is an important step. We’ve got to gain the ballot, and through that gain, political power.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 1, 1957

Amendment XV (the Fifteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution provides that governments in the United States may not prevent a citizen from voting based on that citizen’s race, color, or previous condition of servitude (i.e. slavery). It was ratified on February 3, 1870. This decision allowed Black men to vote; but Jim Crow laws and other prohibiting factors stymied the Black vote until 1965.

Today, the right to vote is a fundamental civil right in the Unites States; granted to African Americans after the Voting Rights Act in 1965; which outlawed many of the practices that were previously used to keep black people from exercising their right to vote. The Voting Rights Act came up for ratification in 2009. The Supreme Court extended the act though it is suggested that the ratification clause may eventually be struck down as unnecessary as it appears the Court now believes that there should be no distinction made between the voting rights of black and white United States citizens.

Historically the right to vote has also impacted women, immigrants and ex-offenders. The national right for the women’s vote came in 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Also, immigrants who have become naturalized citizens have the right to vote in all elections. In most states, prisoners are not allowed to vote while they are in jail or prison. Once they are released they may lose the right to vote either temporarily or permanently. Ex-offenders can appeal to have their voting rights restored if they are pardoned by the governor or legislative state authority.

As the daughter of Rev. A. D. King and his wife Naomi, I can well remember the struggles over the vote in the mid-20th century. Men like my father, my grandfather Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and my famous uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as brave women fought hard to further establish the Black Vote. Many people have fought and died to maintain the privilege and right for Black citizens of the U. S. to vote. So not voting is not an option.

There are more than two candidates on the upcoming ballots. We can vote for the candidate who most clearly reflects our values. We can vote for one of the two popular candidates, or we can write in the candidate of our choice. Some consider the write in option as a wasted effort, not a vote. What is a waste is to not respect the efforts of those who fought and sometimes died for our right to vote.

Beyond the obvious presidential candidates, we must also vote down ballot. Whatever we decide to do, we must surely honor those who have gone before us. We must cast our ballots and not cast away our confidence in God.

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A Challenge to Candidates and Voters on Abortion

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, released a statement today challenging candidates and voters of both parties to face the reality of abortion. “Those who support it, and speak in favor of its legality, should be willing to admit what it is. Yet in vain will you struggle to hear them say a single word describing the procedure,” Fr. Frank declared.

The Democratic National Convention was marked by speeches by prominent abortion supporters this week.

Fr. Frank announced a special project to help citizens challenge candidates to describe what they mean by the word “abortion.” The project can be found at www.priestsforlife.org/IsThisWhatYouMean.

Fr. Frank’s full statement can be found here: www.priestsforlife.org/articles/4303-challenge-to-candidates-voters

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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