Election Time Means Crazy Time

Dear Friends,

It’s election time… which also means it’s “crazy” time.

Crazy time in the Church – where, while most leaders do their work quietly and faithfully and others sound the trumpet more loudly like courageous prophets, we have a few loudmouths who cannot seem to tell the difference between public servants and baby-killers.

Crazy time in Church parking lots – where some people, trying to put into practice what the Church teaches about active civic involvement, are told they can’t inform their fellow citizens of the candidates’ positions, and are asked to leave. (Sorry, but to those who chase them out of the parking lot, I say you are wrong on this. Leave these people alone, before some of them start to launch lawsuits regarding interference with the rights of citizens to foster informed electoral activity.)

Crazy time in the media – where somehow, elections get decided before elections happen. (Amazing, isn’t it??? I’m sure many housewives would like to know how they can get dinner served before it’s cooked, or clothes cleaned before they’re thrown in the wash!!)

Fact is, the election isn’t decided until all the polls close on Election night – and then, the only thing that’s counted is votes – not opinion polls or the amount of cash in the campaign or the number of soundbites or TV ads. It’s votes, and votes only.

That’s why the effort we need to make right now is a pragmatic and practical one – get out the vote! Remind people to vote, and to vote pro-life! Call them, email them, drive them to the polls! Take the day off on Election Day! Hand out literature in Church parking lots, on public streets, everywhere you can! Lift up your voice like a trumpet blast!

Let’s go! Victory is within our reach!

Oh yes, and one more thing – To those who think I’m being too “partisan,” the fact is that I have a right to be a lot more partisan than I am being, but I choose to demonstrate in practice the things that priests and tax-exempt organizations can do in a non-partisan way within the bounds of the Internal Revenue Code to speak out at election time. There’s a lot more that we can do than we are actually doing.

Some people come to the conclusion that when I proclaim the demands of the moral law, I’m speaking like a Republican cheerleader. I don’t take that as a criticism of me, but as praise for the Republicans. But the reason my words are not partisan is that if the candidates and parties were to swap all their positions tomorrow, my message (and that of the Church) would be exactly the same as it is today.

Does the message have political implications? Of course it does! Does it lead people to conclusions about whom to elect? Of course it does! That’s because candidates take positions and many people connect the dots. That’s not inappropriate – on the contrary, that’s very appropriate, unless you take the position that the only way for the Church to be the Church is to become irrelevant to what’s going on around us.

Forward, then! Let’s elect public servants who can tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public!

Fr. Frank Pavone

National Director, Priests for Life

Vote Pro-Life!

In a letter he wrote a few years ago, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) made it clear that we cannot vote for pro-abortion candidates. He says that abortion is a weightier matter than other issues.
But what if all the viable candidates are pro-abortion, and we know that one of them will win? Must we refrain from voting altogether? The answer is no. We can vote in that case for the better of the two — the one who will do the least damage and protect more lives.
This is an example of what the Cardinal means in the footnote of his letter. He does not say, and he does not mean, that we can vote for pro-abortion candidates just because we like their other positions.
Find out more a priestsforlife.org.

–Fr. Frank

Encourage People to Vote

In elections, it is not the candidate who is right on the issues who necessarily wins, nor even the candidate with whom most people agree. Nor is it the candidate with the most money, nor the one who is ahead in the polls.Rather, the candidate wins who has the higher number of people actually cast their vote.That is why between now and Election Day it is crucial for each of us to focus on mobilizing more and more votes, on getting people to vote early, and on actually going door to door with literature about the candidates and the issues. Organize youth groups and other efforts to go throughout your neighborhood with a pro-life message about the importance of the election. Remember, the pro-abortion forces are doing this — we must not fail to do it ourselves.

–Fr. Frank

During Election Season, Become a Pollwatcher!

One of the activities citizens can carry out at election time is to become poll-watchers. This activity simply involves being present at the polling places on Election Day to insure that elections are conducted fairly, by watching the process by which people sign in at the polls. This activity is a form of public service that involves some simple training and yet goes a long way to protect your rights and those of your fellow citizens as they exercise their Christian duty to vote. Contact your Board of Elections for more details on how you can sign up for this activity.
As our bishops have told us — and as historical experience verifies — every vote counts. You can help assure that every vote counts fairly.

–Fr. Frank

Graphic Photos Do Work!

There is no single thing that converts more people to the pro-life position than the photos of what abortion looks like. These photos can be seen at priestsforlife.org. Here is one of the many emails we receive from people who see the pictures:

Hello I would just like to thank you for the pictures. I had an abortion when I was just barely 16 years old. I had no idea what it even was or looked like. Now I cannot imagine how I did it. I thank God that he gave me another chance. I want to thank you for shedding the light on this matter. Maybe if more girls seen this they wouldn’t chose the road I choose.

You can help to convert many people by challenging them to look at the photos. Go to www.priestsforlife.org.

Spread the Word and Speak Some of Your Own!

As we near Election Day, we can influence our fellow citizens to properly evaluate the issues by pointing out that the right to life is primary, and is in fact the foundation, heart, and soul of every issue that confronts us as an electorate. 

After all, if life doesn’t matter, then why does poverty or terrorism? 

Many US Catholic bishops have issued strong statements about this, and they are accessible on our Priests for Life website at http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisteriumbishops.htm. Not only should we read these, but we should spread them around. Send this link to as many as you can. Quote from the statements in blogs and editorials. Help get the word out! 

And then, speak some words of your own! Speaking the truth is not the privilege of the few; it is the call of everyone! So is action – and in those cases where you may be frustrated by the lack of action from Church leadership, pick up the slack yourself! For example, on these last two weekends before Election Day, if the Churches aren’t distributing voter guides, distribute them yourself on the public sidewalk! You have every right to do so, and you can join up with other groups who are organizing “lit-drops” to educate the community. Check with your state right to life group at http://www.nrlc.org/states/ to see what plans are being made in your area! 


Fr. Frank Pavone

Priests For Life To Conduct National Campaign of Prayer

From now to Election Day, Priests for Life is conducting a National Campaign of Prayer in preparation for the elections. The intentions of this prayer campaign are a) That in this year’s elections, our nation will embrace the moral values of a culture of life; b) That America will reclaim her founding principles of faith and dependence upon God in public life; c) That believers will reject apathy and take an active role in the elections by registering to vote and actually voting; and d) That candidates will understand their responsibility to serve the people, to protect life and family, and to adhere to the law of God. Visit priestsforlife.org/elections, to sign up for a prayer commitment.

In The Days Ahead, Study ‘Living the Gospel of Life’

One thing parishes can do to prepare their people for the elections is to offer a study of the US Bishops’ document Living the Gospel of Life. Priests for Life has prepared a study guide on this document, in which the bishops indicate why Catholics need to take part in our nation’s elections, how they are to evaluate the candidates, and what issues matter the most.
They also give some very clear and strong guidance to Catholic public officials who say they believe what the Church teaches but at the same time fail to protect the most vulnerable human lives from the violence of abortion. In his recent book, Archbishop Chaput says this document is the best statement of the bishops on political responsibility. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.

Answers to Pro-Abortion Politicians

Many pro-abortion public officials will say they believe that life begins at conception. But then they say they cannot legislate that belief.

The key issue here is not when life begins or whether beliefs should be legislated. The problem is that they think they can deprive some lives of protection, and pretend that the rest are safe.

Look at it this way. Suppose someone said, “I believe that life begins at birth, but I cannot legislate my beliefs on those who think otherwise.” Therefore, the newborn lose their legal protection. Why legislate my belief that adults should be protected?

Objective, scientific evidence shows that the unborn are as human as the born. To consider that evidence to be merely belief, and the protection of life merely a personal option, puts every human life in danger. 

What to do before the end of Election Day

Each of us has one vote, but each of us can mobilize hundreds, even thousands of votes. That’s the secret to helping the right people win elections: you simply need to get more people to vote for them. Remember that many people are not paying nearly as much attention to the elections as you are, and even less attention to the candidates and their positions. Many who trust you will accept your guidance about the importance of voting for a particular candidate. Don’t be afraid to use that influence!

As Election Day draws near, focus on the “low-hanging fruit.” Remember, the numbers are what counts. You have a limited amount of time to try to garner as many votes as possible. It’s like going into an orange grove to gather as many oranges as you can in a limited amount of time. It doesn’t make sense to expend time and energy climbing to the top of the trees to get the oranges there when you can get many more that are within arm’s reach with much less time and energy. Reach for the low-hanging fruit!

So it is with elections. Rather than spend hours trying to convince one person to vote the right way, spend that time and energy reminding dozens of people – who are already in agreement with you on the issues – to get out and cast their vote. Don’t go looking for the personal victory of catching the “hard to get” voter. Go catch the easier ones and bring the candidate to victory!

If you can take the day off on Election Day, do so. Spend the day contacting people by phone and email, reminding them to vote. Maybe a friend needs a ride to the polls or someone to watch the children while they go to vote. If you call a friend in the morning to remind him to vote, call him again later to verify that he did so!

And if your state has early voting, and the polls are open now, get people to the polls before Election Day!

Voting for the right candidate should be the culmination of a whole list of things you do to help get him or her into office. These things include donating to the campaign, volunteering for the campaign, handing out literature for the candidate, making phone calls and visits on the candidate’s behalf, sending emails, using yard signs and bumper stickers, and praying for the candidate.

If you have a website, or a You Tube channel, or are active on MySpace or Facebook, use all those avenues as well to speak up for the candidate of your choice!

Elections, after all, are not contests between two candidates. They are contests between two teams. And it is the team that has more active members doing all these things that, in the end, will bring in the most votes. Having done all this, rejoice in a clear conscience, and trust the Lord to bring about the victory for a Culture of Life!

–Fr. Frank