Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Today’s the Day!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Friends,

I don’t need to tell you that the decisions Americans make today at the polls will determine the shape of America for decades to come. The choice of a President and a Congress, along with numerous other public officials, will determine the direction of countless policy decisions, the makeup of the Supreme Court, the lives of millions of unborn children, the religious liberty of our citizens, and the government’s view of marriage — just to mention a few things.

One day of voting — decades of consequences.

Please do the following things today:

a) If you have not already voted, please vote as early as possible.

b) Please reach out to other like-minded people — via phone, email, personal contact, Facebook, Twitter, etc. — and remind them to vote, offering them help to get to the polls if necessary.

c) Please send people one more time an invitation to see the videos at www.ElectionVideos.org; they will give them some good last-minute guidance on voting.

d) Please send people one more time the information about our voter guides at www.PoliticalResponsibility.com. They may contain the piece of information an undecided voter still needs to make up his or her mind.

e) Please join me, and ask others to join, in saying the Election Prayer at www.ElectionPrayer.com!

f) Finally, sign up to join me tomorrow night to discuss the results of the election. Go to www.ElectionWebcast.org and you will see how you can sign up and follow the webcast either online or by phone. It will be from 9 to 10pm and will feature our friends Dr. Deal Hudson, Deacon Keith Fournier, and Marjorie Dannenfelser of SBA List.

Friends, I am confident we will have many pro-life victories today! Let’s keep working right up until all the polls are closed!

God bless you!

Fr. Frank

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Father Scott Daniels makes TV debut tonight on “Defending Life”

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Father Scott Daniels, O.P., a pastoral associate for Priests for Life, will have his television debut tonight as the new season of “Defending Life” kicks off on EWTN.

Father Daniels has been passionate about pro-life issues since his seminary days in the 1980s. Since 2009, when he was granted permission to work full-time as a priest associate with Priests for Life, he has been traveling across the country, leading pro-life parish weekends, teaching school children and speaking at pro-life events.

Tonight’s show will focus on ways to evaluate candidates for political office.

“I am thrilled to have an opportunity to co-host ‘Defending Life’ on EWTN,” Father Daniels said. “Television gives us a unique opportunity to go into people’s homes to tell the truth about the issues that really matter. With Election Day less than three weeks away, what matters now is choosing the right candidate.”

Mrs. Morana agreed. “Voters must make sure they know how every candidate for every office feels about abortion,” she said. “The life issue is the most important at every level of government, because without the right to life, the rest of our rights are meaningless.”

The show can be seen on EWTN every Thursday at 11 p.m. and every Saturday at 2:30 a.m. It can be heard on EWTN Radio every Friday at 1 a.m., Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 a.m. (All times Eastern). The series also will feature Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, as co-host, along with Fr. Denis Wilde, OSA, associate director.

For more information about “Defending Life, go to www.priestsforlife.org/defendinglife.

 

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Can the Government Veto a Sermon?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Friends,

Lots happening this weekend… It’s Respect Life Sunday (and we have resources at ProLifePreaching.com), it’s Life Chain Sunday (and I’ll be participating in one in Detroit… I hope all the Life Chain organizers are ready to collect names, numbers, and emails of the participants to help engage them throughout the year!), it’s the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization (Priests for Life was pleased to send input to the synod on the connections between new evangelization and the pro-life movement) – but what I want to focus on for a moment here is that it is also “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”

Here’s the question: May the government filter, edit, or veto the contents of a sermon?  No court has ever heard a case regarding whether the Internal Revenue Service can do so. Yet every day – and especially in these weeks prior to an election – preachers act as if their sermons have to be vetted and approved by the IRS.

Indeed, the IRS issues guidelines saying that in order to retain its tax exemption, Churches and other organizations set up as “501 (c)(3)” entities must avoid any intervention in a political campaign.

But this restriction is not in the Constitution. In fact, it only goes back to 1954, to a provision that has no legislative history and has never been challenged in court.

And the result of the restriction, and the ambiguity often surrounding it (because the IRS says that all the “facts and circumstances” have to be taken into account to determine exactly when a preacher has “crossed the line,” therefore meaning in practice that you may not know that you’ve crossed the line until after the fact), what in fact happens is that speech is chilled and pastors do far less than they are able to do.

Since 2008, therefore, pastors across the nation have begun to rise up with a simple message: No government interference in the pulpit! They have decided, on a designated weekend, to preach sermons outside the usual restrictions of the IRS, and have sent those sermons to the IRS. The hope is that this will lead to a court case that can clarify whether the restrictions are in fact even constitutional.

In 2008, some 33 pastors did this. The IRS did not respond.

In 2009, some 84 pastors did this. Again, only silence from the IRS.

In 2010, a hundred pastors engaged in this project. The IRS raised no complaint.

Last year, 539 pastors sent in their sermons challenging the IRS restrictions. And nothing but silence came from the IRS.

This year’s numbers will surpass all the previous years.

It seems clear that the IRS does not want the 1954 restrictions subjected to court scrutiny. We will report more of what happens as a result of this Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Stay tuned!

Fr. Frank

 

 

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Christian Duty

Monday, June 25th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Christians supposed to withdraw from the world or change the world? Christ  told us to make disciples of all nations. One way we do this is to vote, and to  elect candidates whose views reflect God’s laws. We believers are not  second-class citizens; we have a voice! Don’t stay home on election day.  Exercise your Christian duty to vote!

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Religious Freedom and Voter Guides

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Priests for Life is proud to have assisted the process by which Americans from coast to coast organized rallies for religious freedom on Friday, June 8. These rallies, along with our lawsuit (and 22 others) against the HHS mandate, will bring about a change.

In making that change, we have to be clear that our religious freedom must be comprehensive, rather than selective. It applies across the board. The US bishops have written in their recent statement on religious liberty:

“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?”

When I read this, one of the things I think about are the spiritual works of mercy, among which is to “instruct the uninformed.” We share information that will help our brothers and sisters carry out their God-given mission in life.

And one of the ways we do that in an election year is to share information about the candidates and where they stand on the issues.

That is why this year, once again, Priests for Life has produced a voters’ guide for the Presidential race, and we are organizing teams of people nationwide to distribute these guides everywhere: on the street corners of their communities, in their organizational meetings, at the workplace, through social networking, and more. (You can sign up at PoliticalResponsibility.com).

The bishops have also said in their document, “We need, therefore, to speak frankly with each other when our freedoms are threatened.

Let me, then, speak frankly right here and now, and say that when citizens are intimidated from sharing voter guides with their fellow citizens, that is an infringement of their religious liberty. After all, spreading this information should not be understood only as a partisan activity. It is also an activity motivated by faith, by the awareness that we have a responsibility to the common good to share information that will help others fulfill what the bishops have identified as a moral and spiritual responsibility, namely, “to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest” (US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, n. 34).

We cannot do that unless we know where the candidates stand on the issues, and there is no moral or legal reason not to spread that information.

Among the attorneys who advise us at Priests for Life are James Bopp, Jr. and Barry Bostrom, who are among the nation’s leading experts on tax law and on what Churches are allowed to do regarding elections. In a letter (full text found here), they advised us as follows:

“…[T]he distribution of campaign material by others in the church parking lot will not jeopardize the church’s tax exempt status. The mere permission of distribution of campaign materials by others in the church parking lot is not regulated by the Internal Revenue Code. The Code and its regulations are designed to limit only the activities and expenditures of non-profit organizations. Distribution of campaign materials by others outdoors, in a public parking lot, is not an activity or expenditure of the church…

Let us, indeed, defend our religious freedom, first and foremost by exercising it, by speaking freely and boldly, and by making a difference in this year’s elections!

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Priests for Life supports ban on gender-specific abortion

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Washington, DC — Fr. Frank issued a statement today in favor of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives this evening.

The measure would outlaw any abortion performed because of the gender of a baby.

“This is one of those measures that drives home the point that abortions in America can be performed for any reason whatsoever. People often react in horrified unbelief that there even is such a thing as sex-selection abortion, but the existence of legislation to stop it can awaken the consciences of many. Let’s pass this law, and let’s use the vote of our Representatives on this bill as an election issue,” Fr. Pavone said.

It is estimated that 163 million women are “missing” because of sex-selective abortion around the globe.

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May 27 is the first Voter Registration Sunday!

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

STATEN ISLAND, NY — Priests for Life is calling upon all people of faith to register as many Americans as possible to vote in the upcoming elections.

To encourage religious leaders of all denominations to become involved in this vital effort, Priests for Life has designated this Sunday, May 27, as the first of three Voter Registration Sundays.

“Assisting people to register to vote is one of the best ways to exercise our citizenship,” said Father Frank. “Non-partisan voter registration is both legal and appropriate for Churches to do, because it is a way to assist members of the congregation to exercise their faith in day- to-day life, and to take advantage of the freedom God gives us in this country.”

Visitors to priestsforlife.org/vote will find all the information and materials they will need to conduct a successful registration drive. July 1 and September 9 also have been set aside as Voter Registration Sundays. Priests for Life has spearheaded this effort by forming the “Vote Pro-life Coalition,” in which dozens of national organizations pursue the same goals related to non-partisan political involvement.

“Voter registration drives fall within the activities that are permitted to tax-exempt organizations and churches,” said Father Pavone. “The only thing standing in our way is not the IRS, but our own fears.”

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Super Tuesday and Being Human

Monday, March 5th, 2012

I write on the day before Super Tuesday, but my reflections here pertain to the entire election season of 2012, and in fact, of every election cycle.

If you look at the writings of the Catholic Church regarding political responsibility, you often see reference to what is important to “Catholic social teaching” and a “Catholic conscience,” and, of course, that is important to understand, especially for Catholics.

But it is important for us as Americans to also understand the American basis of our social conscience and political responsibility, and, moreover, for us as human beings to understand the purely human basis of the same things.

We are Americans, and as such, we have the right, duty, and privilege to take part in a political process that gives us a voice, not only in who will be elected, but also in who will be on the ballot. Hence, primaries and caucuses are as important to participate in as the general election. To fail to participate in elections is to cheapen the precious freedom, not only given to us through the commitment of our Founding Fathers, but preserved for us through the commitment of the brave men and women who have fought and died for our country. So many of them went to war; many did not return. Many are still in harm’s way today. The least we can do to honor their sacrifice is get out of our house and vote. The least we can say in the pulpits is that “it’s Election Day and we should vote.”

As Americans, moreover, we acknowledge the Creator as the source of our right to life, a right that the government exists to secure (see the Declaration of Independence). So I have less and less patience for anyone who is going to dispute in any way that the protection of human life is and will always remain the fundamental issue for the political community — and this applies to every election, every year, on every level of government. Again, this flows from what we know as Americans, not just as Catholics.

Then there is the purely human dimension. With all due respect to the Church to which I belong and to which I am loyal, it is from my human nature and the commonsense embedded in it that I come to the conclusion that we have an abortion holocaust on our hands, and that nothing else is taking more life than this act of violence. The alarm going off in the minds of millions (mine included) over abortion was not set off by the Church, nor can it be turned off by the Church. And that alarm, for so many of us, is primarily what impels us to go to the voting booth, both in the primaries and in the general election.

Ultimately, the motivation to be politically active is not so much about philosophy, theology, or morality as it is about arithmetic. What’s counted in the end is not opinions or reasons, but votes.

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The Purpose of Primaries

Monday, January 30th, 2012

One of the great things about our American system is that voters not only select which candidates get elected to public office, but also which of those who want to be candidates actually end up on the ballot. In other words, we get to create the choices we will have on Election Day.

That’s what primaries are all about. Primaries are elections which take place before the general Election Day. The dates of primaries differ in each state. When you vote in a primary, you have a wider range of choices, and are therefore more likely to find a candidate with whom you agree on more issues.

For those in Florida, be sure to vote in tomorrow’s primary if you are eligible. This is your chance to choose the person you want to be the Presidential candidate. And for those in Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, you also have an important runoff election tomorrow. Find more details about these and other election–related events at politicalresponsibility.com/presidential-election-process.htm.

Let’s not just settle for the choices we’re given on Election Day. Let’s help create those choices in the primaries! Find out more at politicalresponsibility.com.

Please take a moment to check out my Birthday Wish on behalf of the cause Pray to End Abortion.

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Obama Tampering with Conscience

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

In March of 2010, I had the opportunity to preach to members of Congress and their staff who were gathered at the worship service held inside the Capitol just prior to the vote on Obamacare. In that sermon, I told them that Christianity transforms politics and government, because every human being in Christ has access to God as His son or daughter. Therefore the voice of the people matters, representative government makes sense, and power becomes service, authority becomes a duty to protect human rights.

It’s a message President Obama and his Department of Health and Human Services still don’t get. As the National Catholic Reporter recently reported:

“The Obama administration has turned down repeated requests from Catholic bishops, hospitals, schools and charitable organizations to revise its religious exemption to the requirement that all health plans cover contraceptives and sterilization free of charge.

“…Under the plan, after Aug. 1 of this year, new or significantly altered health plans will be required to provide all FDA-approved contraceptives, including some that can cause abortions, without co-pays or deductibles as part of preventive health care for women.”

Some 200,000 comments were received from the general public regarding this. Rather than making any accommodation to those who object, the Administration arrogantly announced “that nonprofit groups that do not provide contraceptive coverage because of their religious beliefs will get an additional year ‘to adapt to this new rule.’”

An additional year to do what?

No, we don’t need an additional year nor an additional moment to adapt, study, consider, weigh, balance, or decide whether we are going to pay for the killing of human beings. The answer is no. Keep your year, and give us back our freedom of conscience!

The day before the Administration made this announcement, the Pope addressed a group of American bishops who were making their regular, obligatory visit to update the Pope. He mentioned the “worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.” That’s what the President and his team are doing. Go ahead, worship in whatever Church you want, he tells us, but if you run a hospital or other entity, you have to do it our way.

The US bishops have written in Living the Gospel of Life that Roe vs. Wade poisons our entire society. This latest inflexibility in the face of conscience is a good example of that. It is, after all, about abortion. Its fanatical advocates will stop at nothing to expand it, including throwing religious freedom and the Church itself out the window.

What this also tells us is that elections matter. It would be wise for the Church, in tackling this problem, to plan what we are going to do regarding the elections, rather than spending all our energy trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube after it’s been scattered all over the room. Let’s elect more public servants who know the difference between serving the public and killing the public.

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