Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for
Life speaks at the Riverside Ballroom Thursday
By Anna Krejci
Green Bay, WI
Some religious leaders are advocating the followers of their faith to take
their religious beliefs to the voting booth.
The Rev. Frank Pavone, the director of an international anti-abortion
organization called Priests for Life, told an audience to vote for candidates
who oppose abortion, or at least for those who oppose it more than others, at a
luncheon sponsored by his organization and Wisconsin Right to Life, Catholic
Funds and Catholic Knights at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay on Thursday.
In the final weeks before the Nov. 2 election, Pavone told an audience to
press fellow pro-life citizens to vote and not to invest time in swaying
Churches hesitate to hold voter registration drives, he said.
"But do you know who has voter registration drives? Night clubs, rock
concerts and MTV because they want their constituents, their clientele, to
defend their values at the polling place," he said. "And how could it be that
night clubs and rock concerts do more to mobilize their people than the church
of Jesus Christ does to mobilize its people, is indeed a strange thing," he
If churches are reluctant to set up voter registration drives, their members
should at least encourage friends to vote through one-on-one conversations. No
one should be left without transportation or without a baby-sitter or in any
other circumstance that prohibits them from voting on election day, he said.
He advised people to take the day off work so they could call friends
repeatedly to see whether they have voted, and if they have not, offer them a
ride to the polling place.
Pavone and the Priests for Life are not the only religious-based
organizations calling for religious followers to factor faith into the decisions
they make on their ballots. The National Council of Churches, an association
whose members include 36 denominations encompassing 50 million people and
100,000 congregations, is promoting a study guide called, "Christian Principles
in an Election Year."
The guide calls for voters to support peacemakers who pursue nonviolent
solutions and who back a foreign policy rooted in cooperation and worldwide
justice. Among other things, the principles lead voters to support candidates
who will protect the environment and support equal opportunities for all.
Pavone's speech had an impact, according to his audience.
Connie Nedohon of Green Bay, said she would do more to motivate other people
to vote after hearing Pavone speak.
She is strongly opposed to abortion.
"Abortion is a form of terrorism," she said.
However, even given what she believes, she said she hopes people will vote
for candidates who best fit their ideals.
Casie Cravillion of Casco is pro-life and knows she is not the only
26-year-old who feels the same way about abortion.
"I don't think the general public has the right idea about how my generation
feels about abortion," she said.
One audience member criticized St. Norbert College for hosting a former
Democratic presidential candidate on its campus this week.
Dr. John Schumacher of De Pere publicly asked Pavone to tell the audience to
write letters to the college protesting the appearance of Gen. Wesley Clark, who
he views as holding a pro-choice position.
"Let the college know that we don't like it," he said.
His statement was followed by applause from some of the 300 people in