Many Americans are praying for you as you are inaugurated today. I am among them, as I participate today in the national commemorative service for the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and join his family at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Yet when wild applause erupts today for you here today, I will not be applauding. When standing ovations occur, I will stand to honor my country and the office of its President, but I will not be applauding, because, I do not believe that you should be the current occupant of the White House.
When you were first elected, many rejoiced that yet another barrier had been broken for racial equality in our nation. I rejoiced with them. Yet so many African-Americans could have been -- and can still be -- elected to the Presidency who better represent and advance the principles on which our country was founded.
Instead, you so often violate them. Therefore along with the chorus of praise, I want to write this letter today representing so many of our fellow Americans who raise a chorus of concern, particularly regarding your stand on life, religious freedom, and marriage.
As I stated, I am here today with the King Family in Atlanta. That is because Dr. Alveda King, Martin's niece, is a full-time member of my team at Priests for Life. She travels this nation bearing witness to the fact that the civil rights movement of today is the pro-life movement. We proclaim the principle behind the civil rights movement -- namely, equality for every human life -- and apply it to the children yet in their mothers' womb.
And we protest your apparent unwillingness to recognize their equal dignity. You represent the blind spot that advocates of abortion across America demonstrate, as they cry out about the right to life of children slain in Newtown, Connecticut, but never acknowledge the right to life those same children had when in the womb.
We protest your unrelenting attack on religious freedom and on the institution of marriage. My ministry of Priests for Life was among the first to launch a federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate, and we recently won an initial victory in federal court in New York. We will continue to advance this lawsuit and will settle for nothing less than the complete withdrawal of the mandate across the board and across the nation.
Mr. President, I write today on behalf of countless Americans who love their country, but whose very love of that country causes them distress at so many of your actions and positions. There is a lot of room in our country for legitimate political debate. But our objections go beyond that. This is not just about your policies, but about your principles, so many of which completely contradict those on which our nation was founded.
Indeed, many will be praying for you today, and part of that fervent prayer is for an authentic change of mind and heart on the part of the President of the United States.
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life