Thursday, July 31, 2008

McCain resists calls to remove embattled Catholic aide

Some campaign allies urge him to cut ties with scandal plagued conservative Catholic activist.

For weeks, Sen. John McCain's campaign has quietly resisted calls to dump one of his leading religious representatives who critics say is an inappropriate surrogate because of sexual impropriety.

At least three Catholic religious groups and hundreds of individual Catholics have asked the McCain campaign to remove Deal W. Hudson from its national Catholic-outreach group. The groups say Hudson, who quit President Bush's political team in 2004 amid similar calls, lacks the moral authority to represent the campaign on religious issues.

Hudson left a tenured professorship at Fordham University in New York after a 1994 incident in which he was accused of taking an underage student drinking and then having sex with her. He was never charged with a crime.

According to the Arizona Republic, the controversy could hamper McCain's efforts to win over Catholic voters, who are wary of his candidacy.

Tucker Bounds, an official McCain spokesman belittled Hudson's role in the campaign, saying about Hudson "He's a name on a list, a volunteer."

But those who are troubled by Hudson's background say he is more than a volunteer. Earlier this month, he was identified on a Catholic radio show as a McCain surrogate, and he also hosted a conference call with the deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee discussing the campaign with Catholic media.

"He just shouldn't be representing Catholics for the campaign. It's offensive," said a member of McCain's steering committee who did not want his name used. Catholics "reject him as a moral arbiter."

For McCain, it is the second time his supporters have upset at least some Catholics, a key voting group. In May, McCain rejected the support of the Rev. John Hagee, a Texas-based tel- evangelist who has made several anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish comments.

Hudson, a self-styled "theocon" who now lives in Fairfax, Va., left Fordham after one of his former students sued him, claiming he plied her with drinks and had sex with her. The case was later settled.

Hudson, who was a philosophy professor, declined to comment through a spokesman. In an earlier statement, Hudson said: "My past continues to be a source of shame to me and, unfortunately, my family. I'm not blaming anyone for this. In 2000, Hudson served as a leading figure for Bush's efforts in courting Catholic voters. In August 2004, he quit Bush's re-election campaign after the National Catholic Reporter outlined the Fordham incident.

In March, Hudson found a home with the McCain campaign, when he was among a group of about 100 "prominent Catholics" supporting McCain.

McCain is in desperate need of Catholic votes. He is not in accord with church positions on the war in Iraq, health care, assistance to the poor, stem cell research, the death penalty or the right of workers to form unions. While he is viewed as better than his opponent on the matter of abortion rights, he does not recognize the fetus as a person and does not support a federal law against abortion. He has supported pro-abortion appointees to the courts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Catholic/Protestant Split on McCain V-P Pick

Prominent evangelical leaders are warning McCain against picking Mitt Romney as his VP, saying their troops will abandon the GOP if that happens. Evangelicals say Mr. Romney lacks trust on issues such as outlawing abortion and opposing same-sex marriage and because he is a Mormon. Opposition is particularly powerful among those who supported Mike Huckabee in the GOP primary.

Evangelical novelist Tim LaHaye: "McCain and Romney would be like oil and water. We aren't against Mormonism, but Romney is not a thoroughgoing evangelical and his flip-flopping on issues is understandable in a liberal state like Massachusetts, but our people won't understand that" (Washington Times, 7/29).

But some conservative Catholics are opposing the other rumored choice, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty was baptized and raised Catholic and then turned apostate, becoming a Baptist. He remains a favorite of evangelical Protestant Republicans. FDR vetoed the bid of Sen. James M. Byrnes of South Carolina for vice president although Roosevelt really wanted him-- because Byrnes changed his religion from Catholic to fashionable Episcopalian to correspond with the voting traits of heavily Protestant South Carolina. (“Sorry, Jim,” said FDR. “Being a fallen away Catholic won’t go over with the northern big city urban vote.”).

It not certain if John McCain follows FDR's views about an ex-Catholic on the ticket. McCain doesn't seem to put much on denomination, having been unclear as to if he is an Episcopalian or Baptist himself. But will conservative Catholics vote for an apostate? That remains unanswered.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Republican Supression of the African American Vote

A sad news report from Virginia today. Jeffrey Frederick, a state Delegate and Republican Party leader has been telling African-Americans not to register to vote because of "the risk of identity theft." Local election officials as well as the police were surprised by the Republican's comments as they have found no evidence of fraud or even attempts to steal personal information by persons or organizations doing voter registration drives.

Almost 150,000 new voters have registered in Virginia since the first of the year. Many have been registered by the Obama campaign and many more are young people and minorities registered by community organizations. The Obama campaign has seen a huge number of Virginians volunteer to help on voter registration without any problem incidents. One community group, the Community Voters Project, which registers voters in low income African American neighborhoods, reported that three of their paid workers submitted forms with false names so the workers could inflate the number of registrations. The group checks all of the voter registration forms submitted by workers. They turned the false forms over to the police rather than the elections board.

Virginia has a long history of obstructing the right of African Americans from voting.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama Far Ahead Among Hispanic Catholics

The latest polling shows Barack Obama with an incredible 50 point lead among Hispanic Catholic voters and a growing disconnect between Latinos and John McCain. McCain had won most Latino votes in his last Senate race but now is seeing Hispanic Catholics overwhelmingly say the plan to vote for Senator Obama.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The First Mrs. McCain

The Daily Mail has an interesting article on the first Mrs. John McCain, the mother of his children whom he left for Cindy McCain.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The "Infanticide" Lie

Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, in his 'Catholic America' column documents the lie told by right wing extremists about Barack Obama and infanticide. He call this "the latest venom eruption on hate-monger sites." and documents that "For the record, Senator Obama did NOT vote for infanticide while in the Illinois State legislature." Stevens-Arroyo testifies that " I have read the exact wording of the bill and the term 'infanticide' does not appear anywhere. Fear-mongering with this word is, at the least, a stretch; and, at the worst, a lie. It is a concern for Catholic America because some of the verbal terrorism comes with a Catholic label."

Thank you, Mr. Arroyo-Stevens for setting the record straight.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whatsoever You Do....

The Matthew 25 Network is a newly formed Political Action Committee (PAC) resolved around the Gospel values laid out in Matthew 25. (For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me,I was sick and you looked after me,I was in prison and you came to visit me....I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.- Matthew 25:35-40)

They will be running ads in Christian media and lifting up a Christian voice for Senator Obama in the press. Below is a link to an ad that is currently being run on Christian radio in Ohio, Michigan, and Colorado. Your contributions to The Matthew 25 Network will help provide the funds to expand the buy to other swing states, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, and North Carolina.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

'Legatus' Leader Says Abortion Not an Issue that Matters

Legatus, the organization of wealthy, conservative Catholics founded by multimillionaire Tom Monaghan, has been known to join in some of the more strident commentary about Catholics who might support pro-choice candidates even when done while disagreeing with their pro-choice stance. It was at a Legatus meeting that the infamous incident of Professor Kmiec's denial of communion occurred.

So it is surprising that a member of Legatus' Board of Governors, Keith Fimian, who is also a Republican candidate for Congress, indicated that he believes abortion was not an issue that matters in the election. While affirming his pro-life beliefs (to his credit) he told a reporter that social issues were irrelevant and "The issues that matter in this district are the economy, energy and transportation, to a lesser extent, immigration. There are some really important issues that we get to solve as a country."

Needless to say, if a Democrat dared say this....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008



Ave Maria, Gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu, In mulieribus et benedictus, Fructus ventris tui Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora pro nobis peccatoribus, Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hudson Scandal Remains a Concern

The call for John McCain to remove Deal Hudson from his Catholic Advisory Board remains a concern of many Catholics. Hudson took an underage girl drinking and later brought her back to his Fordham University office for sexual relations while his wife sat at home. Some Catholics have objected to his presence as an advisor to McCain on Catholic issues. Others have suggested forgiveness for Hudson's sexual abuse and his reincorporation into conservative Catholic political action. Hudson resigned four years ago as chief conservative Catholic advisor to the Bush-Cheney campaign.
A Salon article says that "the McCain campaign 'had no immediate comment' about Hudson. A McCain spokesman has not responded to an e-mail Salon sent seeking comment." (See link below for full story)

ABC News is also covering this story. See this link:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party

The following is from Matt Bai's Book "The Argument; Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics."

[When] the Senate was debating whether to confirm John Roberts, Bush's pick for Chief Justice...[liberal] interest groups and some in the netroots railed vituperatively against those Democratic senators who said they would vote for Roberts, one of whom happened to be Patrick Leahy, the Vermont liberal and the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. In his comments on the Senate floor, Obama said he would vote against the Roberts nomination, but then he did something remarkable: He went out of his way to scold those in his own party who had attacked Leahy for making the opposite decision. He dismissed their criticisms as "knee-jerk," "unbending," "unfair," and "dogmatic."

Bai goes on to recount how the "blogosphere" and the liberal activists went against Obama about this but Obama not only did not back down, but took them on. He wrote a response entitled "Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party." Here is a section of it:

There is one way, over the long haul, to guarantee the appointment of judges that are sensitive to issues of social justice, and that is to win the right to appoint them by recapturing the presidency and the Senate. And I don't believe we get there by vilifying good allies, with a lifetime record of battling for progressive causes, over one vote or position. I am convinced that, our mutual frustrations and strongly-held beliefs notwithstanding, the strategy driving much of Democratic advocacy, and the tone of much of our rhetoric, is an impediment to creating a workable progressive majority in this country.

According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.

I think this perspective misreads the American people. From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon. They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent. They don't think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs. They don't think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thanks to Catholic College, It's "Doctor Obama"

U. S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the commencement program at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.

Among the many honors Senator Obama has received was an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Xavier University, a leading Catholic college. The degree was granted in 2006, nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina submerged Xavier University's campus under eight feet of water.
Speaking before one of Xavier's largest graduating classes, Senator Obama said
"Thanks for allowing me to share in your miracle."

Dr. Norman C. Francis, Xavier's president, and one of the nation's leading Catholic laymen conferred the degree on Senator Obama.

Obama noted that most commencement speakers tell graduates what to expect when they enter "the real world." But this is different," he said, adding that most in the room have already experienced the "real" world since Katrina.

The Democratic senator said he visited New Orleans and saw the "pictures of your campus after the storm — submerged classrooms and dorm rooms where books remained open as you left them."

He recalled hearing the stories of 400 students trapped on the roof of a building along with a handwritten sign that read 'Help us' after flooding blocked their escape from the storm-ravaged city.

He said he could give advice about overcoming challenges or about courage and perseverance but "you could probably teach the rest of us" about those things.
"Yours has been quite an education, an education in humanity brought by a force of nature," Obama said.

However, he said, those types of lessons can be unlearned.
"Time can heal and cloud a memory," he said. "But it's your responsibility to remember what happened in New Orleans and make it a part of who you are. Katrina might be the most dramatic test you take but it won't be the last."
Obama said the graduates would be forced to choose a path — one of detachment and indifference or one of involvement.

"The easiest thing is to do nothing at all. Turn off the TV, put down the newspaper and go about your busy lives. Remain detached and indifferent," he said. "But, if you choose to remember what happens when responsibilities are ignored and the buck is passed. ... That asks more of you. Not only to pursue your own individual dreams but also to perfect our collective dream as a nation."

Obama encouraged the graduates to "make this a nation where we are no longer unprepared to meet the challenges of time. Make this a nation worthy of the sacrifices of so many of our citizens. Take the second path.

"Katrina's not the end of tough times for New Orleans or you," he said.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Former Missionary for Catholic Church Leads Democratic Convention Project

Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced today that Michelle Obama and Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter will co-chair the Democratic National Convention's Delegate Service Day, Wednesday, August 27. Through this effort, the DNCC will aim to inspire hundreds of thousands of Americans in a renewed commitment to service.

Michelle Obama, America's next First Lady, announced, "Barack and I have committed much of our lives to serving our communities, and throughout this campaign we've witnessed first hand the incredible change the American people can bring to the country when we work together for the common good. It's only fitting that we continue our focus on service at our Party's Convention in Denver."

Jeannie Ritter, wife of the Governor of Colorado, is a former lay missionary for the Catholic Church in Zambia. She and her husband, also then a Catholic lay missionary, spent three years there. They ran a Catholic food distribution and nutrition center and taught health education.

"It's an honor to join Michelle Obama, the DNCC and strong volunteer organizations from Colroado in this effort, which will make such a positive impact on our state," said Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter. "In my own experience, whether in Colorado or in Africa, I've learned that involvement in service strengthens communities by breaking down barriers. It's that spirit that Delegate Service Day will foster around this Convention -- and one we hope delegates will carry home with them to their communities all across the country. Delegates are strong leaders within our Party, and we hope their work here in Colorado and beyond will help to inspire millions of Americans to lives of service so together we can find solutions to enduring problems."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Catholics United Object to McCain Catholic Advisor With Record of Immorality

In 2004, Deal Hudson stepped down from his Catholic advisory position in George W. Bush's re-election campaign after allegations surfaced that he solicited an improper sexual encounter with an 18-year old Fordham University freshman. According to the National Catholic Reporter, which broke the story in August 2004, the incident happened in Hudson's campus office after a night of heavy drinking and resulted in a legal settlement and Hudson's loss of his tenured professorship.

Unlike George Bush, Senator McCain seems to think Hudson's value to the campaign outweighs other moral concerns, and has brought Hudson onto the "Catholics For McCain National Steering Committee." Catholics United believes that figures like Hudson should not be honored with such official positions, and is asking Senator McCain to remove Hudson from his team of Catholic advisors.

Deal Hudson's record as a powerful figure in the Catholic far right - as well as his apparent contempt for our church's social teachings - is legendary. In 2000 he worked with Karl Rove to create a White House Catholic Working Group - a group, he bragged in his recent book Onward Christian Soldiers, which deliberately shut the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops out of high-level policy discussions. Last year Hudson attacked the Vatican for taking action against climate change, and claimed that our Church was simply "jumping on the global warming wagon."

It's time to end the politics of division embodied by the likes of Deal Hudson, and to protect the Catholic faith from being manipulated to serve a narrow partisan agenda. Join us in calling on Senator McCain to do the right thing and remove Deal Hudson from his Catholic steering committee.


James, Kaitlyn, and Chris
The Catholics United Team

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

McCain Fumbles With Catholics and Abortion

McCain Campaign Creates Firestorm by Sending ‘Dissenter’ to Speak to Catholics

The McCain campaign created a firestorm by arranging for a conference call with conservative Catholic reporters that had Frank Donatelli, the Deputy Chairman of the Republican National Committee, announcing the campaign’s Catholic outreach plans. Donatelli, contrary to many of the self-described “orthodox" Catholic reporters, believes that supporting a pro-choice candidate is possible for a faithful Catholic.

Sending in a man who is a “dissenter” in the minds of these reporters as well as by the standards set by the editorial policies of their publications was a major faux pas by the McCain campaign. In Donatelli’s case, this is not just a matter of theory. Donatelli claims to be a Catholic but has supported pro-abortion rights candidates on more than a dozen occasions.

Calls to both the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee have gone unreturned, indicating their shame over this potential disaster in their attempt to reach out to conservative Catholics.

The McCain campaign has stumbled several times in attempts to reach out to Catholics. Unlike Senator Obama, McCain seems uncomfortable speaking about his faith and even had problems indicating what denomination he belonged to. He accepted and then rejected the endorsement of an anti-Catholic minister and has done few events to reach out to Catholic voters. The Obama campaign has a Catholic Advisory Committee that meets weekly, a full time Catholic Outreach Director and several devout Catholics working to win over Catholic votes including former Congressman Tim Roemer of Indiana.

Conservative Catholics have had difficulties winning over mainstream Catholic voters to McCain because of such issues as Iraq, justice for the poor and the rights of workers to join unions. McCain’s support for ESCR and allowing the states to decide about gay marriage has not pleased conservative Catholics.

Conservative political operatives have therefore banked on the issue of telling pro-life Catholics they must vote on the abortion issue only and to do otherwise is a sin (currently half of Catholics and one-third of pro-lifers say they plan to vote for Obama). This strategy was not helped by putting Frank Donatelli forward to announce McCain’s Catholic outreach plans.

With one of the highest political operatives in the McCain campaign a Catholic who believes Catholics can support pro-abortion candidates, it is hard to see how this firestorm can be put out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama Faith Based Program Praised

Editorial: Obama advocates faith-based plan that trumps Bush's

San Jose Mercury News Editorial

Some Democrats have mocked Barack Obama's advocacy of faith-based social services as traitorous and opportunistic. It is, they say, part of a cloying strategy to move to the political center and cozy up to evangelicals.

In a presidential campaign, all statements and actions can be interpreted, rightly or wrongly, through a narrow lens of political motives. But critics are missing a larger point: What distinguishes Obama as a politician is a willingness to cut across generational, partisan and ideological lines to embrace powerful ideas.

Contracting with religious organizations to deliver social services has come to be identified with President Bush and conservative Christians he sought to involve in it. But the concept of supporting the secular work of ... groups like Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services has proved effective and often inspiring. It is based on the knowledge that government alone cannot revive a distressed community.

Bush and Obama agree on that point. But Bush politicized his faith-based initiative and underfunded it. Nine months after he announced it in 2001 with fanfare as the centerpiece of "compassionate conservatism," the Democrat he picked to lead the initiative, John DiIulio, quit in disappointment.

Obama would create a Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Its initial focus would be a $500 million per year program to provide summer education for 1 million poor children.

Faith-based organizations can be effective in galvanizing volunteers to become engaged in a community, to straighten out the lives of drug addicts and serve as role models for prison parolees and women on welfare. But, in accepting government money, groups must agree not to proselytize and to use grants for strictly secular purposes.

As a community organizer who was funded by Roman Catholic charities in the early 1980s, Obama saw the vital role that churches can play in revitalizing neighborhoods. As a former law professor who taught Constitutional law, he understands the First Amendment pitfalls of funding religious groups.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Finding His Faith

So much has been made about Barack Obama's religion. But what does he believe, and how did he arrive at those beliefs?

Lisa Miller and Richard Wolffe

Jul 12, 2008

In 1981 Barack Obama was 20 years old, a Columbia University student in search of the meaning of life. He was torn a million different ways: between youth and maturity, black and white, coasts and continents, wonder and tragedy. He enrolled at Columbia in part to get far away from his past; he'd gone to high school in Hawaii and had just spent two years "enjoying myself," as he puts it, at Occidental College in Los Angeles. In New York City, "I lived an ascetic existence," Obama told NEWSWEEK in an interview on his campaign plane last week. "I did a lot of spiritual exploration. I withdrew from the world in a fairly deliberate way." He fasted. Often, he'd go days without speaking to another person.

For company, he had books. There was Saint Augustine, the fourth-century North African bishop who wrote the West's first spiritual memoir and built the theological foundations of the Christian Church. There was Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th-century German philosopher and father of existentialism. There was Graham Greene, the Roman Catholic Englishman whose short novels are full of compromise, ambivalence and pain. Obama meditated on these men and argued with them in his mind.

When he felt restless on a Sunday morning, he would wander into an African-American congregation such as Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. "I'd just sit in the back and I'd listen to the choir and I'd listen to the sermon," he says, smiling a little as he remembers those early days in the wilderness. "There were times that I would just start tearing up listening to the choir and share that sense of release."

Obama has spoken often and eloquently about the importance of religion in public life. But like many political leaders wary of offending potential backers, he has been less revealing about what he believes—about God, about prayer, about the connection between salvation and personal responsibility. In some respects, his reticence is understandable. Obama's religious biography is unconventional and politically problematic. Born to a Christian-turned-secular mother and a Muslim-turned-atheist African father, Obama grew up living all across the world with plenty of spiritual influences, but without any particular religion. He is now a Christian, having been baptized in the early 1990s.
Obama calls his mother "an agnostic." "I think she believed in a higher power," he says. "She believed in the fundamental order and goodness of the universe. She would have been very comfortable with Einstein's idea that God doesn't play dice. But I think she was very suspicious of the notion that one particular organized religion offered one truth."
Obama's father, raised Muslim in Kenya, was, by the time he met Ann, "a confirmed atheist" who considered religion "mumbo jumbo," writes Obama in "The Audacity of Hope."

Though Obama was a serious student in Hawaii—and, even then, a seeker—"Dreams" describes an adolescence there of predictable teenage drinking and smoking (and basketball). During his first two years of college at Occidental, he says, he was "not taking anything particularly seriously, or at least, on the surface, not taking anything particularly seriously." After transferring to Columbia, though, the spiritual quest began in earnest.

Obama's organizing days helped clarify his sense of faith and social action as intertwined. "It's hard for me to imagine being true to my faith—and not thinking beyond myself, and not thinking about what's good for other people, and not acting in a moral and ethical way," he says. When these ideas merged with his more emotional search for belonging, he was able to arrive at the foot of the cross. He "felt God's spirit beckoning me," he writes in "Audacity." "I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth."

Was it a conversion in the sense that he heard Jesus speaking to him in a moment after which nothing was the same? No. "It wasn't an epiphany," he says. "A bolt of lightning didn't strike me and suddenly I said, 'Aha!' It was a more gradual process that traced back to those times that I had spent in New York wandering the streets or reading books, where I decided that the meaning I found in my life, the values that were most important to me, the sense of wonder that I had, the sense of tragedy that I had—all these things were captured in the Christian story." And how much of the decision was pragmatic, motivated by Obama's desire, as he says in "Dreams," to get closer to the people he was trying to help? "I thought being part of a community and affirming my faith in a public fashion was important," Obama says.

[ Obama's] spiritual life on the campaign trail survives. He says he prays every day, typically for "forgiveness for my sins and flaws, which are many, the protection of my family, and that I'm carrying out God's will, not in a grandiose way, but simply that there is an alignment between my actions and what he would want." He sometimes reads his Bible in the evenings, a ritual that "takes me out of the immediacy of my day and gives me a point of reflection." Thanks to the efforts of his religious outreach team, he has an army of clerics and friends praying for him and e-mailing him snippets of Scripture or Midrash to think about during the day.

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell—who gave the invocations at both of George W. Bush's inaugurals and presided over the wedding of the president's daughter Jenna—is among those on Obama's prayer team. When Caldwell talks about Obama, he can barely keep the emotion out of his voice. The thing that impresses him most, he says, is that when he asks Obama, "What can I pray for?" Obama always says, "Michelle and the girls." "He never says, 'Pray for me, pray for my campaign, pray that folks will quit bashing me.' He always says, 'Pray for Michelle and my girls'."
Last month Dr. James Dobson accused Obama of "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology." The campaign responded that Obama was reaching out to people of faith and standing up for families.
When Franklin Graham asked Obama recently how, as a Christian, he could reconcile New Testament claims that salvation was attainable only through Christ with a campaign that embraces pluralism and diversity, Obama tells NEWSWEEK he said: "It is a precept of my Christian faith that my redemption comes through Christ, but I am also a big believer in the Golden Rule, which I think is an essential pillar not only of my faith but of my values and my ideals and my experience here on Earth. I've said this before, and I know this raises questions in the minds of some evangelicals. I do not believe that my mother, who never formally embraced Christianity as far as I know … I do not believe she went to hell." Graham, he said, was very gracious in reply.
Last March, when video clips of Wright damning America blitzed the airwaves, Obama wrote a speech about race that he hoped would save his campaign. But it was, to some, also a speech about faith. Obama tried to explain his relationship with his pastor, to appeal to Americans' sense of the best in themselves. He spoke of racial divides in America as "a part of ourselves we have yet to perfect," and of his pastor as a flawed, human creature. "That speech," says Paul Elie, the Catholic author of "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," "is steeped in Christianity. We have relationships, they're all flawed, we're all broken. You can't renounce your history with a person at a stroke, we have to fare forward with other imperfect people and resist the claims to perfection coming from both sides." After Wright's performance a month later at the National Press Club, Elie says, Obama was right—and Christian—to repudiate him.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Rosary a Day for Barack Obama

Please consider joining the Rosary a day group for Senator Obama. We ask the Blessed Mother to protect the Senator, Michelle and their daughters, to also remember Senator McCain and his family and to always be with our great nation.

The Rosary a Day for Barack Obama Prayer:

"As I meditate on the life of Christ through the prayers of this Holy Rosary, I humbly ask the Holy Spirit to protect Barack Obama and his family from all harm at every moment in their lives. Guide our nation to respond to the choices you set before us during this historic campaign with hope and possibility instead of fear. Amen."

Friday, July 11, 2008



We all need prayer. Each morning, at 8:30 am Central Time, the Obama campaign will pause for prayer. If you would like to join with the Obama campaign for prayer at this time, you are invited to participate by conference call. The dial in number is 1-866-228-9900 (toll-free). This morning's prayer was led by Joshua DuBois, National Faith Outreach Director for the Obama campaign. For the passcode, please email me and I will send it to you. If you cannot participate in the morning prayer call in, we also have a large group praying the rosary for Barack Obama. We will post more on that later. God bless all of you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It is with great excitement today that we announce the launch of "10,000 Catholics for Obama," a grass roots web initiative that will organize support for Barack Obama among Catholics and other people of faith. Available at, the website is a response to the quick show of enthusiasm that we received for this Facebook page when it was launched in early April.

10,000 Catholics for Obama is an innovative, interactive web site that is intended to turn the page on the way faith and politics typically intersect in an election year. Instead of dividing voters with appeals to narrow issues, users can submit personal prayers, learn more about community service opportunities, and write personal testimonies for Barack Obama.
We hope to continue building a nation-wide movement of Catholics and other people of faith for Barack Obama through the organizing tools on 10,000 Catholics for Obama site.We have already started to organize teams of Catholic leaders in major battleground states. Sign up to become a team leader today by visiting the site, and be sure to spread the word about the site to your friends and families.

Starting this Saturday, we will organize barbecues for Obama across the U.S., entitled "Fired Up, Ready to Grill!" Visit the site and RSVP to host a barbecue or find one in your area. If you cannot attend or host one this Saturday, we will be organizing them throughout the summer.

Thank you for your help!

Peter James Kralovec

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From Obama's National Catholic Outreach Director

Mark Linton here.

I head up our National Catholic outreach efforts for Senator Obama on the campaign. We've enjoyed great success in mobilizing thousands of Catholics and people of all faiths because of your phenomenal help and because of Senator Obama's unifying message of hope and change.

On this week of the 4th of July I would like to enlist your help in declaring our independence from smears against Barack Obama.

One charge leveled by partisan operatives who seek to divide voters is the disgraceful smear that Senator Obama, a loving father of two beautiful daughters, supports "infanticide." That is an absolutely false and shameful claim based on distortions of Senator Obama's voting record.

We're asking that wherever you see these smears on the internet, please push back respectfully but vigorously.

See the responses below, refuting point by point the smears of blogger Deal Hudson. I am also including the relevant portions of a thoughtful interview Senator Obama recently gave to Relevant Magazine. He discusses his views on abortion and unambiguously refutes the "infanticide" charge.

Strang: Based on emails we received, another issue of deep importance to our readers is a candidate's stance on abortion. We largely know your platform, but there seems to be some real confusion about your position on third-trimester and partial-birth abortions. Can you clarify your stance for us?

Obama: I absolutely can, so please don't believe the emails. I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions. The other email rumor that’s been floating around is that somehow I’m unwilling to see doctors offer life-saving care to children who were born as a result of an induced abortion. That’s just false. There was a bill that came up in Illinois that was called the “Born Alive” bill that purported to require life-saving treatment to such infants. And I did vote against that bill. The reason was that there was already a law in place in Illinois that said that you always have to supply life-saving treatment to any infant under any circumstances, and this bill actually was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade, so I didn’t think it was going to pass constitutional muster. Ever since that time, emails have been sent out suggesting that, somehow, I would be in favor of letting an infant die in a hospital because of this particular vote. That’s not a fair characterization, and that’s not an honest characterization. It defies common sense to think that a hospital wouldn't provide life-saving treatment to an infant that was alive and had a chance of survival. Strang: You’ve said you’re personally against abortion and would like to see a reduction in the number of abortions under your administration. So, as president, how would do you propose accomplishing that?Obama: I think we know that abortions rise when unwanted pregnancies rise. So, if we are continuing what has been a promising trend in the reduction of teen pregnancies, through education and abstinence education giving good information to teenagers. That is important"emphasizing the sacredness of sexual behavior to our children. I think that’s something that we can encourage. I think encouraging adoptions in a significant way. I think the proper role of government. So there are ways that we can make a difference, and those are going to be things I focus on when I am president.”

Please circulate far and wide and remind people of good faith that religion can be a unifying, not dividing force in our politics.

Mark Linton
National Catholic Outreach Coordinator
Obama for America

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

From Catholic Democrats

Catholic Democrats applaud Sen Obama's support for churches and other religious groups

Catholic League defiles itself in attacks on Obama's plan to help those in need

The Catholic Democrats spoke out Wednesday in support of efforts by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to reinforce the ability of faith-based organizations to strengthen our nation's social safety net. The Catholic Church in the United States has a long tradition of addressing the needs of the poor and the underserved, and continues to provide much-needed social services in neighborhoods and communities throughout the country.

Bill Donohue and the Catholic League today attacked Senator Obama's proposed expansion of social services by church and other faith groups. Senator Obama believes that religious organizations of many faiths have a special expertise in serving the unmet needs of people across the country, particularly at a time of such widespread economic distress.

At the same time, the Catholic Democrats call on Donohue and the Catholic League to cease their relentless partisan broadsides on Senator Obama. Donohue confirmed that he had not read the details of Senator Obama's proposal to magnify the role of faith-based organizations in their critical work.

Dr Patrick Whelan, president of the Catholic Democrats, issued the following statement: "Yesterday, Senator Obama pledged to elevate faith-based organizations and strengthen the relationship between government and these critical partners who help people in need every day. Indeed, Senator Obama held out the good works of groups like Catholic Charities as model examples of successful faith-based and government partnerships. But Catholic League President Bill Donohue chose to mark the occasion by launching another installment of his near weekly partisan attacks on Barack Obama."

"Bill Donohue wants to smear Senator Obama's authentic attempts to elevate the important role of religion in public life and that's shameful," said Dr Whelan. "If he had read any portion of Senator Obama's remarks or the details of the plan, he would quickly learn that under the Obama administration, faith-based groups will receive more funding, more support, and a higher profile as government partners. How exactly is that 'gutting religion,' as Mr Donohue charges?"
Dr Whelan continued, "It appears that Donohue and other partisan operatives are scared that Senator Obama is achieving something they've never been able to do: authentically holding up the best religion has to offer society without using it to divide people."

Catholic Democrats, like so many other people of faith, are tired of religion being used as a wedge and continue to urge Mr. Donohue and his collaborators to stop launching partisan smears from a 501(c)3 non-profit, whose noble mission has been greatly tarnished by such attacks.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Obama Speaks of Faith at Methodist Convention

"In my own life, it's been a journey that began decades ago on the South Side of Chicago, when, working as a community organizer, helping to build struggling neighborhoods, I let Jesus Christ into my life. I learned that my sins could be redeemed and that if I placed my trust in Christ, that he could set me on the path to eternal life when I submitted myself to his will and I dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works."

"The challenges we face today -- war and poverty, joblessness and homelessness, violent streets and crumbling schools -- are not simply technical problems in search of a 10-point plan. They are moral problems, rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness, in the imperfections of man. And so the values we believe in -- empathy and justice and responsibility to ourselves and our neighbors -- these cannot only be expressed in our churches and our synagogues, but in our policies and in our laws."

Friday, July 4, 2008


a free people, living in a democracy, working to advance the common good.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Casey on Obama

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Pro-Life, Democrat

"I've been impressed by so much watching this campaign. I've been impressed by his compassion, his strength, his ideas.... He has appealed, as Abraham Lincoln asked us to do many years ago, to the better angels of our nature.... And I really believe that in the time of danger around the world and division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us and he can help us rebuild America."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

From 'Catholic Online'

Senator Obama - Faith into Action
By Douglas W. Kmiec
Catholic Online

(Catholic Online) - Senator Obama has announced that he intends to create a Council For Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Having been privileged to give some advance guidance for this worthy idea, it is exciting to watch it become part of the public record.

An old idea talked about by George W. Bush and even "his thousand points of light" father?
Well, yes, talked about; but by the writing of Bush's own staff, regrettably, not done. Obama says he's different and this will be a "critical part of his administration." The proof will be in the doing, of course, but this much is plain: Senator Obama has direct experience. He has personally rolled up his sleeves as a community organizer to meet the needs of the unemployed in south Chicago, for example.
The incumbent administration raised expectations only to have them disappointed by tax cuts for the wealthiest families and funding cuts for the poorest; by conducting faith-based conferences that seemed more for friends of the Republican Party than those in need; and by issuing executive orders and directives deliberately calculated to raise unnecessary constitutional clash between church and state.
With great disappointment, the Bush efforts yielded division and acrimony rather than unity and understanding.

Why won't the same happen with Senator Obama?
The answer I believe lies in the Senator's own Christian journey. His is a lived faith that both prays and works - hard. Much depends on Grace, of course, but Obama also understands that neighborhood organizations work because people who live together and worship together not only know each other's needs, but meet them.

When our neighbors commit to help, they are less apt to let us down because, well, we know each other by name.

Catholics call this the principle of subsidiarity -- a principle that reflects that one should never ever take to a higher level that which can be more effectively done below. Churches and synagogues and temples and mosques don't stand apart from life's difficulty, they embrace it with the confidence that says with belief nothing is impossible.

Envying his gift of empathy and oral presentation, Senator McCain is sometimes heard to say that Senator Obama only operates at a high level of generality or in abstraction. There is nothing abstract about his proposed new Council. One of the things the Bush folks never figured out was why their project generated little participation.
In addition to misguided funding priorities that hardly heard "the cry of the poor" generally,somehow Washington didn't notice that poverty was often greatest in rural areas. In addition, small faith-based groups -- whether in city or country town -- simply didn't have the knowledge or wherewithal to know how to navigate the federal bureaucracy.

As a consequence, the principal beneficiaries of federal grants were often the large social service organizations that had always been beneficiaries of federal money.

While Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services, for example, do excellent work they simply are not structured always to reach down and find those individuals who because of illness or disability or intimidation born of a lack of educational opportunity simply do not know the fine work of those major charitable enterprises.

Since even major banks need branch offices and ATM machines to reach customers, logic might have conveyed that those requiring our most basic help are not any different.

Obama intends to take our most capable charitable entities and train them to train, so that a small storefront church or mosque or family support Center will be within reach of those who might otherwise be overlooked. Again, to make use of the Catholic idiom -subsidiarity does not mean big, distant government pats local organizations on the head and just says "good job, keep it up."
Subsidiarity is always twinned with solidarity which reminds us that all of us - regardless of our politics -- are intimately connected. We have an obligation to meet the needs of the "least of these" - the poor, the family displaced from its home, the working person seeking a new skill or opportunity.

There are two other aspects of the Obama program that will make it distinctive. First, Senator Obama is truly dedicated to closing the education gap experienced by the less privileged children of every race and ethnicity. As the senator pointed out, "many children simply can't read or perform math at their grade level" and this problem magnifies during the summer months when children are away from school.

Neighborhood programs are ideal for providing summer learning opportunities, but these too need duplication in remote farming areas as well. Finally, Senator Obama does not view the proposed Council as a covert way for distorting the respect that church and state should have for each other. When faith initiatives are wrongly thought of as a partisan tool, they sometimes end up also having the unseemly partisan objective of advancing a favored faith conception, or worse, playing off one person's religious freedom against another. A President Obama will have none of that, nor should he. It is an unworthy and unnecessary distraction, and it can be easily avoided by simply asking all participants o observe federal, state and local civil rights laws. Now, to be sure, particular difficulties can crop up, and as the founders knew, government must treat religious belief and practice with a gentle hand. Different religious traditions do interact with the larger culture differently. For example, because of the apostolic witness and the teaching of the Church related to it, there is only a male priesthood in the Catholic Church. Does this eliminate Catholic participation? Hardly. Well-settled principles provide for a ministerial exception as part of the civil rights law itself. Only those interested in the partisan purpose of dividing one faith from another would think otherwise. Certainly, this much is true: religious organizations seldom see it as their calling to only serve soup or provide shelter or tutor those who worship in the same pew and in the same congregation. Senator Obama is more interested in helping people of all faiths, and of no faith, be of service to each other. And in that ennobling purpose is a true echo of those words we heard another young man who would be President, this man a Catholic, who said so well and so eloquently that "here on earth, God's work must truly be our own."

Douglas W. Kmiec is the Chair & Professor of Constitutional Law Pepperdine University and Former Dean & St. Thomas More Professor of Law, The Catholic University Of America

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Latest from the Campaign

Obama to expand Bush's faith based programs


CHICAGO (AP) — Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — support their ability to hire and fire based on faith.

Obama was unveiling his approach to getting religious charities more involved in government anti-poverty programs during a tour and remarks Tuesday at Eastside Community Ministry in Zanesville, Ohio. The arm of Central Presbyterian Church operates a food bank, provides clothes, has a youth ministry and provides other services in its impoverished community.
"The challenges we face today, from putting people back to work to improving our schools, from saving our planet to combating HIV/AIDS to ending genocide, are simply too big for government to solve alone," Obama was to say, according to a prepared text of his remarks obtained by The Associated Press. "We need all hands on deck."

But Obama's support for letting religious charities that receive federal funding consider religion in employment decisions was likely to invite a storm of protest from those who view such faith requirements as discrimination.

avid Kuo, a conservative Christian who was deputy director of Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives until 2003 and later became a critic of Bush's commitment to the cause, said Obama's position has the potential to be a major "Sister Souljah moment" for his campaign.
This is a reference to Bill Clinton's accusation in his 1992 presidential campaign that the hip hop artist incited violence against whites. Because Clinton said this before a black audience, it fed into an image of him as a bold politician who was willing to take risks and refused to pander.
"It would be a very, very, very interesting thing," said Kuo, who is not an Obama adviser or supporter but was contacted by the campaign to review the new plan.

Kuo called Obama's approach smart, impressive and well thought-out but took a wait-and-see attitude about whether it would deliver.

"When it comes to promises to help the poor, promises are easy," said Kuo, who wrote a 2006 book described his frustration at what he called Bush's lackluster enthusiasm for the program. "The question is commitment."

Obama proposes to elevate the program to a "moral center" of his administration, by renaming it the Office of Community and Faith-Based Partnerships, and changing training from occasional huge conferences to empowering larger religious charities to mentor smaller ones in their communities.

He also proposes a $500 million per year program to provide summer learning for 1 million poor children to help close achievement gaps with white and wealthier students. A campaign fact sheet said he would pay for it by better managing surplus federal properties, reducing growth in the federal travel budget and streamlining the federal procurement process.

Like Bush, Obama was arguing that religious organizations can and should play a bigger role in serving the poor and meeting other social needs. But while Bush argued that the strength of religious charities lies primarily in shared religious identity between workers and recipients, Obama was to tout the benefits of their "bottom-up" approach.

"Because they're so close to the people, they're well-placed to offer help," he was to say.
Obama does not see a need to push for a law to make this program work as Bush did, said a senior adviser to the campaign, who spoke on condition of anonymity to more freely describe the new policy.

Bush never got Congress to go along so he conducted his effort to give religious groups equal footing with nonsectarian groups in competing for federal contracts through administrative actions and executive orders.

Obama does not support requiring religious tests for aid recipients nor using federal money to proselytize, the official said.

Obama's announcement is part of a series of events leading up to Friday's Fourth of July holiday that are focused on American values.
The Democratic presidential candidate spent Monday talking about his vision of patriotism in the battleground state of Missouri. With Tuesday's talk about faith, Obama was attempting to settle debate in two key areas where his beliefs have come under question.

He planned to talk bluntly about the genesis of his Christian faith in his work as a community organizer in Chicago, and its importance to him now.

"In time, I came to see faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community; that while I could sit in church and pray all I want, I wouldn't be fulfilling God's will unless I went out and did the Lord's work," he was to say.