by Steven Ertelt
October 25, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Out of step with many voters on the issue of abortion, presidential candidate John Kerry continues to use his Catholic faith to deflect criticism of his position in favor of the grisly practice.
In a speech to a group of African-American voters, Kerry said that as president he would lead his administration guided by "deep Christian faith." However, he also said he would "rebuff" attempts by the Roman Catholic Church to "outlaw" abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
"I know there are some bishops who have suggested that as a public official I must cast votes or take public positions on issues like a woman’s right to choose or stem cell research that carry out the tenets of the Roman Catholic church," Kerry said, adding, "I love my church. I respect the bishops. But I respectfully disagree."
Kerry added, "My task as I see it is not to write every doctrine into law. That is not possible or right in a pluralistic society. But my faith does give me values to live by and apply to the decisions I make."
However, Kerry’s comments are coming under fire from leading pro-life advocates.
Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, says Kerry has again "misrepresented" the Christian faith.
"Mr. Kerry says he will not impose matters of belief by law. We do not want him to," Pavone explained. "We simply want him to protect human life, including the unborn, despite the beliefs of those who devalue them — just as the law protects any one of us despite the beliefs of those who might devalue us."
Pavone said "Kerry obviously does not understand the Church he claims to belong to. The Church’s position on abortion is not based on religious doctrine; it is based on the very duty to society that Mr. Kerry claims to fulfill."
Three pro-life members of Congress released a joint statement Monday in response to Kerry’s remarks.
Representatives Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida) and Jim Ryun (R-Kansas) said the pro-life issue is "of importance to people of faith across all cultures, creeds and denominations."
They criticized Kerry’s six votes against the ban on partial-birth abortions, a measure supported both many Democrats.
"John Kerry himself has quoted scripture and pointed out that ‘faith without works is dead.’ The same can be said about empty political speeches about faith and values that ignore a 20 year record of voting against both in the United States Senate," the congressmen said.
Priests for Life has had over 1000 priests sign a pledge to preach on abortion as the central issue in the election this year.