by Steven Ertelt
June 19, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life organizations are upset that a pro-abortion group is going after a top Catholic official who wrote an editorial criticizing Rudy Giuliani’s pro-abortion position. After Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin took Giuliani to task on his views, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the IRS.
Attempting to silence Tobin, the group asked the Internal Revenue Service to look into whether Tobin violated the Catholic Church’s tax-exempt nonprofit status.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said the group, headed by Barry Lynn, is wrongfully "bullying" and "intimidating" church leaders.
"Obviously, AUSCS is applying its typical double standard on those who subscribe to pro-life, pro-family views," he said of the group’s tactics. "Where was Barry Lynn when Rev. Jim Wallis hosted a one-sided religious debate for Democratic presidential candidates on CNN earlier this month?"
"While AUSCS dissects Tobin’s statement, they have ignored a blatant affront to the separation of church and state on network television," Perkins told LifeNews.com.
Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, took issue with the group attacking Tobin but also said there is a bigger problem at hand.
"The problem is that we don’t have more voices like Bishop Tobin’s," he told LifeNews.com.
"The bishops are, in fact, with us on this issue. Their legal advisors, however, draw the line of caution much more strictly than the government does, and that’s what needs to change," Pavone explained.
"I’d like to hear what the same legal advisors would say if political candidates started calling for the abolishment of the Catholic Church and the imprisonment of the clergy," Pavone added. "Would we find our voices then? If so, then why can’t we criticize candidates who think that the dismemberment of children should be permitted?"
In his column, published in the newspaper of the Diocese of Providence in Rhode Island, Bishop Tobin said he could never vote for Giuliani because the former New York mayor believes abortion should be legal.
He called Giuliani’s pro-abortion views "pathetic," "confusing," and "hypocritical."
"Rudy’s explanation is a classic expression of the position on abortion we have heard from weak-kneed politicians so frequently in recent years: ‘I’m personally opposed to but don’t want to impose my views on other people.’ The incongruity of that position has been exposed many times now," Tobin wrote.
"I would never support a candidate who supports legalized abortion," Tobin said.
Commenting on Tobin’s remarks, Lynn issued a statement saying, Tobin “appears to have violated federal tax law by attacking Giuliani.”
Lynn added that “federal tax law forbids non-profits to use organizational resources to support or oppose candidates for public office.”
IRS officials would not comment on the case to the Associated Press until it determines if the complaint has any substance and the Diocese of Providence maintains Tobin did nothing wrong and did not endorse or oppose any political candidate.
Following the opinion column, Giuliani appeared in a presidential debate in New Hampshire where lightning struck as he was attempting to answer a question from the moderator about Tobin’s concerns. The lightning strike caused Giuliani’s microphone to temporarily go out as he responded.