Catholics United Threatens Churches, Pastors Over Pro-Life Literature Drops

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 31, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholics United Threatens Churches, Pastors Over Pro-Life Literature Drops

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 31
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — This weekend, tens of thousands of pro-life advocates will head to both Protestant and Catholic churches to provide pro-life voting information to church members. The pro-Obama group Catholics United sent out an email to its supporters urging them to confront the pro-life advocates at the churches.

Each election year pro-life advocates distribute information designed to educate voters, and this presidential election is no different.

The information makes it clear that Barack Obama is pro-abortion and only John McCain has an authentic pro-life position when the two are compared.

Groups like Priests for Life and National Right to Life and others will spearhead the literature drops, but not if Catholics United can stop them.

CU spokesman James Salt emailed his pro-Obama team Thursday night and called the literature drops a "final act of desperation" by the "religious far right" and falsely claimed that the distribution of pro-life information "defies" the Catholic bishops — who have said the pro-life issue trumps all others in the election.

"The goal of this activity is to convince Catholics that it’s immoral to vote for candidates who don’t subscribe to the right’s narrow agenda," Salt claims.

Salt says Catholics United is heading up the campaign to "put the brakes" on the literature drops.

He urges his pro-Obama forces to call pastors and priests to ask them to ask pro-life advocates to leave church property. Salt urges callers to ask that church officials monitor the parking lots and go as far as removing the pro-life information from cars after the information is distributed.

Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, wasted no time in responding to the threats and told Salt that Catholics United would face a potential lawsuit if it disrupted the Constitutionally-protected free speech activities of pro-life advocates.

"Please inform those to whom you communicate that they might also want to alert their pastors that a large number of people are ready to file lawsuits against any individual or institution who tries to intimidate or prevent citizens from fostering the electoral process or informing their fellow citizens about the candidates," Pavone warned.

"While we are not initiating any such activity, many people have told us they are ready to do so depending on what happens this weekend," he explained.

Pavone said Catholics United is trying to intimidate churches and pastors about potential legal threats by allowing the distribution of pro-life information. He warned that it is actually Catholics United putting churches and pastors at risk by encouraging them to engage in potentially illegal activities.

Catholic writer Deal Hudson responded to the dust-up and said he was surprised that Catholic United, which bills itself as an a group above the abortion fray and beyond the rhetoric, would seek to silence pro-life advocates.

"In other words, Catholics United wants to prevent pro-life Catholics from distributing voter guides to Catholics as they leave Mass on Sunday," Hudson wrote.

Hudson said he laughed out loud when Salt described Priests for Life as partisan, since Catholics United has indirectly backed Obama since he secured the Democratic nomination.

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