Texas Catholic Bishop: Don’t Make Joe Straus Speaker

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 5, 2011   |   1:37PM   |   Austin, TX

As LifeNews.com has reported, pro-life advocates are working to ensure Joe Straus does not become the next Speaker of the state House of Representatives because of his weak pro-life record.

They are lining up behind Ken Paxton because they want more movement on pro-life legislation that would help women and reduce abortions.

Now, Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, has added his name to the chorus. Texas Right to Life sent LifeNews.com the following statement from the pro-life Catholic leader:

On January 11, 2011, the 2011 Biennial Session of the Texas State Legislature will convene. The first order of business for the Texas House of Representatives will be the swearing-in of the members. The second order of business will be the election of the Speaker of the House.

I do not exaggerate when I state that the choosing of the person who will be the Speaker of the House is probably going to be the most important action of the House in this session. Why? Because the Speaker of the House controls the legislative activity of the House.  He does this first of all by appointing the chairmen of the various committees of the House, and he does so by controlling the calendar for the consideration of all bills.

There can be no better example of how the Speaker of the House controls legislation than by citing the record of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives in Congress during the past two years. ObamaCare, the bailouts, the deficit spending, all the damage done to the United States in the past two years could not have been done without the exercise of raw power by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that we witnessed.

The potential for damage to the State of Texas by the Speaker of its House of Representatives may be limited in scale compared to that done by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but it is still too great to be risked. That is especially true with regard to respect for life issues.

There are three leading candidates for the office of Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives: Representative Ken Paxton, Representative Warren Chisum, and the incumbent Speaker, Representative Joe Straus.

All three candidates were asked to answer pro-life questionnaires. Representatives Paxton and Chisum answered the questionnaires, but Representative Joe Straus did not. The answers that Paxton and Chisum gave to the questionnaires clearly showed that they are 100% supportive of the pro-life cause. The record of Representative Joe Straus shows not only that he is not pro-life, but that he is beholden to Planned Parenthood of Texas, the principal provider of abortions in Texas and the United States.

Planned Parenthood was conceived as a racist organization by its Founder, Margaret Sanger, and it has remained true to her program of eugenics that seek to halt the growth of black and Hispanic sectors of our population. It is no accident that Planned Parenthood abortuaries are usually located in barrios and ghettos where the majority of poor, Hispanic and black Americans live.

Joe Straus received a $1,000 campaign contribution from a Planned Parenthood PAC. He has been given high praise by Planned Parenthood for “his tireless efforts” during the last legislative session. He has been quoted as saying of Planned Parenthood that “they do so much good on the family planning and the women’s health issues.”

In 2009 Joe Straus allowed two pro-life bills that had passed the senate, Senate Bill 182 (the sonogram bill) and Senate Bill 1098 (the “Choose Life” license plate bill) to die in the House by failing to bring them to the floor for a vote.

In 2007, Joe Straus co-authored House Bill 2707 that would have allowed the creation of living, human embryos by “any method other than fertilization” (human cloning) and would have required the destruction of those embryos.

The re-election of Representative Joe Straus as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives would be a legislative and moral disaster for Texas.

I cannot believe that any Catholic member of the Texas House of Representatives could with a clear conscience vote for the election of Joe Straus as Speaker. And if a Catholic member of the Texas House of Representatives cannot vote for Joe Straus with a CLEAR conscience, that member would be committing a serious sin by casting a vote for Joe Straus.

I urge the readers of this Blog to contact their representative before January 11 and to urge their representative to vote either for Representative Paxton or Representative Chisum, but not to vote for Joe Straus.