Priest Threatens to Sue Pro-Life Group for Passing Out Voter Guides

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2012   |   6:15PM   |   Cleveland, OH

A Catholic priest in the Diocese of Cleveland called Ohio Right to Life last week and threatened to sue the pro-life group because he found their voter guide on cars in his church parking lot.

“I am not sure what his cause of action would be,” stated Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life, in an email to its affiliate group Cleveland Right to Life, “but I thought I would pass this on.”

In its email to LifeNews providing the information, Cleveland Right to Life decided not to name the pastor involved because the organization said it didn’t make to engage in an attack on the priest himself, but prefers to focus on the broader problem of limiting the rights of pro-life people to educate others about the election and the candidates.

“Because church parking lots may be considered private property, volunteers who enter lots to leave pamphlets on car windshields could be prosecuted for trespassing, if the pastor and diocese chose to press charges,” CRTL said in a statement. “But ORTL could hardly be held responsible for what individuals choose to do with the group’s freely available information.”

“If our clergy and religious leaders were standing up for the helpless unborn and boldly proclaiming the Truth in the face of the Culture of Death, volunteers would not feel the need to risk trespassing charges in order to disseminate pro-life information to churchgoers,” CRTL added.



The rest of Cleveland Right to Life’s statement follows:

We submit that the simplest way to bring an end to parking-lot leafleting would be diocesan-wide distribution of a clear, straightforward voter’s guide focused on issues most vital to the Church, such as this one published in every church bulletin by the Bishops of Florida. Pastors could also independently include such information in their parish bulletins and websites and/or allow values-centered, non-partisan voter guides to be distributed at the church doors.

Of course, proclaiming the sanctity of every precious human life, the barbarity of over 1 million innocent babies killed every year, and the devastation abortion brings to women, families and communities strongly and consistently from the pulpit would also do wonders.

Hearts and minds can change – more Americans call themselves “Pro-Life” than ever before, despite four years under the most rabidly pro-abortion administration in our history. Unborn children can be saved – Ohio’s abortion numbers are at an all-time low and in 2011 experienced the largest decrease in state history. But none of this is accomplished by remaining silent in the face of such grave, pervasive evil; it occurs because of the tireless advocacy of pro-life individuals and groups like Ohio Right to Life and because voters elected a pro-life governor and pro-life majorities in Ohio’s General Assembly.

That is why we must speak up now, none more so than those who have been called by God Himself to lead us. After all, 24,764 babies were still murdered by abortionists in Ohio last year; the largest percentage (36%) of abortions were performed in Cuyahoga County, despite it being part of the largest Catholic diocese in Ohio. Nearly 100 occurred in the neighborhood of the priest who threatened to sue Ohio Right to Life.

We are forced to ask: Are our leaders doing enough? Are we? There’s more at stake here than a piece of paper stuck to a windshield. It’s time to make a stand.

This dustup follows CRTL’s expose’ of a staffer from the bishop’s office who publicly supports pro-abortion President Barack Obama instructing Catholics on how to vote.