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Bishop refuted Kerry's abortion stance


Benevolent Dictator
DP Veteran
May 19, 2004
Reaction score
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Source: World Net Daily

Sen. John Kerry's newly expressed position that as a Roman Catholic he personally opposes abortion but favors keeping it legal was explicitly rejected by a bishop 10 years ago.

In his 1994 "Pastoral Letter on Morality and Conscience," the late Bishop John Keating of Arlington, Va., addressed the argument of some Catholic politicians who seek "to justify a 'pro-choice' position" by stating: "I am personally opposed to abortion, but I cannot impose my religious beliefs on others."

Keating wrote: "The fallacy in this reasoning is simply that the morality of abortion is not a religious belief, any more than the morality of slavery, apartheid, rape, larceny, murder or arson is a religious belief. These are norms of the natural law of mankind and can be legislated even in a completely religionless society.

In an interview published Sunday in the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald, Kerry said, "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."

The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's aides said they do not recall him ever publicly discussing when life begins, although he often has said abortion should be "safe, legal and rare," the Washington Post reported.

"I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," Kerry said in the interview. "We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."

But in his pastoral letter, Keating contended, "In no way is the legislator who votes to return abortion to illegality 'imposing' his religious belief on the citizenry."

Referring to Pope John Paul II's arguments on the subject, Keating said "the legislator who votes for the legality of abortion and abortion rights is actually 'imposing" something other than "religious belief."

In a 1991 message, the pope said, "To claim that one has a right to act according to conscience, but without at the same time acknowledging the duty to conform one's conscience to the truth and to the law which God himself has written on our hearts, in the end, means nothing more than imposing one's limited personal opinion."

Keating added, "It is interesting to note that for all the time that abortion was illegal in the United States, no one suggested that this was a violation of the First Amendment. Even Roe vs. Wade did not resort to that argument."

"No one needs the revelation of God or an act of faith in his word to know that abortion is ethically and morally wrong," Keating wrote. "People of all faiths and of no faith at all can reason to that fact. Witnessing an abortion certainly accelerates the process."

Kerry's comments were published on the final day of a three-state Midwest swing aimed at counteracting liberal stereotypes that would not appeal to America's heartland.

At an Iowa Catholic church Sunday, Kerry was asked by several parishioners after the service about his vote against a bill to ban partial-birth abortion. Kerry said he would have supported the ban if if had an exception to protect the health of the mother, according to the Telegraph Herald.

Supporters of the measure, however, say that exception essentially would have gutted the legislation by providing a broadly defined loophole.

Last month, a federal judge ruled the ban, which President Bush signed into law last fall, is unconstitutional, issuing a permanent injunction against the statute.

President Bush's campaign said Kerry's recent comments and voting record on abortion are another example of his penchant for misleading flip-flops, the Washington Post reported.

"John Kerry's ridiculous claim to hold conservative values and his willingness to change his beliefs to fit his audience betrays a startling lack of conviction on important issues like abortion that will make it difficult for voters to give him their trust," said Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign spokesman.

If you are unwilling to share your own convictions as a politician - do you really have any?

(unsure if this should go in election or abortion)
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