Call on Senator McCain to Ban Torture, without Exception

Posted July 22, 2008

Today, torture survivors Sr. Dianna Ortiz and Fr. Roy Bourgeois, and former military interrogator Joshua Casteel joined Catholics United, True Majority, and School of the Americas Watch in petitioning Senator John McCain to ban torture forever,out exception.

Senator John McCain was once a principled leader in the fight against torture. But then something happened. In 2006, he lended instrumental support to the Military Commissions Act, which among other things granted retroactive amnesty for past acts of torture and allowed for secret evidence collected during harsh interrogations. Then this past February, he voted against explicating banning the CIA from engaging in torture.

As Catholics we have a special obligation to work against torture. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that: “Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.” Furthermore, torture violates the dignity of both the victim and the perpetrator.

Never again should our country engage in such immoral behavior. With your help, lets make it clear that torture is never morally justified.

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John McCain: Remember Him?

Posted July 22, 2008

By Jacques Berlinerblau - The Washington Post, Newsweek Online
July 22, 2008

For those scholars and journalists covering religious politicking in 2008, John McCain is no muse, no inspired source of ideas and angles, no solvent of writer's block.

He certainly captured our interest when he referred to America as a “Christian Nation” back in the fall. He titillated us when he proclaimed himself to be a Baptist, not an Episcopalian. “Appreciative” is the word I would use to describe how many of us felt when he sought out and subsequently disavowed Reverends Hagee and Parsley.

Catholics United Responds to McCain Campaign

Posted July 17, 2008

Catholics United executive director Chris Korzen issued the following statement today in response to Senator McCain’s indecision regarding whether or not to remove controversial advisor Deal Hudson from the “National Catholics for McCain Steering Committee.”

“In March, the McCain campaign proudly announced the launch of its 'National Catholics for McCain Committee'– a group that includes Deal Hudson and more than 100 other Catholics. Then, Senator McCain stated that he was ‘humbled by the supporters of such a diverse group of Catholic leaders.’ Now, as campaign spokesperson Tucker Bonds told the Washington Times, Deal Hudson is just ‘a name on a list.’”

“We believe the McCain campaign owes it to Catholics to clarify precisely which members of its ‘Catholics for McCain Committee’ are just names on a list, and which members are engaged in the committee’s stated mission of ‘actively recruiting Catholics at the national, regional, state, local, and parish levels to help share John McCain's vision and pro-Catholic message.’ Are U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Sam Brownback and Ave Maria University founder Tom Monaghan also just names on a list? What about Republican House Leader John Boehner and Former RNC Catholic Outreach Director Martin Gillespie?”

“Although the McCain campaign is attempting to downplay Hudson’s role as a Catholic advisor and surrogate, the facts appear to tell a different story. In May, Mr. Hudson was a key player in the campaign’s attempt to rectify fallout over Senator McCain’s embrace of anti-Catholic pastor John Hagee. More recently, Hudson has used his blog to issue a series of attacks against McCain’s opponent, Barack Obama. Just this past week, Hudson hosted a press conference for Frank Donatelli, deputy chair of the Republican National Committee national Catholic media outlets. And on Monday, Hudson appeared on the Al Kresta Show to criticize Senator Obama’s Catholic outreach efforts. Deal Hudson, isn’t just a name on a list, he’s one of the most publicly identified Catholic supporter of McCain. This is the same Deal Hudson who established a White House Catholic Working Group, which – as he stated in his recent book – deliberately excluded the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from policy discussions. Last year, Hudson publicly ridiculed a Vatican climate change initiative that didn’t fit his political worldview.”

“We reiterate our call for Deal Hudson’s removal from the National Catholics for McCain Steering Committee.”

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Catholic group calls for removal of McCain Advisor

Posted July 17, 2008

By Jon Ward - The Washington Times
July 17, 2008

A Catholic advocacy group Wednesday called for the ouster of an adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, drawing attention to a past allegation of sexual misconduct.

Catholics United (CU) said Deal Hudson, a longtime Republican operative specializing in outreach to Catholic voters, should be removed from his campaign post the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Reaching out to Catholic voters. The role of sin and repentance.

Posted July 17, 2008

By Dana Bash -
July 17, 2008

The McCain campaign deliberated much of Wednesday about how to handle a demand that Deal Hudson, a volunteer on outreach to Catholics, to step down.

They decided not to cut him loose.

Chris Korzen appears on the John McMullen Show

Posted July 17, 2008

Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, appeared on the John McMullen Show, KNEWS Radio, Palm Springs, CA.

Link to the interview

Catholics United Condemns Political Attacks by “Pro-Life” Groups

Posted June 12, 2008

What constitutes and effective anti-abortion agenda? Grandstanding in front of the Bishops Conference demanding that the Bishopshold communion from fellow Catholics in public life? or Building a culture of life that supports women and children by providing desperately needed support services for expecting mothers? We think the choice is obvious.

Today, Catholics United expresses grave concerns over an ad campaign from the group Society for Truth and Justice and Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, which urges the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to deny communion to “pro-abortion politicians,” and to condemn Catholics who vote for those same politicians. Catholics United believes the campaign and an affiliated protest – scheduled for Friday, June 13 at the USCCB’s meeting in Orlando – constitute both a shameful attempt to use the Catholic sacrament of Communion as a political weapon, and a means of perpetuating decades of the acrimony and division that have prevented real progress toward ending abortions in the U.S.

Catholics United calls on the Society for Truth and Justice and Operation Rescue to work leaders from across the ideological and political spectrum to craft real solutions to the abortion issue. A growing body of evidence – including a Catholics United study using data from Kansas and an upcoming 50-state study by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good – suggests that providing economic and social supports for pregnant women and families are the most effective ways to prevent abortions.

“Many of these organizations’ supporters are undoubtedly motivated by a profound and commendable desire to preserve and protect human life at all stages,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United and co-author of A Nation for All: How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America from the Politics of Division. “Unfortunately, the leaders of these organizations are pursing strategies that are counterproductive to their stated objectives. This type of political rhetoric and campaign intervention is directly responsible for many of the failed policies of the last decade that have proved to be a disaster – by all reasonable measures – for human life and dignity.”

The ad campaign and USCCB protest are eerily reminiscent of a 2004 concerted effort by the Republican Party and far right Catholic political organizations to convince Catholics that Senator John Kerry’s position on abortion rendered him unfit for their vote. Although theologically inaccurate, this well-funded and well-organized campaign may have been the decisive factor in securing President Bush’s win in Ohio.

“It’s time to move beyond the failed policies of the past and address the real threats to the common good: war, poverty, and lack of health care and education, the environment, and our dire economic situation,” said Korzen. “It’s also time to stop using the abortion issue to divide voters and to start bringing Americans together around common ground solutions. The Society for Truth and Justice and Operation Rescue’s action are bad for Catholics, bad for the unborn, and bad for America.”

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Catholic League’s Bill Donohue Continues Partisan Attacks

Posted May 30, 2008

Catholics United executive director Chris Korzen issued the following statement today in response to Catholic League president Bill Donohue’s latest attack on Sen. Barack Obama:

“Today Bill Donohue issued a set of frivolous comments on Rev. Michael Pfleger’s recent inappropriate remarks about Hillary Clinton. Instead of focusing on the nature of Pfleger’s remarks, Mr. Donohue chose the unfortunate path of using the incident to question the character of Sen. Barack Obama. Catholics United is concerned that Donohue’s comments appear part of a systematic campaign to influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential election by maligning Sen. Obama to Catholic voters.”

“This pattern of partisan rhetoric is nothing new to the Catholic League under the leadership of Mr. Donohue. Donohue has targeted Senator Obama and his advisors in recent months over similarly petty issues. Earlier this year, he let John McCain off easy over an endorsement from the anti-catholic John Hagee, while in 2007 he vowed to make John Edwards’ hiring of two anti-catholic junior staffers the central issue of the election. In 2004, Donohue pursued a relentless campaign to challenge the credibility of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry by painting him as a bad Catholic. And we know from Deal Hudson’s book Onward Christian Soldiers that Donohue participated in at least one campaign meeting Karl Rove during the run-up to the 2000 election.”

“Catholics United wholeheartedly supports the Catholic League’s noble mission of ‘defending the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public lifeout defamation or discrimination.’ It is difficult, however, to understand how Donohue’s own political activity as Catholic League president is consistent this mission or the organization’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status.”

“We are also concerned that Donohue’s media profile risks creating an appearance of partisanship on the part of the entire Catholic community. Although he often seems to pretend otherwise, Mr. Donohue has absolutely no authority to speak for Catholics or the Church institution.”

Catholics Urge Sen. Lieberman to Avoid Speaking Appearance with Rev. John Hagee

Posted May 30, 2008

The leaders of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United today urged Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) todraw his support for Rev. John Hagee and the Texas pastor’s “Christians United for Israel” summit. Sen. Lieberman is scheduled to appear at the event in July. In a letter to Sen. Lieberman, the groups cited Hagee's “long-standing pattern of intolerant behavior” that includes comments offensive to many groups of Americans.

Hagee has stirred controversy in recent months for having referred to the Catholic Church as “the great whore” and claiming that God sent Hurricane Katrina to punish residents of New Orleans for immoral behavior. More recently, revelations surfaced that Hagee believes Adolf Hitler’s persecution of Jews was carried out in fulfillment of God’s will. The pastor has also made comments offensive to Muslims, women, and African-Americans.

“Senator Lieberman must send a strong message to all Americans that Hagee’s bigotry and extremism have no place in our political system,” said Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance. “The best way to do this is to renounce his support of Hagee, anddraw from the ‘Christians United for Israel’ summit.”

“Americans of all political stripes are desperate to move beyond the divisiveness and partisanship that have characterized U.S. politics in recent years,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “By participating in Hagee’s summit, Senator Lieberman risks perpetuating the acrimony and intolerance that the pastor has come to represent.”

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Bill Donohue Still Shilling for Karl Rove

Posted May 02, 2008

Today, Bill Donohue, the President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a 501c3 tax exempt organization, issued a press release labeling Obama's Catholic advisors as Catholic dissidents. By issuing this statement, Donohue not only jeopardizes his tax exempt status but also raises larger concerns over the use of his organization for a partisan agenda.

According to the book Onward Christian Soldiers by the Republican operative Deal Hudson, Karl Rove recruited Bill Donohue to participate in Republican organized efforts to court Catholic voters. By attacking the Catholic advisors of a presidential campaign at this moment, Bill Donohue is again engaging in partisan politics.