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We are not party bosses, archbishop says


Archbishop John C. Favalora of Miami in a Sept. 12 statement informed his flock of an attempt by the Alliance Defense Fund, a consortium of conservative Christian ministries, to encourage pastors "to join their Pulpit Freedom Initiative by preaching a sermon ‘that addresses the candidates for government office in light of the truth of Scripture.' " The statement is titled titled Why we don’t take sides on candidates.

Debunking the ëeliteí a tried and true strategy


News Analysis

The conservative populism Republican strategists are drawing upon to extol the “ordinary” virtues of Sarah Palin while casting doubts on the “elitist” education of Barack Obama date back nearly two centuries in U.S. history, and have been exploited by generations of politicians.

This is the view of several U.S. historians interviewed this week by NCR who easily tie the current presidential campaigns with a populism common during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.

This conservative populism, repeatedly manipulated for political purposes over the years, distrusts the college educated of the East Coast. It manifested itself in the form of an explicit anti-intellectualism during the 1950s, when political strategists painted the articulate presidential candidate, Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson, as an “egghead,” and out of touch with the ordinary voter.

Leafleters arrested at Baltimore basilica

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Two demonstrators were arrested for trespassing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore Sept. 14.

After two men affiliated with Operation Rescue, a national anti-abortion group, refused to comply with repeated requests that they cease distributing political literature on church grounds, they were taken into custody by Baltimore City police.

The literature included an image of Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party nominee for president, and read, "Is it immoral to vote for Obama for president?"

"Their literature was patently partisan, focusing on individual candidates, rather than issues," said Father Jeffrey Dauses, pastor of the basilica. "At no time were they inside the basilica, but they were on the patio in front of church. After repeated requests to leave church property, from security, a sacristan and myself, two of the four complied. The other two refused and were arrested."

Father Dauses said the protesters began distributing literature before the 9 a.m. Mass. The arrest report notes that the police responded at 10 a.m., as Father Dauses prepared to celebrate the 10:45 a.m. Mass.

Election '08 Special Report: Two Excited Bases


Passions flow on right and left as voters get ready

Palin's social conservative voice changes political terrain
If you get it, you get it. And conservative women get Palin. Her pro-life stance, her earthy and intelligent talk, her smiling tenacity -- all qualities that connect with them. Read More

African Americans feel their time has finally come
"Just a few short years ago in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, many people of color could not even register to vote," says Congressman John Lewis. "Now, these people are voting for an African American." Read More

Evangelical publishers issue Palin books

In this high season for political books, two evangelical publishers are leading the race to capitalize on fascination with Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Tyndale House Publishers of Carol Stream, Ill., has begun distributing a paperback edition of Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Alaska Political Establishment Upside Down, by Alaska freelance writer Kaylene Johnson. Best known as publishers of the bestselling "Left Behind" series, Tyndale is printing a whopping 250,000 copies of the book, which first came out in April from Epicenter Press.

Next month (Oct. 10), Zondervan of Grand Rapids, Mich., will release Joe Hilley's Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader. According to a statement from Zondervan, the author makes a case for Palin's leadership by touting her "maverick integrity, electrifying communication style, career agility, and perpetual education."

Both biographies highlight Palin's Christian faith as a formative force. "Sarah" examines her family life and the role religion played in her childhood. The Zondervan book explores how faith influences her leadership style.

After 30 years, bishops, politicians, voters vexed by abortion


News Analysis
The U.S. bishops' administrative committee announced Sept. 10 the bishops’ conference will take up the enduring and vexing issue of politics and abortion in America when it meets in Baltimore next November.

The meeting, which will come one week after the national elections, will take place with an urgency generated by a series of critical statements bishops have made in recent days of major Democratic Party political figures.

The announcement came as the committee, headed by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, added its weight to statements made by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairmen of the U.S. bishops' pro-life and doctrine committees. The bishops took on Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Party vice-presidential candidate, Senator Joseph Biden, for remarks they have made about abortion.

Pelosi, Niederauer meeting to spur debate, resolution or both?


When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer to discuss Catholic teaching on abortion, at least two paths could emerge. The strongly pro-choice Catholic politician might vigorously debate Augustine and church history with her archbishop. Or the two will try to put their heads together to create a public resolution that is acceptable for everyone. Or maybe they will do both.

But two Catholic scholars who know about butting heads with the church agree on this: The controversy that brought this meeting about could have been avoided.

“I think it’s a mistake for politicians to talk theology,” said Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, senior research fellow at Woodstock Theological Center. “Let’s just say, it’s above their pay grade.”

Pelosi not only dabbled in theology, she did it on national television just as her Democratic party was headed into its convention.

Whatís behind candidate Palinís ëGod talkí


News Analysis
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin claims no denomination when asked what kind of Christian she is, confining her description to “Bible-believing.”

But as the Republican campaign moves from the convention venue to less formal settings, the scrutiny of Palin that everyone says is inevitable will include a look at her religious biography. And it’s a bit more complex than that simple phrase.

Palin, now governor of Alaska, was baptized a Catholic as an infant, but according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, she and her mother began attending an Assemblies of God Church, a Pentecostal denomination, when she was in her early teens. She was rebaptized as a Pentecostal, the fastest growing segment of the Christian church in the world, but in 2002, she and her family began attending a number of non-denominational evangelical churches.

Archbishop Niederauer responds to House Speakerís statements



(Following is the text of a statement by San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer in response to recent statements on abortion, Church teaching on the beginning of life, and other life issues made by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, congresswoman for California's Eighth District which covers most of the City and County of San Francisco.)

Last month, in two televised interviews and a subsequent statement released through her office, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a Catholic residing in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, made remarks that are in serious conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church about abortion. It is my responsibility as Archbishop of San Francisco to teach clearly what Christ in his Church teaches about faith and morals, and to oppose erroneous, misleading and confusing positions when they are advanced.

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San Francisco archbishop invites Pelosi to discuss abortion


SAN FRANCISCO -- Calling recent nationally broadcast comments by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi “in serious conflict with the teachings of the Catholic church,” Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco in a Sept. 5 statement underscored church teaching on abortion, the beginning of human life, and the formation of conscience -- and invited the Catholic lawmaker “into a conversation with me about these matters.”

The statement was carried in the Sept. 5 issue of Catholic San Francisco, newspaper of the archdiocese.



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