Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Top [non-Catholic] Christian leaders" declare Catholic Governor person of "deep faith."

The group, Faith in Public Life, has issued a press release that includes a statement signed by 15 individuals supporting President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a strong supporter of abortion rights. The governor is a Catholic whose archbishop, the Rev. Joseph Naumann, has instructed her to not receive holy communion until she has made a "worthy sacramental confession." Although the press release calls the statement's signatories "top Christian leaders," missing from this list is the name of the only "top" Christian leader that has the authority to assess the authenticity of Governor Sebelius's Catholic faith, Archbishop Naumann.

On the morning of March 9, I sent the following email to one of the press release's signatories:

Hope you’re doing well. I noticed that you signed a press release (posted on Faith in Public Life) supporting Kansas Governor Sebelius’ nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Although the press release claims that she is a woman of “deep faith,” there is no mention that the governor is a Catholic whose bishop has instructed her not to receive the Eucharist until she has made a “worthy sacramental confession.” As a Catholic such facts are not merely tangential to assessing another’s “deep faith.” They are essential.

It seems to me that one cannot claim to advance the common good for faith in public life, which your group indeed claims, while purposely excluding from one’s public comments facts that serious Catholics, as well as many Evangelical Protestants, believe would be essential to evaluating the quality of Governor Sebelius’ faith. Declaring her faith deep while not presenting her bishop’s assessment of that faith is misleading as well as disrespectful of the Catholic faith of many Americans. Do you and the other Evangelical Protestants who signed this statement seriously believe you are more qualified to declare that the governor has a “deep faith” than her own bishop?

Because the signatory wrote me back expressing his or her regret for having signed the statement, I will not mention his or her name. But he or she intends to publish a piece properly communicating his or her position on the Sebelius nomination.

To learn more about the Sebelius nomination, please read Michael New's essay and Archbishop Naumann's statement, both published on the website Moral Accountability. Here's an excerpt from Professor New's essay:

[D]uring her tenure as Governor, Kathleen Sebelius has failed to support a number of policies that would have further reduced abortions in Kansas. Sebelius cut state funding for abortion alternatives, vetoed a bill imposing minimal sanitary standards, on abortion clinics, and vetoed a bill that would have strengthened Kansas’s parental notification law. More shocking, is Sebelius’ unyielding support for late-term abortions. She has vetoed a measure that would require explicit medical reasons for late-term abortions and vetoed another measure which would require abortion providers to report the diagnosis which necessitated a post-viability abortion.

Interestingly, in the face of these controversial vetoes, Gov. Sebelius honored late-term abortionist George Tiller, 25 friends and employees of Tiller’s abortion clinic, and Nebraska partial-birth abortionist LeRoy Carhart at the Governor’s mansion in April 2007. Tiller is currently facing criminal prosecution for 19 counts of illegally performing late-term abortions. His trial is set to begin on mid-March. Overall, these actions provide a far better indication of Sebelius’ views on sanctity of life issues than an incidental abortion decline that occurred under her watch. Catholics and others who care about sanctity of life issues would do well to oppose her nomination.

No comments: