“Not Even the Economy Trumps Culture of Life Issues in This Election”: Fr. Richard Neuhaus

Wed Sep 17, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Jenna Murphy

September 17, 2008 ( - In a Radio Vatican interview yesterday, Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of First Things, a US based faith and culture magazine, stated that despite the rickety economy, Americans consider the "culture of life issues" to "cut the deepest" when it comes to voting considerations.

A former Lutheran minister turned Catholic priest, Father Neuhaus, 72, has been referenced congenially by President George Bush, who explained that Father Richard "helps me to articulate these [religious] things".

Father Neuhaus stated that life issues are considered to be of "paramount importance" not only by Catholic voters, but also by all "religiously serious" Americans, who, Neuhaus remarks, account for the "majority" of Americans.

"From the viewpoint of the teaching of the Church, of course, and also in the on-the-ground political-cultural reality of America, the great issues are what John Paul II taught the world to call the culture of life and the culture of death - the so called life issues beginning with abortion and euthanasia," Father Neuhaus told Vatican Radio yesterday.

"These continue to be, as they have for the last 30-plus years since the Roe vs. Wade ruling of 1973, something like the vortex of American social, cultural and political conflict. It’s the most deep-seated and abiding divide."

In a preamble to Father Neuhaus’ interview, the interviewer made reference to the collapse of two major Wall Street houses yesterday and cited both Presidential candidates’ intention to seek "greater federal oversight" of the country’s financial system.

"You can ask economic questions, foreign policy questions, fiscal questions et cetera; [and these] will bubble to the surface because that’s what the media are mainly paying attention to; but if you look underneath that, especially where a community looks at itself to be religiously serious - which is a majority of Americans - the thing that cuts most deeply is the culture of life questions."

Neuhaus, whom Time magazine in 2005 called one of the "Top 25 most influential evangelicals in America", is cited by a Bush Administration official as having "a fair amount of under-the- radar influence" on the country’s life policies, particularly those on abortion, stem cell research, cloning and the defense of marriage.

To listen to the Radio Vatican clip:

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