NEW YORK, August 9, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Both behind the scenes and in public, pro-life leaders are asking USCCB President and New York Cardinal Archbishop Timothy Dolan to rescind his invitation to President Barack Obama to speak alongside Mitt Romney at the flashy Al Smith dinner fundraiser only weeks before the 2012 election.
In addition to Priests for Life and American Life League, both Students for Life of America and Human Life International have told LifeSiteNews of their disagreement with Cardinal Dolan’s decision.
Speaking with LifeSiteNews today, Kristan Hawkins, a non-Catholic Christian who heads up Students for Life of America, said, “I don’t think it is acceptable for the church to extend an invitation to a President who has made an all-out assault on the Catholic Church and people of faith and conscience for the past four years.” Hawkins’ organization coordinates 705 student pro-life groups at colleges and high schools across the United States.
Hawkins added that she understands “that the Al Smith dinner is a non-partisan event and they are obviously trying to make the statement that no matter what your political views may be that taking care of the poor and helping those most in need is an issue that transcends all party politics.”
Nevertheless she continued, “It’s not just ‘Well we’re inviting him, we might disagree with his views but we still would like to have him speak’. Anytime you’re asking someone to speak, you are sending a message that who they are and what they’ve been doing is okay.”
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Hawkins concluded: “And simply what President Obama has been doing for the past four years and most recently with the HHS mandate is unconscionable. He is literally stripping the constitutional rights of all Americans away. That is a step that I think most will say is way too far over the line.”
In addition, Human Life International President Father Shenan J. Boquet told LifeSiteNews yesterday: “As faithful Catholics, we cannot set aside our deeply-held differences and put in any place of honor those who continuously attack the tenets of our faith, and even our very ability to practice that faith. We cannot pretend for one moment that such an honor at any function promoting the work of the Church doesn’t give legitimacy to their position while harming the Catholic Church’s image and the perceptions of those looking for guidance from our bishops and Church leaders.”
The HLI president added: “The Catholic Church in the United States is facing greater persecution from our government than at any time in recent history. Political figures who actively seek to undermine the Catholic Church, especially in her work to protect life, promote family values, and to freely live our faith, should not be afforded a public platform by Catholic organizations, foundations, charities, events, etc., even if that’s not the intention.
“The need to show unwavering commitment to the Church’s teaching is greatly needed and must be safeguarded so as not to cause confusion, a potential scandal, or give any semblance of support or endorsement.”