President Bush (White House photo)
President Bush believes the Declaration of Independence states that “every person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” but on the day when the United States marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision, which has cost at estimated 50 million lives, the president isn’t going to philosophize on the application of individual church beliefs.
The comment came from Tony Snow, presidential spokesman, in response to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House.
“With regard to today’s March for Life, does the president believe that the positions of Catholic Sens. (Ted) Kennedy, (Susan) Collins, (Christopher) Dodd, (Joseph) Biden, (John) Kerry, (Barbara) Mikulsi and (Patrick) Leahy and Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi on this issue, and their not being ex-communicated, means that Catholic Church opposition to all but partial-birth abortion is now as absent as the one-time voluble church opposition to contraception?” he asked.
“The president is not going to sit around and engage in the chin-pulling exercise of trying to determine how people, may, in fact, interpret Catholic dogma. His belief on the sanctity of life is well known,” Snow said.
“Does he think that the senators, though – I mean, all of these Catholic senators have refused to support this right-to-life thing,” Kinsolving continued.
“I will permit you to stand in judgment of their Catholicism. The president has already made his views known,” Snow said.
The issue has been raised any number of times, with no resolution. There are a number of congressional leaders who support – and vote that support – for abortion under a wide range of circumstances, while still claiming membership in the Catholic Church, which condemns abortion.
Activist groups have called a number of times for those leaders to be excommunicated, a step that church leaders have not taken.
The president, in his telephone address to March for Life participants, confirmed, again, his regard for life.
“It (the Declaration of Independence) also states that these rights come from our Creator, and that governments are formed to secure these rights for all their citizens. And we believe every human life has value, and we pray for the day when every child is welcome in life and protected into law,” he said.
His earlier proclamation for National Sanctity of Human Life Day noted that his administration is “vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups.”
“Through the ‘Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002,’ the ‘Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003,’ and the ‘Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004,’ we are helping to make our country a more hopeful place,” he said.
“National Sanctity of Human Life Day serves as a reminder that we must value human life in all forms, not just those considered healthy, wanted, or convenient. Together, we can work toward a day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected,” he said.
In his telephone call to the March For Life, he said, “We’re building a culture of life here. …As we move forward, we’ve all got to remember that a true culture of life cannot be built by changing laws alone. We’ve all got to work hard to change hearts. We will find areas where we can agree and, at the same time, work to persuade more of our fellow citizens to join this great cause. The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women,” he said.
On another issue, Kinsolving asked Snow about the president’s plans to deal with a congressional proposal that could severely impact the ability of organizations to let their constituents know what’s going on in Washington, and lobby them to make their opinions known.
“Section 220 of the Senate Bill 1 would require grass-roots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters to register and report quarterly to Congress, as lobbyists are required, with an amendment to require one year in jail if someone knowingly or willingly fails to file a report. And my question: Since Republican Sens. (Mitch) McConnell, (Jon) Kyl, (John) Cornyn and (Bob) Bennett have co-sponsored a bill to remove this section, will the president veto this if their amendment is defeated?”
“Why don’t we wait and see what comes before the president. We will issue veto threats when bills become ripe enough,” said Snow. “There’s a vigorous debate about this. And there are some reports also that the language has been mooted.”
The plan in the Senate earlier was condemned by a long list of Christian leaders, who said it was a direct attempt to stifle their work to inform constituents of plans in Congress that would affect issues of life and morality.
James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family Action said an amendment to eliminate the requirement from the Senate plan was a good step forward.
But Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice noted that he was “deeply troubled” because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others reportedly would attempt to restore the rules in action in the House.
Such a plan to re-classify Christian ministries as “grass-roots” lobbyists could create huge barriers for ministers and leaders to get out any message about Washington’s actions on social and moral issues.
The proposal would require pro-family groups to provide documentation to the government any time they try to spark any “grass-roots” action, and could include information on phone calls, personal visits, e-mails, magazines, broadcasts, phone banks, appearances, travel, and other items.
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