By Deal W. Hudson
Move over Sarah Palin – the GOP has a new star on the rise! Former speaker of the Florida house, Marco Rubio, has pulled twelve points ahead of Florida Governor Charlie Crist in the GOP senatorial race.
Although the election is not until August, some political observers are speculating Crist will pull out of the race in time to get back in it as a Democrat or an Independent. Crist’s support has fallen from 53 percent in August to 37 percent as of February 1.
Rubio’s rise has been so meteoric he was pictured on the cover of New Times Magazine (1/6/10) under the headline, “The First Senator from the Tea Party?” The answer to that question, in my opinion, is “No” for several reasons. The first being the article’s implication that Rubio’s candidacy is appealing to some sort of extreme political element, when, in fact, Rubio is a fiscal and social conservative with strong appeal to moderates and independents.
Only 38 years old, Rubio, the son of a bartender and maid, is the father of four young children. When I met him for dinner a few weeks ago in DC, Rubio left the table to call home and tell his children ‘goodnight’ just before bedtime. Rubio, from the Cuban community of Miami, obviously didn’t do this for show — he often spoke in a self-effacing way about his wife, Jeanette, who reminds him to take out the garbage and “move those boxes.”
A few days ago I caught up with Rubio as he drove from Miami to Melbourne for a series of four appearances on the Friday before the Super Bowl. Football (Dolphins & Gators), by the way, is one of Rubio’s few hobbies. A former high school and college defensive back, he would play flag football on the weekends, when he had time. “I read a lot, “ Rubio says, “Right now I am reading, Peggy Noonan’s When Character Matters.”His choice of reading didn’t surprise me.
The old-fashioned virtues are important to Marco Rubio. His home, in a working class neighborhood of West Miami, is close to the home his parent’s bought in 1984 after moving back from Las Vegas. “The neighborhood is just home, close to my family, where I grew up, and where I feel comfortable.”
Cubans are known for having close ties to their families. For Rubio, being a father is the “most important” job he has. “As my kids gets older, if I get that job wrong I will regret it the rest of my life.” His children, ages 2 through 9, are two boys and two girls. His wife, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, a Miami Dolphins’ cheerleader in 1997, was born in Miami to Columbian parents.
Rubio doesn’t think the surge of support for his candidacy is about him personally:
“I think it’s about our message. On multiple fronts, the American people think this administration is going in the wrong direction. They want to elect people to go to Washington, stand against this agenda, and offer a clear alternative.”
The Obama administration, for Rubio, lacks a belief in what has made this country the most free and prosperous country in history, the American free enterprise system. “The White House,” he argues, “has enacted policies that hurt the environment for business. Government should help investment,” Rubio explains, “with a reasonable tax policy, predictable, without an overly burdensome regulatory system — one that ensures the public safety and welfare.”
He points out that Gov. Crist praised Obama’s stimulus package. Rubio opposed it because he doesn’t believe that government should be spending money “we don’t have,” adding, “The debt we are saddling our children with is unconscionable.”
For Rubio, Obama’s lack of awareness of how his policies are impacting individuals and families also explains the negative reaction to health care reform. “People are reacting to the notion that the state is going to be in charge of another aspect of our lives.” Everyone understands that people need broader health insurance, but they are “not prepared to turn over their liberties to get it — they don’t want to live in such a country.”
Rubio has not been shy about mentioning his Catholic faith on the campaign trail. He told me that he hasn’t met any objections: “I don’t think my views should offend anyone — you can’t force religious views on anybody, but it’s an essential part of who I am, how I view the world, how I try to live, and part of that is we are all flawed and need forgiveness.”
We talked briefly about Catholic politicians who are elected and then cave in on issues like abortion, euthanasia, and the protection of marriage. “I have a consistent record on those issues, and they are not going to change with the polls or the times. Roe is morally and constitutionally wrong and should be overturned. Marriage is between a man and woman; it is the cornerstone of society, the best way to raise children, the product of a thousand years of wisdom.”
For Rubio, his pro-life convictions are the “cornerstone” of everything else. “A society that does not respect the sanctity of life cannot make sense of anything else, and it leads to absurd and dangerous policies.” Without a belief in protecting preborn life, “the entire society is endangered, and social justice cannot be the outcome of such an unjust system.”
As the son of Cuban exiles, Rubio’s core beliefs were shaped, not just by his Catholic upbringing, but by his parents’ stories, and the stories of many in the Cuban community of Miami.
“We are not just immigrants, we are immigrants of a unique kind –- the Cuban exile community has a real passion for liberty because we know that politics matters and has consequences. This awareness runs through the veins of our community, that liberty is not something that is self-perpetuated.”
Yes, Rubio is articulate. He still has the dash and charm of a young man. But he’s a seasoned politician, having just finished eight years in the Florida legislature rising to Majority Whip, Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House.
Keep your eye on Rubio; he’s got a personality, quickness of mind, and fearlessness, not often found in politics.
This just in from CatholicVoteAction.org! There are two things you should know:
First, Thomas Peters, The American Papist, who now blogs for CatholicVote.org will be on Hannity tonight discussing Henry Knox’s verbal attacks on Pope Benedict XVI.
Second, the president of CBS received a whopping big box filled with over 50,000 signatures in support of the Tim Tebow pro-life ad to appear during Super Bowl XLIV this Sunday.
Read more of what Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.org has to say:
BREAKING: CatholicVoteAction.org blogger Thomas Peters will appear on Hannity on the FOX News Channel tonight at 9 PM EST. He will discuss the anti-Catholic attacks on Pope Benedict XVI made by Henry Knox, who serves on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. TUNE IN TONIGHT!]
Dear CatholicVote Member,
The President of CBS received a surprise at 9:53 a.m. yesterday.
A large Fed Ex box filled with nearly 500 pages of signatures from over 50,000 friends of CatholicVote arrived at the office of CBS President Leslie Moonves.
Enclosed in the package was a personal letter thanking CBS for standing firm and agreeing to air the ad produced by Focus on the Family featuring Florida football star Tim Tebow and his mother.
Catholic Advocate believes it is important to update the 75,000 members of our community on the activities of the past week in regard to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officials’ involvement with pro-abortion groups who received CCHD grants. CCHD grants are available to be distributed due to the generosity of parishes throughout the country holding a “national collection” the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. Therefore, it is important for American Catholics to be aware how their money is being spent and the extra-curricular activities of those in positions to influence grant recipients.
Monday, February 1, 2010
American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM) released additional evidence regarding problems with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). The information was a continuation of issues raised in November regarding providing grants to groups that support activities in conflict with Church teachings. Click here to read the full report.
New information revealed a senior member of the USCCB staff and a subordinate served as board members for the Center for Community Change (CCC), an organization along with 31 of its partners at the heart of the questions regarding CCHD grants.
Instead of responding to the questions raised by the two reports, USCCB official John Carr provided a Statement to Our Sunday Visitor.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Catholic Advocate leadership published two separate articles on the ALL and BVM reports along with a press release calling upon the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to suspend all grants until completing a thorough independent review of the award process. In addition, Catholic Advocate called on the Conference to examine the minutes of the CCC meetings during the period when USCCB staff were members of the board.
More Disturbing News about the CCHD
A Case of Cafeteria Catholicism at the Bishops’ Conference
Press Release: Bishops Must Immediately Suspend All Grants From Catholic Campaign for Human Development Program
Unfortunately, USSCB officials are missing the point regarding management questions of CCHD money by erroneously claiming the issues raised are personal attacks. If there are reasonable explanations for the questions raised in the ALL and BVM reports, then why are USCCB officials employing rhetorical deflection? And, in the spirit of transparency regarding the distribution of donations, why has neither the USCCB nor Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi responded to Catholic Advocate’s call for a review to “clear the air” about how CCHD donations are spent?
Below is the text of a USCCB Memo distributed on Tuesday:
Date: February 2, 2010
To: Diocesan Pro-Life Directors
State Catholic Conference Directors
From: Tom Grenchik, Executive Director
Re: American Life League report
You may have read of the recent accusations by the American Life League against our friend and colleague, John Carr. The American Life League charges that John Carr served on the board of a secular organization called “Center for Community Change” that now supports abortion and gay rights agendas.
I am happy to report to you that John Carr is staunchly pro-life, a partner in USCCB pro-life efforts and he worked diligently to keep abortion out of the many recent health care reform efforts. Were it not for his efforts and those of others, our country would now be funding abortion and health plans that provide abortion, on a massive scale. This would have been the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. This challenge is far from over, and John remains steadfast in his effort to advocate for health care reform that protects human life.
John has replied to the ALL accusations with the following:
“Neither the American Life League nor the Bellermine Institute contacted me, CCHD or the Bishops Conference before making these accusations. If they had, they would have learned that I left the Board of the Center for Community Change February of 2005 and that I had no involvement in or knowledge of the actions alleged in the press release. My experience with CCC was that it focused on poverty, housing and immigration and had no involvement in issues involving abortion and homosexuality. When I served, the Board never discussed or acted on any position involving these matters and if they had, I would have vigorously opposed any advocacy for access to abortion or gay marriage. I have spent my personal and professional life defending human life and dignity and Catholic teaching, including current efforts to keep abortion funding out of health care reform. I regret that once again the failure to contact me or CCHD has led to unfair allegations in attempts to undermine the essential work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.”
Thanks so much!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Bishops William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Roger P. Morin of Biloxi, Miss. speak to Catholic News Service echoing the personal attack talking points developed by USCCB staff. Even though, according to the Catholic News Service Website, “While created in 1920 by the bishops of the United States, CNS is editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops”, CNS only spoke to officials with the USCCB and not ALL or BVM.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
ALL responded with an open letter to Mr. Grenchik. Catholic Advocate is reprinting the letter in its entirety to continue to inform our community about this important issue:
“The following letter was written in response to an e-mail dated February 2, 2010, sent to all diocesan pro-life office and state Catholic conference directors by Tom Grenchik, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat. We are responding publicly because we do not have access to Mr. Grenchik’s e-mail list.”
Dear Mr. Grenchik,
Your February 2 letter to diocesan pro-life and Catholic conference directors incorrectly claims we are accusing the executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of supporting abortion and the radical homosexual agenda.
There is no doubt that John Carr (who, as head of this department, has oversight of Catholic Campaign for Human Development) has spoken often about the need to defend the preborn; moreover, this is not the issue. As we have stated repeatedly, we are not calling into question John Carr’s pro-life convictions.
The issue is a serious lack of prudence displayed by the USCCB’s social justice arm in its dealings with organizations whose aims directly contradict Church teaching. We have provided carefully verified and detailed factual evidence to support this charge.
I tried to meet and speak with John Carr several months ago, when American Life League joined the Reform CCHD Now coalition, but he refused. Thus, his claim that we never contacted him is false.
I have reported on at least 50 CCHD grantees engaged in activities contrary to Church teaching—and which continue to receive CCHD funds. I disproved the CCHD’s claim that there is nothing wrong with the San Francisco Organizing Project by providing evidence that it helped to create and promote pro-abortion “health care” legislation, but the CCHD was silent. We reported on the 31 CCHD grantees partnered with the Center for Community Change, which embraces a radical pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda, but again, the CCHD was silent.
So, when we reported on John Carr’s chairmanship of the Board of Directors for the Center for Community Change, we suggested that the CCHD’s silence and apparent lack of response might be the result of his cozy relationship with this organization.
Our charge of serious imprudence was further validated by the following findings:
* We released our report on the morning of February 1. At that time, we had verified that the CCC was endorsed on the CCHD’s web site, but later that same day, the reference to the CCC had mysteriously disappeared.
* Tom Chabolla, who worked under Carr at the CCHD until 2008, served on the CCC board while working for the CCHD.
* Ralph McCloud, the CCHD’s current director, spoke at a CCC-sponsored event that praised the election of Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history.
This is only a small piece of a much larger picture. The CCHD has a long history of funding and collaborating with organizations that promote abortion and the radical homosexual agenda, and this history continues to this day.
In fact, it recently came to our attention that John Carr will be presenting this weekend at the USCCB-sponsored 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. There are several problems with this conference, but we will mention just a few here.
Diana Hayes is a professor of systematic theology at Georgetown University and noted speaker for Call to Action, the radical “Catholic” dissident group. Hayes is a radical homosexual activist who wrote a book espousing liberation theology, calls for women’s ordination and promotes same-sex “marriage.”
Mind you, these are not mere incidental associations; these speakers were invited by the USCCB as authorities to address our Church’s supposed defenders of the poor, and workers for peace and justice. Can anyone look at this speaker lineup and think that the USCCB is thinking clearly about Catholic social teaching? Why are those who represent openly anti-life and pro-homosexualist organizations treated as experts in the field of peace and justice by Catholics who should know better?
How many of our bishops know that these representatives of anti-Catholic organizations and philosophies are being treated—by the USCCB, no less—as experts on Catholic teaching?
Page 6 of the conference program book provides a schedule for the Catholic Labor Network gathering.
John Carr is scheduled to join Paul Booth (a founder of the radical Students for a Democratic Society) in a panel discussion. Paul Booth’s wife is Heather Booth, who currently sits on the board of the Center for Community Change. Paul and Heather Booth founded the Midwest Academy, a training institute for left-wing community organizers.
Heather Booth is also a former consultant for the National Organization for Women and in 1965, organized a group called JANE, which helped young women obtain illegal abortions. More directly, Paul Booth joins his wife as a member of the host committee for the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Awards Gala. Currently, Paul Booth is executive assistant to the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The AFSCME endorsed the pro-abortion March for Freedom of Choice, held in Washington, D.C. in 2004.
Also presenting at the Catholic Labor Network gathering is Father Thomas Reese, SJ, who resigned as editor of America magazine, reportedly under pressure by the Vatican, for his refusal to stop publishing articles that questioned Church teachings on issues such as contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, homosexual priests, mandatory clerical celibacy and whether pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians should be given Holy Communion.
As Catholics, we are hurt, we are scandalized and we are horrified that the USCCB continues to cavort with the enemies of the body of Christ, even to the point of inviting them to speak as authorities on the Catholic view of social justice, which they most certainly are not. The primary purpose of the Catholic Church is the salvation of souls, not to “develop economic strength and political power” as professed in the CCHD’s mission statement.
We have simply presented the facts about CCHD funding for these radical organizations; yet other than defunding a very few organizations, the CCHD has thus far refused to take appropriate action and, so far, John Carr has refused to speak with us.
Again, our report is not about his pro-life credentials, but about his and others’ continued cooperation with those who openly oppose the Church and undermine her moral authority.
We ask you with all due respect to stop misrepresenting our claims and ignoring the thrust of our reports by recasting them as a personal attack on John Carr. Both honesty and charity require you set the record straight with the directors of state Catholic conferences and diocesan pro-life offices.
Lead researcher on the CCHD
American Life League
Catholic Advocate will continue to monitor any further developments and provide our community with timely information about this important issue.
Brad Mattes, writing for LifeNews.com has compiled a lengthy list of President Obama’s “pro-abortion accomplishments” during the past year. His research confirms what we already know: Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion president in the history of our nation.
Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute, a pro-life educational group, lists these “accomplishments” month by month.
Obama’s first pro-abortion maneuver came his first day in office when he rescinded the Mexico City Policy which kept U.S. money from being spent on abortion internationally. And his pro-abortion record just went downhill from there, unless you belong to Planned Parenthood and consider it going uphill.
Brad Mattes, no doubt, would like President Obama to discover what pro-lifers know by reason, the natural law, and/or by faith: America has no greater resource than ALL its people, including the preborn.
In his State of the Union speech the president said those in office shouldn’t “avoid telling hard truths.” Well, Mr. President, the hard truth is that the America you lead is predominately pro-life, a fact that you seem to have ignored at your own political peril — we won’t speak of the spiritual peril.
Here is the beginning of Mattes’s helpful account of Obama’s dismal life record thus far:
By Brad Mattes, Life Issues Institute
I promised I wouldn’t just do what was popular. I would do what was necessary. — President Obama, State of the Union 2010
Mr. President, what you’ve done has been neither popular nor necessary.
Not a word was said, during last nights State of the Union address, about the administration’s pro-abortion ‘accomplishments.’ But they are many.
In January, just days after taking office, Mr. Obama rescinded a policy to keep US money out of international clinics that promote and offer abortions. Early nominations to the administration included the attorney who fought to starve and dehydrate Terri Schindler Schiavo.
By February, Mr. Obama took away protections for healthcare workers who could not in good conscience agree to assist in abortions.