Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

We pray that today will be a new chapter in American history where we move from the divisive and bitter partisan politics that have torn this country down and we move forward to a bright and new future.

We pray that the election will go well with no flaws and that the vitriolic forces that seek to divide this country will live with the outcome and join us as we move the country forward.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

McCain Campaign Volunteers Trespass at Three Columbus, Ohio area Churches

We finished out the day visiting Immaculate Conception in Columbus, The St. Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio St. and St. Brigid of Kildare in Dublin, OH.

At Immaculate Conception we found evidence of the McCain Trespassers. One flier was even attached to the Church pickup truck. See picture below. We also found one flier on the ground, apparently read and then "discarded" by a well meaning Catholic. See picture below. We removed all the remaining fliers we could find.

At the Newman Center we found a couple cars from a earlier mass with fliers which we removed, but no sign of McCain trespassers for the late morning mass.

Also was the same at St. Brigid of Kildare in Dublin. Some cars had fliers apparently from the mid morning mass that we removed, but as the noon mass began to park there was no sign of any more McCain Tresspasers.

We eagerly await other reports of the McCain campaigns trespassing this Sunday.

Obnoxious McCain Campaign Volunteers Trespass on parking lot of St. Michaels Catholic Church in Worthington, Ohio

This was by far the most obnoxious group we ran into all day. There were about ten volunteers fanned out across the parking lot of St. Michaels in Worthington, Ohio. Not only were McCain Campaign Volunteers trespassing on the Church lot, but also volunteers from Ohio Right to Life and The Ohio Christian Alliance. It was pure mayhem and apparent coordination between the McCain Campaign and outside groups.

We asked them all if they had permission from the pastor to be there. They all of course declined to answer that and instead told us they had a right to be there and exercise their free speech. We reminded them that they were on private property. They advised us if we removed their fliers then it was "felony".

They became quite confrontational and would not leave when asked to politely. At one point, one of the gentleman began posturing as if he would get physical with us.

They reminded us that we were baby killers even though they new little else about us other than we were reminding them of their trespass and photographing it.

After they covered all the cars in the lot, they left. We then removed all of their fliers, sometimes two and three deep on the cars.

McCain Campaign Volunteers Invade and Trespass at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Columbus, Ohio

These ladies, volunteering for the McCain Campaign, were busy putting GOP paid for fliers on the cars in the private parking lot of St. Timothy's Catholic Church, when we pulled up.

They were a team of 6 and quickly fanned out to perform their unwanted partisan activity on Church property. When asked if they had the permission of the pastor to be there, they said they did not. They advised that they had the permission of "Catholics for McCain" to be there. We asked them if they wanted to go inside and ask the pastor and we even volunteered to go with them. We advised them that it was not the policy of the Diocese or the Catholic Conference of Ohio to distribute unofficial literature on Church property. We advised them that they were trespassing as well.

They quickly packed up and left only to park up the street, maybe to wait us out. We waited with them for awhile and then they drove away.

McCain Campaign Volunteers Trespassing at St. Andrews Catholic Church - Upper Arlington, Ohio

These McCain Campaign Volunteers trespassed on the property of St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Upper Arlington, Ohio this morning to place partisan and divisive campaign literature on cars of unsuspecting parishioners in the parking lot. In one of the pictures, one can clearly see the McCain Campaign Tee Shirts and hats.

When asked if the pastor of the Church had given them permission to be there, they said no. They were reminded that they were trespassing and that the Church had asked that only Church approved materials be distributed on Church property.

Not only were they handing out the McCain /GOP fliers but they also had fliers from the Ohio Christian Coalition. Apparently the McCain Campaign is coordinating its efforts with outside groups. tsk tsk

Their activities soon caught the eye of a special duty police officer there, normally for traffic duty. He advised them that the pastor had asked him to watch for trespassers distributing political materials this Sunday and to ask them to leave. He did so after making them remove the offending materials they had already placed. They removed their fliers and left the parking lot.

The GOP - McCain Flyer used on Catholic Church Lots

This is a photo of the flier placed on cars at Catholic Churches by trespassing McCain volunteers this Sunday in Ohio. Note the flier is paid for by the Ohio GOP. It is the same flier used by the Bush Campaign in 2004, only updated with new pictures and some language change.

Despite calls by the Bishops, parishes and Dioceses to not trespass on Church Property, the GOP saw fit to distribute these fliers meant to misinform and divide Catholics.

Catholics are not being fooled this year.

McCain Campaign Politicking at St. Brendans Catholic Church in Hilliard Ohio

Volunteers from the McCain campaign trespassed on the property of St. Brendan's Catholic Church in Hilliard, OH this morning and placed flyer's paid for by the Ohio GOP on parishioners windshields. The trespassers were gone when we arrived, but the evidence was left. We ran into a rather busy Church employee who was busy removing the offensive, divisive and partisan materials from the cars so parishioners could go home in peace after the sanctity of the mass.

Shame on the McCain campaign for bringing politics onto Church property this election season.

McCain Campaign politics in Catholic Church Parking lots despite requests by Churches and Dioceses not to.

Today in Columbus Ohio, we visited six parishes this morning. The McCain campaign had volunteers at all six parishes putting flyer's on cars, despite requests by the parishes and the dioceses not to. Below are some of the pictures - more to come soon with a full report on each parish.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Will Obama Win the White Catholic Vote?

From the Pew Research Center...

Pew Forum's tracking1 of surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain had a 13-point lead among white Catholic registered voters in late September. But the group's support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama grew in October, giving Obama an 8-point lead in late October. What might explain this shift?

September 15th will go down in history as the day the tide turned against John McCain with Catholics. That was the day he stated that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong".... and we all now know the rest of the story. Catholics are no longer being fooled by the vitriolic forces of the right who want Catholics to believe that their vote must be cast over a single issue.

Catholics are connecting the dots and know that a strong economy is a life issue and that a weak economy will only lead to more misery for working Americans. The economy drives the abortion rate and Catholics know that with a McCain administration and a continuation of the Bush economy, the abortion rate will continue to climb as more and more Americans face desperate times and desperate choices.

With an Obama administration, Catholics realize that Americans will have a new direction with the economy and women will be empowered to make better choices regarding the birth of their child, with improved access to health care, housing and education.

For a Catholic - the choice at the ballot box could not be clearer this election day...

More from the Pew Research....

Republicans in Ohio Suppressing Early Voters

As reported in an article by Barb Carmen in the Columbus Dispatch this morning, Michael E. Colley and Douglas J. Preisse (pictured left), Republican members of the Franklin County Ohio election board are attempting to suppress the rights of citizens to early vote. Most of these citizens appear to be from the minority community.

Because of the popularity of early voting and the overwhelming turnout, William A. Anthony Jr. and Kimberly E. Marinello, the board's Democratic members, want to simply extend the early voting centers hours this Sunday. Seems simple enough.

However with no real valid rational or reasonable explanation, Colley and Preisse are declining to go along with the plan. Instead they skipped a vote on the matter (that's real brave) and then they issued a statement stating that poll workers might be exhausted. Apparently as board members they did not realize that the polling place is only open for 4 hours on Sunday and that the workers are seasonal and looking for extra work. It is doubtful they will be that exhausted after four hours of work and a few hours more work would be welcome for a seasonal worker.

The lines have been long in Franklin county for early voting, stretching for two and half to three hours recently. It has been a very diverse crowd and from observations very heavy in the minority communities.

Thus it is no wonder that Colley and Preisse, would want to supress the voter turnout in Franklin county. It is obvious what they fear and this time their tactics and motives are being well documented and followed.

When the dust has settled on this election, the Republican party would be well served to rid itself of such ilk from its ranks. The Republican party just like the rest of American is dire need of new leadership.

Read the Dispatch article here....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just When You Thought You Were an American... Conservatives Say Not So Fast.

By Burns Strider

Governor Palin and her brand of Republicanism are about to overcook my grits.

She and those who drink from the same mug have decided that you are not a real American, maybe you are even anti-American, if you either don't have the same views as they do or you are from the wrong part of the nation, or both... I'm a little confused as to the specific criteria.

I think I may be fine since I was born and raised in Mississippi even though I have lived in Washington, DC for quite a few years.

I worry, though, about my two boys. They were both born and are being raised inside the beltway so I don't think they are fully American in the eyes of Governor Palin, Congressman Robin Hayes (R-NC), Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (R-MN) and all their friends. And this is what is scorching my grits.

But first, this is what Governor Palin said late last week:

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans."

What does she call Brazil, MS? Is it real America or does that community's name disqualify the Brazilians of the Mississippi Delta?

Then Governor Palin's spokesperson added this on October 18:

[Pfotenhauer] acknowledged [McCain's] difficulties in Northern Virginia but said the region is not "real Virginia." She added, "The rest of the state, real Virginia, if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain's message," Nancy Pfotenhauer said.

So, if you are for Senator McCain or from an area largely supporting Senator McCain they you are "real."

Over the weekend North Carolina Republican Robin Hayes said this:

"Liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God."

Okay... so if you are a liberal you hate real Americans who work and believe in God. What if you are also from northern Virginia, don't work and don't believe in God? Do you have to move to another country?

And Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, the Republican of Minnesota, on Chris Matthews this past Friday emphatically pontificated the following:

"Barack Obama didn't have a mild association with Bill Ayers, he had a very strong association with Bill Ayers." She then went on to say, "I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

So being 8 years-old at some point in the 1970's may be a bad thing because a guy you would meet decades later was doing bad things during the disco era. I often wonder if Senator Obama and I ever listened to My Sharona at the same time. But what if Senator Obama, Bill Ayers and I listened to My Sharona at exactly the same time? Does that then disqualify my Mississippi roots and make me anti-American?

Governor Palin, Congressman Hayes and Congresswoman Bachman need to check their language. And they need to re-examine the meaning, beauty and greatness of our nation.

We are a patchwork quilt, a Baptist blanket, of families and communities that have come from all over the globe to become real Americans.

Our ancestors may have arrived prior to the First Continental Congress or our families may have immigrated through Ellis Island in the last century. Some of us may have risked our very lives on sinking rafts and some of us may have risked great fortunes. But, we are all real Americans.

My little boys are very much American. My first grader has been singing "This Land is Your Land" to me. He has been learning it each morning in the DC Public Schools. They play a lot of soccer, I prefer baseball but you should have heard them cheering for Michael Phelps during the Summer Olympics.

I fear that somehow Governor Palin, Congressman Hayes, Congresswoman Bachman and their ideological friends have allowed scales to cover their eyes. They have been led astray by the sound of their own politics and they sadly find exceptionalism only from their own voices, their own mirror image of America.

Think about how limiting this is... think about all the potential and real American dreams that would never be realized through such a narrow vision of our great nation. They have allowed the values we hold dear, as one nation, to be tossed to the ditch in place for the rigid orthodoxy they prefer to proclaim.

Over 20 years ago, the late, great Congresswoman Barbara Jordan was speaking to the Baptist Joint Committee and was asked how to properly articulate values in government. Her response went something like this (and I paraphrase but wouldn't you love to hear her voice right now say these words):

"You would be well to pursue your causes with vigor, while remembering that you are a servant of God, not a spokesperson for God and remembering that God may choose to bless an opposing point of view for reasons that have not been revealed to you."

I hope Governor Palin, Congressman Hayes, Congresswoman Bachman and all their friends will stop their divisive, ugly cultural warfare... it so belittles them as they sound like a throwback to earlier elections and instead embrace our real American values and find all Americans to be real and all pockets to be real American places.

Burns Strider
Founding Partner
The Eleison Group

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Catholics for Obama

Joining the other Catholics for Obama site, launched a couple months ago and a few blogs by the same name, now comes "Catholics for Obama", a project sponsored by the Boston based Catholic Democrats.

The site has a nice quote from Caroline Kennedy and it also includes a fifty eight page down loadable document citing the Catholic case for Obama. It includes a nice intro by Vicki Reggie Kennedy, wife of the Lion of the Senate, Senator Edward Kennedy. The document was written by Patrick Whelan PhD., founder of Catholic Democrats.

The site is certainly the best of the Catholics for Obama site. Even though a late entrant into the game, it will quickly gain attention and will be a valuable resource for swing Catholics in battleground states.

View the site here...

Catholics United Responds to Allegations Made by Maverick Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput

It is clear that Archbishop Chaput is a surrogate for the McCain Campaign and his continued clumsy forays into politics further illustrate McCain's Catholic problem. McCain is Bush and Catholics like Chaput supported a virtual culture of death by supporting the Bush Administration over an issue that will never be resolved by the politics of old that Chaput and other's with the extreme position of criminalization support.

Media Release From Catholics United ....

Washington, D.C. – Catholics United executive director Chris Korzen issued the following statement today in response to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput’s accusation that Catholics United has “done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.” The archbishop’s comments were delivered at an Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women dinner in Denver on October 17, 2008.

“Catholics United welcomes an open, honest, and productive dialogue about how best to represent the values of the our faith in public life. We recognize that Catholics can differ in good conscience about which policies will achieve the most effective results, even on issues as important as abortion. We are concerned that Archbishop Chaput’s comments – even those made in his personal capacity – will have a chilling effect on this dialogue. It is also profoundly unfortunate that Archbishop Chaput has chosen to make personal attacks on lay Catholics acting in good faith to promote Catholic values in the public square.”

“During the past eight years we have watched a president rise to power on a ‘pro-life’ platform only to pursue other priorities: perpetrating an unjust war, opposing expanded health care coverage for pregnant women and children, promoting the intrinsic evil of torture, deregulating the financial markets, and mortgaging the future of America’s hard-working families on tax cuts for the rich and powerful. Scant, if any, progress was made toward ending or reducing abortions – quite the contrary, we fear that the looming economic crisis will impel more women to have abortions as people lose their jobs and their homes. This experience serves as poignant reminder of the need for Catholics and other pro-life Americans to look beyond campaign rhetoric and elect candidates who will deliver real results on the issues that matter most.”

“With due respect to Archbishop Chaput, we believe that by pursuing efforts to de-polarize the abortion debate and bring Americans of varying ideological backgrounds to the table to find common ground solutions, organizations like Catholics United are doing at least as much to promote Church teaching on human life as those who have insisted on the same ineffective strategies of the past 35 years.”

Catholics United is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. This is accomplished through online advocacy and educational activities. For more information, visit www.catholics-united.org.