Special Report

Kerry’s Dirty Deeds

How, pray tell, do they comport with religious belief?

By 3.29.04

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John F. Kerry is a more checkered Catholic than the first JFK. Unlike Kennedy who had some residual sense of respect for the Church, Kerry uses his Catholicism as a campaign prop while sabotaging its teachings. The irony of Kerry's Sunday sermon on George Bush's faith -- visiting a Baptist Church Kerry used scripture to suggest Bush has "faith but has no deeds" -- is that the verse describes the spin Kerry usually places on his own religion. He claims the Catholic faith but insists it should not influence his public deeds.

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?" said Kerry, citing James 2:14. It is a question Kerry has yet to answer: What good is a politician who makes a show of his Catholic faith while casting votes in favor of the abortion of unborn children?

Kerry is an advocate of empty faith. He justifies the blatant contradiction between his Catholicism and his voting record on the grounds that his faith should not drive his deeds.

Kerry rebuked Pope John Paul II last year for urging Catholic politicians to produce public deeds worthy of the moral teachings of their Church. Kerry said he would disregard the Pope's statement. "I believe in the Church and care about it enormously," he said. "But I think that it's important to not have the Church instructing politicians. That is an inappropriate crossing of the line in America. President Kennedy drew that line very clearly in 1960 and I believe we need to stand up for that line today."

Kerry stands up for the "line" between religion and public life, then crosses it himself when he sees a chance to use Catholicism for political purposes. The third line of the biography on his campaign website reads, "John Kerry was raised in the Catholic faith and continues to be an active member of the Catholic Church." On Ash Wednesday Kerry made sure to emerge from a Catholic Church with ash on his head while photographers snapped their cameras. Last week The American Spectator's Washington Prowler reported that Kerry, outfitted outrageously in ski gear, barged into a Catholic Church to receive communion for another photo-op.

Kerry also uses Catholicism -- that is, a twisted semblance of Catholicism -- to advance his liberal agenda. On abortion, Kerry says that his faith is irrelevant. On left-wing economic issues, however, his liberal understanding of his faith suddenly becomes very public. Kerry says the Pope shouldn't instruct politicians, yet in the 1980s he inserted into the Congressional Record the American Catholic bishops' ill-advised pastoral letter against Reaganomics. Kerry called the quasi-socialist U.S. bishops' pastoral letter on the economy "an important document which should be read by Catholics and non-Catholics alike."

When Kerry sponsored the federal Gay & Lesbian Civil Rights Bill in the 1980s, he noted that the "National Federation of Priests' Councils" supported the "inclusion of the term 'sexual orientation' in existing civil rights laws."

Kerry doesn't mind if heretical prelates influence politics. Kerry even urges them to get into politics. Early in his political career Kerry passed up a congressional seat out of deference to Robert Drinan, the Jesuit congressman who supported Roe v. Wade. And then there was Kerry's campaigning for "Father Aristide." In 1994 he helped the defrocked priest return to power in Haiti, calling him "Father Aristide" in an attempt to gin up U.S. sympathy for the Marxist thug. Aristide was no priest -- the Vatican took his collar away after he descended into violent activism -- but that didn't stop Kerry from casting him as a benign "Father."

A product of Jesuit Boston College law school, Kerry absorbed the modern Jesuit enthusiasm for "liberation theology." This is evident in his apologetics work for "Father Aristide." Kerry bitterly accuses Republicans of persecuting Aristide for his "liberation theology." For this reason he rushed to Aristide's defense -- "Father Aristide may not be perfect (what elected leader is?)," he has written -- despite knowing that the cashiered priest is an inciter of "necklacing," the practice of throwing flaming tires around his opponents' heads.

There has been much talk about the dereliction of the Boston archdiocese. But it goes beyond abuse cases. It also shows itself in the relative silence from the chancery about the Kennedys and Kerrys who use their Catholic faith in elections then traduce it after winning them. Boston's Archbishop Sean O'Malley, the highly regarded successor to Cardinal Law, could stop Kerry's charade, and the candidate himself has just given him an opening. The bishop could turn Kerry's questioning of Bush's hollow faith on Kerry.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.