Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lee Terry Working Hard for Catholic Vote

Lee Terry wants to make sure pro-life Catholic voters know he is the congressional candidate whose position on stem cell research coincides with that of the Catholic Church.

Terry's previous Democratic opponents have been strong pro-choicers, so he has enjoyed significant crossover support from pro-life Democrats. The Terry campaign says about 25% of Democrats have voted for Lee over the years, and most of them are pro-life and Catholic.

Jim Esch is campaigning as a pro-life Catholic Democrat. Thus it might appear that pro-life Catholic Democrats now have a Democrat they can support. Maybe some pro-life Catholic Republicans are attracted by a pro-life Catholic candidate. Hey, finally a Catholic for whom I can vote!

It's a serious concern for the Terry campaign. Without that crossover pro-life vote, the race becomes a toss-up.

The Terry campaign has recruited a volunteer to coordinate an outreach program in Catholic parishes. His name: Chuck Maxwell. That's CHUCK, not Chip. He's my dad. He's also a lifelong Democrat, part of that 25% that has been voting for Terry.

The plan is to develop a network of "captains" and "footsoldiers" in Catholic parishes to arrange endorsement post cards and develop lists for mailings targeted to Catholic voters. The goal is to get the message to pro-life Catholics that Lee Terry is the genuinely pro-life candidate in the congressional race.

In the 21st century, saying "I'm against abortion" isn't enough to get the pro-life seal of approval. The push is on to treat humans at the embryonic stage as raw material for research. Some researchers want to harvest stem cells from embryos, which destroys the embryos.

Terry has been rock-solid on not destroying embryos for stem cell research. After being endorsed by the local right-to-life group, Esch flipped his position in the final week or two before the general election in 2006 and advocated destruction of embryos.

I wonder what would have happened in 2006 if Esch had not flipped. I imagine there were a lot of Chuck Maxwells, Democrats longing for a pro-life candidate, poised to vote for Esch until the flip.

I know Jim Esch. He's a good man. I consider him a friend. As Creighton Prep graduates we travel in some of the same circles and have mutual friends. We visited at the beginning of his 2006 campaign to talk about stem cell research and his position was the same as that of Catholic Democrats of Nebraska: no cloning or destruction of embryos for stem cell research.

I contacted him when the news broke that he had changed his position. I asked if I had misunderstood him. He said no, but after much thought and prayer he concluded that he needed to change his position.

That's his right. My friendship does not depend on someone's positions on political issues. My wife and I don't agree on every issue!

But in a competitive political race in which the pro-life Catholic vote could be crucial, voters for whom the pro-life issue is paramount need a clear picture of the facts.

If you want to help on this project, please call the Terry campaign at 691-0333 and ask for Chuck Maxwell.

1 comment:

OmaSteak said...

Jim Esch is a spoiled rich kid who lives off his parents and family. Street Sweeper over on the LeavenworthStreet blog has several detailed reports on Mr. Esch and his finances, from Esch's always filed late FEC financial reports and disclosure documents.