Catholic Attack Ads

By Swomley, John M. | The Humanist, January-February 1997 | Go to article overview

Catholic Attack Ads


Swomley, John M., The Humanist


The impact of both Catholic and Protestant right-wing leaders was evident in the 1996 presidential election, yet neither Bill Clinton nor Bob Dole seemed willing to discuss abortion, the chief concern of the religious right and an obvious concern of millions of women voters who feared that Dole would try to turn the clock back on Roe v. Wade.

The Catholic bishops, especially the cardinals, went all out to condemn Clinton's veto of a congressional ban on late-term abortions. The archbishop of St. Louis forbade attendance by Catholic students at a Clinton address in his archdiocese. The archbishop of New Orleans declared that Catholics should not vote for Clinton because they would be committing a sin. And many Catholic television ads were run depicting Clinton as evil for wielding the veto against the ban on late-term abortions.

The following is a transcript and description of a 30-second television ad instructing Catholics not to vote for "pro-abortion candidates." The ad begins with a Roman Catholic priest, Father Lawrence Battle, in black clerical garb seated at a table with a crucifix to his right. Holding an open copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he says to viewers: "I am Father Battle. It is the mission of the Catholic church to pass moral judgment in matters related to politics whenever the fundamental rights of man require it." (Note that these words by Battle are taken from paragraphs 2032, 2246, and 2420 of the Catechism, canon 747, "Section 2 of the Code of Canon Law," and from section 76, paragraph 5 of Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.)

The ad continues with a photograph of Bill Clinton with the word "Shame" in large, red, boldface letters flashing on and off diagonally across his face. Next comes a graphic with the words "Democratic Party" at the top of the screen above the party's donkey symbol and two bulleted lines reading "Abortion" and "Partial Birth Infanticide." Father Battle continues in voice-over" "The Democratic Party and Bill Clinton have brought shame and horror to this nation. They have legalized the savage murder of babies during birth. We are outraged." Then Father Battle once again is seen and speaks to the viewers: "Catholics must uphold human rights, avoid sin, and cannot vote for abortion candidates - cannot vote for Clinton." As he finishes saying this, his image is replaced by a repeat of the Clinton photo with the word "Shame" flashing over his face. At the bottom of the screen are the words in small type: "Paid for by the United States Catholic Coalition." During the entire 30-second spot, Mozart's Requiem can be heard softly in the background, with the volume rising toward the ad's end.

It is worth noting that, despite the heavy hand of the Catholic hierarchy (or perhaps because of it), all 12 states with the highest number of Catholic voters - Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Louisiana, and New Mexico - went to Clinton.

On the other hand, the Protestant right, including Southern Baptists, delivered for Dole in Colorado and in all southern states except Louisiana and Florida. There were, of course, other factors that played a part, including controversy over such issues as racism and tobacco; for example, 73 percent of the Hispanic vote went to Clinton, largely because of Republican attitudes toward immigrants.

In short, right-wing Protestant groups generally prevailed in states with more reactionary social attitudes, whereas progressive Catholics concerned about poverty, human rights, peace, women's rights, and birth control ignored the attempts of the right-wing Catholic leadership to throw the election to Dole.

The attack ad mentioned above was available in both English and Spanish, for both radio and television, and was sponsored by a group probably organized solely for the election campaign (thus protecting the official church leadership from any tax violations), as the United States Catholic Coalition is not listed in the comprehensive directory of Catholic right-wing organizations published by Catholics for a Free Choice.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Catholic Attack Ads
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.