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Christianity TodayJuly (Web-only) 2004



Why Kerry Is Sincere When He Says He Believes Life Begins at Conception
Plus: AmeriCorps loses suit on Catholic school placements, U.K. considers new religious hate law, Portland's Catholic archdiocese declares bankruptcy, and other stories from online sources around the world.

Dubuque, Iowa, is a "heavily Catholic city," the Associated Press reported. And it's the kind of Catholic that supports church teaching that abortion is murder and a grave sin. So when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry attended Mass Sunday at Dubuque's Church of the Resurrection, "several churchgoers separately quizzed Kerry about his legislative support for abortion rights," the news service reported.

"It's hard," the candidate said. "It's a difficult line to walk." He told another, "I'm against partial birth abortion," explaining that he voted against the partial birth abortion ban six times because Republicans "did it for a political reason. They tried to drive home the politics of it."

But Kerry's most notable comments—which have been widely published but not as widely as one might expect—came in an interview with the Telegraph Herald newspaper:

"I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception. But I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist . . . who doesn't share it. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."

Since Kerry has voted to support abortion every chance he has had as a senator, his belief that life begins at conception comes as a bit of a surprise.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter told The Washington Post that "she could not recall him ever publicly discussing when life begins."

The Bush campaign attacked Kerry's comment, saying, "John Kerry's ridiculous claim to hold conservative values and his willingness to change his beliefs to fit his audience betrays a startling lack of conviction on important issues like abortion that will make it difficult for voters ...

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