"Catholic and proud of it!"

      It's refreshing when a committed Catholic makes no apologies for living his faith as best he can. In the news story we ran Monday it related that Democrats were up in arms over comments Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren made this past week about his faith. Currently serving as California Attorney General Lungren, he chose last week to announce his candidacy for the California Governor's Office which two-term Republican Pete Wilson will vacate after this year. In his announcement speech, he didn't hesitate to assure the people that he was a man of conviction and religious values, stating proudly that he was a Catholic. Hooray for someone standing up for their faith no matter the consequences! And the consequences came fast and furious from, who else, Democrats "outraged" at his remarks. Two of that party's candidates vying for the same office in a Democratic runoff - Al Checchi and Jane Harman dispatched their spokespeople to speak out immediately. One, representing Checchi - the ultra rich corporate raider and former head of Northwest Airlines, stated that Lungren "is trying to mask his extremism in religion," while Harman's camp strongly objected to Lungren's remarks claiming they were "dangerously close to saying we need to have a state religion." Oh come now, did he say he was establishing a Vatican office in Sacramento? Did Lungren say he would appoint only bishops and priests to political positions in the capitol? But to hear the naysayers you would have thought that. No, Lungren was only stating his beliefs in response to questions about moral turpitude, moral leadership in the face of the facade going on in Washington where morality has become a joke and the baser the act, the higher the polls for the president. Lungren doesn't think immorality has a place in politics. He doesn't think it has a place in public life...let alone life! Way to go, Dan. It's about time some one spoke out about the atrocities going on and rather than criticize those doing it, he called for a return to the values God gave us. He also stated, "I believe in penance and redemption." What a novel thing to say by a Catholic and during Lent no less! Again, way to go Dan. But, oh, that wasn't all he proclaimed. No, he went so far as to say, "If we are to be a successful people, we have to be a religious people as well." You know, folks, that goes without saying. Just ask our founding fathers. But in Washington D.C. and other political circles around the country, they haven't got a clue. Then he confirmed that "Separation of church and state doesn't mean separation of public debate and religious values." Right on! We've been saying that for ad infinitum. As soon as one begins to bring moral values or faith into a subject regarding our country - boom, it gets shot down with the cry - "Separation of church and state - religion has no place in it!" Wrong. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, et alii felt quite differently and indicated their support for religion as a vital component of life in America. The clause "Separation of church and state" referred only to the fact that all were free to worship as they wished, with no state religion for that is what they had fled England for and the Anglican Church which King George was forcing down their throats.

     The situation in the world, but especially America today has morphed from the sublime to the ridiculous with the ACLU and a few rabble rousing atheists able to manipulate and sway supreme courts into throwing out prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments in court rooms, creche scenes in public squares, and even ban the words "Christmas" and "Easter" when it comes to vacation time, opting instead for "Winter Break" and "Spring Break." What, folks, are we ashamed of? Why is it we allow this minute minority who oppose God to dictate to the rest? Are we that weak that we're not going to stand up to them and proudly proclaim our faith? That is what Dan Lungren is doing. And for that he is being crucified just as Another was spat on, ridiculed and hung on a cross nearly 2000 years ago! We all know what the press did to another noble, good, upstanding moral Catholic who ran for president in the last election...and we're not talking about Pat Buchanan, but rather Alan Keyes. He spoke from his heart and he spoke the truth and for that he was blackballed not only by the press, but his own black race as well. Ever since Al Smith there has been suspicion about Catholic politicians (outside of Boston or New York) that they would transfer the Holy See to America and set up the Pope as the head of the country or that they would clear everything through the Vatican before acting. Nothing could be further from the truth and many of those fears were assuaged when John F. Kennedy came to the oval office in 1960. However, in the aftermath of his death more facts have surfaced that makes it highly suspect if he ever really was Catholic, much like his brother Teddy today who espouses everything that Holy Mother Church is against - from abortion to homosexuality to sexual permisiveness.

     Now from the Golden State comes a refreshing, conservative candidate who does not hide his faith under a bushel basket or use it as leverage to get votes. Rather, it could hurt him in "New Age-leaning" places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. But he spoke out regardless of the consequences because he is a man of conviction, something sorely lacking in politicians today, especially ones who inhabit the White House today! Lungren is not afraid to stand up for Christ and proudly proclaim "I am a Catholic!" More of us need to do the same. While the press may try to bury Lungren, it's interesting to realize that many reputable opponents are falling by the wayside. The Republicans have held office in the Governor's chair for the past 16 years. Democrats had hoped to unseat the "elephant" and place the donkey in Sacramento, but the ass keeps stumbling! First many thought Senator Diane Feinstein would run but she chose to stay with the senate; secondly they enlisted former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, but he declined. That left the door open for Checchi and Harman, a three-term suburban LA (Rolling Hills) congresswoman to throw their hats in the Democratic ring along with Lt. Governor Gray Davis, the most liberal of the lot, who most likely will slug it out with only one of the three emerging the Democratic candidate. All are pro-abortion. Meanwhile, the lone pro-lifer in the gubernatorial race Lungren has no opposition save a San Francisco opponent who is a medical marijuana activist from San Francisco (no wonder California gets such a bad reputation!). So the scenario is that Checchi is rich but inexperienced, Harman unknown, and Davis lacking the charisma to attract voters. Add to the fact that Davis' albatross could be the fact he was "Governor Moonbeam's" chief aide. That moniker, of course, was given to Governor Jerry Brown for his wacky politics. Speaking of Brown, he too was Catholic. In fact he studied to be a Jesuit priest. But seldom did he call on his faith which Lungren does. That leaves Lungren a pretty clear path to winning the race for Governor come November. The conservatives hope to mount a solid campaign, having endorsed Lungren along with Vista businessman and our neighbor Darrell Issa for the U.S. Senate. Lungren is unabashedly staunchly anti-abortion and won't back down from it. Issa leans heavily toward pro-life as well. It's a good team not for politics but for the resurgence of morality in America even if it does start on the "left coast" because on the other coast, or should we say, on the banks of the Potomac, the scales tip heavily away from justice, prudence and good to everything satan is advocating. On Tuesday the County of Santa Barbara, a fairly conservative stronghold in former President Ronald Reagan's backyard, held an election which should serve as a litmus test for the rest of the nation on the issue of abortion where strong pro-life Republican Tom Bordanaro was to face sentimental Democrat Lois Capps, widow of the former 22nd Congressional District incumbent, the late Walter Capps. Unfortunately she is strongly pro-abortion and all the culture of death factions have jumped on her bandwagon. It's pretty hard to jump on Bordanaro's since he has two things going against him. One, he's handicapped, wheel-chair bound and he's Catholic. But those are not weaknesses, those are strengths, for Bordanaro is unabashedly pro-life like Lungren. Both are not afraid to proudly proclaim their beliefs. As Californians, we strongly welcome both Bordanaro to Congress and Lungren to the race for governor and encourage them to continue the course. By the time you read this we should know the results of the Bordanaro-Capps race, but for Lungren there are many months to go. Our advice: Stay the course. Don't be afraid, Dan, to continue to proudly proclaim: "Catholic and proud of it!"

Michael Cain, editor

Daily CATHOLIC          March 11, 1998