The Partisan Pulpit: Over The Top

by Michael Sean Winters

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Many of the nation's bishops have been at pains to insist that their concern about religious liberty is not a partisan concern. I know many who doubt the bishops' statements in this regard, but I do not and I am quite willingly to blame the Obama administration for the current fight and for the partisan implications of the consequences.

That said, the bishops need to step in and restrain some of their clerical colleagues who give life, even evidence, to the claim that this religious liberty fight is all about defeating Barack Obama. At the recent 2012 GOP state convention in Colorado, Father Andrew Kemberling gave the invocation. The video is below. Once he had finished his prayer, he went on in a diatribe that showed a pitiably poor grasp of American history, a pathological fear of "socialism," and generally presented himself as the kind of priest who could be hired by Sean Hannity as a commentator. If the bishops are serious about wanting their fight for religious liberty to be seen as non-partisan, this priest should be asked to apologize for his over-the-top remarks. If not, they will have no one to blame but themselves for facing the charge that theirs is a partisan agenda.

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