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Friday, July 02, 2010

Guest Blog: Urge Archibishop Sheehan to Issue Statement Directing Noncooperation With Operation Rescue

This is a guest blog by Marshall Martinez, who serves as Board President of the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (NMRCRC).

It has been just over a year since the murder of Dr. George Tiller robbed us of an exceptional physician who stood with unflinching resolve against all who tried to stop his life-saving work. I will always remember the shock and sadness of that Sunday, May 31, when Dr. Tiller was gunned down as he stood in the foyer of his Lutheran church in Wichita, welcoming anyone entering to worship. That he was killed in his church, and that he found strength and purpose through his religious faith made his death especially grievous for us as people of faith.

When Scott Roeder was arrested for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the police found the name and phone number of Cheryl Sullenger in his car. Cheryl Sullenger is Operation Rescue's senior policy advisor and she served two years in prison for conspiring to bomb abortion clinics in 1988. In spite of this, Operation Rescue has denied having any responsibility for the assassination of Dr. Tiller.

According to a recent post to their website, Operation Rescue has been in Albuquerque meeting with Project Defending Life, Catholic Pro-Life Ministries in New Mexico to, "...open a satellite office in Albuquerque that will be directed from our headquarters in Wichita." And "strategize about future efforts to close the abortion business here after the largest late-term abortion clinic in the nation closed last year in Wichita, Kansas.” The director and founder of Project Defending Life is Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, a Diocesan Priest and therefore under the authority of Archbishop Michael Sheehan.

I am disappointed that Archbishop Sheehan would turn over his leadership in the Pro-life community of New Mexico to Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger and their use of intimidation, harassment and violence which is in complete opposition to everything I believe in as a Catholic.

As a child growing up in a Catholic family in southern New Mexico, I was taught to live the Catholic values of compassion and mercy and to treat everyone with love and respect, regardless of whether I agreed with them or not. Service to the church and community was done through love and humility in order to grow the Catholic values of compassion, mercy and respect in the community. I believe that Operation Rescue’s presence here will attract unstable, extremist individuals to New Mexico and could result in the same kind of violence that has happened in Wichita, Kansas and other communities

The New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice has asked the Archbishop to issue a written statement directing all of his religious leaders and laity to avoid all association, cooperation and collaboration with Operation Rescue, Operation Save America and all other "pro-life" hate groups, but has not received any response. You can help by signing our petition at www.nmrcrc.org/action.php. Or on Facebook

This is a guest blog by Marshall Martinez. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

July 2, 2010 at 09:20 AM in Faith Community, Guest Blogger, Women's Issues, Women's Right to Choose | Permalink


I hope the Archbishop comes to his senses. Hate groups are hate groups no matter what they support.

Posted by: Socorro | Jul 2, 2010 1:13:30 PM

The Catholic Church in NM, like the Holy See, turned its back on the self-same children they supposedly love and respect so much while priests abused/raped them in some cases generation after generation.

I won't hold my breath on this one.

But thanks for speaking up, Marshall.

Posted by: bg | Jul 2, 2010 5:20:52 PM

Unfortunatly there are groups out there that bring to the table shame and violence for the right to life movemnent. Although there are groups out there I find it disturbing as a Catholic that one could sit down and defend murderous baby killing clinics like the new late term abortion clinic here in Albuquerque.

The faults of the Church in the past are a sad reflection of the human falibility of the leaders of the Church but we should not use those mistakes as a shield to stand behind to defend the senseless killings of our most precious lives.

As a Catholic I hope you spend as much time fighting for the rights of the innocent as you do for the misguided and the evil.

Posted by: Sid | Jul 3, 2010 9:51:57 PM

You are misinformed Sid. Late-term abortions are rare and they are only done when complicated and dangerous medical conditions are threatening. I ask you, would you die to have a baby that has little or no chance of survival anyway? Would you let your daughter or wife die in such circumstances? I don't think so. It is not about being "murderous" but about very difficult choices that only the woman, her family and her doctor should make. The constitution gives woman this right to privacy and decisionmaking over their own bodies. Why should you or the government get to make this decision instead of the people involved?

People who make such decision based on the unique medical conditions and risks of their individual cases are not "misguided and evil" as you state. They are people involved in life and death decisions that are made with many factors being considered including the very life of the mother.

Your flip characterization is judgmental, abusive, inaccurate and an insult to people who must struggle with difficult situations. This is not a truly Christian or Catholic attitude, but it is one that certain church officials have used to boost the booty in their collection plates and gain political power. They need the money to defend all the lawsuits from their own pedophiles who are the real "misguided and evil ones." I hope you deal with that first and emulate Christ by making sure you follow the advice that people in glass houses should throw stones.

Posted by: Margaret | Jul 4, 2010 8:09:21 AM