Former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican — including Boston's former Democratic Mayor Ray Flynn — have banded together in support of Republican challenger Mitt Romney as they try to push religious freedom to the center of the presidential debate.
Romney will be “a faithful defender of life in all its seasons,” the six former ambassadors say in a letter outlining why they believe Roman Catholics should vote for the Mormon candidate.
“We are all called to advance the moral teachings of Christianity in the life of our country. Where the stakes are highest — in the defense of life, liberty, and human dignity — we have a duty to act that is greater and more urgent than allegiance to any political party,” they say.
The ambassadors include former Democratic Boston Mayor Ray Flynn who was appointed to the Holy See by President Bill Clinton. The others — all appointed by Republican presidents — are Frank Shakespeare, Tom Melady, Jim Nicholson, Francis Rooney, and Mary Ann Glendon. There is only one other living former ambassador, 96-year-old Clinton appointee Lindy Boggs.
In their letter, the ambassadors say that their concerns in the 2012 election “lie with fundamental rights, beginning with religious liberty.”
“While the current administration has brought our first freedom under direct assault by imposing government mandates that completely disregard religious conscience, Governor Romney believes that freedom to live one’s faith is essential to liberty and human fulfillment. And he has pledged himself to removing those federal mandates immediately,” they write.
“While the current administration has now put its weight on the side of those who propose to redefine the meaning of marriage itself, Governor Romney has stood firm in defending this sacred institution. In the White House, just as he did in the Massachusetts State House, he will defend the institution of marriage before the Congress, the courts, and the country.
“Where the current administration has shown its sympathy for the pro-abortion lobby, Mitt Romney will be a faithful defender of life in all its seasons. And he understands the special duty of people of faith to serve in this cause. As Governor Romney recently said, ‘From the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man. Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.’
“These are the words of a man we believe can be a great force for good in this nation. We are Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, but on this question we are united in faith and in action. We urge our fellow Catholics, and indeed all people of good will, to join with us in this full-hearted effort to elect Governor Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States.”
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