Nov. 5 (AP)--Unwilling to commend their candidate' fates entirely into God's hands, some members of the clergy used their bully pulpits to rally the faithful in the campaign's frenzied, final weekend.

But at the end of an election season in which matters of faith became matters of moment, many sermons dealt with politics in general terms--calling upon believers to consider issues like abortion when they cast their vote.

At Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church in Milwaukee, the Rev. Joseph Noonan implored about 80 parishioners not to disregard the Catholic church's teaching that abortion is morally wrong. He said doing so could lead to excommunication.

"I'm not telling you who to vote for. I'm telling you who you may not vote for," he said. "In cases where there is not a 100 percent pro-life candidate, you do not vote. How can you?"

But some ministers named names. At Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church, the Rev. Robert Smith Jr. preached that "if Bush is elected, then we're going to war." Smith, a Gulf War foe, also criticized Dick Cheney and Colin Powell and asked, "I want to know: Do you want four more Clarence Thomases" on the Supreme Court.

It was an appropriate end to a campaign in which religion played a major role. Last December, George W. Bush named Jesus as his favorite philosopher; in July, Al Gore chose Joseph Lieberman as the first Jewish candidate on a major national ticket, and the Connecticut Democrat urged a return to religious values.

Gore visited two Philadelphia churches Sunday, saying "I need your help on Tuesday." He delivered the same message Saturday to black religious audiences in Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh.

Republican George W. Bush and wife Laura attended St. Andrew's Church in Jacksonville, Fla. It was "no politics, just prayer and reflection," Bush said.

But Bush held a strategic breakfast and prayer time with the Rev. Billy Graham, who all but endorsed him, and had a Saturday chat with Philadelphia's Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

In Bevilacqua's archdiocese, Catholics at Sunday Mass were handed the presidential candidates' responses to questions on topics "of interest to Catholic voters," including abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, human embryo research, same-sex marriage, help for low-income families, and health care.

Nor was a direct endorsement made in the 70 million voter guides the Christian Coalition planned to distribute. But critics said the guides were slanted to Republicans, since they define issues like "control of public education by powerful unions" and "emphasizing free enterprise solutions to social problems."

Some clergymen took up the cause of local candidates. At Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Rev. Joseph L. Roberts Jr. praised Democratic House incumbents John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney for favoring debt relief for poor nations.

He also urged members to vote. "We know the wonderful 1965 Civil Rights Act that was fought for with blood. We should never let that die, we should never ignore our right," he said.

As worshippers entered Bethany Evangelical Free Church in Littleton, Colo., for Sunday's service, a message on the overhead projection screen normally used to display scripture passages and hymn lyrics reminded them to vote.

Pastor Kevin Navarro spoke about getting back to the basics of worship during his sermon but did not mention anything about the election.

"We decided to keep the service for Christ," he said.

The same could not be said of Sabbath services at University Synagogue in West Los Angeles, a politically active Reform congregation. Rabbi Allen Freehling spoke on Noah's drunkenness and remarked that the same "obscene behavior can be said of a certain Republican presidential candidate."

The Democratic rabbi didn't endorse Gore during worship.

Muslims have been unusually visible in 2000, and during Friday prayers at the Islamic Center in Dearborn, Mich., Osama Abu Irshaid urged believers to vote: "We cannot stay on the sidelines when there are other groups working against the Muslim community."

Irshaid told the 250 worshippers to pick up voter guides, which endorsed Bush.

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