Beliefnet News

By Jim Harger and Lindsay Vanhulle
Grand Rapids, Mich. (RNS) Mayor George Heartwell’s campaign postcard
to Catholic voters has upset some local members of that faith.
The face of the postcard shows St. Mary’s Catholic Church steeple
and the Basilica of St. Adalbert. The back is signed by prominent local
Catholics, including the Rev. Mark Przybysz, pastor of St. Anthony of
Padua Catholic Church.
It is one of seven mailings for Heartwell, a Protestant who is
ordained in the United Church of Christ, that also target Protestants,
Republicans, Democrats and the city’s three wards.
Each one shows iconic images for each constituency and is signed by
leaders of the target group. Heartwell is seeking a second term in the
Aug. 7 primary election.
Heartwell’s opponent, City Councilman Rick Tormala, who is Catholic
and received the postcard, called it “insulting and deceptive.
“It would be like me sending a letter or postcard to Muslims with a
mosque in it,” he said.
Roman Catholic Bishop Walter Hurley, meanwhile, said the Catholic
Church is not — and will not be — in the endorsement business.
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids has not and will not
support or endorse individual candidates in a political election,”
Hurley said. “Campaign materials currently being distributed … could
imply the Catholic church’s support for a particular candidate. It has
long been the tradition of the Catholic church not to support or endorse
an individual candidate.”

Copyright 2007 Religion News Service

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