Source: The San Diego Union Tribune
By Joshua Stewart
Between requests for prayers for the sick and a notice for an upcoming chastity luncheon, a newsletter from a Catholic church in Old Town that doubles as an election-day polling site included a flier that told parishioners they’ll go to hell if they vote for Democrats.
Two Sundays later, the message had changed: Satan was working through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Oct. 16 bulletin from the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was stuffed with a flyer written in both English and Spanish that cited five legislative policies — support for abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research — that will doom a politician and their supporters to eternal damnation.
The political messages continued as early voting began and the election drew closer. An article in the Oct. 30 the church bulletin claimed that Clinton is influenced by Satan.
The bulletin took a quote from a 2015 speech by Clinton out of context to make it appear that through Satanic intervention the Democratic nominee, using techniques from trailblazing community organizer Saul Alinsky, was telling Christians to change their religious beliefs to support abortion.
“The devil does this through tactics outlined by Saul Alinsky with the outcome as Hillary Clinton stated ‘And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,’ to draw us away from God’s teachings regarding the sanctity of life to those of the world and its prince,” the bulletin said.
Clinton, speaking at the Women in the World Summit, was actually talking about eliminating cultural barriers that prevent girls from attending elementary school and women from attending college, as well as obstacles that stand between enforcement of domestic violence laws and access to reproductive and maternal healthcare.
Lawyers who study churches and other nonprofit organizations said the statements violate regulations that prevent tax-exempt groups from speaking in support or against political candidates.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego on Wednesday said the messages in the flier and bulletin do not reflect Catholic teaching or diocese policies, are inappropriate, and that voters should use their conscience to determine which candidates to support.
“It’s not a mortal sin to vote for Democrats, number one. And number two, the church doesn’t take positions on this, and we’re not going to,” diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said.
In a speech Tuesday at the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego, Bishop Robert McElroy stressed the importance both for his faith and for the country of religious leaders like himself staying out of candidate elections.
“I speak to you tonight as a bishop who is part of a long tradition in Catholic episcopal leadership in the United States which holds that both the Church and society are best served when bishops refrain from publicly endorsing or favoring, either directly or indirectly, specific candidates in partisan elections,” a transcript of his address says.
The diocese said the flier was not authorized by the parish, but it was somehow inserted into the Oct. 16 bulletin.
“It is a mortal sin to vote Democrat … immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell,” the flyer said. It cited the five public policy issues from the “Voters Guide for Serious Catholics” and said that Democrats violate each of them, while Republicans cross none.