More that 200 Catholic parishes in the New York Archdiocese will be offered copies of a voter guide to the 32-nine member community school board elections in the city.

While distribution will be up to each pastor, the effort has the approval of Cardinal O’Connor, and represents an important breakthrough in cooperation between Catholics and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition.

The voter guides report on the responses of more than 1,000 candidates for the 288 community school board seats. The guides contain no endorsements and focus on responses to questions on key moral issues of particular concern to both the Church and the Christian Coalition.

The New York Times noted that the effort was not a first. During last fall’s election campaign, Christian Coalition pamphhlets on the presidential candidates were distributed in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Questions in the New York school board races focused on parental rights and some key academic issues. Candidates were asked – among other things – if they supported parental consent requirements in condom distribution programs and a primary emphasis on abstinence as the most effective method to avoid sexually transmited diseases including HIV/AIDS.

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