Grand Rapids Mayor Crosses The Line

Catalyst September Issue 2007

George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, sent a campaign postcard to Catholic voters in late July that showed a picture of a local Catholic church on the front and the names of seven local Catholic leaders on the back. The mayor is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and an abortion-rights advocate. One of his challengers, city commissioner Rick Tormala, is a Catholic pro-life advocate; he labeled the Heartwell tactic “insulting and deceptive.”

It was clear that in this instance Tormala’s complaint was valid. Even if Heartwell were Catholic and pro-life, it still would have smacked of demagoguery for him to sell himself to Catholics in such a crass manner. But the fact that he is the darling of the pro-abortion community made his ploy all the more despicable.

The fact that Heartwell enlisted a small band of “social justice” Catholics—men and women whose interest in soup kitchens always seems to trump their interest in crisis pregnancy centers—means nothing. At the end of the day, religious profiling is totally unacceptable; Mayor Heartwell clearly crossed the line with his pandering postcards.


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Written by Bill