Politics is a dirty business, but politicians usually avoid attacking charities supported by their own church. Not Steve Sisolak.
Last week, Nevada Democrats put out a pro-abortion screed against Adam Laxalt, Sisolak’s Republican gubernatorial opponent. It viciously attacked First Choice Pregnancy Services, a crisis pregnancy center. Crisis pregnancy centers offer women free pregnancy-related services, such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and counseling to help expectant moms choose life.
Nevada Democrats labeled First Choice a “fake clinic” that “coerces women who test positive for pregnancy to get an ultrasound right then and there.” Holding a woman against her will and forcing her to get a medical procedure is a serious charge, and in this case, it’s pure slander. For evidence, the Democrats link to the First Choice website where it says workers will schedule a woman for a free ultrasound if she is pregnant. Providing something for free isn’t equivalent to forcing someone to do something, even when you’re writing political hyperbole.
Offering free services gets expensive. That’s where the Catholic Church comes in.
“At least half of the parishes in the diocese have (a fundraising) campaign where they collect donations” for First Choice, said Kathleen Miller, the pro-life director for the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas.
Financial donations don’t just come from the congregation. The Catholic Church itself “almost always buys tables from the bishop’s office and several parishes” for First Choice fundraising events, Miller said. Also, many of First Choice’s “volunteers come from the different Catholic parishes.” The Las Vegas Diocese even links to First Choice on its website.
While Democrats conflate free services with coercion, Miller talks about women who came into First Choice and told the staff “someone was trying to coerce them into having an abortion.” Those women got help they wouldn’t have gotten at Planned Parenthood. The abortion giant has been caught on tape ignoring sexual abusers and willing to help apparent sex traffickers.
If Sisolak tithes, as the Bible commands, he has helped to finance an organization that his party is maligning. So is Sisolak outraged or telling party officials to rein in the rhetoric? Hardly. He kicked off this line of attack months ago.
After Laxalt toured First Choice in February, Sisolak tweeted that it was a “shameful group,” and that Laxalt’s beliefs on abortion were “beyond the pale.” Those statements are much more than political rhetoric. He’s personally attacking thousands of his fellow Catholics who support First Choice with time, money or prayer. He’s also attacking the Catholic Church, which, in its catechism, calls abortion a “moral evil” and excommunicates people who formally participate in it.
“I pray for Commissioner Sisolak,” Miller said. “You truly can’t be a devout Catholic and think it’s OK to kill human babies.”
Perhaps the Lord will place a modified version of Mark 8:36 on his heart: For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world — or even the governorship of Nevada — and forfeit his soul?
Given Sisolak’s willingness to attack his own church and his fellow congregants for political gain, it’s scary to think about what else he’d be willing to do to win.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 9 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.