Marquette Warrior: Marquette’s Aspin Center Honors Another Anti-Life Representative

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Marquette’s Aspin Center Honors Another Anti-Life Representative

Universities honor all sorts of people in all sorts of ways, and sometimes those honors become controversial.

Consider the following from Marquette’s public relations people:
3. Civil rights leader, congressman to receive Les Aspin Democracy Award

U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a noted civil rights leader, will be honored with the Les Aspin Democracy Award by the Aspin Center for Government at a luncheon in Milwaukee in September. A courageous leader during the civil rights movement, Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America.

Lewis was a lead organizer and keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963. In 1964, he coordinated voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer and on March 7, 1965, led more than 600 peaceful protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state, but were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News broadcasts and photographs revealing the cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

After serving on the Atlanta City Council, Lewis was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as the representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since. The district includes the entire city of Atlanta and parts of Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties.

“The Les Aspin Center strives to instill in our students a foundation for ethical leadership in public service,” said Rev. Tim O’Brien, Grad ‘75, director of the Aspin Center for Government. “Congressman John Lewis epitomizes those values, and his lifetime of service is an inspiration to all those working for positive change in our communities. We are proud to honor him with this award.”

This Aspin Democracy award is bestowed upon individuals who, in the opinion of the National Board of Visitors of the center and the president of Marquette, have made lifetime contributions of outstanding merit to the promotion of democracy and its values. Past Aspin Center honorees have included Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Sens. Robert and Elizabeth Dole, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Gen. Brent Scowcroft.
What does the blurb from the flacks fail to reveal?

As GOP3.COM has noted, his voting record, as recorded on the Issues 2000 web site, shows him to be strongly liberal, including strongly liberal on issues where the Catholic Church takes a conservative position.

For example, he:
  • Voted YES on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
  • Voted NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
  • Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
  • Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
  • Voted NO on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)
  • Voted NO on funding for health providers who don’t provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
  • Voted NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
  • Voted NO on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
  • Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)
  • Voted NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
  • Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a “pro-choice” voting record. (Dec 2003)
And a few other goodies:
  • Voted NO on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance from judges who want to remove “under God.”
  • Voted NO on allowing vouchers in DC schools. (Aug 1998)
  • Voted NO on vouchers for private & parochial schools. (Nov 1997)
  • Voted NO on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)
  • Rated 7% by the Christian Coalition: an “anti-family” voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Voted NO on banning physician-assisted suicide. (Oct 1999)
  • Voted NO on continuing military recruitment on college campuses. (Feb 2005)
  • Voted NO on eliminating the “marriage penalty.” (Jul 2000)
  • Voted NO on treating religious organizations equally for tax breaks. (Jul 2001)
  • Received a score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign, indicating complete agreement with a gay lobby agenda.
Our colleague, Professor Christopher Wolfe, was obviously appalled at this and fired off the following e-mail to Fr. Wild and Provost Madeline Wake :
I don’t deny that some of Rep. Lewis’ civil rights activity was admirable. But on one of the really fundamental issues (arguably the most important) in contemporary American life [abortion], he is, not just marginally, but completely opposed to the principles of social justice that are a key part of the Marquette mission.

Just as I think Marquette (and its various divisions) would not give an honor to someone who is a racist, no matter what other admirable things he had done, I think it should not give an honor to someone who is vociferously pro-abortion (as Lewis makes clear he is). This undermines, rather than supports, “a foundation for ethical leadership in public service.”
This honor for Lewis comes on the heels of Marquette honors, including a puff piece on the Marquette web site and a reception at the Aspin Center, for Congresswoman Gwen Moore, who is as pro-abortion as Lewis.

We understand the need for the Aspin Center to be bipartisan, operating as they do in Washington, DC and needing to avoid coming down on one side of the aisle. In fact, they have honored Republicans such as Senators Robert and Elizabeth Dole and former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.

Still, aren’t there Democrats they could honor who are anti-abortion, or at least more moderate on the issue (opposing partial birth abortion, perhaps)? Wouldn’t it be better to honor liberals who have (for example) supported school choice, or social welfare programs, or opposed religious persecution around the globe rather than those who are strongly pro-abortion?

The most interesting thing about Lewis, to a political scientist, is that he is a black representative who does not represent his black Atlanta constituents very well.

Black people, like white people, are split down the middle on abortion, and like white people, a clear majority of black people oppose partial birth abortion.

Support for the gay lobby agenda isn’t exactly rampant in the black community. But blacks are a bit more likely than whites to favor school choice -- something that Lewis opposes.

Which leads us to the dirty little secret of black elected representatives: they don’t represent their black constituents. They represent their white liberal political allies.


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