Presidential Debate Fact Check, October 13, 2004----A.W. Steward

Did Kerry Misquote God's Word in Debate?

Okay, we know Sen. John Kerry desperately wants to reach out to religious, Bible belt voters. Especially when President Bush's faith is so obviously sincere.

We're just wondering, what version of the Bible does Sen. Kerry read? We've checked all the Bible versions that we can find, but we can't locate Kerry's "Love the Lord, your God, with all your mind, your body and your soul" anywhere, in any version. Look in Matthew 22:37, or possibly Deuteronomy 6:5, to see what he should have said.

Romans 10:10 says, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteosness." In the debate, Kerry deleted the word "heart" in this well-known verse and added the word "body." We can't help but imagine the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, singing, "If I only had a heart."

We're also wondering, why all those highly paid "fact checkers" in the mainstream media missed it? Uh--maybe they're not up on their scripture either?

Earlier in the debate, Sen. Kerry also discussed what he calls his "faith," and attempted to quote other Bible verses. Surely, pastors across America can find many sermons here.

Kerry has a history of scrambling scriptures. When Senator Kerry visited Greater Grace Temple in Springfield, Ohio, on Sunday, August 1, 2004, he was given the pulpit. The Columbus Dispatch, August 2, 2004, quoted Kerry as having said, "We are on a wonderful journey. We look around in this country and see God's work yet to be done. Faith without works is death." This is apparently a misquote of James 2:20, "But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"

He tried again with the quote during the debate. He seems to get the gist of the quote right. However, deciphering his meaning in context of the abortion debate may take a Boston trial lawyer. Is he saying that his works, such as working to support abortion, support his Catholic faith, but he can't legislate his faith, meaning it can't affect his works, but it definitely influenced him? Again, we're just wondering.

Perhaps we all need to be reminded of Ephesian 5:11-16, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them...Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

America, take a good, long look, before you vote:


SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, let's go to a new question.

You were asked before the invasion, or after the invasion, of Iraq if you'd checked with your dad. And I believe, I don't remember the quote exactly, but I believe you said you had checked with a higher authority.

I would like to ask you, what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?

First, my faith plays a lot -- a big part in my life. And that's, when I answering that question, what I was really saying to the person was that I pray a lot. And I do.

And my faith is a very -- it's very personal. I pray for strength. I pray for wisdom. I pray for our troops in harm's way. I pray for my family. I pray for my little girls.

But I'm mindful in a free society that people can worship if they want to or not. You're equally an American if you choose to worship an almighty and if you choose not to.

If you're a Christian, Jew or Muslim, you're equally an American. That's the great thing about America, is the right to worship the way you see fit.

Prayer and religion sustain me. I receive calmness in the storms of the presidency.

I love the fact that people pray for me and my family all around the country. Somebody asked me one time, "Well, how do you know?" I said, "I just feel it."

Religion is an important part. I never want to impose my religion on anybody else.

But when I make decisions, I stand on principle, and the principles are derived from who I am.

I believe we ought to love our neighbor like we love ourself, as manifested in public policy through the faith-based initiative where we've unleashed the armies of compassion to help heal people who hurt.

I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That's what I believe.

And that's been part of my foreign policy. In Afghanistan, I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty. And I can't tell you how encouraged I am to see freedom on the march.

And so my principles that I make decisions on are a part of me, and religion is a part of me.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: Well, I respect everything that the president has said and certainly respect his faith. I think it's important and I share it. I think that he just said that freedom is a gift from the Almighty.

Everything is a gift from the Almighty. And as I measure the words of the Bible -- and we all do; different people measure different things -- the Koran, the Torah, or, you know, Native Americans who gave me a blessing the other day had their own special sense of connectedness to a higher being. And people all find their ways to express it.

I was taught -- I went to a church school and I was taught that the two greatest commandments are: Love the Lord, your God, with all your mind, your body and your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. And frankly, I think we have a lot more loving of our neighbor to do in this country and on this planet.

We have a separate and unequal school system in the United States of America. There's one for the people who have, and there's one for the people who don't have. And we're struggling with that today.

And the president and I have a difference of opinion about how we live out our sense of our faith.

I talked about it earlier when I talked about the works and faith without works being dead.

I think we've got a lot more work to do. And as president, I will always respect everybody's right to practice religion as they choose -- or not to practice -- because that's part of America.


Debate Question Regarding Abortion:

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry, a new question for you.

The New York Times reports that some Catholic archbishops are telling their church members that it would be a sin to vote for a candidate like you because you support a woman's right to choose an abortion and unlimited stem-cell research.

What is your reaction to that?

KERRY: I respect their views. I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many.

I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith.

I believe that choice is a woman's choice. It's between a woman, God and her doctor. And that's why I support that.

Now, I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade.

The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he's tried to appoint to the court he wants to.

I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade.

Now, with respect to religion, you know, as I said, I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I know that throughout my life this has made a difference to me.

And as President Kennedy said when he ran for president, he said, "I'm not running to be a Catholic president. I'm running to be a president who happens to be Catholic."

My faith affects everything that I do, in truth. There's a great passage of the Bible that says, "What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead."

And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people.

That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth.

That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith.

But I know this, that President Kennedy in his inaugural address told all of us that here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own. And that's what we have to — I think that's the test of public service.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?

BUSH: I think it's important to promote a culture of life. I think a hospitable society is a society where every being counts and every person matters.

I believe the ideal world is one in which every child is protected in law and welcomed to life. I understand there's great differences on this issue of abortion, but I believe reasonable people can come together and put good law in place that will help reduce the number of abortions.

Take, for example, the ban on partial birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. People from both political parties came together in the halls of Congress and voted overwhelmingly to ban that practice. It made a lot of sense. My opponent, in that he's out of the mainstream, voted against that law.


Debate Transcript source:,2933,135380,00.html

Following are quotes taken from interviews that Priests for Life conducted recently with officials of the Vatican and of USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

"The Church has taught on this issue of abortion and its immorality since the Apostolic Age. Its one of our longest standing moral public policy issues and it is not like any other issue. There are no instances where it is morally licit or justifiable. That sets it apart from other issues like capital punishment, like just war theory, and many other social issues that are very, very important but don't have that kind of no exceptions policy. Abortion is one of those fundamental issues. If the very right to life is taken away then no other right matters."--Cathy Cleaver-Ruse, Dir. of Planning and Information, Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"All of these other rights presuppose the right to life. If the right to life is not defended, the defense of all these other rights is useless. It becomes a lie, because it would mean that the defense to the right to work, to society, etc., applies only to some, and not to all."--Bishop Elio Sgreccia, Vice-President, Pontifical Academy for Life


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