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Another One Bites The Dust

3/6/2003 - 2:00 PM PST

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by Deacon Keith A Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC

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“Another one bites the dust.
Another one bites the dust.
And another one gone and another one gone.
Another one bites the dust.
Hey I'm gonna get you too.
Another one bites the dust”.


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I remember those driving words from the old rock and roll anthem by Queen. It was released in 1980, the year that I graduated from Law School. Little did I think back then I would call them to mind when a Catholic politician who was once pro-life, sold out. Yet, they came back to me upon hearing the sad news of just such an event.

I spent my first few years in the practice of law building my own law firm, trying to blend what I have always called my “two professions”, the practice of law and the practice of my Catholic faith. Blending the two has led to an interesting career with many unique opportunities and an early and abiding interest in politics and policy.

In 1986 I was invited to serve as a Dean at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio. I had a long association with that wonderful Catholic school beginning when I followed my friend Fr Michael Scanlan to what was then the College of Steubenville,in 1974, after he became President.

I graduated from the College of Steubenville in 1977 with a degree in Philosophy and Theology. I was involved as a student leader and stayed in the Steubenville area to continue to help with “the mission”. In 1980, I graduated with my J.D. from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. I went to law school specifically because I wanted to be a part of the class action lawsuit that would one day be brought on behalf of all pre-born children wrongfully killed in the sanctuary of their mothers’ womb.

Though I spent the first half of the eighties practicing law in my own firm, I went “in house” with the University so that I could be more fully involved in “ministry” and, in particular, in helping others to understand the implications of their faith on their political participation.

I was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in a working class home. I always believed that the Democrat party was the party of the “little guy”, the voiceless and the underprivileged. Naturally, when I became politically active, I registered as a Democrat.

Back then, one of my heroes was the last of a now almost extinct breed, the Honorable Robert Casey, a pro-life Democrat. In 1986 he was the Governor of Pennsylvania. He still made me proud to be a Democrat. However, the party was quickly leaving me, and many like me, behind. I admired the candor and courage of a Republican named Ronald Reagan. He seemed different than my perception of Republicans and his vocal, unwavering commitment to the inalienable right to life inspired me.

I knew back then what I know even more profoundly now, after all these years of activism; a belief in the inviolable dignity of every human person at every age and stage is about more than ending abortion, though it involves that. It is about how one views the entire social order, human and civil rights, freedom and civic obligation. In short, it is a hermeneutic, a lens through which we inform our entire worldview, especially our obligation to social participation and human solidarity.

In September of 1987, a shockwave hit Presidential politics, Pat Robertson resigned from his ministry to pursue the Presidency of the United States. I vividly remember speaking to a mutual friend, Reverend Harald Bredeson (a stalwart in the early days of what was to be called the charismatic renewal and a wonderful Christian leader) concerning the news. I was quite excited. I told him that I admired Robertson’s clear stance for life. Harald knew Pat very well and immediately got me on the phone with the candidate. I found myself suggesting that I head up something I was going to call “Catholic Democrats for Robertson”

Though I was invited to go to New Hampshire and campaign, I did not do so. I stayed in Steubenville. However, that initial contact with Pat Robertson would open up a relationship that would later grow and evolve into my move to Virginia in 1991 to lead and build the American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life public interest law firm that he founded.

It was during my leadership of the ACLJ, that I would again encounter the heroism of Bob Casey. Still a registered Democrat (and a Catholic), I was heading a group founded by Pat Robertson (that certainly breaks some stereotypes) I was very excited that there was a growing momentum to form an exploratory committee to nominate Governor Casey for the Democratic nomination for President. I called to express my support!

I also remember his courageous effort to speak at the 1992 ...

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