by Andrew Walden
It hasn’t been easy, but Hawai`i Free Press has finally got to the root source of the “Abercrombie Episcopal” assertion which suddenly began being inserted into Hawaii media reports over the last two weeks.
On August 31, KHON reported, “Democrat Neil Abercrombie is a confirmed Episcopalian….” KHON did not provide a source for this assertion.
September 1, KITV included this line in an article about Christians debating who to support for Governor: “…Democratic candidate Neil Abercrombie, a confirmed Episcopalian….”
In a September 6 article, KITV claims: "Abercrombie told KITV he was confirmed as an Episcopalian." Hawai`i Free Press contacted KITV’s Denby Fawcett in an effort to track down the details.
When the issue of religion started coming up in the campaign, I wondered about Neil Abercrombie's faith. I called the campaign office and they asked Neil and (Abercrombie campaign representative Jim McCoy) called back to say he was "confirmed as an Episcopalian." KHON also asked the same question the same day and got the same reply from the campaign.
Herb Sample of Associated Press September 6 reported:
Abercrombie spokesman Jim McCoy on Sunday sought to clarify Abercrombie's religious affiliation, saying only that the candidate was ''confirmed as an Episcopalian.''
The key word in the Abercrombie campaign’s four-word response is “confirmed”. What does “confirmed” mean to Episcopals? According an Episcopal Church website:
The Sacrament of Confirmation is defined as a "mature public affirmation" of faith. (Book of Common Prayer, p.412.)
For those baptized as infants or young children, it serves to confirm the vows that were made at the baptism. For adults growing in their faith journey, Confirmation recognizes a maturing faith.
Those desiring to be confirmed must be baptized, at least 12 years of age and have completed a course of instruction. Confirmation is performed by a Bishop with the laying on of hands.
This means the Abercrombie campaign has been asked about Abercrombie’s religious beliefs by reporters--and their answer has been:
“(About 60 years ago in Buffalo, NY Neil Abercrombie was) confirmed as an Episcopalian."
Since the questions are about what Abercrombie believes now, the answer is a non-sequitur—especially after years of Abercrombie declining to assert a religious preference in Congressional surveys.
In Abercrombie’s “Fact Check” response to a challenge from the pro-Hannemann “Island Values” group running radio ads featuring former Hawaii Family Forum Chair Dennis Arakaki, Abercrombie’s campaign says absolutely nothing about Abercrombie being Episcopalian or any other religion. Instead the response focuses on the ties between the Hannemann Campaign and “Island Values.”
In a September 13 article titled, “Hawaii Pastors Speak Out Against Invoking God In Politics”, KITV reports that a group of leftist pastors is running a radio ad describing Abercrombie as “…the Episcopalian Neil Abercrombie….” The group of leftist pastors is closely tied to the promotion of Islam Day and efforts to pass gay civil unions.
Calling Abercrombie “Episcopalian” is a falsehood which Abercrombie's campaign has itself avoided.
In spite of these realities, Derrick DePledge in the Star-Advertiser print edition September 4 writes:
"Neil Abercrombie is unacceptable," Arakaki states in the ad. "He declares no religious affiliation. In Congress, he voted for partial birth abortion and human cloning. And it's no secret that he will enact same-sex marriage."
“Told that Abercrombie has said he is an Episcopalian, Arakaki said he would apologize if the ad is wrong”.
Political candidates lie all the time—especially in closely fought elections. In this case, Abercrombie's campaign has made a lie of omission. Contrary to DePledge’s claim, Abercrombie has not said he is an Episcopalian.
It is amazing to see just how many Hawaii media personnel are participating in elaborate schemes arranged just to protect Neil Abercrombie from being forced to stand up like a man and make a simple, straightforward statement.
LINK: Lie of Omission