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Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast organizers disinvite Stupak

CHICAGO — Wanted: a new keynote speaker for the third annual Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast next month.

U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, hailed last fall for proposing an amendment that would impose tight restrictions on abortions, has been disinvited.

Michael Sullivan, president of the Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast, said organizers could not give Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan, a platform in good conscience because he voted for health care reform with a promise of an executive order that would impose similar restrictions on abortion.

"An executive order is kind of like a light switch," Sullivan said. "Whoever is in Washington can turn it on and turn it off. It doesn't offer adequate protection for the unborn."

Sullivan said guests threatened to boycott the event as soon as votes were taken in the House on Sunday. Stupak or a representative from his office could not be reached for comment. Breakfast organizers couldn't reach him either. Sullivan said they broke the news to his wife.


Founded in 2008, the Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast invited papal biographer George Weigel as the inaugural keynote speaker. Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wis., told last year's audience that President Barack Obama, although not Catholic, was bound by the natural law of human reason like everyone else.

Sullivan drew a parallel between Stupak's actions and Peter's actions in the New Testament.

"No one is condemning Bart Stupak," Sullivan said. "His job in the public square is to stand up for his constituents and the principles that he purports to believe in ... He's really turned his back on those principles. Those principles issue from this person we think is God — Jesus. If our first pope can deny him and be forgiven and be restored then certainly Bart can as well. We're praying for him."


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