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Democrat Kelly Kultala responds to call for her excommunication

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Democrat Kelly Kultala, who is running for Congress in the 3rd District of Kansas, responded this week to a comment by the chairman of the Wyandotte County Republican Party who called for her excommunication from the Catholic Church.

"Last week I was outraged when the Republican Party county chair called for me to be excommunicated because I am a pro-choice Catholic," Kultala wrote in a blog on Huffingtonpost.com. "It was stunning because it is among my deepest beliefs that it is not one's place to judge another's faith."

Mark Gilstrap, the Wyandotte County GOP chairman, confirmed in a telephone interview that he posted the comment on Kultala's Facebook page. But he said it was not a comment about her being a pro-choice Catholic but, rather, a response to Kultala's own post in which she said she was soliciting the endorsement of EMILY's List — a political action committee that supports pro-choice women for public office.

As of Thursday, Kultala was not listed among the candidates EMILY's List is supporting for federal office.

"That comment was from Mark Gilstrap, citizen," said Gilstrap, a Catholic who attends St. Patrick's Church in Kansas City. "But Mark Gilstrap also happens to be the Republican county chairman from Wyandotte County."

EMILY's List says its mission is to elect pro-choice Democratic women. But Gilstrap said he believes, "You don't get their endorsement unless you support abortion at any time, which includes late-term and partial birth abortion."

It was not the first time Kultala has scrapped with Gilstrap, nor the first time she has had to defend her Catholic faith against charges of hypocrisy from opponents.

Before becoming a Republican, Gilstrap was a Democratic state senator from Wyandotte County from 1996 to 2008. But he was also conservative and frequently clashed with fellow Democrats, including then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, over abortion bills, as well as budget and tax policy and education spending.

In 2008, Sebelius backed Kultala to run against him in the Democratic primary, and Kultala won the primary with 61 percent of the vote. She then faced Republican Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth County in the general election. During a public forum at a Catholic church in October that year, Fitzgerald suggested it was wrong for any Catholic to be a Democrat because of the Democratic Party's positions on abortion and gay rights.

Kultala won the 2008 race and served one term in the Senate. But she was defeated four years later in a rematch against Fitzgerald, who now holds that seat.

Kultala is now challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Republican, in the 3rd District, which includes Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

Comments

Bruce Bertsch 10 months ago

Apparently "citizen" Gilstrap needs to take a remedial reading course involving the Constitution of the United States and what it says about religion being a condition of holding office.

Richard Heckler 10 months ago

The greater number of catholics are pro choice from what I hear on radio news and read in different publications.

Mark Gilstrap is among those republicans posing as a republican but in reality is a right wing anti american who would sell off public schools to corporations who indulge in obscene profits ---- profits which are supported with our tax dollars that is. Which makes Mark Gilstrap a very reckless politician.

10 months ago

Excommunication from the Catholic church would be seen by many as a respectable and an admirable en-devour. However we in the states are far from seeing that kind of integrity displayed in the political arena today. Far, far from it...lol.

Bob Smith 10 months ago

Given the circumstance, perhaps an auto-da-fé would be more appropriate. (contains hyperbole)

Cait McKnelly 10 months ago

Well I do know some Supreme Court justices that need to update their robes.

James Howlette 10 months ago

Nah, I think Gilstrap might learn how to mind his own beez wax without doing anything that severe.

Lynn Grant 10 months ago

You go, Kelly! The majority of Catholic women are right behind you. Who is Mark Gilstrap that he thinks he can decide who should be excommunicated? Did God make him judge or something? Never have seen Bishop, Cardinal or Pope in front of his name!

Stuart Sweeney 10 months ago

I am Catholic and I do not think abortion is right, does that give me the right to impose my views on someoneelse? This seems more to come from the quarter that think you cannot be a Democrat and a Christian. If were are going to make calls such as this, let us make the same call on refusal to provide medical aid to those less fortunate, or cutting food programs that feed the poor, or those who would seek to make it harder for those to seek a living wage, or make it difficult to vote. I think you see my point, it you refuse to help lift you fellow man out of the church you go. Is that really reasonable?

Bob Forer 10 months ago

You are absolutely right, Stuart. If Gilstrap was anything more than an unmitigated opportunist and hypocrite, he would be calling for the excommunciation of Catholic politiicans who are in favor of the death penalty and who oppose programs for the disadvantaged.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 months ago

This guy is pretty arrogant. He isn't even a priest, is he? Is the tea party going to tell the Catholic Church what to do now?

Bob Smith 10 months ago

On the national stage, it's the disappointed progressives who have decided the Catholic Church must die after the Hobby Lobby ruling. http://thefederalist.com/2014/07/03/its-open-season-on-catholics/ Cait is on their bandwagon.

James Howlette 10 months ago

Wow, that's an even poorer quality source than your usual links.

Leslie Swearingen 10 months ago

Excommunication is a process from within the Catholic Church and it is taken very seriously. It is never done on a whim, but evidence must be presented. Even then the person is not banned from the church, but from taking communion and the articles of reconciliation which used to be called confession.

William Ballard 10 months ago

Fortunately, the decision on excommunication belongs to the Bishop, and the Bishop knows that political opinions are not a basis for removing someone from the Sacraments. The day it becomes so, the Catholic Church is no longer the Church, but a tool for people like Gilstrap. And excommunication can work both ways. I know others who say Sam Brownback should be excommunicated because he ignores Christ's call to help the poor and marginalized of our society, (Matthew 25: 35-40). That same could be said of any Catholic who is a Republican. So I would encourage Mr. Gilstrap and people like him to leave people's religious beliefs out of the political fray.

Mike Ford 10 months ago

When there is a political party that isn't even in the same universe that can never run on real issues and always runs on character attacks because they have a low information constituency it's time to ignore and minimalize them for the betterment of a democracy of concerned people who want good for all. Instead of dealing with poverty and molestation issues this person chooses to attack a good person out of their own weakness. Start making these people publically own their weakness for the betterment of all.

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