The Roman Catholic World
September 30, 2010
by Marielena Montesino de Stuart
“I am pro-life.” “I do not support the destruction of human embryos… and I do not support the government funding it.”
Marco Rubio– September 18, 2010, St. Augustine, Florida
On September 18th a large contingency comprised of fourteen different TEA Party groups gathered at Francis Field in St. Augustine, Florida, to welcome Marco Rubio, who is running as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Rick Scott and Pam Bondi were also special guests, as Republican candidates for Governor and State Attorney General, respectively.
St. Augustine, FL, September 18, 2010:
In recent times, few candidates– if any, have had the presence and impact of Marco Rubio. His decency in character, determination and intelligence are worthy of respect. His composure and decorum in front of the camera has been called “presidential.”
Almost every day, we hear him proudly speaking about his parents and his humble beginnings, as he describes how they worked tirelessly to make sure that their children could climb onto that incredible
stage called the “American Dream.” Marco Rubio has done an impressive job of climbing that stage, as the American son of Cuban parents who fled the tyranny of Fidel Castro.
It has been a long time since a discussion about the tragedy in Cuba has taken a prominent position in American political races. But in Florida, being home to the largest community of exiled Cubans anywhere in the world, the discussion of the long Cuban diaspora is inevitable. Indeed, a discussion of great importance– because it serves as a reminder of the oppression that follows socialism. Cuba, after all, has become like a comatose patient, being kept alive for decades in the heart of the Western Hemisphere, but forgotten by many. Politicians and historians love to rewrite history, and the longer that Cuba remains under communism, the more that the truth behind its tragedy will be conveniently erased. But Marco Rubio is making sure that the tragedy of communism in Cuba is not forgotten, and he speaks about it often at his campaign stops, and through the prism of his family’s struggles.
Rubio’s campaign may be taking place in America—but it would not be happening, had his parents not taken a stand against socialism and communism. A providential decision that led to Marco Rubio’s birth in America.
Excerpts from Mr. Rubio’s speech in St. Augustine:
“Our’s is the greatest society in all of human history. In all the history of humanity, there is no country to compare us to. People call us exceptional. We are not just exceptional. Let me be blunt—we are better than anywhere else that has ever existed.”
“But that didn’t happen automatically, and is not going to continue on its own. Every single generation of Americans has had to stand up and face the challenges to our greatness. And because every single generation has, every American has left the next generation better off. ”
“This election is nothing less than a referendum on our identity as a nation, and as a people.”
“When I got into this race a year and a half ago the entire Republican establishment in Washington did not support us. But that was OK. The establishment of the Republican party in Florida did not support us. But that was OK. You see, I’m glad that happened to me. I thank God that that happened to me—and I’ll tell you why– because it forced me to answer what I think is the most important question that any candidate should have to answer. That is, why are you running for office? Are you running to be somebody, or are you running to do something?”
“My parents were not born in this country. My parents were born in a place called Cuba. We are proud of our heritage. But, my parents lost their country. I will not be part of a generation of Americans that loses theirs.”
Marco Rubio listens
Mr. Rubio has a track record of paying careful attention to not just his home county, but to the whole state of Florida, as reflected in the following statement on his campaign website:
During the two years prior to assuming the speakership, Rubio traveled around the state hosting “Idearaisers” to solicit Floridians’ input on ways to strengthen Florida. The 100 best ideas were compiled into a book entitled “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future”which served as the basis for his term. All 100 ideas were passed by the Florida House. Fifty-seven of these ideas ultimately became law, including measures to crack down on gangs and sexual predators, promote energy efficient buildings, appliances and vehicles, and help small businesses obtain affordable health coverage. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich hailed the effort as “a work of genius.”
In addition to these ideas, Rubio championed a major overhaul of the Florida tax system that would have eliminated all property taxes on primary residences in favor of a flat consumption tax. The effort garnered national attention, with
Grover Norquist, president of the fiscally conservative Americans for Tax Reform, praising Rubio as “the most pro-taxpayer legislative leader in the country.”
The Jackson Lab
While Rubio crisscrosses the state of Florida, a battle is raging over the Jackson Lab proposal in Collier County. A proposal that involves millions of taxpayer dollars. A proposal that would not meet the approval of a pro-life and pro-taxpayer legislator like Marco Rubio– a fearless candidate, who, in his own words, started his campaign in spite of not having the support of the Republican establishment.
The Jackson Lab is a company whose activities include workshops and resources for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.
The Jackson Lab’s VP, Chuck Hewett. has stated that the Jackson Lab will not rule out actually doing Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (HESC)—a bold statement, considering that the proposed move to Collier County is under tremendous moral and financial scrutiny.
In addition to being involved in the world of HESC, the Jackson Lab also has a dark past in Eugenics. But to be fair, one must credit Mr. Hewett for not hiding the Jackson Lab’s agenda. At least, he is putting the public on notice.
The Jackson Lab is hoping to open a new branch in Ave Maria, a town in Eastern Collier County, founded in 2007 under a controversial “Special District” government.
Collier County taxpayers are worried
Productivity reports, meetings, polls, conversations, media interviews and articles, and many, many heated arguments have taken place for many months, as a result of the Board of Collier County Commissioners’ refusal to allow Collier County citizens to vote on the use of taxpayer funding for the Jackson Lab. But the Board of Collier County Commissioners remains unmoved by public pressure, and continues to push the Jackson Lab agenda.
The Letters to the Editor section of the Naples Daily News is a living testament to the indignation felt by so many, about the way in which the county commissioners have handled this matter. The Naples Daily News public poll continues to show that 84% of responders are against ANY taxpayer funding of the Jackson Lab.
Mr. Rubio’s pro-life stance, the description as “the most pro-taxpayer legislative leader in the country” –and his attention to details on issues affecting Floridians, inspired me to speak with him on September 18th, during his visit to St. Augustine. My questions were focused on the defense of human life, and the taxpayer issue related to the Jackson Lab controversy:
MM de S: Mr. Rubio, I understand that you are pro-life.
MR: Yes, I am pro-life.
MM de S: Where do you stand on the Jackson Lab proposal in Collier County? The Jackson Lab holds workshops and provides resources for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.
MR: I’m not too familiar with the Jackson Lab issue, but I do not support the destruction of human embryos. I supported the decision that President Bush made when he was president, and I do not support the decision that Obama’s administration made last year.
MM de S: There are millions of dollars from taxpayers that could go to the Jackson Lab project, and people are very concerned.
MR: I did hear something about it [the Jackson Lab issue] I’m just not too familiar with that specific case, but I do want you to know where I stand on the issue [Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research]. I do not support that [Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research] and I do not support government funding it, but we can follow up with you.
MM de S: Yes, thank you very much.
A Conversation with Marco Rubio’s U.S. Senate campaign spokesman
I accepted Mr. Rubio’s kind invitation, and spoke with his U.S. Senate campaign spokesman, Alex Burgos. During my conversation with Mr. Burgos I commented on the important statements that appear on Marco Rubio’s campaign website, indicating that he is a “dynamic spokesman for the principles of limited government and economic freedom,” as well as Grover Norquist’s statement calling Marco Rubio “the most pro-taxpayer legislative leader in the country.” As such, it is of great value to hear Marco Rubio’s opinion on the issue of the Jackson Lab proposal in Collier County.
In addition, I explained to Mr. Burgos that further evidence of the importance of the Jackson Lab issue, is reflected in a public opinion poll being conducted by the Naples Daily News– which shows that 84% of responders have given an absolute NO to any use of taxpayer dollars.
My two follow-up questions for Mr. Burgos were:
1. Where does Mr. Rubio stand on the proposed taxpayer funding, for the Jackson Lab to establish a facility in Collier County?
2. Where does Mr. Rubio stand on the fact that Collier County citizens are being denied the right to vote on the use of taxpayer dollars for the Jackson Lab deal?
The following are excerpts of my conversation with Mr. Burgos:
ALEX BURGOS: We can’t really speak to the specific local issue. He [Marco Rubio] does oppose taxpayer funding of abortion or the destruction of human embryos. That is his overriding principle and position. Those are the types of policies that he’ll fight for, and to make sure that taxpayers funds, federal taxpayer funds are not used for these purposes, and it is part of his record in the State House.
I proceeded to explain that the Jackson Lab’s activities include workshops and resources for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. I also pointed to the Naples Daily News (April 10, 2010) article where Chuck Hewett, Vice President of the Jackson Lab, states that the Jackson Lab is actually “not willing to rule out doing Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.”
ALEX BURGOS: Abortion, destruction of human embryos, anything that comes up in the U.S. Senate related to that—it is very clear on which side he’ll come down on. That is, to oppose any measures that lead to federal taxpayer funds being used for these purposes.
This [the Jackson Lab proposal] is a specific local issue, that I have not had a chance to discuss with him. I don’t know how familiar he is with it. The bottom line is he opposes taxpayer dollars being used for these purposes. And, regardless of how it happens, he is opposed to the use of it. Regardless of the process that is used to make it possible, he simply flat out opposes it. He believes that the use of taxpayer dollars, regardless of how it happens, should not be used for these purposes.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida speaks about the moral and ethical impact of the Jackson Lab proposal
The Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida, issued the following statement concerning the Jackson Lab on July 23, 2010, through the Diocese’s spokesman:
“While the Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida is aware of the potential economic benefits of any company coming to the region, there are other questions which have a profound moral and ethical impact that must also be considered. Indeed, moral and ethical questions are at the very core of what constitutes truly authentic human and economic development. Authentic human and economic development, in keeping with the Teachings of the Catholic Church, highlights not only the ‘wants’ of life, but more profoundly, the ‘oughts.’ This is also the case with regard to The Jackson Laboratory’s proposal to operate in Collier County.
”Jackson Laboratory’s purported association with and openness to human embryonic stem cell research causes the Diocese of Venice concern. Of particular note is a public statement made by the company that they are “not willing to rule out doing human embryonic stem cell research” (Naples Daily News, April 10, 2010) “…as is well known, since work on human embryonic stem cells involves the destruction of innocent human life, the Church does not approve of such research.
” While encouraging and supporting biomedical research which respects innocent human life and advances the common good and in keeping fully with the Teachings of the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Venice has ethical and moral concerns as regards the potential activities at the proposed Jackson Laboratory facility.”
“Economic growth and development are not only components which impact the life of a community. An organization which truly respects the rights of all human beings could and should “rule out” human embryonic stem cell research. This is precisely because it involves the destruction of innocent human life and consequently, affects the community. Without such an understanding, the plan of Jackson Laboratory, as it has been reported, presents difficulty for the Diocese of Venice in Florida.”
Marco Rubio’s record is clear
No right to privacy, that resulted in the Roe v. Wade: “I support judges who will respect the rule of law, strictly interpret our Constitution and not legislate from the bench. I opposed Judge Sonia Sotomayor [based on] her case history and testimony regarding the Second Amendment at the state level, eminent domain takings and the so-called constitutional right to privacy that resulted in the Roe v. Wade decision. Together, these and other cases point to a nominee who would bring an activist approach to the highest court in the land.” Source: Campaign website, http://www.marcorubio.com, “Issues” Feb 3, 2010
Require ultrasounds before performing abortions: “I am pro-life. As a state legislator, I supported various pieces of pro-life legislation that, among other things, would require doctors to perform ultrasounds before performing abortions and another bill that would ban the use of taxpayer dollars to fund stem cell research.” Source: Campaign website, http://www.marcorubio.com, “Issues” Feb 3, 2010
Voted against funding stem cell research: Rubio voted NO on Amendment A990241, Stem Cell Research Funding Amendment (rejected by the House, 40 – 73).
State government synopsis: This amendment earmarks $1,000,000 from the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program to fund research grants on adult, umbilical cord and embryonic stem cell projects. Source: Florida state legislative voting records Apr 6, 2006
Marco Rubio’s legacy
Greatness has been thrusted upon Marco Rubio, and he must not only remain consistent as a “pro-taxpayer” candidate– but most important, as a “pro-life” candidate.
The Jackson Lab controversy involves issues that Marco Rubio strongly opposes, hence his opinion and experience as a legislator would be of great value. As such, one can only anticipate that Mr. Rubio will give serious consideration to the taxpayers of Collier County, and to Bishop Frank Dewane’s statement and concerns over the Jackson Lab proposal.
The defense of innocent human life cannot be nuanced. It cannot be fought in silence. It is indeed, a battle cry for life.
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Related Story: RICK SCOTT Speaks to Marielena Montesino de Stuart
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You may read Marielena Montesino de Stuart’s observations and opinions through RenewAmerica, USAToday, U.S. Politics Today (a EIN News Service for Political Professionals) Poynter Online, Spero News, The New Liturgical Movement-Poland, The Naples Daily News, Les Femmes-The Truth, Culture War Notes, ProLife Blogs, The Wanderer, etc.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION: Marco Rubio + Cuba + Fidel Castro + Socialism + Communism +St. Augustine, Florida + The Jackson Lab + Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research + Eugenics + Taxation + Ave Maria, Florida + Ave Maria Stewardship Community District +Board of Collier County Commissioners + Rick Scott + Pam Bondi + Bishop Frank J. Dewane
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