Former Lewis County Democratic Committee Chairman Peter Cecconi had both his civic and his religious sensibilities affronted this morning as his family attended church at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Lowville, N. Y.
There in the parking lot of the church was a Hoffman campaigner handing out anti-abortion material to parishioners entering the church parking lot. This raises some questions on a couple of levels. First, while we are well aware of the official position of the Catholic Church concerning abortion, it would seem at a minimum, poor taste for a political campaign to bother people on their way to church in a gratuitous and obvious way to gain political favor for a political candidate.
Perhaps more importantly, at the St. Peter's site, the old parochial school is now a voting site and campaigning is forbidden within 100 feet of a polling place and Mr. Cecconi took real offense to this perceived infringement.
Like an old testament prophet, like Moses come down from the mountain (or if you know Pete, the mountain itself) Mr. Cecconi confronted the interloper and demanded he cease his activities.
Cecconi notified a number of authorities, including media sources but at last report the campaigning in the church parking lot continued.
I am uncertain what, if any actual legal issues may exist here, but this symbolizes the smugness and self rightousness of the Hoffman campaign and supporters. Indeed it symbolizes the dangers of the far right ideology. While reasonable people may disagree over the abortion issue, the true believers at the heart of the Hoffman campaign are far from reasonable people. Only they know what is right concerning abortion, only they know what is right about gay marriage, only they know what God's message is concerning these issues, only they know how to read the Constitution, and on a Sunday morning while taking your family to church they will shove it down your throats in the church parking lot.
The behavior of the Hoffman zealots should send a strong warning to the voters of the 23rd Congressional District. Their ideology is narrow, rigid and uncompromising and that will be the approach of Mr. Hoffman if elected.
While I was typing this I was notified that others were upset and complained about the tactics of the Hoffman camp. Kudos to Pete Cecconi and others that challenged their methods and also to the local priest that, I was just informed, asked the campaigner to leave.