Tobin criticizes Obama and Reed; won’t back Chafee on PleauMay 10th, 2012 at 11:10 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
The leader of Rhode Island’s Roman Catholics didn’t hold back Thursday in strongly criticizing President Obama and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed for supporting same-sex marriage, but he declined to take a stand on Governor Chafee’s legal fight to avoid accused murderer Jason Pleau facing the death penalty.
“I think the whole group are driven by the Democratic agenda,” Bishop Thomas Tobin told WPRO’s John DePetro. “We’re getting closer to an election cycle.”
“It’s a very, very strange evolution,” Tobin said of Obama’s change of heart. “The man has no real foundation, moral compass. This is clearly politically driven.” He later added: “The fact that he used his daughters as a reason to support same-sex marriage was, to me, disturbing, even a little bit creepy.”
Tobin was less explicit in his criticism of Reed, who is Catholic, saying that he’d been following the senior senator’s public statements and had “a general sense” he’d take that position. “I’m not surprised,” Tobin said. “It’s very predictable but enormously sad.”
Tobin shied away from commenting on the governor’s legal battle over whether Pleau should be surrendered to federal custody, where he could face the death penalty, calling the original crime “very, very disturbing” and expressing sympathy for the family of victim David Main.
“While we certainly reject the use of capital punishment in our society and our culture today … this is a very complex issue that involves law and the Constitution on one hand, but very deep and personal issues on the other hand, and it’s enormously difficult to balance the two,” the bishop said.
“I’ve intentionally stayed away from this particularly issue because it does get involved in technical, legal issues that I’m not really qualified to address,” he said. The New York Times editorial board reiterated its support for Chafee’s position in Thursday’s newspaper.
The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies reported this month that Massachusetts has replaced Rhode Island as the most Catholic U.S. state. Catholics make up 44% of Rhode Islanders, down 14% since 2000, the survey found.