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Church Publications Condemn Clinton

September 19, 1998|Associated Press

NEW YORK — U.S. religious magazines and newspapers are condemning President Clinton's conduct and questioning his ability to lead, but few are calling on him to step down.

One exception is the Evangelist, the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, N.Y. In an editorial, it declared: "It is time for Mr. Clinton to resign the office he has disgraced through his many perversions and endless mendacity."

Another resignation proponent is World, a conservative Protestant magazine in Asheville, N.C., which said on its Aug. 29 cover: "Time to Resign." In a commentary in its next issue, it said there are too many duties the president "either just flat can't do or should be highly embarrassed to do," such as administration of justice and foreign policy.

Other publications have come close to saying Clinton must leave.

New York's Jewish Week noted that Judaism makes special moral demands of those in power, and said it is possible Clinton will "put concern for country above self" and resign.

The Tidings, newspaper of the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese, said Americans should grant full forgiveness only if the president extends his apology to acknowledge the damage he has done "to his office, the government and society." The paper also asked, "What kind of leadership--other than purely reactive and defensive--can we reasonably expect from President Clinton over the next two years?"

The newspaper of the Boston Catholic Archdiocese, the Pilot, asked Congress to decide about censure or impeachment in a nonpartisan spirit. But if the president "has lost sufficient credibility to lead the nation," the newspaper added, Congress should ask him to resign.

The Catholic Messenger in Davenport, Iowa, called Clinton a "world-class manipulator" but said believers need to be hesitant about condemning others. It added: "The president should be a subject of prayer and balanced appreciation, not judgment."

Christianity Today, an influential Evangelical Protestant magazine in suburban Chicago, went to press hours before the Starr report was issued last week. In an editorial, it said: "Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the president and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead." But the piece did not mention resignation.

On the Catholic left, the National Catholic Reporter of Kansas City, Mo., complained that "not only in the content of the report but the rush to publish it, some threshold of decency was crossed and some raw wounds inflicted on the national psyche, especially that of the children."

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