By Jim Davenport
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, June 10, 2007 12:26 AM
TAYLORS, S.C. (AP) -- Sen. Sam Brownback, campaigning for president Saturday before the National Catholic Men's Conference, questioned whether rape victims should get abortions.
"Rape is terrible. Rape is awful. Is it made any better by killing an innocent child? Does it solve the problem for the woman that's been raped?" the Kansas Republican asked at the St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers gathering.
"We need to protect innocent life. Period," Brownback said, bringing the crowd of about 500 to its feet.
Brownback also talked about keeping marriage between a man and a woman, saying nations that have allowed same-sex marriages were engaging in bad social experiments, with bad results.
He also encouraged married couples to stay together, saying studies have shown that if couples weather hard times for five years, their marriages tend to last. After five years, "people are happier than those who have had a divorce," Brownback said.
It was not clear what research he was citing.
Brownback was the only presidential hopeful invited to speak, said Steve Wood, president of Family Life Center International. Wood said that the event was about families, not politics, and that Brownback -- a Roman Catholic -- was there to talk about bringing his faith into public life.
In introducing Brownback, Wood criticized Catholic politicians who fall short on doing just that on issues like abortion.
"I don't know about you, but this stuff by many Catholic politicians who say, 'I'm personally opposed, but.' But what?" Wood said. "You should have the integrity to be consistent in both the personal and public life," he said.
Several other attendees at the conference agreed.
"You can't separate your political life and your Christian life," said Barry LeMay from San Jose, Calif.
"I think if a politician's going to run for office claiming to be Catholic, they need to ascribe to everything that the Catholic church teaches," said Michael Scheuren of St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.