Catholic World News News Feature
Catholic adviser to Bush steps down August 19, 2004
A key Catholic adviser to the re-election campaign of US President George Bush has stepped down, saying that a liberal Catholic publication is seeking to discredit the campaign by raising allegations about his personal life.
Deal Hudson, the publisher of Crisis magazine, posted an article in National Review Online on August 18, revealing that investigators have raised questions about incidents in his past. "While I have no intention of being dissuaded by personal attacks, I will not allow low-brow tactics to distract from the critically important issues in this election," he said.
Hudson did not identify the Catholic publication that has been looking into his background. But Tom Roberts, the editor of the National Catholic Reporter , effectively confirmed widespread rumors that his publication was the one involved. Roberts told Newsday that his newspaper decided to focus on Hudson because "he's such a public figure and he's been uncompromising in judging other people's behavior."
In his National Review Online article, Hudson revealed that he began to receive questions from a liberal Catholic publication shortly after he criticized an adviser to the Kerry campaign, who was then employed by the US bishops' conference. Ono Ekeh, who directed a "Catholic for Kerry" internet site, was later ousted from his job at the bishops' conference-- a move that Hudson applauded. The publication has continued to probe Hudson's past, but to date has not published a story about him.
Since early in the 2000 presidential campaign, Hudson, whose magazine is based in Washington, has worked closely with the Bush administration. Meeting regularly with the President's top political aide, Karl Rove, the Crisis publisher has sought to strengthen the President's appeal to the Catholic voters, who are seen as a crucial bloc in this year's presidential contest. Hudson said that the stakes are particularly high in the 2004 election. He told the National Review Online audience: "At times the Kerry campaign seemed intent on conducting a Catholic-vote strategy that was, in effect, an anti-Catholic campaign with Kerry trying to play the role of persecuted schismatic."
Hudson admitted that some incidents in his past life could provide material for an unflattering profile. "Like many people, I have done things in my life that I regret," he said. Questions had been raised, he disclosed, about "past annulments for my marriages before my conversion to the Catholic Church, other Catholic organizations I have been involved with, and allegations from over a decade ago involving a female student at the college where I then taught." A spokesman for Fordham University, where Hudson taught before becoming publisher of Crisis magazine, revealed that Hudson resigned his tenured position there in 1995 after being charged with sexual harassment.
A convert to Catholicism who was raised as a Southern Baptist, Hudson points out that he had written about his past mistakes, and the forgiveness that he found in the Catholic Church, in his autobiographical book, An American Conversion.