April 02, 2006

LI CONGRESSMAN: A controversial stance


Newsday Washington Bureau

April 2, 2006

WASHINGTON - Fifty years ago, 11-year-old Peter King sat in a classroom at St. Teresa's Grammar School in Woodside watching a little girl, who was deeply depressed about the death of a close relative, struggle with a mountainous multiplication table on the blackboard.

"I realized she had made some kind of mistake," says the House Homeland Security chairman, speaking from behind his gleaming oak desk on Capitol Hill last week. "I saw the nun standing behind her grab her by the hair and smash her face into the blackboard. Her nose was bleeding and the nun started talking about the family's tragedy, belittling her, telling the kid, 'Is that the best you can do? Is that the best you can do?'"

King, who co-sponsored the hard-edged border protection bill that passed the House in December, uses such stories to express his long-simmering anger at the church - and to explain why he's so disgusted with Catholic clerics who have condemned his immigration plan as inhumane.

A 'silent majority' no more

The Seaford Republican raised eyebrows last week by calling the nation's Catholic establishment "liars" and "hypocrites," urging it to stop playing politics and "spend more time protecting little boys from pedophile priests."

Posted by kshaw at April 2, 2006 09:25 AM