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Kelly Ayotte, free condoms — and a budding Catholic question?

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) speaks at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire October 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Brian Snyder
U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) speaks at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire October 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Brian Snyder

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) speaks at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire October 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Brian Snyder

(RNS) Democratic vice presidential nominee and practicing Catholic Tim Kaine may be in more hot water with church leaders after ending Tuesday night’s debate with GOP counterpart Mike Pence by reiterating his support for a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

But in New Hampshire, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, whose tight re-election race could be key to her party retaining control of the Senate after November, may have a budding Catholic problem of her own.

It turns out that Ayotte’s campaign is giving away free condoms at the state’s largest university to underscore her effort to pass legislation to increase access to over-the-counter birth control, such as the pill.

“What better way to call attention to this issue than by literally making birth control more accessible?” Liz Johnson, a spokesperson for the Ayotte campaign, told the New Hampshire Union Leader this week.

“Use Condom Sense!” read a sign next to a bowl of free condoms at the University of New Hampshire that was spotted and tweeted on Monday (Oct. 3) by Josh McElveen of the local news station WMUR.

“As part of Kelly’s commitment to making birth control available over the counter, please take a free condom,” it says.

The promotion had apparently begun a week earlier.

Ayotte has touted her Catholic bona fides and is strongly supported by groups that oppose abortion, and abortion rights groups weren’t buying this effort as a sign of some newfound conviction on reproductive health.

But her stance caught the attention of some more traditionalist Catholics:

Then again, most U.S. bishops would be loathe to publicly deny Communion to Tim Kaine or any Catholic pol over abortion, so it’s unlikely Ayotte will get into any sacramental trouble over a bowlful of free condoms.

Besides, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s renegade candidacy has upended so much conventional wisdom that Ayotte’s condom distribution gimmick may be the least of her worries.

In a debate on Monday with her Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan, Ayotte said that Trump is “absolutely” a role model for kids. She later tried to walk that statement back, saying she “misspoke” and believes neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton is a great role model.

Ayotte has also said she will vote for Trump but will not formally endorse him.

About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

24 Comments

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  • But… “No Labels Problem Solver Convention” IS a label…

    Reminds me of that time in High School when everyone started wearing matching shirts that read “Nonconformist” on them.

  • Good for Ayotte. But she still needs to lose.

    BTW, that Twitter troll thinks getting free condoms condemns the user? Seriously? RCC positions on reproduction, sexuality and sexual behavior make them a laughing stock.

  • FREE CONDOMS ?? What kind of messages are we sending to our students?
    I see this as being tantamount to a broad suggestion from the morally bankrupt fostering indiscrimiate sexual intercourse with an intent to undermine the integrity and the ethical values of our nation. Championing vice over virtue.

    What is behind all of this rebellion? As one can surmise, there certainly is a strategy afoot that many cannot see or refuse to recognize.
    It has been around for a long time and has been getting more traction. It’s called Cultural Communism and it has an insidious goal.
    Here is some history on that threat :

    Separately, two Marxist theorists-Antonio Gramsci of Italy and Georg Lukacs of Hungary-concluded that the Christianized West was the obstacle standing in the way of a communist new world order. The West would have to be conquered first.

    Georg Lukacs became Deputy Commissar for Culture in Hungary. He immediately set plans in motion to de-Christianize Hungary. Reasoning that if Christian sexual ethics could be undermined among children, then both the hated patriarchal family and the Church would be dealt a crippling blow. Lukacs launched a radical sex education program in the schools. Sex lectures were organized and literature handed out which graphically instructed youth in free love (promiscuity) and sexual intercourse while simultaneously encouraging them to deride and reject Christian moral ethics, monogamy, and parental and church authority. All of this was accompanied by a reign of cultural terror perpetrated against parents, priests, and dissenters.

    Hungary’s youth, having been fed a steady diet of values-neutral (atheism) and radical sex education while simultaneously encouraged to rebel against all authority, easily turned into delinquents ranging from bullies and petty thieves to sex predators, murderers, and sociopaths.

    Gramsci’s prescription and Lukacs’ plans were the precursors to what Cultural Marxism / Cultural Communism in the guise of SIECUS, GSLEN, and the ACLU–acting as judicially-powered enforcers–later brought into American schools.

    COMMUNISM and THE “FRANKFURT SCHOOL” INFLUENCE IN AMERICA TODAY
    (Cultural Communism)

    There was a time when Democrats still upheld the concept of the Republic. Ever since that era the Democrats morphed into something else.

    A great catalyst in this regression of the U.S. was the influence of the “Frankfurt School”, representing Cultural Communism. It remained very small and restricted to a select group of intellectuals until Marcuse made the break-out in the 1960s. He was kind of a wet-behind-the-ears graduate student whose thinking was shaped by Horkheimer and Adorno.
    But Marcuse is the one who managed to take this rather obscure and difficult German philosophy and put it in terms that the average campus member of the Students for a Democratic Society group in the 1960s could grasp.
    He gave us a lot of the intellectual components of that period: the notion of “if it feels good, do it.”

  • Whut you do, gurls, is you take that free condom and you hold it firmly pressed between your knees ….

  • “FREE CONDOMS ?? What kind of messages are we sending to our students?”

    That it would be monumentally bad to get pregnant by accident at such an age.

    There is no rational argument against contraception. That is why the objections are entirely religious in nature. Only religion seems to get a pass in justifying actions without bothering to make a shred of sense. As if abstinence or sex for purely procreative purposes has ever been a serious consideration by society at large in its history. It was always something churches talked about but were never taken seriously unless compelled to.

    Your post suggests (entirely by spurious illogical leaps and guilt by association) that sexual freedom is some kind of communist conspiracy. Coupled with some truly batsh1t crazy views of atheists and morality. Which ever preacher you cut and pasted that arglebargle from, you are better off finding someone else to quote.

    Let me clue you in on something you seem to lack any kind of awareness. People everywhere were always constantly having premarital or non-procreative sex. Its just a matter of acknowledging it as a plain fact rather than a whispered badly kept secret.

  • The means are perfectly sane and moral. There is no sane argument against contraception. A lot of s1utshaming, a lot of moralizing, but rational arguments are just not there.

  • YOU WROTE: “… There is no sane argument against contraception”.

    ~~~~~ You know very well that I was NOT condemning “contraception” owing to what I wrote concerning my initial qualification of who the referent of the topic is, i.e.; “What kind of messages are we sending to our STUDENTS?”
    From this, you should have been able to deduce that the referent was not married couples. I understand your reply as being another one of your obfuscations as you dove for cover.

    The thrust of my comment was that the “freebie condom program” is a sanctioning of pre-marital sex and giving a green light” to fornication, which has been shown to be a precursor to adultery.
    Both fornication and adultery are immoral and highly destructive to a nation.

  • “”What kind of messages are we sending to our STUDENTS?””

    From which I answered that the message is that “having an unplanned pregnancy at that age would be really bad”.

    “The thrust of my comment was that the “freebie condom program” is a sanctioning of pre-marital sex and giving a green light” to fornication”

    Which was even stupider and less rational than an objection to contraception. Being an adult is a green light to fornication. Free condoms doesn’t change that. Since we are talking about college students, we are talking about adults who can pick up this sort of thing with little to no trouble. So its more of a message of, “save yourself a couple of bucks”.

    At no point is the entirely sectarian prohibitions on pre-marital relations taken seriously by the overwhelming majority of the population anywhere. Feel free to engage in it yourself. But don’t fool yourself into believing that it is something normal, moral or expected of others. It is a purely arbitrary part of your religious faith. Fornication and adultery are not only always around, but also never affected one bit by the natterings of religious zealots like yourself.

    Promoting abstinence is a fools errand which never works. Rather than pointless self-righteous moralizing towards a goal which is pointless, better off giving out condoms.

  • YOU WROTE: “… Your post suggests that sexual freedom is some kind of communist conspiracy.” [sic]

    ~~~~~ My post did not “suggest” ….. it relayed a historical fact concerning the insidious communist influence in the U.S. instigated by the “Frankfurt School” and its adherents.

    You and a myriad of others have been shackled by the White Noise that is still ringing in the ears of all the disaffected since the great regression in the 1960’s that was influenced by the “Frankfurt School” . It remained very small and restricted to a select group of intellectuals until Marcuse made the break-out in the 1960s. He was kind of a wet-behind-the-ears graduate student whose thinking was shaped by Horkheimer and Adorno.
    But Marcuse is the one who managed to take this rather obscure and difficult German philosophy and put it in terms that the average immature and gullible campus member of the Students for a Democratic Society group in the 1960s could grasp.
    He gave us a lot of the intellectual components of that period: the notion of free sex and “if it feels good, do it.” Basically, that is what Cultural Communism is based on.

    One of the major revolutionaries of the Frankfurt School with his goal of instilling Cultural Communism in the U.S. was the dirty old German, Wilhelm Reich, who came over from Germany, escaping from Hitler. He began his career as a psychiatrist and quickly became a communist and was, by the time he reached Berlin in 1930, both a communist and a psychiatrist.

    Reich would work with the working class in Berlin, trying to revolutionize them, and he wasn’t having a lot of success. Neither were the communists having much success, in spite of the fact that they thought that they had a revolutionary situation on hand.
    But Reich, being a psychiatrist, started talking about sex, and he realized it was a much more successful organizing tool: to talk about sex than to talk about the latest reports from the fourth congress of the Third Internationale.
    So he started going around and started undermining the morals of the workers. He talked about this in his book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism. He mentioned something that was a profound insight. He said, essentially, that “We, as communists, used to debate people about the existence of God and after a while, I came to a conclusion that this was a waste of time. You aren’t going to debate people away from the existence of God. But what we found was that if you get people involved in deviant sexual behavior, the whole idea of God just disappears automatically.”

    So we have here the strategy for cultural revolution, and it involves deviant sexual behavior: sex outside of marriage. That was his profound insight and that was the insight that got implemented in the United States during this period of cultural revolution of the 1960s.
    During these recent years, we were told that “if it’s a lie about sex” it doesn’t matter if you lie.
    We are seeing a replacement of our original Constitution with a new constitution: a state religion—the worship of Dionysius, the Greek God of sexual excess. That’s our new state religion. We have a Constitution and laws on paper, but whenever some powerful figure is involved with those laws involving something with sex, then sex will always trump our Constitution. That means that sex is the real Constitution.
    Another example is the abortion clinics.

    There is a choir of liberal, socialist, Marxist Democrats forever singing the anthem that anyone who wants to uphold the old traditional standards and a moral compass, has an authoritarian personality that’s fascist in nature.
    If you listen to these morally bankrupt people, they will tell you that the Nazis are going to come back.

  • LOL, that has to be the dumbest Gish gallop in opposition to sexual relations put to print. People were regularly fornicating since forever.

    The development of oral contraception permanently divorced sex from pregnancy. Everything flowed from there as a natural course from a scientific development. No, sexual freedom has never been a communist plot. It is an outgrowth of technology, a mobile society and not treating women as chattel property.

    Your views on sex are so far from sane they I simply lack the patience to bother to unpack it. But I will say, at no point has any religious prohibition in fornication has ever been taken seriously except by force.

    As for the constitution we can add test to the list of subjects you will blather on about without demonstrating an ounce of knowledge.

    But thank you for demonstrating to others the existence of Christian Taliban thinking.

  • Your world view concerning sex is more in line with the animal kingdom, whereas the Christian’s is is based on what God has told us is His Word will be the happiest and the most blessed within the scope of a marriage union where there is equal honor, respect, and faithfulness. Everyone wants that and seeks that in marriage but as sinful humans there will be many failures. That is not God’s fault – that is our fault.

  • Now you are just flinging poo like an angry chimpanzee. You strike me as someone who has no firsthand experience with marriage or sexual relations. Good luck with that.

  • You should be the spokesperson for the :
    ” International Morally Bankrupt & Moral Turpitude Society”.

    Your parents must be very proud of you !

  • Of course I am not a dishonest, delusional self righteous windbag like you. There is no sign of moral thinking in your morality.

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