San Antonio, TX (KTSA News)--The race for the District 23 Congressional seat is anything but polite as election day draws near, but now both parties are disputing the appropriate use of religious images in political advertisements.
Democratic Candidate and State Representative Pete Gallego is offended at the image of Jesus Christ on a recent mailer sent out by his challenger, Republican Incumbent Congressman Francisco 'Quico' Canseco.
In a press conference Tuesday, Gallego said Canseco's use of Jesus Christ in a political attack against him is both disrespectful and demeaning.
"The image of Christ, or other religious images has no place in a political attack," said State Representative Gallego.
The image of Jesus is placed to the right of this statement on the mailer: 'Three Times They Said NO TO GOD: Pete Gallego Supporters were asked three times to include God as part of their platform and three times they said NO TO GOD!'
In response to Gallego's claims, Canseco said the image of Jesus Christ in the mailer was not intended to be disrespectful at all, but rather was put next to the statement as a visual aid.
"It demonstrates that you're talking about God, that they denied God so you have a picture there. You're talking about abortion you have a child's face there, etc.," said Congressman Canseco.
The mailer also includes two more statements with pictures next to them, listed below the first statement and picture of Jesus.
The first says, 'They Want to Provide Abortions For Underage Girls,' with a picture of a baby to the right, and the second says, 'They Want Marriage To Be Between Man & Man,' with a picture of a two men kissing next to it.
*The mailer can be viewed at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/10/quico-canseco-catholic_n_1955204.html
"God isn't Democratic or Republican; God loves everyone. As a lifelong Catholic I confess to being personally offended by the use of these images," said Gallego.
However, Canseco says that Gallego repeatedly claims to be Catholic in public, and this ad was meant to highlight who Gallego is in regard to following Catholic values and what he and the Democratic party stand for.
"He claims that he's Catholic, but yet he doesn't address the issues of protecting life," said Canseco.
"He has a 100 percent rating with NARAL (National Organization for the Repeal of Abortion Laws), and he is pro-homosexual marriage."
However, at the press conference Gallego said these claims are false.
"I have never been in favor of gay marriage, and I'm not in favor of gay marriage if you check my voting record. What I have said relates to civil unions, which are legal contracts between two individuals," said Gallego. "And with respect to the idea that I would approve of an abortion without parental consent, if you check my voting record you'll find that I voted on the side of the parents every time."
Gallego has created a petition asking Congressman Canseco to immediately cease the use of religious imagery in his attacks ads, and at the press conference he publicly asked that Canseco apologize.
When asked whether or not he would apologize for the mailers, Congressman Canseco said, "I would say that Maybe Mr. Gallego needs to apologize to the souls of all those lives that have been lost because of his votes in the state house on abortion."
By: Marissa A. Wagner
Tuesday, October 16, 2012