WASHINGTON — Jack Kemp, a Presbyterian Republican politician who championed causes important to many Catholics, died in his Bethesda, Md., home May 2 at the age of 73, following a battle with cancer. Kemp was praised by President Barack Obama, who offered condolences to his family. The former congressman, GOP vicepresidential nominee, secretary of Housing and Urban Development and longtime professional football player was diagnosed with cancer in January and was surrounded by members of his family when he died, according to a statement issued by Kemp’s family. Kemp’s political positions tended to be aligned with the U.S. Catholic bishops. He opposed abortion, supported school prayer, sought outreach to minorities, urged compassion for the poor and pushed for immigration reform, including a guest-worker program and regularization of the status of illegal immigrants already in the country. “Jack Kemp was a man who could fiercely advocate his own beliefs and principles while also remembering the lessons he learned years earlier on the football field — that bitter divisiveness between race and class and station only stood in the way of the common aim of a team to win,” Obama said in a May 3 statement released by the White House.
Posted in: National News– May 11, 2009