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August 13, 2007


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Dan Tietema


Very nice job on this story and thanks for printing it to expose George Heartwell and his followers on his deceptive ways. Just to let you and your readers know that this story made it all the way to the National Catholic League. Check out catholicleague.org for an official response from president -William Donahue.

The following letter below was submitted to the Grand Rapids Press to address this issue. Unfortunatly for many area Catholics, the letter to the editor did not get printed. Hope you enjoy.

August 1, 2007

Letter to the Editor

I know that Mayor George Heartwell has always been a firm believer that the abortion debate does not belong in local politics and has been very consistent on avoiding answering publicly where he stands on this issue. However, after receiving a campaign brochure with of the picture of St. Mary’s steeple, the Basilica and prominent Catholics signatures endorsing his candidacy, one would believe that Mr. Heartwell is making the statement that he is strongly endorsed by, and committed to the Catholic Church. Since our Mayor is strategically marketing symbolic images to the faithful, wouldn’t it be responsible to let area Catholics know where he stands on the most important issue facing the Catholic community?

The fact is George Heartwell ideology and politics has never fallen in line with the Catholic Church. As a practicing Catholic, I am very disappointed with the individuals and clergy who know full well of Mr. Heartwell’s support of abortion and his involvement with Planned Parenthood, the Michigan Citizens For Stem Cell Research & Cures and the Progressive Woman’s Alliance, who only supports candidates who are Pro Choice.

This political dishonesty from a Mayor to fool Catholics is irresponsible, but for an ordained minister to broadcast this deception is an outrage. Please join me in supporting the only candidate in this year’s mayoral election who respects life and rights of the unborn, by voting Rick Tormala this August 7th.

Dan Tietema

The Executive Director

Hi, Dan.

Good to hear from you again. We need another one of those good features you write. ;)

Like you, Bridget and I are Catholics. We weren't too bothered by Heartwell's dishonest pandering. We expect so little of him, although your point made to the G.R. Press about the higher standard Heartwell should adhere to as a Christian pastor is well taken. But I did start becoming concerned when I began thinking about how Heartwell got the addresses of Catholic voters.

The issue is relevant even though election is over, especially if the source of information is ultimately church records. I hope not. It is possible that Heartwell bought a commercially produced mailing list, although having some familiarity with mailing lists, I'm not sure how good such a list could be. We'll see. Whatever the source of the information, the dishonesty of Heartwell's posturing before Catholic voters deserves an explanation from him. (And is disheartening that the Catholic clergy who allowed their names to be used in service of this sleazy ploy haven't denounced it.)

Regards, Bill

P.S. It is interesting that the Press didn't run your well. I thought it was well-written and measured in tone. I'll have to talk to you further about it.

P.P.S. Thanks for the tip on the Catholic League's response to the Heartwell-Tormala dispute.


Excellent article. Please keep on the story. We'd love to hear a follow-up when the campaign finance reports are filed.


While I am not Catholic my husband and his family are, and we all agree that this was WAY out of line.
And if the dioscese did release this information, shame on them. And if it were a business, then I agree that they shouldn't be allowed to do business with the Catholic church again. I don't think that's too much to ask for.

In fact, I think it's pretty disrespectful, and irreverent that Heartwell would go so far as to put his mug next to the Popes. Rude, rude, rude.

The Executive Director

Thanks, Joe. We'll keep an eye on those campaign finance reports.

Hi, Amie. Yes, shame on anyone who abused information that ultimately came from church records, although I am certain the diocese did not permit such if it occurred.

As for Heartwell and his mug, I find that orange shirt the most annoying thing.

Regards, Bill

J. Bean

Hey Bill & Bridget,

I think George is setting a new fashion standard for religious followers everywhere. What think you?

Instead of Papal Purple, the color of religious royalty, George is proudly wearing Mayoral Orange, the color of election mailing dishonesty. :-) Haa haa



I'll second that Jeanette.


Bridget Dupont-Tingley, Editor @ L.A.W.

Hello Jeanette & Nick,

I agree wholeheartedly.

We have sworn in the new color guard with Mr. Heartwell and a bright, vivid orange it is. Kind of like a space astronaut glass of "tang" colored orange juice. Or construction barrels in the summer in Michigan orange. Bomb pop ice cream orange. Creamsickle orange. Need I go on? No? Ok...I won't.

As for dishonest election mailing? Well...as someone noted earlier, it was questionnable for a man who is a minister to the people. He certainly was trying to sway the vote for those who may not know how radically different he is to them. So, I will go with misleading for sure. Definately in poor taste.

But, some people will do what it takes to get those extra votes. No matter what. When you get that all important victory, how you got there matters little to some with an ever changing value system.

Thanks for the feedback.



Any chance that's the color of his (our) new car?


Bridget Dupont-Tingley, Editor @L.A.W.

I hope not Nick. There are enough distractions on the road without a bright orange car driven by the Mayor himself hitting the roadways!


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