A letter from 48 Roman Catholic Democratic members of Congress sent to cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., called the threats "deeply hurtful," and "miring the Church in partisan politics."
The letter's signers, including about a dozen who are considered anti-abortion Democrats, said the bishops are "allowing the church to be used for partisan purposes."
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., told The Times the bishops were politicizing religion.
"The bishops came out against the war, and I don't see them saying to all the people who voted for it, you can't receive communion because you voted for an unjust war," Stupak said.
Only four of some 300 U.S. bishops have announced that they intend to deny the sacrament to policymakers who support abortion rights in their dioceses, according to a telephone poll of bishops conducted by Catholics for a Free Choice, a Washington advocacy group.
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