The following comes from a May 15 story in the Hanford Sentinel. A July 9 story in Cal Catholic detailed the pro-abortion record of Leticia Perez.

Slapping an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on a campaign flier isn’t having the positive effect Leticia Perez hoped for in her bid for the 16th state Senate District seat.

In fact, it’s had the opposite effect, generating some criticism of the Kern County supervisor for using a religious symbol to gain support for her campaign.

The campaign flier, distributed in Hispanic neighborhoods, features a large image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, said to have been an apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus, made to an Indian peasant in 1532.

The Virgin has long been associated with Mexico as an important national image.

Below the image in the flier is a prayer implying that Mary caused a large Hispanic turnout last November that helped put Democrats in power and “protected” Hispanics.

“Blessed Virgin, please help us,” the flier said. “Last November, Leticia Perez and the 61,000 Latinos who voted here protected us. Please inspire our community to vote again on May 21.”

At the bottom of the flier is a tagline noting the advertisement was paid for by Perez for Senate 2013, the candidate’s official campaign committee.

Perez is one of five candidates running in a special primary election Tuesday. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will meet again July 23.

Someone who saw the flier complained to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, which issued a statement.

“The Diocese of Fresno does not participate or intervene in a political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate,” said Teresa Dominguez, a spokeswoman for the diocese.

Local pastors criticized the flier for trying to co-opt God to support a political campaign.

“It’s a grab for the Latinos, but I don’t like it,” said Rev. Michael Lastiri, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Hanford. “It’s just in bad taste to use religious imagery to get a vote, because then it makes it look like the Virgin Mary doesn’t like the other guy.”

Perez told The Sentinel that she was sorry.

“I apologize deeply and sincerely for any offense I may have caused,” she said. “My hope was to be able to inspire hope in people that when they are active and involved, they can affect the future of their communities.”



To read the entire story, click here.