Religion and politics are always tricky to mix and a recent DFL mailing featuring an image of what could be a Catholic priest is the source of several press conferences, press releases, statements, emails. A priest or pastor is pictured wearing a button that reads “Ignore The Poor” and the mailing was sent to voters in State Senate District 40 in Bloomington and Burnsville.
The Catholic Defense League demanded DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez to “immediately issue a formal apology for a series of shameful political mailings denigrating the Catholic Church.” Dick Houck, president of Catholic Defense League said “For the DFL party to imply that Catholics don’t care about the poor is despicable.” The group believes the mailing may be the Democrat’s retribution for the Catholic Bishops’ marriage DVD mailed to Catholic households in September.
The Catholic Defense Fund went on to name the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor Mark Dayton saying he “supports legalizing gay marriage, a position that is a direct contradiction to the Catholic Church’s teaching.” Dayton issued a statement saying “I believe the brochure’s picture showing a Man of the Cloth is inappropriate. I believe that it is inappropriate to bring religion into a campaign as this image and others do.”
DFL Party chair Melendez responded “The ad is part of a two-piece mailing that highlights and criticizes the policy views of Dan Hall, a preacher who is the Republican candidate for the Minnesota Senate. Some Republican bloggers have taken one image from the first piece, and claimed that the mail is somehow anti-Catholic. But the text explicitly criticizes Preacher Hall for distancing himself from policy views that have been taken by the Catholic Archdiocese, by the Lutheran Synod, and other leaders in Minnesota’s faith community. Dan Hall is willing to enlist God and religion in his campaign when it helps him — but in fact, his views hurt the poorest and sickest among us, and this mailing holds him accountable for those views.”