Catholic controversy in election politics

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.”

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/28/2010 - 09:03 am.

    Given the vehemence with which leftists roughly handle organized religions and people of faith, it is the height of hypocrisy to assume themselves fit to judge religious doctrines of any sort.

    And given that leftists gleefully trample on the most treasured moral standards of mainstream Americans, it is the height of hubris to presume they have the standing to judge the moral efficacy of those who devote their lives to helping their fellow man.

  2. Submitted by Georgia Holmes on 10/28/2010 - 01:07 pm.

    The comments made by Thomas Swift above are pure bunk. I have been a liberal activist in Minnesota for years. Virtually all of the other activists I know remain active precisely because of their religious convictions. Virtually all of them are active in organized religions. They are predominantly ELCA Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Jews and Catholics who struggle with many of their church’s political teachings. This notion that liberals are all atheists is just plain baloney.

  3. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 10/28/2010 - 03:00 pm.

    It’s perfectly fair Thomas. If a candidate runs on how religious he is, his hypocrisy should be called out. Call it the Tartuffe rule.

  4. Submitted by Ray Marshall on 10/28/2010 - 03:56 pm.

    What’s really incredible is that how little reporting the press, including MinnPost, who I normally consider to be a valuable source, has done on this issue.

    There were three mailings, the priest photo, the angel photo and the Catholic altar photo with St. Anthony of Padua holding the Baby Jesus and 3 crutches indicating miraculous cures along side.

    How come nobody mentions that last one when they say that Catholic images weren’t intended?

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/28/2010 - 03:59 pm.

    Georgia, I missed the part where I accused leftists of being athiests.

    I’m fully aware that there are leftists in churches of many denominations; the fact that so many Christian protestant denominations are crumbling in turmoil proves their presense.

    I’m questioning the standing of leftists to presume they are fit to judge morality. In my opinion, it is they who are the hypocrits.

  6. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/28/2010 - 05:05 pm.

    Some Catholic theologians point out that, occasionally, official moral positions taken by the church are later changed as scientific and social knowledge and practice change over decades or centuries.

    The people are generally ahead of the church in such matters and the church eventually catches up.

  7. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/28/2010 - 07:49 pm.

    Did the people come up with the Ten Commandments and then tell the Church? As the people continue to move away from the basic precepts of the Church it would seem sad to think that the Church would just give way to popular opinion.

  8. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/28/2010 - 08:21 pm.

    Tom A: Not to popular opinion, but to scientific fact and to the fact of changing mores.

    Galileo’s excommunication because he believed the earth revolved around the sun was reversed several hundred years after he died — when science had proven that, yes, the earth did revolve around the sun.

    In our own time, I believe the church will eventually accept the science proving that about one in ten human beings is homosexual because of genetic differences – NOT by choice. It’s not too far beyond that acceptance to an acceptance of full human and civil rights for these members of our and all churches, or none. Public opinion is just ahead of the eventual change to be made by the church.

  9. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/30/2010 - 09:50 pm.

    “I’m questioning the standing of leftists to presume they are fit to judge morality. In my opinion, it is they who are the hypocrits.”[sic]

    As a practicing Catholic, I would rather have a Church that lives out its values rather than a powerful one that does not.

    The Catholic Church still has great potentials. As practically the only religion in the world that agrees with evolution and the Big Bang (after all, it was a Jesuit physicist who first hypothesized the Big Bang theory), it can disquiet claims by many prominent atheists that science and religion are incompatible. The Church is the living proof that both can coexist and help each other.

    BUT, what good is this advantage if people see you as a bunch of pedophiles?

  10. Submitted by William Pappas on 10/31/2010 - 06:54 am.

    Correct, Richard and that illuminates the irony of Swifty’s rediculous statement that liberals are somehow less virtuous than Catholics. Sadly, because of the millenia old practice of the right for priests to engage in pedophelia and the convergence of, for the first time, the courage and legal ability of victims to come forward, the image in that picture becomes one of danger and not hope. No liberal can match that trick. IT’s time hypocrits like Preacher Hall be called out for their endorsement of policies that hurt the poor and disadvantaged. The image of the “cloth” simply refers to the Preacher in lieu of a photo smearing the man himself. The Catholic religion has brought this debacle of sin upon themselves. Their protest of the picture is just another example that they have no clue as to the extent of the abomination of institutional priestly pedophelia and thier immoral religious viewpoints that have degraded their image and sent their urban members packing. Good on the DFL for calling a spade a spade. The Catholic religion has historically and admirably helped the poor through their generosity and charities. Their recent engagement in political posturing has unfortunately revealed just how low their moral standing has fallen.

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