MN Democrats Declare War on Catholics (updated)

In one of the oddest attacks in an election in which the Democrats' tone has increasingly resembled fingernails on a chalkboard, the Minnesota DFL (Democrat) Central Committee has now targeted Catholic clergy.  Here is what Matthew Archbold at the New Catholic Register has to say of a recent postcard mailing. 

Sometimes there's a little subtlety to anti-Catholic political rhetoric but not this time. This is in your face anti-Catholicism. A postcard was sent out to voters with a photo shopped picture of a Catholic priest wearing a campaign button saying: "Ignore the Poor."

Then there is the small problem that the DFL has its facts wrong.

Never mind the factual basis the charge that the Church ignores the poor is absolutely ridiculous because the Church is THE most charitable organization on the planet. But this postcard has nothing to do with the poor. What this is about is the fact that the Church stands strong against abortion and gay marriage. And that makes some very angry.

Actually, the headless torso that makes up the body of the postcard could as easily be that of anyone who wears a clerical collar, including ministers of Protestant denominations, such as Lutherans.  It's been estimated that Catholics and Lutherans together account for about half the population of Minnesota. 

It has been suggested that the DFL's target was Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of the Diocese of St. Paul- Minneapolis.  Archbishop Nienstedt's recent refusal to give communion to self-described Catholic members of a pro gay marriage group who came to the altar festooned with rainbow buttons and sashes signaling political views at odds with Church doctrine has been widely reported.   If the postcard has a point on its face, however, it seems to be the indirect implication that those of faith should dedicate themselves exclusively to good works and stay out of politics.  Funny how those who hold that particular belief find nothing at all unseemly about activists turning the sacred act of receiving the Holy Eucharist into a tawdry and juvenile political statement by dressing like a billboard.   

Another Catholic blogger had this to say

Presumably the postcard is intended to push back on Archbishop Nienstedt's anti-gay-marriage mailing. Instead, the DFL has successfully impugned the charitable efforts and concerns of the Catholic Church in general, and its priests in particular, all while reinforcing the notion that Democrats not only don't get religion, they harbor animosity toward it. I think that's what the kids might call a messagefail

It also suggests that the state DFL has once again fallen into the trap of a political parochialism all its own,  Once outside the confines of Minneapolis and its suburbs, the population of Minnesota tends to be socially conservative in its habits.  This failure to consider the viewpoint of the entire state is one reason that the last Twin Cities liberal elected Governor was Wendell Anderson way back in 1974. 

This week's attempt to rile up the left wing base suggests that the state DFL is worried about getting the heavy turnout in the Twin Cities that will be needed if they are to elect that trust fund baby on meds, Mark Dayton, the first Democrat Governor of Minnesota since 1992.  As a native of heavily Catholic St. Paul, I have a suggestion.  If this election goes badly for them, maybe they should rename themselves the Minneapolis DFL Central Committee. After all, they have  been at odds with the rest of the state for decades now.

Update:
 
The DFL has walked back on this!  The DFL image makers aren't anti Catholic, They are just totally ignorant about religious symbolism! 

It turns out to have been part of a two part mailing tageting a Republican candidate who is a lay preacher in a nondenominational church where the clergy eschews clerical garb such as the collar!   The link to Commonweal blogger I included now reads "how to confuse voters". 

Here's the language from the update.  Note the highlighted most excellent question and the irony that no one in the targeted church wears a clerical collar. 

Instead, the DFL has successfully impugned the charitable efforts and concerns of the Catholic Church in general, and its priests in particular, all while reinforcing the notion that Democrats not only don't get religion, they harbor animosity toward it. I think that's what the kids might call a messagefail. Not sure what's on the other side of the postcard, or if it even matters, but I think it's safe to say that whoever came up with this idea is in the wrong line of work. (H/T Stella Borealis.)

DFL spokesman Donald McFarland has issued the following statement:

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. I enclose both sides of both pieces. I understand that 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.

You can see the second mailing here. It also refers to Hall as "Preacher Hall" (I can't find any evidence that Hall refers to himself that way). Why the DFL would use the image of a man in a Roman collar to depict a lay chaplain who is a member of a nondenominational church remains mysterious. At least we can dispense with the claims that the mailing is anti-Catholic, although it may be anti-wise. My apologies for jumping to conclusions.

Another update: "I've never worn a Roman collar," Dan Hall told me. "No one in my church does." Asked why he thought the DFL would use such an image, he said, "I have no idea. You're offending all kinds of church people, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish." Hall explained that, probably as a result of this dustup, he's received a great deal of media requests, concluding, "In the end, it's probably going to help me." 
In one of the oddest attacks in an election in which the Democrats' tone has increasingly resembled fingernails on a chalkboard, the Minnesota DFL (Democrat) Central Committee has now targeted Catholic clergy.  Here is what Matthew Archbold at the New Catholic Register has to say of a recent postcard mailing. 

Sometimes there's a little subtlety to anti-Catholic political rhetoric but not this time. This is in your face anti-Catholicism. A postcard was sent out to voters with a photo shopped picture of a Catholic priest wearing a campaign button saying: "Ignore the Poor."

Then there is the small problem that the DFL has its facts wrong.

Never mind the factual basis the charge that the Church ignores the poor is absolutely ridiculous because the Church is THE most charitable organization on the planet. But this postcard has nothing to do with the poor. What this is about is the fact that the Church stands strong against abortion and gay marriage. And that makes some very angry.

Actually, the headless torso that makes up the body of the postcard could as easily be that of anyone who wears a clerical collar, including ministers of Protestant denominations, such as Lutherans.  It's been estimated that Catholics and Lutherans together account for about half the population of Minnesota. 

It has been suggested that the DFL's target was Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of the Diocese of St. Paul- Minneapolis.  Archbishop Nienstedt's recent refusal to give communion to self-described Catholic members of a pro gay marriage group who came to the altar festooned with rainbow buttons and sashes signaling political views at odds with Church doctrine has been widely reported.   If the postcard has a point on its face, however, it seems to be the indirect implication that those of faith should dedicate themselves exclusively to good works and stay out of politics.  Funny how those who hold that particular belief find nothing at all unseemly about activists turning the sacred act of receiving the Holy Eucharist into a tawdry and juvenile political statement by dressing like a billboard.   

Another Catholic blogger had this to say

Presumably the postcard is intended to push back on Archbishop Nienstedt's anti-gay-marriage mailing. Instead, the DFL has successfully impugned the charitable efforts and concerns of the Catholic Church in general, and its priests in particular, all while reinforcing the notion that Democrats not only don't get religion, they harbor animosity toward it. I think that's what the kids might call a messagefail

It also suggests that the state DFL has once again fallen into the trap of a political parochialism all its own,  Once outside the confines of Minneapolis and its suburbs, the population of Minnesota tends to be socially conservative in its habits.  This failure to consider the viewpoint of the entire state is one reason that the last Twin Cities liberal elected Governor was Wendell Anderson way back in 1974. 

This week's attempt to rile up the left wing base suggests that the state DFL is worried about getting the heavy turnout in the Twin Cities that will be needed if they are to elect that trust fund baby on meds, Mark Dayton, the first Democrat Governor of Minnesota since 1992.  As a native of heavily Catholic St. Paul, I have a suggestion.  If this election goes badly for them, maybe they should rename themselves the Minneapolis DFL Central Committee. After all, they have  been at odds with the rest of the state for decades now.

Update:
 
The DFL has walked back on this!  The DFL image makers aren't anti Catholic, They are just totally ignorant about religious symbolism! 

It turns out to have been part of a two part mailing tageting a Republican candidate who is a lay preacher in a nondenominational church where the clergy eschews clerical garb such as the collar!   The link to Commonweal blogger I included now reads "how to confuse voters". 

Here's the language from the update.  Note the highlighted most excellent question and the irony that no one in the targeted church wears a clerical collar. 

Instead, the DFL has successfully impugned the charitable efforts and concerns of the Catholic Church in general, and its priests in particular, all while reinforcing the notion that Democrats not only don't get religion, they harbor animosity toward it. I think that's what the kids might call a messagefail. Not sure what's on the other side of the postcard, or if it even matters, but I think it's safe to say that whoever came up with this idea is in the wrong line of work. (H/T Stella Borealis.)

DFL spokesman Donald McFarland has issued the following statement:

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. I enclose both sides of both pieces. I understand that 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.

You can see the second mailing here. It also refers to Hall as "Preacher Hall" (I can't find any evidence that Hall refers to himself that way). Why the DFL would use the image of a man in a Roman collar to depict a lay chaplain who is a member of a nondenominational church remains mysterious. At least we can dispense with the claims that the mailing is anti-Catholic, although it may be anti-wise. My apologies for jumping to conclusions.

Another update: "I've never worn a Roman collar," Dan Hall told me. "No one in my church does." Asked why he thought the DFL would use such an image, he said, "I have no idea. You're offending all kinds of church people, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish." Hall explained that, probably as a result of this dustup, he's received a great deal of media requests, concluding, "In the end, it's probably going to help me." 

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