Igitur non dormiamus sicut ceteri.

When The Cowardly Get Into Power

Hey, you know that organization that is the largest non-government provider for such things like health care, education, and charitable works?  Well, the Minnesota Democrats think they’re the enemies of the poor.  Go figure.

Of course, there might be more to this story.  The Commonweal blog has a good post of updates going into the nitty gritty of Minnesota politics and why a mainstream party would stoop to the level of using anti-catholic bigotry as a campaign ruse.  For a race that the majority of us outside of Minnesota would probably care nothing about, they sure attracted a lot of attention.

It appears that one of the Republican candidates in Minnesota, Mr. Dan Hall, is a preacher at a non-denominational church associated with the Assemblies of God denomination.  The Minnesota arm of the DNC issues this ad as an attack again Hall being a preacher while opposing programs for the poor and did not intend it as an anti-Catholic attack ad.  As the America Magazine blog noted, it may not be anti-Catholic but is sure confusing.  I suppose I could extend the benefit of the doubt in this instance, but I wonder what individual lacked the intelligence and foresight to not raise a hand in a meeting and say, “Hey guys, suppose this gets taken the wrong way?”  At first blush, to say the least, could anyone be blamed for not thinking this was an attack on the Catholic church?

My dear friends on the left, may I give you some unsolicited advice?  If you are tired of being perceived as anti-religious and would like the Republican party to cease being the party of false gods (as we all do) you may want to hire a common-sense editor.  Oh, and speak of the devil, I am going to be earning my MA at the University of Chicago Divinity School this year and am still unsure what I want to do with the rest of my life.  Any takers?



4 responses

  1. Tony S.

    I don’t know that it’s confusing or that the “editors” somehow don’t understand what they did. The ad remains anti-Catholic (not that anyone should care) even when they point out that Hall isn’t himself a Catholic or that its sole concern is poverty programs. But it is only anti-Catholic insofar as it is a lot easier, for obvious reasons, to be publicly anti-Catholic than to be publicly anti-Christian and insofar as the public immediately understands what the ad is getting at. In the same way that it is rhetorically effective to call him “Preacher Hall,” it is effective to show authoritarian-style (collar, extravagant altar) pictures of the most easily recognizable (and viscerally offensive) traditional religion (far more than simply putting a cross in the background). I think the Commonweal blogger was a little too eager to strikethrough the obvious connection to Archbishop Nienstedt.

    So Archbold’s also right when he says: “What this is about is the fact that the Church stands strong against abortion and gay marriage.” Whenever a conservative Catholic figure takes a position on those issues, the standard response is that that figure wants to (1) impose morality and (2) shift focus from the plight of the poor which, according to the Left, is the only thing religion gets right. So whether Hall takes the same position as Nienstedt or not, it’s more effective to imply that he does – even when the mailer is about something else.


    26 October, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    • M. Jordan Lichens

      Yeah, I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt, especially realizing my bias against white-liberal America. In this instance though, no matter how I try to understand it, it just strikes me as an insidious attack against the Catholic Church. I also have to ask, would this be tolerated if it were aimed at any other religion?


      26 October, 2010 at 7:18 pm

  2. Tony S.

    “I also have to ask, would this be tolerated if it were aimed at any other religion?”

    It would if it were a criticism of Evangelicals (I guess you could call that the same religion), but it is not as easy to criticize them in this fashion because they don’t really have the sort of universally recognized symbols that resonate in the medium. The only thing comparable would be a Muslim woman in a veil and you probably won’t be seeing those in this kind of election.

    But, in general, I don’t think it’s a good idea for Catholics to seek minority religion status. The Church is in a bad PR position at the moment. This sort of thing is to be expected.


    26 October, 2010 at 8:27 pm

  3. Tony S.

    Kathryn Jean Lopez comments at The Corner: “But this is bigger than a state senate race, which is why the Dems appear happy to take this insulting tact. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer is well-known as a Catholic, and at a time when proponents of gay marriage are unhappy with Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis taking his teaching role seriously, they are intent on rallying their base. But is the Democratic base in Minnesota anti-Catholic?”


    27 October, 2010 at 1:52 pm