Minnesota Dems issue anti-Catholic mailer in final week

posted at 9:25 am on October 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

If the Minnesota DFL intended to make a splash in an otherwise-obscure state Senate race, well, they succeeded. The party, which is the Minnesota version of the Democratic Party, sent out a mailer attacking Republican challenger and Christian minister Dan Hall by accusing him of ignoring the poor for opposing ObamaCare. However, the front of the postcard shows a headless man wearing the traditional shirt and collar worn by Roman Catholic priests, with a button that proclaims “Ignore the Poor” — which has a large number of Catholics in Minnesota angry over a perceived attack on their church. KSTP reported on the mailer and the DFL silence last night:

A political mailing is causing a major stir in one race, and even the Catholic Church is weighing in on it.

It is part of a two-piece mailing, 10 thousand pieces in all that the DFL Party sent out last week.

One ad shows what appears to be a Catholic priest wearing a button that says “ignore the poor.” …

Hall, who says he spent 30 year serving the poor, says the ads are “way out of line,” and he believes they’ll backfire.

Consider this Minnesota’s Aqua Buddha moment.    Luke Hellier at Minnesota Democrats Exposed has the full scans of both sides of the mailer.  The picture of the priest wearing the button includes the text, “Independent expenditure paid for by the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee, Brian Melendez, Chair[.]”

The flip side of the mailer is a classic case of a cheap-shot, last-minute attack campaign that both parties indulge in the final stretch of an election, but the front picture goes way beyond anything in recent memory in attacking a church of any kind in a political campaign.  The full context in which this was issued makes it difficult to believe the archdiocese’s expressed hope that this was just a poor decision.  A few weeks ago, the Catholic bishop issued DVDs with the Catholic Church’s arguments on same-sex marriage, which the DFL and its supporters decried as interference in the election.  This looks suspiciously like payback.

Beyond that, though, this demonstrates a long-standing argument from Democrats on social justice and helping the poor.  They argue that the only way to do that is through government programs that redistribute wealth, and that anyone opposed to such programs — or even the size and scope of such programs — hate the poor and downtrodden.  Some people believe that the call to help the poor was an individual call, and people like Dan Hall spend their entire adult lives doing the work themselves rather than having government force the money from other people to get it done.  Furthermore, while government “safety net” programs have a place for the truly defenseless, they’re much less efficient than a group like Catholic Charities, which generates almost $3 billion a year in donations, with more than 90% of the money going directly to program recipients, not spent on layers of bureaucrats.

There are several layers of hostility behind this attack mailer, and Catholics aren’t the only targets.  Small wonder the DFL has decided to stonewall in the aftermath.


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I know that the DFL and their supporters are now cowering in their basements, or changing their names and hiding in another state because they fear for their lives from the violent practitioners of Christianity as they go on a Jihad to answer the Fatwah against those who Insult or Offend Christianity.

Ha, ha, ha!

Snicker, snicker, snicker.

Snort, snort, snort.

William2006 on October 27, 2010 at 12:48 PM

There’s now a second mailer out that is illustrated by a side chapel dedicated to St Anthony from, clearly, a Roman Catholic church.

So the most charitable explanation is that the Dems and their ad agency are so ill-informed about Bible thumpers that they can’t tell the difference between (or see no difference between) Catholicism and Nonconformist Evangelical Protestantism even in details so minor as what their preachers wear and what their churches look like. (Hey, dude, aren’t they, like, the same?)

BTW, is it really any better that the DFL is attacking someone over his religious practices actually being Protestant and not Catholic?

andycanuck on October 27, 2010 at 12:51 PM

This is definitely a misguided attack on Catholics, which should backfire BIG-TIME. Since Republican opponent Ron Hall is described as a “Christian minister”, one would assume he is Protestant, but the “headless” man with the “ignore the poor” button is shown with a black shirt and a Roman collar, typical of what is worn by Catholic priests when they are not celebrating Mass.

Among church-going people, Catholics tend to vote more Democrat than Protestants, largely because Catholics tended to be poorer than Protestants in the past, and have bought into the FDR “chicken in every pot” from the Government. Some Catholics have swung away from Democrats since Roe v. Wade, since the Catholic Church is officially pro-life, but the “help the poor” mentality (and the Pope’s opposition to the Iraq war) actually helped Democrats among Catholics in recent elections.

For a Democrat candidate to bash anonymous (headless) Catholics as wanting to “ignore the poor” is incredibly stupid–no one organization IN THE WORLD gives more to the poor than the Catholic Church.

For those Catholics still hung up on the idea of the Government taking from the rich and giving to the poor, they should consider this: if Government takes $100 from a taxpayer to give to the poor, the poor might be lucky to get $70 after bureaucrats have taken their cut. Since charitable donations are tax-deductible, a private citizen in the 25% tax bracket can give $100 to a charity, from which the poor get about $90, but the donor gets $25 back in income tax refunds. Which is the more EFFICIENT way to help the poor: give the Government $100 so the poor get $70, or give a net $75 to a charity and the poor get $90?

One way the Government could REALLY help the poor would be to allow taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions to deduct charitable donations from their taxable income, and this could be a good tax-cutting proposal from a Republican House next year!

Steve Z on October 27, 2010 at 1:14 PM

On Friday, do people get the ads showing photoshopped Republicans strangling puppies and beating children?

Canadian Infidel on October 27, 2010 at 1:19 PM

We raise money every year for various causes and that is on top of the pancake dinners, raffles, street dances and so on that the rest of the community hosts.

Lily on October 27, 2010 at 10:57 AM

I’ll bet a lot of those people are evil Republicans.

The government is not inept when it comes to charity.

The treasury is looted to pay off Democrats and their supporters, the poor get little or nothing and whatever problem the charity is intended to address, gets worse.

And that’s the way the whole thing is designed – for the benefit of Democrats.

Success.

NoDonkey on October 27, 2010 at 10:22 AM

My bad.
Who knew that stealing was the new charity.

Badger40 on October 27, 2010 at 2:16 PM

So the most charitable explanation is that the Dems and their ad agency are so ill-informed about Bible thumpers that they can’t tell the difference between (or see no difference between) Catholicism and Nonconformist Evangelical Protestantism even in details so minor as what their preachers wear and what their churches look like. (Hey, dude, aren’t they, like, the same?)

BTW, is it really any better that the DFL is attacking someone over his religious practices actually being Protestant and not Catholic?

andycanuck on October 27, 2010 at 12:51 PM

2 in a row?
Let’s not be charitable.
This ain’t no co-inky-dink.
These idiots are clearly targeting CATHOLICS.

Badger40 on October 27, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Please, someone explain the reporter’s last name. I am a Hibernian from Boston and I know a Ma – hown – e when I see one. Is it a show business thing or is the English language tortured thusly wherever the DFL reigns, MN?

thegreatbeast on October 27, 2010 at 3:01 PM

It depends what the priest does. Helping the poor is consistent with tax-exempt status. Political campaigning isn’t. There is a shortage of priests and an abundance of lobbyists. No point in turning the former into the latter.

dedalus on October 27, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Tax-exempt status for religious organizations isn’t at all based on their helping the poor. That’s kinda pulled out of nowhere. Leading a congregation is consistent with tax-exempt status, and it logically follows that explaining to them the Catholic stance on certain issues is a part of that.

I agree that churches shouldn’t be trying to influence elections, but I’m not completely confident they crossed a line here. Walked right on it? Sure, but that’s what happens in all campaigns. I’m far more concerned by churches who actually recommend certain politicians, or the completely inexplicable, host politicians. If Hillary and Obama can speak in churches while running for president, sending DVDs is easily justifiable.

Esthier on October 27, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Should we return to the tradition of women at home? It’s the way I raise my kids, but realize not every family can do it.

dedalus on October 27, 2010 at 11:57 AM

It seems ideal, which is logically what a church should be teaching. It doesn’t work for everyone, and not all women are the better parents in the family, but when telling followers what’s important, the message can’t always be tailored to each person.

I realize the DVDs were likely aimed at convincing voters to vote against same sex marriage and candidates who support it, but I’m not under the impression that it actually said that. Simply stating that homosexuality, whether in marriage or not, is a sin, doesn’t seem to rise to that automatically. Surely some were able to watch the videos, be reminded of their church’s stance, and still vote for candidates who favor changing the law.

Considering that those who support gay marriage often state that homosexuality isn’t a sin anymore than being straight, it’s entirely possible that this reminded was timed as it was just to combat that message, or that some who viewed the video took it that way.

I haven’t seen the video though, so this is obviously just speculation, but I do imagine that if the video spoke directly of any laws DFL would have made that case and might have won.

Esthier on October 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

The church stands strong against changing the definition of marrage. Let’s not let them hijack the language. He who controls the language usually wins the argument.

dentalque on October 27, 2010 at 9:44 AM

I strongly agree – we have to be vigilant on this point. That’s how the liberals misrepresent us. This applies to “health care” (we’re against it), “Immigration” (as opposed to illegal immigration, which is what we’re really against). They’ll try to turn it into selfish/greedy/mean/cruel/racist, no matter what it is.

Let’s not make it easier for them.

disa on October 27, 2010 at 3:24 PM

2 in a row?
Let’s not be charitable.
This ain’t no co-inky-dink.
These idiots are clearly targeting CATHOLICS.

Badger40 on October 27, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Actually, now it’s up to THREE mailers plastered with unmistakable Catholic iconography supposedly intended to warn the Democrat’s base in MN about the scary Republican candidate who isn’t even Catholic.

leilani on October 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM

…the violent practitioners of Christianity as they go on a Jihad crusade to answer the Fatwah edict against those who Insult or Offend Christianity.

William2006 on October 27, 2010 at 12:48 PM

FIFY

hicsuget on October 27, 2010 at 4:07 PM

The children with gay parents would agree on the value of marriage, and would benefit if their family’s property received the same government protection as kids in other families.

But as the left shows time and again – the legal protection argument is really just a smokescreen to punish politically incorrect thought.

Catholic Charities, a Methodist Church in New Jersey, the Boy Scouts, and a Christian photographer in New Mexico all stand as testaments to the fact that gay “marriage” isn’t about protecting property or family law; it’s about punishing religion that dares question the goodness of homosexuality.

If this were about “equality”, then the First Amendment rights would protect people of faith from the frivolous lawsuits of the gay rights crowd and the gay rights crowd would work for the legal protections sans the term “marriage”…

englishqueen01 on October 27, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Didn’t the Dems have a problem a few years back with some poster/ad supposedly showing a US military person, but was actually someone from another country’s military?

Maybe my memory is bad…

karl9000 on October 27, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Just don;t insult Odin in Minnesota!

Annar on October 27, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Yes, karl9000, it was an e-mailer that showed Canadian troops wearing their November 11 Remembrance Day poppies, something that U.S. troops don’t do for Armistice Day as far as I know.

andycanuck on October 27, 2010 at 6:40 PM

If Hillary and Obama can speak in churches while running for president, sending DVDs is easily justifiable.

Esthier on October 27, 2010 at 3:05 PM

It seems better when churches focus on the next world and leave community organizing to others. Perhaps after his one-term stay at 1600, Obama can return to his pre-senatorial job.

dedalus on October 27, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Considering that those who support gay marriage often state that homosexuality isn’t a sin anymore than being straight, it’s entirely possible that this reminded was timed as it was just to combat that message, or that some who viewed the video took it that way.

Esthier on October 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Gay people who want to marry should fight to protect the right of churches to exclude them.

dedalus on October 27, 2010 at 7:24 PM

andycanuck on October 27, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Thanks, Andy. Then it’s clear to me why they used a picture of a Catholic priest: “they” all look the same. Military, religious, bitter people clinging to their guns…

karl9000 on October 27, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Obama said when people are scared they make poor decisions.

This proves his point.

You can almost smell the fear.

petunia on October 28, 2010 at 9:57 AM

The Ocean Grove pavilion is a public facility on a heavily trafficked boardwalk. It is used for birthday parties, Bar Mitzvahs, and many non-Methodist weddings.

You can argue with the court decision but the first question would be whether the space is public or private. The court ruled it was public accommodation rather than a place of worship.

dedalus on October 27, 2010 at 10:49 AM

The facts remain that the Ocean Grove Pavilion is owned by a religious organization, and their rights to say who should be married there were violated. That the courts ruled it was a public accomodation is a sign of what I’m pushing back hard against. A religious organization should have the right to determine the usage of their property.

Again you’ve made my point. This has gone too far, and it’s time for us religious to take back our rights.

unclesmrgol on October 28, 2010 at 12:30 PM

It is odd that there is no push on the issue of contraception the way there is on gay marriage. I suppose this could be attributed to a Prohibition effect, where people realize the difficulties of outlawing something that was made legal, but it does still seem a little odd.

Esthier on October 27, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Absolutely. My position is that religious people have every right to comment upon politics, including from the pulpit.

unclesmrgol on October 28, 2010 at 12:31 PM

unclesmrgol on October 28, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Not all property owned by a religious organization is protected by the First Amendment. They couldn’t, for instance, open a restaurant that served everyone but Jews. However, they can exclude whoever they want from their services.

dedalus on October 28, 2010 at 5:30 PM

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