The Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party is apparently hoping to attract whatever anti-Catholic vote their may be in the state that has been known here-to-fore for its "Minnesotta nice" disposition towards neighbours. A postcard the party sent out to voters in Minnesota shows a photograph of a priest, wearing the traditional black shirt and clerical collar, with a campaign pin photo-shopped in that reads ‘Ignore the Poor’. The postcard holds no other information on the front, no other message. No answer was immediately forthcoming from the Democratic Farmer Labor Party to emails sent to Executive Director Andrew O'Leary and Communications Director Donald McFarland.
The National Catholic Observer points out the most worrying aspect of this ad, besides its face value message. “This group must believe that there’s enough of an anti-Catholic vote that this would pay dividends. Could that be true?” wrote veteran journalist Matthew Archbold. He also asked, “What this is about is the fact that the Church stands strong against abortion and gay marriage. And that makes some very angry.”
This campaign cycle seems to have summoned spirits from the distant past of the United States when the "Know-Nothings" foisted their anti=immigrant and anti-Catholic views on an overwhelmingly Protestant Christian nation. Since then, Americans learned better and have made advances in tolerance, not only in the area of racism, but also in as to differences over religion. Until now that is.
How low will politicians, and political parties, go to remain in power? While no party has a monopoly, some of the most egregious examples of religious intolerance appear to now come from the Left and from those self-identifying as atheists or secularists. Rand Paul, a Republican candidate in Kentucky, was challenged over remarks he made to an as yet unidentified woman while attending university. His Democrat opponent appeared to question Paul's sincerely professed Christianity. Members of Congress who oppose abortion, for example, have been denounced for their adherence to religious principles, even by members of their own party, as has been the case with Democrats Bart Stupak and Dale Kildee of Michigan - both of whom happen to be Catholic. Apparently, they were not ultimately immune to the gibes, and voted in favor of health reform legislation despite fervent opposition from church leaders and prolifers.
In Michigan, Democrat Paula Zelenko sent out a postcard this month featuring on it front the photographs of what appear to be smiling East Asians and South Asians with a caption reading ‘Thank You, Dave Robertson!” Robertson, a prolife Republican, is running against Zelenko for a seat in the Michigan state Senate. Zelenko has accused Robertson of shipping jobs to China and India. No denuncation of the tactic has emerged from the various caucuses of the local Democrat party, which includes Asian-Americans, Bangladeshi-Americans, and other ethnic groups.
Once this intolerant spirit is released, who can know how it will ultimately infuse the moral and cultural environment of the United States? As Democrats appear to be on the verge of losing seats in Congress, it would be a pity for them to go any further into the gutter to hold on to power. The Democratic Party, our Democracy, and our Society, will be much the poorer if basic tolerance for differences over religion should be further sundered.