Minnesota Democrats: ANTI-CATHOLIC in print

I wonder if there is a federal statute that covers using the U.S Postal Service for the distribution of discriminatory printed material aimed at a specific religious group.  I am no lawyer, but I can wonder.  Right?

Yesterday I posted an entry, others posted on this also, about an election agtiprop postcard sent by Minnesota Democrats.  I and others saw the post card as anti-Catholic.  Some disagreed.  The postcard shows black and white photo (in itself a negative image technique common to political advertising) of a man in a Roman collar wearing a brightly colored button “ignore the poor”.  The button is photoshopped.  The message is that Catholic clergy hate the poor.  Catholics don’t care about the poor.  I believe this was payback aimed at Archbp. Nienstedt and the other MN bishops for initiatives against Obamacare’s federal funding of abortion, and in defense of true marriage against unnatural unions.

A local news station on this.  In this story you learn that the Democrat Party in Minnesota paid for this.

I wonder if the people who used that photograph had the written permission of the cleric whose photo they took and then distributed in the US Postal Service?  Or maybe they dressed some one up in a Roman collar.

Again, some people thought the Minnesota Democrats postcard mailing was not really anti-Catholic.

Now I see another Minnesota Democrat postcard.


You decide.

When bishops raises their voices to express an opinion on moral issues that affect society, the constant drumbeat of the liberal left is that the bishops are being political.

These are anti-Catholic attack ads, pure and simple.

Remember who had them printed and mailed.

The DFL (Democrat Party in Minnesota… Democratic Farm Labor) printed and disstributed these anti-Catholic postcards.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MrD says:

    “I wonder if there is a federal statute that covers using the U.S Postal Service for the distribution of discriminatory printed material aimed at a specific religious group. I am no lawyer, but I can wonder.”

    Fr Z … while the advertisements are distasteful and ill-considered, they are not illegal. I am certain that this is protected as free speech. The only time that we punish speech is under the campaign finance laws which prohibit the citizenry from communicating anything critical of incumbents.

    Now… had this advertisement attacked another faith, say Islam… then the authors would be threatened and would live in fear for their lives..

  2. Margo says:

    I agree with MrD that if it were Islam (or something else besides Catholic) there would be a whole different situation at hand. I often wonder why the Catholic faith is such a target. Well, I guess I don’t really wonder, but it annoys me to no end, just the same. Thank you Fr. Z for sharing this. I’m passing it along..

  3. Rich says:

    When people make jabs at the Church like this, at least it makes me think the Church is doing its job. Of course, the assumption here would be that the Church should stop “acting like a politician”, but if this is the case, then how should the Church act? Like a side show that people go watch when they feel like being affirmed in their OKness? Sorry, I would prefer the Church acts like a politician, thank you very much.

  4. This is disgusting. I’d love to see a big fuss made over this. You know that the media would be all over the Republican party if they ever stooped so low as to target Muslims in their ads. What a double standard. Let us pray for our Church. And this nation.

  5. This is the extreme version of “all Catholic churches on TV are Gothic and filled with gorgeous representational art and rich vestments”. They want to knock a Protestant minister, and they use Catholic symbols to do it! Apparently, they believe there really is only one catholic apostolic Church — and possibly only one religious man in Minnesota, since apparently they’re not clear on the difference between Governor Emmer and Mr. Hall, and between either one and a Catholic priest.

  6. Scott W. says:

    I don’t know if you had me in mind as one who disagreed. If so, I’m diving down the escape hatch that my disagreement was conditional as more details came to light. I’ve been burned on tossing the “anti-Catholic” grenade prematurally in the past, so please understand my reluctance to pull the pin on it and counselling others to do so until all the facts are in. As I mentioned elsewhere, clearly they think Catholic dress and imagery are mere props that can be misappropriated and applied to Dan Hall even though it is a bad fit. So there is a kind of “all black people Christians look the same to me” attitude about it. I’d say they are either hopelessly ignorant that Hall and Catholicism are pretty far removed, which makes them look foolish, or they know darn well it’s a bad fit and don’t care, which makes them sleazeballs, and anti-Catholic sleazeballs if they knew darn well, didn’t care and thought it would count as a twofer with an added swipe at Catholics.

  7. Andy Milam says:

    As many of you know, I lived in Minnesota for 10 years and I voted often in those 10 years. My assessment. DFL is most certainly anti-Catholic AND this postcard is an afront to all Catholics in Minnesota (and the nation). Please consider writing the DFL and letting them know this is inappropriate. I’ve sent a letter and I don’t live in Minnesota any longer. This is truly sad.

    The last acceptable prejudice. Roman Catholicism. We need to stand up.

  8. rakesvines says:

    Catholics are such soft targets. We don’t have rabid terrorist murderers who would avenge their cult nor do we enjoy a special government patronage unlike Islam. And unlike the ACLU or the Anti-defamation leagues, our legal protectors are not like sharks who tear the wrong doer apart. We need to change this though. Turning the other cheek does not mean becoming a doormat.

  9. I wish it was limited to extra-ecclesial influences.

    Dennis Coday from the NCR (the other one…) posted a veiled invitation to his readers to disrupt priests’ attempts to continue on the bishops’ affirmation of Catholic teaching on marriage. Frustrating to be so divided when we’ve got enough trouble working w/ the world.


  10. traditionalorganist says:

    Who knows if this will do any good, but I wrote an email off to FoxNews (even though they’re so sensationalist), linking the original article so that perhaps they can report it on a more national level and bring up the question of Catholic prejudice.

  11. Scott W. says:

    From Fr. Maurer’s link: “I am not advocating that NCR readers stage a Tea Party style shout-down, but it might be good to have a few astute questioners in the audience.”

    A.) I don’t follow the Tea Party, but from second-accounts, while they are loud, they DO let speakers get their say which is very much unlike progressive shout downs where they don’t stop until the speaker gives up, and B.) What astute questions would these be? “Pardon me Your Excellency, but how come putting on a funny general’s hat and suckering a judge somewhere to issue an order that everyone must say “Oui mon général!” to me does NOT make me Napoleon?”

  12. Sid says:

    An outrage, yet not without a silver lining:

    To have read Dante’s Inferno taught me what is obvious: The fox is stronger than the lion. The dog that snarls shows its true intent, and one can take precautionary measures. The smiling happy face of the fraud who suddenly stabs in the back — he it is whom we should fear even more.

    So we now know ad oculos, and with evidence to persuade someone from Missouri, that the Democrats are to be counted among our enemies. And those Democrats who claim our allegiance need to answer for this, or at least condemn it. (Are they doing so?)

    And the other silver lining: We know now also that Jack Chick and his ilk aren’t our only enemies.

  13. EXCHIEF says:

    Make no mistake, true Catholic teaching is inconsistent with pratcially everything the democratic party stands for—and they know it. Thus, the Catholic Church (and all orthodox members thereof) are the enemy of the dems and are to be destroyed at any cost. The CINO’s are on the dems side so they, of course, will not take exception to their party doing its best to destroy the Church.

    Like it or not we are fighting for our very lives. By “we”, I mean all who believe in the sanctity of life, marriage, and Judeo-Christian values. Led by one who more and more acts like the anti-Christ the current administration and its democrat minions are in ways both legal and illegal systematically destroying not merely the economic and security aspects of the country but our historic reliance on the Almighty as the source of our freedom.

    Each and every assault against the true teaching of the Church needs to result in increasingly strong responses. The dems rely on that not happening given the historic political correctness of the USCCB. When good Bps speak up as has happened in MN the dems will do their best to silence them.

  14. lacrossecath says:

    Donald McFarland response borders on ridiculous after not one but two of these images. Does anyone know more about him? Is he a Catholic?

  15. Prof. Lu says:

    I don’t really “get” these ads. I mean, anybody who is moved to vote by the assertion that candidate X is “too Catholic” was going to vote Democratic anyway. The only thing I can think is that it’s primarily a get out the vote effort: an attempt to rile up the leftist base. In any case, like the other commenter above, I’m actually not unhappy about the clarity an ad like this brings to the table. If this kind of thing continues those Catholics who have unthinkingly punched the Democratic ticket all this years out of habit and family tradition will finally be forced to face up to the question about just how important their faith is to them. And this will be a great boon for many more reasons than mere electoral politics.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    What you wrote is extremely important. This anti-Catholicism, which is disgusting, is an attempt to keep those traditionally Democratic Catholics in the party. Sadly, as you state, most of what the party stands for in the official platform, is blatantly anti-Catholic. Images create strong impressions. I hope there is a backlash.

    But the politics of “them” vs. “us” is heating up everywhere, including at the national level. Our nation and our states have never been more divided since the Civil War-and all because so many of our fellow Americans have left the way of God and His Truth.

  17. templariidvm says:

    Why do I feel like these ads are merely an opening salvo? As traditional values are re-awakening, progressives tremble. They will attempt to smear the faithful and try to warn the non-believers of our supposed ill-intent. If there is no out cry, outside of blogs, it will have begun. Gird your loins . . .

  18. Esther says:

    DFL have tried to defend themselves with this:


    However, I think what we have here is a “dog whistle” type attack on Catholics (something which is intended to spread prejudice but which does it in such a way that the people involved can have plausible deniability about their evil intentions.)

  19. I would encourage you to write to the DFL – tell them that the Church won’t stand for being attacked in their political propaganda! http://dfl.org/contact

  20. ray from mn says:

    I was a little nervous Monday night when this first began to be revealed, but I was pretty sure that it was anti-Catholic just from the “Ignore the Poor” button that specifically refers to the objections to Archbishop Nienstedt for having cooperated in the mailing of the Marriage DVDs to all Minnesota Catholics. Virtually every blogged comment objecting mentioned that the [donated] money should have gone to the poor.

    The second mailing had a picture of an angel; maybe not so bad.

    But this third picture of the altar, with the statue of St. Anthony of Padua holding the Baby Jesus, definitely is Catholic, through, and through. How many Protestant churches have statues?

    I was satisfied that it was an anti-Catholic campaign.

    Then, an hour ago, the person who first sent me the “priest” photo, emailed and informed me of the “altar photo” version of the mailins. I had seen them early this morning.

    But they pointed out what nobody else has caught. In the lower left of the altar photo are three crutches, a sure sign that at least two miracles took place after intercession to St. Anthony.

    No Protestant church anywhere has shrines to saints using unneeded crutches as concrete evidence of their cure.

    To see a large version of the altar photo, go here: http://tinyurl.com/39njqmv

  21. TJerome says:

    The Dems don’t ignore the poor, they abort them!!

  22. TJerome says:

    The Dems don’t ignore the poor, they abort them!!

  23. TJerome says:

    If Pius XI were alive today he would issue Mit Brennander Sorge again, this time condemning the anti-life party, i.e., the Democrats

  24. markomalley says:

    This may be a new trend. Apparently a very similar thing is happening in Indiana, according to this LifeNews article.

  25. Creeps.
    What kind of a world will be made present with these cretins calling the shots?
    That’s it.

  26. Elizabeth D says:

    I agree with the first commenter who said that it is protected speech under the 1st amendment.

    Blessed are they who have anti-Catholic attack ads made against their candidacy! They should rejoice and leap for joy on that day!

    Wasn’t Judas the very first person who accused Jesus that some money should have been used to help the poor?

  27. Sad. At least it’s ad orientem…

  28. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Something I posted at another site:
    “But unlike Rep. Ellison, and his co-religious, Catholics won’t riot in the streets, burn effigies, or issue “Death Warrants;” nope we will gather and pray for those that persecute us because of our faith. ”

    I think that is what we, that are not in Minnesota ought to do, pray for those that believe or feel that this is how to influence people to vote for you.

  29. Kerry says:

    The Catholic Church can hardly “Ignore the poor”; (‘D’ is for Democrat and also Detroit), the Democrats have created so many of them.

  30. MarkJ says:

    Obama and his minions continue to sow division, hatred and lies wherever they go. This man and his party are inspired by the father of lies himself, whose power grows with every human baby sacrificed to him by the leftist-supported abortionists. The only thing that will stop this evil is God working through His angels, His Saints, through His Mother, and through us. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Make no mistake about it, this is a battle for souls. And we Traditional Catholics are in the thick of it…

  31. lmgilbert says:

    “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11

  32. PostCatholic says:

    I agree that the ad is in poor taste but it’s also fair play in a society where speech is free. The ad takes political speech (“Priests are against legal access to abortion”–and let’s ignore that this itself is a generalization) and applies a deductive fallacy (“Priests are against legal access to abortion, candidates in this election who are against abortion are also against policies which are considered to be anti-poverty, therefore priests are against anti-poverty measures”).

    Logical fallacy is the stock-in-trade of politics. To see through this rather stupid ad–and any like it from any political angle–one needs the rudiments of deductive reasoning. I’m all for anything you can do to further the ability of our society to apply reason to any hyperbolic statement. What good atheist wouldn’t be?

  33. LaudemGloriae says:

    This will come as a great shock to many here, but let me remind everyone that if you are a Catholic living in the US under the age of say 40, you have likely never seen a traditional altar like the one in this political ad. I’m not sure even most protestants would understand the significance of what they are looking at. So I have to conclude that the image is intended for those Catholics who do remember the pre Conciliar Church, and not in a fond way. So while in general one might conclude the ad is anti-Catholic, I believe it is aimed at older Catholics (fallen away Catholics?)

    Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help but see this backfiring because the image of the altar is just so beautiful. From a political standpoint I wouldn’t pair my opponet’s name with a beautiful image of iconic goodness, but again that’s me.

    @ Ray from MN – the 3 crutches … brilliant! Our Lord attends to his own defense.

  34. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thanks to Esther for the link! When a (/the?) DFL “communcations director” writes to say, “I understand that some Republican bloggers have taken one image from the first piece, and claimed that the mail is somehow anti-Catholic”, this cannot only be a matter of stupidity or incompetence, it is too clearly vilely disingenuous.

    He says further, “the text explicitly criticizes Preacher [sic!] Hall for distancing himself from policy views that have been taken by the Catholic Archdiocese”. (I do not know in what, if any sense, this may be true.)

    What does this have to do with the imagery of the photos? Is the line something like, ‘no Catholic priest or Church – or Preacher (et al.) – should dare to presume to see things differently than we do, for that would be betraying what Christianity really is’? (A sort of ‘Magisterium of “Democratic Farm Labor” ‘?).

    Or ought one to be reminded of the notorious Canadian pro-abortion sign, “Abort God!”?

    And how far are those options separated in the world of absolute statist magisterial pretensions?

    But what are the limits to its targets?

  35. MarkJ says:

    Another example of government sponsored Catholic-bashing from San Francisco:


    When satan is challenged, he gets his minions to respond.

  36. Elizabeth D says:

    By the way… it’s not called the “Democrat Party”, at any rate it never calls itself that. It’s called the Democratic Party. Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators have habituated their audience to “Democrat Party”, intended to de-emphasizes democracy and emphasizes “RAT”. This form shouldn’t be used, since it isn’t the name of the party, unless the slur is intentional.

    I commented above saying that first of all the ads are free speech, second that those attacked for their fidelity are blessed, and that Judas accused Jesus of wasting money that could have been used for the poor. I am not writing as someone defending the ads or the shameful issue positions of most/all Democratic candidates on life issues. But Democratic candidates often really are in line with Catholic teaching on poverty issues (and with greater feeling and zeal), and a variety of other issues that matter. Candidates of both parties are “partially right” and should be regarded charitably and acknowledged where they are standing for moral good.

    One of the harms of the idea that “Catholic=conservative=Republican” is that Republican politicians (who if they’re not Catholic, or perhaps even if they are, do not necessarily have any sincere caring for the whole spectrum of Catholic concerns) confident of having a captive voting population of Catholic pro-life voters, can then ignore other issues of authentic Catholic concern, like immigration policies or the environment, just to name two among many possibilities.

  37. MarkJ says:

    Elizabeth D: Be careful not to confuse Catholic social teaching with Socialist/Progressivist ideas of government controlling and providing everything for the populace, a Marxist concept that has been condemned as evil by many Popes… not to mention Our Lady’s warnings at Fatima against the evils of Communism. We are called as Catholics to provide for the needs of others, but Jesus obviously does not want us to support a government that will be anti-Catholic to its core, but will somehow still fulfill the Gospel-mandated needs of the people… Marxism and Socialism and Liberation Theology, which prevade the current political climate, are in opposition to the Gospel, not a means of achieving it.

  38. nsummy says:

    I live in Iowa so I am not fully aware of all of the political controversies there. That said, as a Catholic, I find some credence to some of these attack ads. I do not want my priest or bishop to tell me not to vote democrat. I would never get an abortion nor recommend anyone get one. But to say the Republicans are any more catholic-like than the Democrats is just crazy. Do you actually think George Bush, the governor that held the Texas record for executions is following all of Jesus’ teachings? The answer is no. Do you think Sarah Palin follows canon law any closer Joe Biden? Furthermore, Jesus teaches us that it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich person to go to heaven, yet you expect me to vote for John McCain, a guy who left his wife for a rich woman?

    As you can see, no one is perfect but it is ridiculous to criticize the democrats when the republicans commit just as many sins. Maybe some priests can visit the poor and tell them sorry you can’t get healthcare because we are against abortion. Many bishops and priests have their blinders on when it comes to abortion and gay marriage and forget that their duty is to spread the word, help the sick and poor, and provide guidance to the spiritually blind. Their job is not to get up during a homily and tell me how to vote. Their job is not go to on national news programs to get celebrity status. If you vote republican you vote for: death penalty, anti-immigration, tax cuts for the rich, poor environment, wealth and greed, the list goes on. I guess as long as you vote for a candidate that is against abortion though you can forget about every other single issue that matters to not only Catholicism but to this country.

  39. 1. Dan Hall is Pentecostal.

    2. This is a poorly thought out ad campaign, unless negativity about politics and religion is all they want to convey. The photos are good, though; I suspect somebody bought them from a stock photo source. (I’m sorry for the photographer, who probably never meant these images to be used like this.)

    3. Given the pictures of St. Anthony of Padua’s life that are hanging to either side (as seen in the big picture), this is pretty clearly a full-fledged little shrine to the saint. Does anybody recognize where it is?

  40. nsummy says:

    MarkJ: You are actually one who should not confuse things. There is a giant difference between Socialism, Marxism, & Communism and Social liberalism. What many conservatives in America call socialism is actually social liberalism. They call it socialism because they know that we have all grown up to know that communists are the bad guy.

    Social liberalism uses the government to address issues such as civil rights, unemployment, education, and health care. They are services that should not be in the hands of those who have monetary motives in mind. There is nothing anti-Catholic about our government. The 1st Amendment protects our beliefs. We are far from socialists.

  41. Supertradmum says:

    The GOP, for all of their faults, do not have a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual policy at the national level. As to the poor, my little family is poor and I do not want hand-outs. We want full-time jobs. We do not want health-care which supports abortion. We want insurance, where we have a choice.

    And as to the Democrats helping the poor, I teach, very part-time, at-risk students, many of whom are fourth generation on the dole-count, four. And, they have no intention of not getting off welfare, as they get food stamps, rent, gas money, baby sitting money and tuition given all free, without having to have a certain grade average. 80% of them do not attend class regularly and more than 50% will not finish college and they will not pay back their loans, if they have any. In my family, we live on 14k a year, with two part-time jobs, and not one benefit, as we make too much. Plus, we are trying to get out of the hole. My oldest son has not been able to find a job, except part-time, for three years. The problem is the infrastructure of work and jobs, not college education, not throwing money at programs. Part of the problem are the Democrats who support inflated, greedy union wages, pushing out industries in our area.

    All the Democrats have done is create a consistently, generational poor class. I am sorry, but this is the truth. I actually teach students who have told me their great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, and now themselves, have and are living on welfare. These people are totally dependent on Big Government. And, we are socialists, and have been heading down that path since Franklin Roosevelt, the patron saint of the welfare state.

    PS, like you, I live in Iowa.

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