Here are some thought by me as to the chronology and events on this event. 25 blogs and websites around the country, some of them really popular ones, have picked up the story.
KSTP news story on the subject.
Minnesota DFL Postcard Mailing Insulting Catholics and Bashing a Republican Candidate for State Senate
On Monday, October 25, it was reported that a resident of Minnesota Senate District No. 40, comprising parts of Blooming and Burnsville, received in the U.S Mail a postcard depicting on one side what appeared to be a Catholic priest in a black suit with a roman collar (a white tab at the throat) wearing an approximately 3” diameter red-white-blue button on his coat bearing the message “Ignore the Poor.” The postcard was mailed by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the face of the national Democratic Party in the State of Minnesota.
The Republican candidate in District 40, Dan Hall, was the target of an attack ad on the reverse side of the postcard. It showed a picture of Hall, and pictures of an elderly woman, a child, and what appears to be a father and child.
The message on that side read “Who in God’s name would deny health care to the poor? Preacher Dan Hall.”
It then went on to criticize Hall for not speaking out when, according to the card, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty “cut health care to the poorest Minnesotans.” The message continued the argument, ending with “Preacher Dan Hall protects politicians, not the poor.”
After reading both sides of the card, one supposes that the voter who received the card would read the message look at the photo of the priest and assume that it was “Dan Hall.”
Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of religion would know that Catholic priests are not called “preacher.” While a few protestant ministers might wear the roman collar, nearly all Catholic diocesan priests wear it.
While Dan Hall has been ordained as a minister, he does not work in a parish. He attends a non-denominational church where clerical clothing is not worn. He is the director of an organization called Midwest Chaplains and has served in the past as a Director with the International Conference of Police Chaplains.
Dan Hall in the pictures on his web site and on the internet is always photographed with a shirt and tie, or tie-less.
Why was he portrayed as a Catholic priest? Why, in a second mailing, is there the photo of a small altar with a statue of St. Anthony holding the Baby Jesus on it? How many protestant churches have statues?
Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has within the past few weeks received a tremendous amount of personal criticism for the mailing of a DVD on Catholic Church’s Teachings on Marriage to all Catholics in the archdiocese. The other five bishops in the state mailed the DVD to their parishioners. The rationale for most of that criticism was that the money should have been “used for the poor.”
When it was pointed out that the money came from an anonymous donor, the critics said that the archbishop should have refused it. What they really were against is the Catholic Church’s adamant opposition to any form of homosexual marriage being provided in state law.
There is no doubt but that the Minnesota DFL Party leadership, virtually unanimous in support of homosexual marriage provisions were violently opposed to the mailing of the video. That issue is expected to be very importing in the upcoming session of the legislature, so the DFL leaders obviously decided to take a whack at the Catholic Church while attacking Dan Hall.
Interestingly, among the hundreds of thousands of Catholics in Minnesota, its liberal and progressive segment are among the most committed and active in providing funds and services for the poor of the state. The DFL really was attacking and insulting its diehard supporters. It shows the willful ignorance of Democrats by ignoring what Catholic Charities, the many thousands of Catholic parishes with social justice ministries, especially parishes like St. Joan’s, Cabrini, Christ the King, St Edward's, Pax Christi, St. Stanislaus, some of the most active of Catholic progresssives in the entire country, and the Catholic school system, pre-K to grad schools, and what they have done and continue to do for poor people in this country.
For the record… The Catholic Charities network is the nation’s fourth largest non-profit, according to The NonProfit Times. The combined revenue of the Catholic Charities network from all sources, public and private, was $2.69 billion in 2000. Nearly 90 percent of these funds were spent on programs and services, making the Catholic Charities network one of the country’s most efficient charities. Today, the Catholic Charities network — more than 1,600 local agencies and institutions nationwide — provide help, sometimes with government funding, and create hope for 6,597,998 in 2003, regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds thanks to the dedication of more than 51,000 staff and 175,000 volunteers.
I do not agree with the Catholic Church on many doctrinal matters, but I have to tell you, throughout history none of man’s institutions can come close to the Church’s record of caring for the poor.
Is it a perfect record? No. But whether you are talking about the Catholic nuns who came to the New World to teach children, the modern Catholic Charities who cares for so many of our poor and destitute today, Mother Theresa – who gave every minute of her life in care for the poor of India – the list is nearly endless of those who in the name of the Catholic Church have gone round the world doing good for the poor.
More, it is a record that no other religion on earth can match.