Of Politics, Bigotry and Stupidity
A week before the Presidential election in 1884, the Reverend Samuel D. Burchard, a Presbyterian minister, at a Republican gathering denounced the Democrats as the party of “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion”. James G. Blaine, the Republican candidate, denounced the anti-Catholic remarks three days later, but it was too late and Blaine lost the election. The memorable phrase helped cement most Catholics as Democrats for a century.
Now the Minnesota Democrat Farmer Labor Party (Minnesota Democrats) are doing their best to help drive Catholics into the arms of the Republican Party with this piece of tripe:
The flyer has a man in clerical garb, wearing a Bible and sporting a button saying “Ignore the Poor”. The flyer is an attempt to take advantage of religious bigotry against Republican Dan Hall, an Assemblies of God Protestant minister, running for a state senate seat in Minnesota. It is of course no accident that the man in the flier looks like a Catholic priest. Anti-religious bigots often have a fixed hatred of the Catholic Church, and if you are looking for votes among haters of Christianity, there is no better way to inflame passions than to awake hatred of the Church.
For a measly state senate seat the Democrat party in Minnesota is willing to inflame hatred of Christianity and Catholics and to risk having their party tarred, and rightly tarred, with the stain of bigotry. Mind boggingly stupid, even for low life politicians.
Any politician seeking to trod the despicable path of whipping up religious hatreds for votes would do well to read the letter of President Washington to the Jews of Newport Rhode Island on August 21, 1790, especially this ringing paragraph:
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.
UpdateI: The use of Catholic imagery in the campaign against Dan Hall is underlined by a second flyer:
The people behind this vile campaign knew precisely the type of bigots they were attempting to appeal to.
UpdateII: Here is an interview that EWTN did with Dan Hall about this controversy.