Friday, February 09, 2007

Edwards Blogger Flap Discomforts Religious Left

From The Politico:
As the flap over alleged anti-Catholic writings by two John Edwards campaign bloggers devolves into a shouting match between conservative religious voices and liberal bloggers, some members of the "religious left" say they feel – again – shoved to the margins of the Democratic Party.

"We're completely invisible to this debate," said Eduardo Penalver, a Cornell University law professor who writes for the liberal Catholic journal Commonweal. He said he was dissatisfied with the Edwards campaign's response. "As a constituency, the Christian left isn't taken all that seriously," Penalver said.

Democrats -- and Edwards in particular -- have embraced the language of faith and the imperative of competing with Republicans for the support of religious voters. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, even sits on the board of the leading organization of the religious left, Call to Renewal. But in private conversations and careful public statements today, religious Democrats said they felt sidelined by Edwards' decision to stand by his aides.

"We have gone so far to rebuild that coalition [between Democrats and religious Christians] and something like this sets it back," said Brian O'Dwyer, a New York lawyer and Irish-American leader who chairs the National Democratic Ethnic Leadership Council, a Democratic Party group. O'Dwyer said Edwards should have fired the bloggers. "It's not only wrong morally – it's stupid politically."

O'Dwyer e-mailed a statement to reporters saying: "Senator Edwards is condoning bigotry by keeping the two bloggers on his staff. Playing to the cheap seats with anti-Catholic bigotry has no place in the Democratic Party."

“I thought his explanation was not satisfying," said Cornell's Penalver. "It's obvious that they did mean to give offense."

"You imagine a similar kind of comment directed at the Jewish community or at the gay community – something at this level of intentional offensiveness -- and I have a hard time believing it gets resolved in the same way," he said.

My Comments:
Hey you folks on the so-called "Religious Left", let's face facts. The left in general, and the Democrat Party in particular, is a hostile place if you're a person of faith. That didn't change just because you suckered ... errrr ... convinced ... some Catholics and Evangelicals into voting for Democrats in 2006.

And let's take a look at this little tidbit from the linked article:
And so religious liberals find themselves in a quandary. They have no interest in associating with the likes of William Donohue, the Catholic League president who is closely aligned with the GOP and led the charge against Edwards' aides. Donohue said Thursday he would take out newspaper advertisements attacking Edwards as anti-Catholic...

... The Catholic Alliance, which stresses that fighting poverty and social injustice are Catholic values, sent out a careful public statement Thursday afternoon,

"We accept Senator Edwards' assurances that he too was offended by comments made by recently-hired staffers and that religious intolerance has no place in his campaign," the group's executive director, Alexia Kelley, said in the statement.

But in a mark of how religious Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts, Kelley also took a passing shot at Donohue in an interview.

She said she hoped that Donohue would hew to the Catholic value of forgiveness in forgiving the bloggers – as Donohue had notoriously forgiven Mel Gibson.
Ah, there's the crux of the matter. It certainly explains the little missive with which Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good flooded St. Blog's yesterday. In a posture reminiscent of all the Democrats who were "personally troubled" by President Clinton's "private behavior" but did absolutely nothing about it because they weren't about to hand the Republicans and the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" a victory during L'affaire Lewinsky, these folks on the "Religious Left" like Catholics in Alliance are perfectly willing to be "troubled" about Edwards' anti-Catholic bloggers, but are satisfied to nevertheless continue shilling for Edwards in order to keep the Bill Donohues or the Mark Sheas or the Amy Welborns or the "wingnuts" of the blogosphere from "getting their scalps".

GetReligion covers this angle as well with "What about the religious left?"

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Mark Shea: "Whores for Edwards Swings into Action"

Catholic League: "John Edwards Tolerates Anti-Catholicism"

Edwards Takes Stand in Favor of Anti-Catholicism

That Was Fast: Edwards Campaign Fires Bloggers

John Edwards Hires Anti-Catholic As His Campaign Blogmaster (Blogmistress?)

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At 2/09/2007 1:59 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

By their fruits ye shall know them. I guess they're not all that "troubled" after all.

At 2/11/2007 7:02 PM, Blogger Mark W Adams said...

Actually, the really troubling thing is that the myth of liberal hostility to people of faith is so cynically perpetuated by the leadership of the religious right at every opportunity -- when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

It really is such a horribly intolerant position, it never ceases to shock me that people steeped in biblical tradition could be so closed minded.

Love. Forgiveness.

These are the two simple yet powerful messages of Christ that, fortunately, have never been overshadowed by those who would rather emphasise our differences than embrace our common values -- making this world better for all of us together.

We learn, we grow, as these two blogggers certainly have already. Do you honestly think that you will see anything deliberately offensive from them again as long as they are working for the Edwards campaign? Of course not.

Moreover, if that is the only thing you can find to object to his candidacy for President, if this is the deal-breaker for you, it is quite apparent that either you cannot, or have no desire, to engage the Senator's plans for uniting this nation or his specific policies that more often than not comport with the teachings of the church, of "committing oneself to the common good" as Pope John Paul II advised.

Of course, another explanation is that as a conservative, you never, ever would have voted for Edwards, let alone any Democrat, ever, and you are merely gossiping in the pews -- not changing any minds.

In other words, resorting to that tired and untrue meme that somehow the left hates the religious is a sure sign that you have run out of substantive arguments. That, or you are too lazy to engage the debate on a level playing field.

At 2/11/2007 10:17 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"you are merely gossiping in the pews -- not changing any minds.

"In other words, resorting to that tired and untrue meme that somehow the left hates the religious is a sure sign that you have run out of substantive arguments. That, or you are too lazy to engage the debate on a level playing field."

LOL! Yeah, whatever.

You Edwards folks can feel it slipping away, can't you? All that hard work trying to convince people of faith that the left isn't really hostile to the notion of faith in the public square is all for naught, at least where Breck Girl is concerned.


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