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.My Comments:
"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.
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...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".
... 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.
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?)