Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is "The Catholic League" an Astro-Turf Group?

From AmericaBlog

Check out who this "Catholic group" is affiliated with.

Members of the Catholic League's board of advisers include conservative author and media analyst L. Brent Bozell III; conservative radio host and syndicated columnist Linda Chavez; right-wing pundit and author Dinesh D'Souza; former Republican presidential and senatorial candidate Alan Keyes; and National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne.

Yeah, some Catholic group. It reads like the board of the Heritage Foundation.

So what really happened here is that the Associated Press got a call from a bunch of conservative longtime Republican party activists criticizing a lead Democratic candidate, but didn't suspect a partisan motive, and didn't bother informing its readers.


And among Bill Donahue's greatest hits list are

Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah. Hollywood likes anal sex.

I don't know what about -- the queer-bashing is all about. I'm pretty good about picking out who queers are and I didn't see any in the movie. I'm usually pretty good at that.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue said lesbians were "something I'd expect to see in an asylum, frankly" when he spoke to Justice Sunday, a gathering of far-right evangelical Christian activists.

h/t to AmericaBlog and Atrios for the above gems. Keep 'em comin'.

Meanwhile, the Edwards campaign still hasn't said what it intends to do regarding the employment of Amanda and Melissa. There are, however, already a number of diaries on the Edwards website imploring the campaign not to let the right-wing determine its personnel policies or its policies period.

What's worse is, apparently Donahue's astro-turf hate group has punked the Democrats before, as recently as 2004 when Edwards was the VP nominee:

A more recent -- and relevant -- example was when the Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign pushed aside the DNC's religious outreach coordinator in response to pressure from -- wait for it -- Bill Donohue's Catholic League. The National Catholic Reporter's 2004 assessment of that situation:

The Kerry campaign has a gang-that-can’t-shoot-straight quality when it comes to outreach to the religious community, the net result of which is that they hurt their friends and give credibility to their critics.

The August 4 resignation of Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson from her post as Director of Religious Outreach at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the most recent example. Soon after her appointment, the New York-based Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights revealed that Peterson had joined 31 other religious leaders in filing a friend of the court brief in support of removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. (Kerry, by the way, supports keeping “under God” in the Pledge.)

Officially Peterson jumped, telling Religious News Service that it was “no longer possible for me to do my job effectively.” But it sure sounds like she was pushed.

Previously, the Kerry campaign silenced religious outreach coordinator Mara Vanderslice after the Catholic League issued press releases which labeled her soft on anti-Catholicism because she had engaged in civil disobedience with, among others, the AIDS activist organization, Act-UP.

Perhaps the DNC and the Kerry campaign should have never hired Peterson or Vanderslice. And, God knows, there’s truth to the idea that Kerry doesn’t need more distractions related to religion. But to give the press-release-machine of the Catholic League veto power over Democratic campaign staff strikes some as, at best, an overreaction; to others, it represents a fundamental misunderstanding about the Catholic community and its influential players.

No one who signs up for a presidential campaign should be surprised if they get turned into an issue, and no one hiring people for such a campaign should be surprised if staffers get attacked. That's how things roll. Also: No one should be surprised that Donohue is again creating a controversy about a Democratic staffer, since it worked out so well for him just two and a half years ago. The issue is whether Democrats can figure out how to fight off such attacks.

In the meantime, why not drop the Edwards campaign a line supporting Amanda and Melissa, and letting the campaign know if it doesn't already, who the person is who's demanding the campaign bow to its wishes.

No comments: