Mr. [Brian] Melendez [chairman of the Minnesota DFL],
I saw a postcard that your organization sent out (noted here), and though I am not Roman Catholic, I was surprised at the vitriol and the ignorance it displayed. Please reconsider that postcard and perhaps issue an appropriate apology to Roman Catholics and, by extension, all Christians who work and care for the poor. Surely, with a degree from a Divinity School with a concentration in ethics, you could not yourself have approved that ad?
And this is the response I got:
The ad is part of a two-piece mailing that highlights and criticizes the policy views of Dan Hall, a preacher who is the Republican candidate for the Minnesota Senate. I enclose both sides of both pieces. I understand that some Republican bloggers have taken one image from the first piece, and claimed that the mail is somehow anti-Catholic. But the text explicitly criticizes Preacher Hall for distancing himself from policy views that have been taken by the Catholic Archdiocese, by the [Evangelical] Lutheran Synod, and other leaders in Minnesota’s faith community. Dan Hall is willing to enlist God and religion in his campaign when it helps him — but in fact, his views hurt the poorest and sickest among us, and this mailing holds him accountable for those views.
Minnesota DFL Party
I’ve never heard of Dan Hall (though I found his website here, as well as this and this, and this is the map of the district he’s running to represent; looks to be south of the Twin Cities?), so I don’t know his views on the poor. But “views” don’t hurt people, poor, sick, or otherwise. Obviously, the implementation of certain views can hurt people, but I doubt Dan Hall is explicitly trying to hurt the poor. The DFL may disagree, and I understand the nature of politics as we approach Nov. 2, but the part of the ad I saw first clearly does not differentiate between Dan Hall and those the DFL say they are not criticizing, such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese (of where?). And why the clerical collar? Does Hall wear a collar? (Not in any pictures on his website.)
If Hall is promoting Republicans from his pulpit, he’s wrong. If he’s preaching particular policies from the pulpit, he’s misguided, but not immoral. And I think it’s strange for pastors to run for office. I disagree with preachers promoting partisan politics, but I also disagree with the DFL making policy positions into absolute moral imperatives. So much for democratic discourse.