DFL responds to questions about ‘Ignore the Poor’ campaign postcard

| October 27, 2010 | 9 Comments

Joan Deluney, parish secretary at St. Bonaventure in Bloomington, said she was shocked and offended when she received a postcard around Oct. 22 depicting what looked like a priest wearing a button that says, “Ignore the Poor.”

“I thought, ‘I can’t believe they are doing this with a priest.’ Then I thought, ‘Well it may not be Catholic, it may be geared toward the Lutherans because they wear the collar, too,’” Deluney said, adding that she also thought it might be an attack on Archbishop John Nienstedt for his support of a DVD initiative in support of traditional marriage.

“That was my first reaction,” she said. “That was before I looked at the back.”

What she saw on the other side was an ad criticizing Dan Hall, the Republican candidate vying for the state senate seat now held by Democrat John Doll in District 40, which encompasses parts of Bloomington and Burnsville.

The ad criticizes Hall, a non-denominational minister who has served as a volunteer chaplain at the state capitol and for several organizations, for not speaking earlier this year against budget cuts that many felt hurt the state’s poorest citizens.

Donald McFarland, communications director for the DFL State Central Committee, said Hall was the only target of the ad.

The ad showing a clergy member with a collar is one of three political ads that feature religious symbols; one includes an angelic figure and another features what appears to be a chapel.

When asked if the mailing’s creators considered how offensive the images could be to Catholics and other faith groups and if an apology might be coming from the DFL Party, McFarland said, “Everything that I had to say, I said in the statement I sent. I don’t have anything to add to that.”

McFarland sent the following e-mail to The Catholic Spirit:

“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 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.”

Hall told EWTN Catholic news network that he has never worn a collar, so the image in the postcard is inaccurate.

As for the claim that he didn’t speak out against budget cuts, he said. “I’m a chaplain to the capitol. That’s not someone who would stand up and start talking about what the governor does or doesn’t do.”

He also told EWTN that he grew up in the inner city projects in Minneapolis and ran a food shelter for 10 years.

Despite the intentions of the DFL Party, Deluney and bloggers throughout the Christian community say they have been offended.

“I hope that it wasn’t intentional,” Deluney said, “but it was in very poor taste.”

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  • Comment No. 1

    Why do the ads refer to Dan Hall as "preacher Hall?" While an ordained minister, he works as a chaplain in an organization that support chaplains and is the Police Chaplain for the City of Burnsville.

    No. 2.
    The button on the "priest's" coat says "Ignore the Poor." This relates directly to the vilification that Archbishop Nienstedt received after the Marriage DVDs were mailed to all Minnesota Catholics. Most of the comments in media blogs stated that the [donated] money should have been spent for the poor.

    No. 3.
    The button implies that the Catholic Church does not support the poor. The Church, through Catholic Charities, through its 190 diocese and thousands of parishes working with lay groups such as Loaves and Fishes, the Catholic Worker Movement and others is one of the top few private supporters of charity for the poor in the United States. This portrayal of the Church as "ignoring the poor" is a gratuitous slap in the face of all Catholics for the tremendous efforts that they take each year.

    No. 4
    While the "Roman collar" might be worn by a Lutheran or Episcopalian, the "altar photo", showing a statue of St. Anthony of Padua holding the Baby Jesus would not be found in any Protestant church. OK, maybe a couple.

    But in the lower left of the "altar photo" are three crutches. Those crutches depict a practice whereby people suffering from incurable diseases who have prayed for intercession from a saint, the Blessed Mother, or God Himself, and who have received a miraculous cure, leave their crutches beside the alter as concrete evidence of that miraculous cure.

    That is only found in the Catholic Church.

    Besides that altar are banners with the word "Vote" on them and of course on the reverse side are more attacks on candidate Dan Hall.

    Dan Hall attends a non-denominational church affiliated with the Assemblies of God. He is not a "preacher" or a minister. The Catholic images are there to reinforce opposition to the Catholic Church's position on homosexual marriage and abortion, both issues sure to be at the top of the agenda iif a Democrat is elected governor and that party retains control of the legislature.

    Secularists don't want Catholics participating in government at all.

    It is said that wealthy people from Wayzata on Lake Minnetonka provided the funding of these ads.

  • I totally agree with Ray. This is blatantly an attack on Catholics in Minnesota.

  • Jennifer

    The MN DFL has put out a second and third mailer with pictures that are not as likely to be associated with our Protestant brothers and sisters. One picture shows a high alter with a St. Anthony statue. Read about it here. http://catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=10875

  • asophist

    The images are clearly Catholic and my suspicion is that they were intended to look Catholic to anybody who sees them. Knowing as I do a few influential DFLers, who all hate the Church, It is clearly an attack on the Church, even though the DFL leaves itself a defense by having VERBALLY attacked only Mr. Hall (attacking the Church only non-verbally – symbolically). Only demons could have inspired such cleverness. Let us pray for the conversion of Democrats!

  • James

    We can't paint all democrats with the same brush, however, there is an influential core in its leadership and in the media that is at its beck & call, which, while espousing and preaching tolerance and understanding, is selective on when & how it actually practices these ideals.
    The one principle it has learned rather well, is the same principle followed by a master of propaganda decades ago, . . make a lie big enough, and repeat it enough, and people come to believe it.. . .regardless of the true facts.Perception becomes reality. How sad for America and the world.

  • McFarland is not listed on the DFL Home Page list of officials. My bet is that he is part of a consulting firm that was hired to do polling and prepare ads for campaigns that the DFL leadership felt needed help to succeed.

    McFarland was sent out to defend the ads, never once mentioning that there were three versions of the postcards, and by so not doing, depicting Catholics as being too sensitive.

    The DFL will stoop to anything to win the governor's race and to keep the Senate and the House so they can pass their homosexual marriage and abortion bills.

  • Thomas F. Schraad

    The post cards are a terrible slander against Catholics and the Catholic Church. McFarland flimsy excuse rings hollow.

    Will we hear from any Catholic politician, especially a Catholic politician, that will condemn this smear campaign.

    A special thank you to Ray Marshall and the Catholic Defense League for their actions.

    • T_bone_30

      shuyt up

  • Catherine

    I donot care if it is targeted toward Catholics or other Religions this is done in poor taste, the dems are in a sad situation whith this years election and are trying everything to keep their seats.
    Oh so sad for them this will come back to bite them, what goes around comes around.