instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It fits the pattern

Ours are pattern-making brains; hence, when the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (i.e., the Minnesota Democratic Party) released a political ad showing a priest wearing an "Ignore the Poor" button, the Catholic blogosphere readily inferred a message of anti-Catholicism. That anyone could be so stupid as to produce such an ad without intending anti-Catholicism was, if not literally inconceivable, at least not conceived in practice.

Both conservative and progressive Catholics made the same inference, which is one indication of just how stupid the DFL is.*

Generally speaking, in the U.S., conservative Catholics more readily interpret things as evidence of anti-Catholicism than do progressive Catholics. For conservatives, the question, "Why would the DFL make such an anti-Catholic ad?" is more of a head-shaker than a head-scratcher: "Well, I mean to say, Democrats."

For a Commonweal Catholic like Grant Gallicho, though, the explanation can't possibly be something habitual about the Democratic Party. Before the true story came out, he offered this interpretation:
Presumably the postcard is intended to push back on Archbishop Nienstedt's anti-gay-marriage mailing. Instead, the DFL has successfully impugned the charitable efforts and concerns of the Catholic Church in general, and its priests in particular, all while reinforcing the notion that Democrats not only don’t get religion, they harbor animosity toward it.
For a Commonweal Catholic, the problem isn't that Democrats might push against the Church's teaching on gays and marriage. The problem is that Democrats might do it badly.

* It might be argued that I should amend this to something like "how stupid the DFL was in this instance." But this is not "locked the keys in the car" stupid, this is "give the finger to a quarter of the voters" stupid. You can't be that stupid only within an epsilon neighborhood of this ad.