Religion and politics in a (ridiculous) nutshell

October 28, 2010

Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party recently sent out
a pair of direct mail ads against Republican state senate candidate Dan Hall.
Both ads refer repeatedly to him as "Preacher Dan Hall." One
(pdf) shows a man in a clerical collar wearing a pin that says, "Ignore the
poor." The other
(pdf) features an elaborate, old-fashioned angel holding a banner: "Blessed are
the Rich."

Hall is a lay pastor at an Assemblies of God church.
Couldn't the DFL staff have spent a few minutes on Google learning how to refer
to pastors like Hall, what they wear, and what kind of art might be found in
their churches?

Fighting fire with ridiculous fire, some
have called
the clergy-image ad anti-Catholic. Sure, except that Hall is
Protestant, lots of Protestant pastors wear collars, and the companion ad
explicitly contrasts Hall with the local archdiocese (which opposed health care
spending cuts when "Preacher Hall remained silent"). There's
a lot of tension in the Twin Cities between liberals and the archdiocese right
now
; people are primed to read between the lines. But "in
your face anti-Catholicism
"? It's a
picture of a collar.

Sadly, the only one who doesn't look dumb here is Hall—and
he declined to join other faith leaders in opposing health care cuts for the
poor.

(Via James
Martin
.)