I’m Christine, I am a Catholic, and I vote.
I’ve often seen bumper stickers that say, “I’m Pro Gun and I Vote,” “I’m Pro Choice and I Vote,” “I’m Dead and I Still Vote (In Philadelphia).” I’m embarrassed to say that I regarded them with some elitist disdain, confident that I was a better-educated, more open-minded citizen because I couldn’t be a one-issue voter. I’ve come close when that issue is abortion, and I can count on two fingers the pro-choice candidates I’ve supported in 37 years of voting.
But it was only this past week, when I read the emails that were leaked by Julian Assange, or Vlad of the impeccable pectorals, that flurry of exchanges between John Podesta and other Clinton intimates, that I realized I am a one-issue voter.
And that issue is my faith.
There was such disdain for Catholics in those emails, such pre-packaged vitriol, such high school bathroom mocking that I thought they were parodies of real conversations. It didn’t occur to me that people who were that close to a candidate who has always touted the importance of tolerance would, themselves, be avatars of bigotry.
I don’t have the stomach to reproduce the emails in detail, but here is an excerpt from a three-way discussion among Podesta, John Halpin and Jen Palmieri, all close associates of Clinton:
“Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the (Supreme Court) and think tanks to the media and social groups. It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”
Yes, we all know there are far too many Catholics on the Supreme Court. They’re going to overturn Roe v. Wade. Just give them another 43 years and you know they’ll finally do it, one of these days. Those sneaky papists, they lull you into a sense of security and then, wham!, back to the coat hanger.
Excuse my digression. The fact is, the emails were indicative of some very vile biases on the left that have been allowed to fester in the darkness, because bringing them into the open would lose the Democrats some key votes. Not the vote of Grandma Elsie, who was a political lemming, but the support of those Catholics on the fence who were blue-collar, simple folk who loved both the social safety net and unborn babies.
Now, all bets are off.
Unless Clinton disavows the sentiment behind those emails, she is showing very clearly how much value she places on Catholic dignity: none.
I’m waiting for the Clinton commercial that shows a Catholic in a pew, head bowed as these words appear onscreen over the visual: “There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a Middle Ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church.” And then the voiceover, “I’m Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message.”
I reached out to some of my local Catholic legislators and candidates to see what they had to say about the emails, and only two responded. Interestingly enough, they were Republicans, because I’m guessing Democratic Rep. Bob Brady and Democratic Senate hopeful McGinty had better things to do than justify bigotry from their side of the aisle.
From Rep. Pat Meehan:
“The thoughts expressed in these e-mails are an affront to millions of American Catholics and evangelical Christians. Middle-class Americans are sick and tired of their faith and their values being demeaned and mocked by the media and political elites. They’re fed up with Christians of all kinds being regarded as backwards and bigoted. Hillary Clinton owes all people of faith an apology, but what’s really needed is more than that: a genuine change of attitude and a real respect for all Americans of faith.”
And this, from Sen. Pat Toomey:
“This presidential campaign has been filled with way too much bigotry on all sides. I’ve condemned it from Donald Trump, and I condemn it from Hillary Clinton and their teams. It’s a sorry spectacle from our country.”
At the risk of being mocked as “gender-backwards” or supporter of a “Middle Ages dictatorship,” all I can say to that is “Amen.”
Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org