WikiLeaks fallout: Catholics, evangelicals unite in demanding Clinton apology
Posted October 19, 2016
The fallout continues over emails purporting to show at least one person close to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign mocking "conservative Catholicism."
The Christian Post is reporting that a letter is being circulated among evangelical and Catholic leaders, proclaiming that leaked emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's account show "a contempt for all conservative Christians."
The joint group of Catholics and evangelicals is demanding that Clinton — a Methodist who has more openly shared her faith in recent years — immediately apologize for the contents of the email.
"As Christian leaders, Catholic and Evangelical, we collectively express our outrage at the demeaning and troubling rhetoric used by those within Clinton campaign — and those associated with the campaign — to describe our communities," an advance copy of the letter reportedly reads.
As Deseret News previously reported, the hacked email exchange in question started with a message that was reportedly sent by John Halpin, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, to Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for the Clinton campaign, and Podesta.
Halpin's message reads, in part, "Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the SC 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."
While there's no response attributed to Podesta in the leaked email chain, Palmieri did purportedly respond with the following: "I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals."
These statements have riled Catholics and evangelicals in recent days, with those signing onto the statement saying they consider the remarks evidence of an attempt to "ridicule, demean and smear Roman Catholics and evangelicals."
And while Podesta isn't observed giving any reaction in the email chain, the letter takes aim at his silence, saying his "refusal to raise any objection makes him equally party to this bigotry."
The statement also calls his silence "inexcusable," "shameful" and "un-American."
The Catholics and evangelicals signed on to the letter said they have mutual respect for one another and are united in their frustration over the email leak, despite acknowledging theological differences between the two camps.
Some critics are also calling upon Clinton's vice-presidential running mate Tim Kaine to weigh in on the controversy, considering he's a Catholic. Among those groups is The Catholic Association, an organization that advocates for Catholic teaching in the public square.
"Tim Kaine has made his Catholic faith an integral part of this campaign," Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, said in a statement. "What does he have to say now that the curtain has been pulled back and the blatant anti-Catholicism of his ticket revealed?"
She continued, "Catholics deserve a response to the mockery of their faith seen in the leaked emails from the Clinton-Kaine ticket from the candidate who has used his Catholicism when convenient to push a radical agenda."
Kaine recently caught flack for saying he believes the Catholic Church could one day back away from its opposition to gay marriage.
Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence also spoke out Wednesday, calling for Clinton to denounce the comments and apologize.
"If only on behalf of a Catholic running mate, Hillary Clinton should denounce those bigoted, anti-Catholic, anti-evangelical remarks and her campaign staff should apologize to people of faith, and do it now,'" he told students at Liberty University.
As we previously reported, a recent Barna Group survey found that Clinton is currently beating Trump among Catholics, bringing in 45 percent of that cohort versus 35 percent who said they would vote for Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump has 55 percent of the evangelical vote, according to Barna.
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