Catholic Leaders Call Out Gingrich And Santorum For Spreading Ugly Racial Stereotypes

A group of 45 Catholic leaders have called on GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to stop perpetuating racial stereotypes on the campaign trail.

In their letter to the two Republican candidates, the Catholic leaders wrote,

As Catholic leaders who recognize that the moral scandals of racism and poverty remain a blemish on the American soul, we challenge our fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail. Mr. Gingrich has frequently attacked President Obama as a “food stamp president” and claimed that African Americans are content to collect welfare benefits rather than pursue employment. Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Santorum remarked: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” Labeling our nation’s first African-American president with a title that evokes the past myth of “welfare queens” and inflaming other racist caricatures is irresponsible, immoral and unworthy of political leaders.

Some presidential candidates now courting “values voters” seem to have forgotten that defending human life and dignity does not stop with protecting the unborn. We remind Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum that Catholic bishops describe racism as an “intrinsic evil” and consistently defend vital government programs such as food stamps and unemployment benefits that help struggling Americans. At a time when nearly 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty, charities and the free market alone can’t address the urgent needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. And while jobseekers outnumber job openings 4-to-1, suggesting that the unemployed would rather collect benefits than work is misleading and insulting.

As the South Carolina primary approaches, we urge Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum and all presidential candidates to reject the politics of racial division, refrain from offensive rhetoric and unite behind an agenda that promotes racial and economic justice.

It would be impossible for Gingrich to stop the politics of racial division, because one of the main tent poles of his campaign is racism. Whether it is the above mentioned food stamp president comments, or his plan to take poor minority kids out of school and turn them into a child labor workforce, the undercurrent in most of Newt Gingrich’s proposals is racism.

Rick Santorum is also guilty of spreading ugly racist stereotypes, but racism hasn’t been as big of a part of his campaign as it is for Newt Gingrich. One of the main reasons why Gingrich is such a threat to Mitt Romney is that he is not afraid to spread racism if that is what it takes to win the Republican nomination. Gingrich is reaping the poison fruits of the racist seeds planted by his party during the 2008 campaign.

The Catholic leaders deserve praise for taking a stand against tactics that have been used so effectively by Gingrich and Santorum. It has been disappointing that more Americans haven’t repudiated these tactics, and it is disgusting that except for Juan Williams, no one has called out Gingrich on his racist campaigning during any of the 15 or so GOP debates. The mainstream media isn’t just turning a blind eye to this destructive ugliness. They have given it a national platform.

The group Faith In Public Life consists of religious progressives and moderates who work to get the message out that the religious right does not speak for everyone Too often when the topic of religion in politics is written about or discussed, even the best writers can fall into the trap of generalizing all persons of faith based on the words and deeds of the religious right. The religious left has an outstanding tradition of promoting civil rights and social justice, and they will be needed more than ever during the 2012 campaign.

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25 Replies to “Catholic Leaders Call Out Gingrich And Santorum For Spreading Ugly Racial Stereotypes”

  1. Both Gingrich and Santorum are just bolder about vocalizing what many on the right think, and in Gingrich’s case, remarks like the one from the woman thanking him for “putting Juan Williams in his place (whatever THAT is) are a sure indication that these men are not aberrations in terms of their bigotry. They are just open about their race-baiting.

  2. The first words out of Newt Gingrich’s mouth will be, first of all I don’t do anything racial and secondly I’m only telling the truth. That’s his main stock in trade. I’m only telling the truth.

    I am not black obviously, and I don’t get upset when black people call me Whitey which is happened in the past because that is meaningless to me. But I’m not sure how a black person would want to take this type of speech that’s been coming from Santorum and Gingrich and still vote Republican. The same goes for Hispanic people, the new black people.

  3. The media presents this like it’s a valid opinion. Bullish*t! Good on these people for pointing out that racism is EVIL.

  4. Remember when Newt was a Southern Baptist? He WAS one (became on right after he moved to Georgia/ran for office) until he converted to the “Catholic” just this past spring…and Santorum wasn’t even a practicing Catholic until he decide to run for office in a district that was “conservative” so he married and got “religion”…aren’t these the very same people who point the finger at the President for going to the same church for umpteen years and was forced to quit because of their dirty tricks in the ’08 election?

    I’m only telling the truth…frankly…

  5. I responded to a Washington Post essay on Gingrich and when i made a comment on how the GOP doesn’t even use code any longer and how offensive it is to stoop that low someone responded to me saying that the only person being racist was Juan Williams! OMG-I’m white, grew up in the northeast and disgusted by how hateful the GOP electorate in general is and the poli-ticians that are willing to use that ugly rhetoric to win the nomination. Obama in 2012!

  6. We are the most polarized nation in the world. Most unfortunately,racism will always be alive and well in USA.Pathetic! The race card, will always be played, by those who feel threatened by the “other people” that are increasing in population. Change, is not deeply appreciated, by those who have controlled or set the parameters on race relations for decades.

  7. Thank you for bringing this Letter from the Catholic Leaders to the racists, Gingrich and Santorum, Jason. It is stunning in its indictment! It won’t matter to those two flaming sociopaths but other people in our country and the world can know there are intelligent leaders who will speak out about the pandering of craven politicians to the lowest common denomenator.

  8. No, we are not the most polarized. We are only the most polarized that is still ostensibly at peace. That leads me to believe that if this level of incitement goes on, especially with racial and religious bigotry and an increasingly militant misogyny, coupled with “Second Amendment” rhetoric- we won’t be at peace for long.

    The following is not a recommendation I make lightly. Liberals, free-thinkers, minorities, and -yes, women- if you are young and well-sighted enough to do so, learn to use a weapon and get a permit. Do it quietly, but do it. If these Second Amendment quackers get the upper hand, they will quickly make certain that second amendment guaratees apply only to them. Don’t wait for it.

  9. While I commend the Catholic group for calling out the dogwhistling of Gingrinch and Santorum, I fear they are for all intents whistling past the graveyard. These two know that their days are politicians are very few and have made a conscious decision to pull all the stops to grasp that brass ring. For ever hater vote gained, they lost two of the moderate ones and got 11 more to vote for THE OTHER SIDE. These guys are the dead mouse in the floorboards, stinking for a while but getting weaker and weaker in the passage of time. Their ignorance is their undoing. I will get my vengeance at the voting booth. Having Obama doing his thing in 1600 Pennsyvania Ave will be my response to the taunts of these troglodytes.

  10. That is the argument I’ve been making and why I keep trying to get people to understand why gun control is such a bad idea.

    If people don’t think those types will use violence – well, they should talk to David Mullins or Darla Kay Wynne, or come and look at my torched workshop, see the graffiti, and visit the graves of my poisoned kitties.

  11. I applaud this effort by Faith In Public Life, and I thank them for this letter, but 45 Catholic leaders? Good beginning; where are the rest of the Christian ministers/pastors/leaders? I urge FiPL to take their message and, in today’s vernacular – make it go viral.

    FiPL states, “moral scandals of racism and poverty remain a blemish on the American soul.” Blemish? Too benign an image. Racism and poverty-ism are gangrenous limbs that require immediate antibodies – we are those bodies, people.

    Gingrich says today, “I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange, distant concept.”

    Gingrich & Santorum & Paul openly promote racism and poverty-ism. They offend all of my senses. They embarrass and humiliate me in front of the world. Christians? I think not. They are gangrene personified.

    Christians believe that their God demands (not optional) that they “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus would not vote for any of the Republican candidates of 2012.

  12. These are a couple of faux Catholics, as far as I can see. Good for the Catholic bishops for indirectly pointing out that, if the so-called ‘religious’ rightists think they’ve found their ‘values’ candidate in either man, they are even more seriously deluded than they’ve already shown themselves to be.

  13. I don’t want to get a whole “gun control” debate going, but a lot of us liberals think of gun control in a different way than some on the right. To me, gun control isn’t about telling you you cannot have your weapons, and I’d never presume to tell that to anyone. We just want some protections put in place (some of us) such as better background checks, waiting periods, etc. Frankly, my son would almost certainly be alive today if certain types of weapons had waiting periods attached to the purchase. We really do not want to keep guns out of the hands of responsible citizens. I’m the farthest from a gun-lover, but even I have considered buying one after someone tried to break into my house one night. And I live in an extremely low crime area even!

  14. You are absolutely correct 1voice 1vote. These “Christian Conservatives” wouldn’t know the first thing about “doing the works of Jesus” if their lives depended on it. IMHO they are a stench in the nostrils of God. They show no “fruits of repentance” & spit on the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) which is GOSPEL.

  15. …”We are only the most polarized that is still ostensibly at peace. That leads me to believe that if this level of incitement goes on…”

    True ‘dat!

    We have been artificially “infected” with a dangerous, disabling disease.

    Most of the “crisis” have been trumped-up to make Obama, Dems, Progressives, Community Organizers (be they movements or unions), etc. look as if…you know the rest. I am not “dismissing” nor demeaning the real issues of the day; I’m talking about their “war” of fear, morality, etc.,the psychological warfare brought to you by the Party of NO! They are inciting and creating “crisis” as in the Shock Doctrine. Their so called “genius” lies in their Mad Hatter behavior.

    A wise man/doctor once wrote, “The brilliant enthusiast [he’s talking about manics], the radical fanatic and the prophet are always there, just as the con artist tricksters–the air is full of them, but, they flourish only during a time of crisis. In peace times, they are our patients; we rule them. In crisis periods, they rule us”.

    Oddly enough, the subject was actually bacteria…

  16. Your analysis and comments are spot on. I am a moderate who wants meaningful change, not a liberal who often wants change to disrupt the system.

  17. My condolences on your loss.

    You’re showing a bit more common sense than most people I’ve encountered who support gun control (usually I hear calls for a total ban except for police and military – a really stupid idea). The protections you mention are already in law, they just need to be enforced.

    Oh… and by the way, a gun in my hand has saved my life on more than one occasion (thank God I didn’t have to kill the attackers), and private ownership and carrying of guns are thought to have prevented the Klan from shooting up one of our tribal ceremonies I attended. So they do save lives.

    I just fear that new laws will be passed that ARE used to try to disarm us. They tried that in the late 80s or early 90s with my tribe – we’d been unjustly and wrongly declared (for political reasons) a “Potential Terrorist Threat”, and then a bill came rather close to becoming law which would have meant we would have been disarmed (all terrorist threats were to be disarmed so they won’t kill anyone, and monitored so they don’t purchase the means to harm anyone). The funny thing is that while the Klan was opposed to any gun control limiting them, from the earliest days they’ve wanted gun control for us and for African Americans – so they wouldn’t face the possibility of minorities defending themselves.

  18. Well, considering all of the attempts by the RC church to force the rest of us to live by their rules and the history of that church’s relationship with many of the tribes (not exactly pleasant), I am quite pleased that they DID speak up.

    However, my opinion is that they did so to try to prevent the Republicans from really being defeated. The Democratic party would not sit still for banning abortion, banning birth control, state funding of religious schools, and outlawing LGBT people – so they are, IMO, hedging their bets.

    (Granted, there are SOME more liberal Catholic leaders ‘out there’, but most of the hierarchy ranges from very conservative to ultramontane.)

  19. If only these Catholic leaders stood up and made the same supportive statements for the gay community when denigrated.

    If only…

  20. Gingrich and Santorum both knows what it takes to get the bigot vote and they have proven how in S.C. overnight. Gringrich traveled with Sharpton to a black school,congratulating these children on their hard work and watching all of the good parental role models these children have and talked about how proud he was of them. Yet now “all” blacks are on food stamps and welfare and don’t want to work because “they” are lazy and have no work ethic, “they” have no role models so “they” all will be pimps and prostitutes. He thinks kids should work as janitors( taking the janitors job from him) in their schools cleaning the toilets, instead of getting educated. This man’s new thing is I can attack the media and people will love me for that. The media need to be fed up with this blow hard by now. How many more media people are going to let him get away with this crap. Get Pier Morgan or Lawrence O’Donnell to question him. These people in SC want someone who Hates that black face in the White House as much as they do. They would give their vote to Charles Manson if he ran against President Obama. I don’t recall Newt explaining to them how he will get them jobs and back to work and how he will help their schools or their teachers or their policeman and fireman or how he will help get their state back on track. he will get rid of their Social Security and their Medicare and for the white folks on food stamps and welfare (because they are on them too) I hope they realize that they are included and not just blacks and hispanics. All he did was complain about the President, trash black and poor people and attack the media and that audience kept giving him standing ovations. How many of that crowd was bused in like they used to do with the Tea Party events. I have one name for the supporters of NEWT Gingrich and Rick Santorum (SCOTT WALKER OF WISCONSIN)!!! Watch out people. He’s coming to get you and he and Calista will be laughing at you all the way to the bank.

  21. I want Gingrich to stop denigrating Saul Alinsky! Saul was a brilliant community organizer who, yes, took his skills to the poor neighborhoods of Chicago. However, his methods were also used by student organizations on college campuses which eventually had their influence the Republican party as they mobilized the religious right. Saul was an American! The way Gingrich uses the term “Saul Alinsky Radical” is with contempt and distain insinuating that he was not American. I feel that Gingrich’s venom against Saul has its basis in the fact that Saul worked with poor, Black Chicagoans, and the fact that Saul was Jewish.

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