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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic organization is releasing television ads in key battleground states calling on their Democratic senators to condemn anti-Catholic bigotry.
Catholic Coalition Against Religious Tests for Office has fired a new shot across the bow of the Democrat Party. The group, led by Phyllis Schlafly Eagles' executive director Ed Martin, on Thursday released four ads targeting Senate Democrats: Tina Smith (Minnesota), Mark Warner (Virginia), Gary Peters (Michigan) and Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire).
Martin told Church Militant the group's selection strategy was about creating leverage.
"We chose Democrat senators up for re-election in battleground states with significant Catholic populations," he explained. "We are hoping the ads will motivate them to go to the Democrat leadership and ask, 'Why isn't the party standing up to this obvious anti-Catholic bigotry?'"
In his remarks to Church Militant, Martin further explained that in June the group began seeking protection for Catholics. "Long before Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and opened up the current wave of anti-Catholicism, we were trying to change the Democrat platform," he said.
The group sent letters to the four senators telling them they had a unique opportunity to preserve "the U.S. Constitution's protection of religious liberty and the assurance that no American will ever face a religious test in order to hold public office."
The letter also urged these senators to use their "influence with party leaders to get a plank in the party platform stating unqualified support for Article VI and the right of Catholics to hold public office."
The organization's statement says "the initial commercial buy is focused on Michigan Senator Peters with a healthy cable buy running immediately, but all four ads will be released and used on digital, cable and broadcast" outlets until there is a response from these senators. Peters is in a close race with GOP candidate John James. Fox News reports that James is within "striking distance" of upsetting the incumbent.
"The Democrat Party has a Catholic problem with their leadership," said Martin. "Today, by releasing these ads, we are encouraging citizens in Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan and New Hampshire to demand that their senators reject the far-left Biden-Harris ticket's agenda. Catholics are watching and waiting."
Martin and his group aren't the only ones who have taken note of the bias in recent political proceedings. Martin mentions that leaders from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai Brith, Princeton University and Notre Dame University have complained about the imposition of "religious tests" when judicial and administrative nominees are questioned.
Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL wrote in an op-ed for The Hill: "It is one thing for an individual to volunteer comments about the influence of religion on their life; presidential candidates do it all the time. It is quite another for someone being grilled at a Senate committee by senators who clearly are unhappy with her nomination to be forced to speak about her religiosity."
Writing to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber expressed his concern:
I am deeply concerned by the harsh and often unfair criticisms that are now routinely leveled from both sides of the political spectrum against distinguished judicial nominees who would serve this country honorably and well ... [Amy Coney Barrett] and other nominees ought in any event to be evaluated on the basis of their professional ability and jurisprudential philosophy, not their religion.
Martin says he is about protection for all people of faith, but he notes the open season on Catholics.
"Democrats are dog-whistling to their base that you can be anti-Catholic — you can be anti-American. I'm looking for leaders — I don't care what party they are from — who will stand against this bigotry," Martin concluded.