Anti-Catholic Northam Appointee Resigns

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by David Nussman  •  •  August 29, 2019   

Activist Gail Gordon Donegan, appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, resigns amid scandal over priest pedophile jokes

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RICHMOND, Va. ( - A newly appointed government official in Virginia is resigning amid scandal over vulgar, anti-Catholic remarks she made online.

Virginia's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, announced on Aug. 16 the appointment of Gail Gordon Donegan to the Virginia Council on Women — an 18-member council that advises Virginia lawmakers on women's issues and awards scholarships to women. Donegan is an Alexandria-based Democrat activist.

Just two weeks later, Donegan is stepping down from the council amid controversy. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Northam's press secretary, Alena Yarmosky, confirmed on Wednesday that Donegan had resigned.

Her resignation came after it was reported that Donegan has a history of hurling vulgar insults on social media — including anti-Catholic jibes.

Using the Twitter username "Satirical Alexandria," Donegan tweeted in 2010 that "abortion is morally indefensible to Catholic priests because it results in fewer children to rape."

Also in 2010, Donegan retweeted a tweet saying Christmas is "the one time of year the Catholic Church is allowed to focus on a little boy."

One of Donegan's anti-Catholic tweets. (Credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

She tweeted in the same year, "Saw a bumper sticker: 'You can't be both Catholic and Pro-Choice.' Add: You can be a pedophile though!"

She made a joke about Catholics on Ash Wednesday in 2011, saying, "Go tell a Catholic they have dirt on their forehead," with the hashtag "ways to offend."

Donegan once tweeted "lolz" in reference to a news article about people in New York who were at risk of contracting Hepatitis A after receiving Communion at Christmas.

In 2013, Donegan posted a joke about a pedophile priest being on the Titanic. She revisited the joke in 2018, calling it a favorite.

Donegan (left) with Gov. Northam (right)

Currently, Donegan's Twitter account is set to "protected" — only approved followers can see her tweets.

News of Donegan's resignation comes after blowback from Catholics to her history of anti-Catholic vulgarity.

Billy Atwell, chief communications officer for the Arlington diocese, said in a statement, "Governor Northam's appointment of Gail Gordon Donegan to the Virginia Council on Women is disappointing, particularly given her documented use of social media to offend members of the Catholic faith."

He argued, "Ms. Gordon Donegan has a record of ridiculing Catholic beliefs and practices and trafficking in stereotypes that would disqualify her from this role had they targeted any other category of persons."

"Her statements are offensive to human dignity," Atwell went on to say, "and fail to reflect the depth of character one would expect of a leader in our Commonwealth."

Similarly, spokeswoman Deborah Cox of the Richmond diocese described Donegan's tweets as "extremely offensive to Catholics and the Catholic faith," saying, "We would expect anyone appointed to a council or commission for the Commonwealth to be respectful of all faith groups and civil in his or her public comments — including social media — given their status as a representative of the Commonwealth, appointed by the governor."

Governor Northam's appointment of Gail Gordon Donegan to the Virginia Council on Women is disappointing, particularly given her documented use of social media to offend members of the Catholic faith.

In addition to anti-Catholic jokes, Donegan also has a history of hurling vulgarities at various people on Twitter — many of them fellow leftists.

In 2017, she referred to the Boy Scouts of America as "p***y snowflakes."

Also in 2017, she told liberal African-American author Cornel West to "f**k off and die."

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Donegan has repeatedly cussed about Bernie Sanders supporters, calling them "dips**ts" and "s**theads."

The Richmond Times-Dispatch called Donegan to ask about her offensive social media remarks. The Democrat activist defended her use of vulgarities, saying, "Psychological studies show that people who swear make better friends."

In another phone call with the Times-Dispatch, Donegan said in reference to her anti-Catholic jokes, "I will say for the record that my father was severely beaten in Catholic foster homes and I am an atheist. My father was orphaned at age 4, sent to live in Catholic foster homes and severely beaten until he ran away at age 14."

She also claimed, "My husband is an ex-Catholic and he's not offended by my tweets."

Governor Northam, who appointed Donegan earlier this month, became the center of controversy this January when he apparently voiced support for infanticide.

On a radio show, the governor appeared to defend letting the mother decide whether a newborn infant should live or die. Weighing in on a controversial late-term abortion bill, Northam commented:

So in this particular example if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen, the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

Not long after that, evidence came out that Northam may have donned a racially insensitive costume during medical school. Northam's page in a 1984 medical school yearbook included a photo of what appears to be a man in blackface posing with someone in a Ku Klux Klan costume.

Initially, the governor admitted to being one of the men in the photo and issued a public apology.

But Northam later changed his story, saying he did not think he was in that yearbook photo. He did admit, however, to using shoe polish to darken his face when he was 25 as part of a Michael Jackson costume for a talent show.

Some have argued that the man in the yearbook photo was indeed Northam, speculating that some elements of the blackface costume in the photo are reminiscent of a Michael Jackson costume.


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