RICHMOND, Va. (ChurchMilitant.com) - After Virginia's governor became the center of two scandals over infanticide and blackface, one of his appointees is catching flak for a history of vulgar and anti-Catholic comments.
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 a Democrat activist from Alexandria, Virginia.
Using the Twitter username "Satirical Alexandria - Rated Fx by the NRA," 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 that said Christmas is "the one time of year the Catholic Church is allowed to focus on a little boy" and composed a tweet stating, "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 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 wrote a joke about a child-raping priest, tweeting it to Virginia Republicans John Whitbeck and Ken Cuccinelli — both practicing Catholics. (Cuccinelli is currently the acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Trump administration.)
She repeated the joke in 2018, calling it her favorite.
As of press time, Donegan's Twitter account was set to "protected" — meaning that only approved followers can see her tweets.
In addition to anti-Catholic jokes, Donegan also has a history of hurling vulgarities at various people and organizations on Twitter.
Donegan has repeatedly cussed about Bernie Sanders supporters, calling them "dips**ts" and "s**theads."
In 2017, she referred to the Boy Scouts of America as "p***y snowflakes" and told liberal African-American author Cornel West to "f**k off and die."
Regarding Donegan's offensive tweets, a spokesperson for the governor's office told the Times-Dispatch, "The governor certainly does not condone this language."
When the 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, she responded to concerns of anti-Catholic prejudice, saying, "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."
Spokespersons for Virginia's Catholic dioceses slammed Donegan's history of anti-Catholic tweeting.
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."
Similarly, spokeswoman Deborah Cox of the Richmond diocese described Donegan's tweets as "extremely offensive to Catholics and the Catholic faith."
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 surfaced 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.