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Question & Dr. Jim Turrell's Response
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Question:

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' campaign has been criticized for employing two bloggers who made controversial remarks about Roman Catholics and Christianity in general. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has demanded that Edwards fire bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, but Edwards, though he acknowledged he was "personally offended" by some of the things they said, refused to let them go. On Monday, Marcotte resigned. Fidelis, a national Catholic-based advocacy organization, also called on Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to condemn the controversial posts. Do you think Edwards should have quickly removed the bloggers from his campaign or was it enough for him to criticize what they said?

Jim:

This has little to do with the bloggers and everything to do with a very calculated plan to keep candidates from taking political positions that would appear to be a threat to the Catholic Church. Clearly, Mr. Donohue is threatening Edwards and other candidates, trying to force them to take positions they would later have to defend and/or maintain. The success of such a calculated plan will depend. upon how the media characterizes Edward's response and Mr. Donohue's retaliation. This is a classic example of "Spin Doctors gone. wild." I am not sympathetic with the way some extreme wings of the Catholic Church and other organizations tend to marginalize women. And neither am I a big fan of writers who use sarcasm or exaggeration to explain their I dissatisfaction. This debate is too important to use literary tools to catalyze emotions. Instead, these writers should use their skills to dismantle the logic of Mr. Donohue and clarify the type of reasoning that makes sense. I would urge Edwards' to work with these writers to provide the kind of talking points that would force Mr. Donohue to answer the criticisms of how the Catholic Church treats women, instead of giving Mr. Donohue the opportunity to avoid the question by demanding the writers be dismissed.

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