In language clearly calculated to inflame and offend, anti-abortion extremist Randall Terry has issued a provocative press release suggesting that Catholic voters are “the ‘new Negro’ of the Democratic Party.” Terry lays out various court cases — including the 1944 U.S. Supreme Court’s Smith v. Allwright case that struck down the Texas Democratic Party’s all-white primaries — in arguing that “reporters will understand the glaring comparison of ‘Negro’ voters and candidates in Democratic Primaries in the 1940s, and Catholic voters of today.”
What in the world is he talking about?
The issue involves Terry’s desire to air very graphic anti-abortion commercials during the Super Bowl. Terry, who has described himself as a “lifelong Republican,” says election law requires broadcasters to air his ads because he is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination this year. The Democratic National Committee argues that Terry’s presidential “campaign” is just a stunt to get his ads aired, and broadcasters are refusing the ads. (And we can understand why they wouldn’t want to broadcast images of aborted fetuses to millions of viewers and their children watching a football game.)
So now Terry is suggesting that the refusal of the Democratic Party (he calls it the “Democrat Party”) to accept as true the fiction that he is a Democrat means the party also wants to disenfranchise anti-abortion Catholics. And he likens that to the refusal to allow African Americans in Texas to vote in Democratic primaries during segregation. We wonder if even a very conservative court will buy all that. Regardless, Terry is doing what we’ve seen the religious right do for a long time now: he’s using faith as a political weapon to divide Americans, and he’s doing so in the most inflammatory and offensive way he can.
To refresh your memory, MediaMatters explains just how extreme Terry is: He justified the murder of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller in 2009 by claiming that the physician “reaped what he sowed.” He has warned that Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will burn in hell. He said refusing to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 “is to bow in abject obedience to the Angel of Death.” He burned in effigy a Republican senator who voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. He warned of “violence” if Congress passed health care reform two years ago. And he led a protest outside the White House to destroy a copy of the Koran.