‘Anti-Catholic Al’ in Senate?

(photo: SPNPhotos)

The Daily Blog said this about Democratic politician Al Franken in a post on Election Day:

“If any political candidate in this year’s elections can be fairly accused of harboring deep-seated prejudice against the Church, it’s Al Franken.”

Now, more than two months later, the Minnesota state Canvassing Board today has certified Franken as the winner of a recount over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in the state’s 2008 U.S. Senate election.

The decision by the canvassing board is not necessarily the final word on the election, however, as Coleman’s campaign has already announced it will launch a court challenge with the Minnesota Supreme Court of the validity of the recount process.

Nonetheless, the Democratic-controlled Senate appears poised to seat Franken this week.

“While there are still possible legal issues that will run their course, there is no longer any doubt who will be the next Senator from Minnesota,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said yesterday, Associated Press reported. “With the Senate set to begin meeting on Tuesday to address the important issues facing the nation, it is crucial that Minnesota’s seat not remain empty, and I hope this process will resolve itself as soon as possible.”

Schumer’s comments carry a lot of weight, Associated Press noted, since he is the new chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, which has jurisdiction over contested elections.

But Senate Republicans have indicated they are prepared to shut the Senate down with a filibuster if the majority Democrats try to force Franken’s seating in advance of Coleman’s expected court challenge.

Whatever the outcome, there remains the matter of Franken’s virulently anti-Catholic comments in the past, which we cited in our Nov. 4 Daily Blog entry. As Catholic League president Bill Donohue put it in an Oct. 27 press release, “Franken has a long and ugly history of Catholic bashing.”

Whether or not Franken finally prevails in his quest for a Senate seat, we think now would be a very appropriate time for him to apologize for his anti-Catholic rhetoric in the past, and to promise to eschew such bigotry in the future.

— Tom McFeely