Seattle, Wash., Oct 31, 2014 / 12:18 pm
Mark Miloscia, a candidate for Washington's state senate, has been attacked for his Catholic faith and adherence to Church teaching on a website belittling his faith as incompatible with representing his district.
"'Mississippi Mark' has always worn his church on his sleeve. Rather than represent the people of Federal Way, he has best represented the people of The Vatican," read an image which was posted on markmiloscia.info, a website erected by critics of Miloscia, the Republican senate candidate for Washington's 30th legislative district.
The district is located off of Puget Sound, around 25 miles south of Seattle. It includes the communities of Federal Way, Des Moines, Milton, Auburn, Algona, and Pacific.
The image, which has since been taken down from the website at the request of Democratic candidate Shari Song, depicted Miloscia in cartoon form, wearing a mitre and clutching a rosary and a briefcase with the Mississippi flag.
The image also targeted Miloscia's positions, calling him a "Lobbyist for the Catholic Church," and claiming he is "against women's freedom over their own health choices" and "proposed a sin tax against Playboys and marital aids," among other stances.
The image also mocked Miloscia's Southern heritage - the candidate was born and lived in Mississippi as a small child- reading that he "comes from the Deep South…with plenty of baggage."
The website's author has not identified himself. According to SeattlePi's Joel Connelly, "a Democratic campaign strategist" said that "a couple of local Democratic legislative district members got together and did it on their own. I don't know all the names of who's involved . . . We've had to talk to them to try to get them to fix it."
Miloscia had previously served as a Democratic representative for Washington state, switching to the Republican party earlier this year after stating that the Democratic party no longer supported socially conservative views.
Miloscia has come under fire from Democratic and other organizations for his defense of unborn life and the traditional view of marriage, as well as his opposition to the death penalty. He has also worked as a lobbyist for the Washington State Catholic Conference of Bishops.
Song asked that the image be taken down, saying that the image "may have crossed the line of what is appropriate" and stated that she does not condone attacks on the basis of Miloscia's religion.
While the image has been removed, several condemnations of Miloscia's Catholic faith remain on the website.
One page entitled "Church Or State? The Dogmatic Public Policy of Mark Miloscia" details his voting record in support of issues outlined in Catholic social teaching, including opposition to euthanasia, abortion, and the death penalty, protection of traditional marriage, and expansion of contraceptive promotion in public schools. The page cites John F. Kennedy's insistance that whatever "one's religion in his private life may be, for the officeholder, nothing takes precedence over his oath to uphold the Constitution and all its parts -- including the First Amendment and the strict separation of church and state."
Another post titled "Pope Francis vs. Mark Miloscia," picks specific quotes of Pope Francis, such as "The Church has grown obsessed with... abortion and birth control," and contrasts them with Miloscia's voting record, implying that the candidate is opposing the Pope by voting in line with the Church's teachings on same-sex marriage, abortion, and contraception.
"It's unconscionable that that website is up," Miloscia told The Daily Caller on Oct. 25. "People say to me, 'Didn't they do this against Kennedy?'"
The image which has since been removed has been likened to the anti-Catholic bigotry of the 1800s seen in the U.S. The cartoonist Thomas Nast produced a famous cartoon for an 1871 edition of Harper's Weekly depicting Catholic bishops in mitres as crocodiles coming onto America's shores.
Mary Lane Strow, a Republican legislative aide who is also Catholic, commented on Facebook that "it reminds me of the crude anti-Catholic bigotry in this country from the 19th century … Imagine if they had gone after a Jewish candidate in this way."