Anti-Catholic mockery directed at Mark Miloscia in Federal Way state Senate race

By Joel Connelly
Seattle PI

website erected by local Democratic activists mocked the Catholic faith of Republican state Senate candidate Mark Miloscia, showing a cartoon of Miloscia waring a bishop’s mitre and holding a rosary and claiming that Miloscia represents “the Vatican”.

Democratic opponent Shari Song asked that the posting be taken down. It was, but has been replaced by an equally crude posting entitled “Pope Francis vs. Mark Miloscia,” which appears to argue that Miloscia is opposing the pope by being pro-life and upholding church teaching on same-sex marriage.

Miloscia is a former Democratic state representative, who switched to the Republican side earlier this year arguing that the Democratic Party no longer tolerated his socially conservative views.

Miloscia and Song are locked in a close battle in the 30th District, the Federal Way area seat of retiring Democratic state Sen. Tracy Eide.

“It is not any part of my campaign and nobody in my campaign had any part in it,” Song said on Monday morning. The website was “a little bit misguided,” she added, saying of the authors: “I don’t believe they are anti-Catholic or intended it in that way.”

“I am a very strong Christian,” said Song.  ”My father-in-law is a retired pastor. My father is an elder in his church. I was a Sunday school teacher as a young person. I am against bigotry or discrimination of any kind.”

The website is what is known as an “independent” expenditure. Its authors say their costs are “below minimum public disclosure requirements.” Washington requires disclosure for any person or group spending $100 or over on campaign advertising.

The removed posting listed such Miloscia “sins” as “lobbyist for the Catholic Church, and charged: “Rather than represent the people of Federal Way, he has best represented the people of the Vatican.”

Actually, Miloscia has been associated with the Washington State Catholic Conference.

The WSCC reflects church teachings on abortion and same-sex marriage. The state’s bishops have, however, endorsed I-594, which would close the “gun show loophole” on criminal background checks. The WSCC has argued against the death penalty, for rights of Native Americans and against cuts in the state’s social safety net.

A Democratic campaign strategist explained the anti-Catholic posting in these terms:

“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.

“The campaign staff didn’t know anything about it until we saw it pop up on Twitter: The policy consequences of social issues are fair game to hit him on, but the photo shopped imagery on the site is really offensive, and there’s no way that we would authorize something like that.”

A leading GOP legislative aide, and active Catholic, posted an historic perspective on her Facebook page.

“It reminds me of the crude anti-Catholic bigotry in this country from the 19th century,” said Mary Lane Strow. ”I hope we see plenty of Democrats denounce this, too. Imagine if they had gone after a Jewish candidate in this way.”

The bigoted anti-Catholic posting has been deleted. Still, it ranks as the nastiest single attack of Washington’s 2014 campaign. Whatever the intent of site authors, they’ve bolstered Miloscia’s argument that the Democratic Party no longer welcomes someone who is socially conservative.

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