DASCHLE DOUBLE-PLAY: The Senate minority leader has been ordered to stop calling himself a Catholic, according to The Weekly Standard:
The Senate minority leader and the highest ranking Democrat in Washington has been sent a letter by his home diocese of Sioux Falls, sources in South Dakota have told The Weekly Standard, directing him to remove from his congressional biography and campaign documents all references to his standing as a member of the Catholic Church.
This isn’t exactly excommunication–which is unnecessary, in any case, since Daschle made himself ineligible for communion almost 20 years ago with his divorce and remarriage to a Washington lobbyist. The directive from Sioux Falls’ Bishop Robert Carlson is rather something less than excommunication–and, at the same time, something more: a declaration that Tom Daschle’s religious identification constitutes, in technical Catholic vocabulary, a grave public scandal.
The article also has a very illuminating comment about California’s Gov. Gray Davis, who received a similar chastisement from Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento:
Russ Lopez, a spokesman for Davis, responded with the hilarious and deeply revealing complaint that Bishop Weigand was “telling the faithful how to practice their faith.” In Lopez’s mind–as, indeed, in the minds of many–the promise of the separation of Church and state, in which no political figure gets to tell believers how to practice their faith, has turned into a need for the separation of Church and Church, in which not even a religious figure gets to tell believers how to practice their faith.)
Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports that “Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, would lose to a prominent state Republican, according to a poll conducted for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”