Maggie Gallagher

On July 23, the Democrats tried again. According to UPI, the DNC appointed one Rev. Brenda Bartella-Peterson, a Christian minister (Disciples of Christ) as the Democratic Party's senior adviser on religious outreach. "Brenda will act as liaison to religious organizations and will encourage people to let their faith inform their participation in democracy," DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe said. She comes to the Kerry campaign from her post as executive director of the Clergy Leadership Network. This is how the CEO of the CLN describes their "niche" on the organization's Web site: "We are moderate and liberal and even centrist. But the political center has been pulled so far right that we look like radical leftists."

"Brenda has dedicated her life to showing us all how religion and politics intersect with integrity," McAuliffe said. "We are proud to have her join the DNC, in order to spread John Kerry's positive vision to people of all faiths."

Now we find out that the Rev. Bartella-Peterson worked to get God out of the Pledge of Allegiance. She signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to declare the pledge unconstitutional. She's entitled to her position, surely, but it does lead one to ask what exactly is Kerry's positive vision to people of all faiths?

What explains this ineptitude? Is the Democratic leadership unable to vet or simply unable to find a religious adviser whose views are simpatico with the American people? As Catholic League President Bill Donohue quips: "If Peterson were a plant by the Bush camp, we'd understand it. What we don't understand is political suicide."


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.