Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced Gail Gordon Donegan, a Democratic activist from Alexandria, as a new appointee to the Virginia Council on Women. He heralded her as a women's rights champion. Yet, the more sordid side of her history includes a series of offensive messages about Catholics, as revealed by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
For instance, in one tweet from March 9, 2011, Donegan wrote, "Go tell a Catholic they have dirt on their forehand," in a callous reference to Catholics' observation of Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent.
The Catholic Diocese of Arlington issued the following statement about Donegan's appointment.
“Governor Northam’s appointment of Gail Gordon Donegan to the Virginia Council on Women is disappointing, particularly given her documented use of social media to offend members of the Catholic faith,” said Billy Atwell, chief communications officer for the diocese, in the statement.
“Ms. Gordon Donegan has a record of ridiculing Catholic beliefs and practices and trafficking in stereotypes that would disqualify her from this role had they targeted any other category of persons. Her statements are offensive to human dignity and fail to reflect the depth of character one would expect of a leader in our Commonwealth.”
When the controversy broke Northam did not seem to have any plans to rethink the appointment, only opting to have his spokeswoman note that he “does not approve” of that kind of language.
Of course, other Democrats have targeted Catholics right on Capitol Hill. In more than one judiciary hearing, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have demanded Trump appointees promise not to let their Catholic faith interfere in their proceedings.
Northam, we know, has other scandals he hasn’t quite overcome yet. Constituents are still wondering whether or not he was dressed in blackface in his 1984 medical yearbook.