Different views on the Car seat veto. And a little Catholic bigotry thrown in to boot.

Two newspapers had different views on the car seat veto this past week.

The Watertown Public Opinion noted:

"We see the common sense in the Governor's take on this issue. It's still a basic safety issue, and it is good advice which doesn't necessarily make good legislation.

And then there was the opposing view from the Mitchell Daily Republic:
Gov. Mike Rounds makes a good point in vetoing the bill that would require booster seats for children aged 5-8.Rounds, in rejecting the legislation, said the law would be difficult to enforce and “unworkable” for large families.

Though Rounds is Roman Catholic, you don’t have to be of that faith to appreciate the special challenges that booster seats present....


In the end, we would favor the bill, despite the enforcement difficulties that the governor outlines. We would do so for this reason: If adults must buckle up, and infants must be strapped in, why would we place a lesser value on children ages 5-8?

Lawmakers should override the governor’s veto.
Say what? Aside from the fact that their position on the Car Seat bill is patronizing at best, did they actually say "Rounds, in rejecting the legislation, said the law would be difficult to enforce and “unworkable” for large families. Though Rounds is Roman Catholic, you don’t have to be of that faith to appreciate the special challenges that booster seats present.

Good gosh, why don't they discuss being Irish with legislation on public intoxication, or insert your other favorite racial/xenophobic stereotypes. It's even worse when they use it in such a way to intimate that it's affecting how an elected official is viewing the legislation.

The Catholic League notes on their website that
...today’s brand of anti-Catholicism is more virulent and more pervasive than ever before in American history.


Quite simply, Catholic bashing has become a staple of American society.
Read that here. And I guess those stereotypes in the form of snide comments translate over into the editorial views of one of our state's daily newspapers.

Mitchell Daily Republic - shame on you.


Chris Madsen said…
Oooff. I can't believe that anyone who could graduate from journalism school would be stupid enough to write a remark like that, let alone give it the "ok" to be printed in a daily paper.

I hope a few SDWC readers in Mitchell will take the time to let the folks at their local newspaper know that such remarks are not insightful or funny. Got to love newspaper editorials, the original anonymous post.

To paraphrase comedian Ron White, the First Amendment can't fix stupid.

I agree, the MDR's comment was stupid and insensitive at best, hateful at worst. I don't see what Gov. Rounds' religion has to do with vetoing the car seat bill.

Perhaps the MDR was thinking about the stereotype of Catholics having big families. Some do, some don't. And I suppose Unitarians have no kids?

Kind of like when Doug Williams was asked, "And how long have you been a black quarterback?"

It's hard to image such a statement in this day and age from a "major" newspaper. The MDR owes Gov. Rounds, Catholics, and all its readers an apology for inappropriately injecting one's religious affiliation into a story.

As a liberal, a Democrat, a Methodist, and someone who is not a fan of Gov. Rounds, I think the MDR was completely out of line.

Todd Epp
Senior Religion and Politics Editor
S.D. Watch
Anonymous said…
Everyone in mitchell is a hateful, secular humanist pig.
Anonymous said…
I think the point is this governor aggressively pursued anti-abortion legislation because, it part, of his Catholic faith. Its fair game for the media to now cosider, each of the governors moral decisions, as inpacted by his faith.

Religion divides america today now more than ever. It is appropriate for the media to write about this divide and its impact on politics.

The author's choice of wording is questionable. But i think the point is valid.
nonnie said…
I know a lot of people who are anti-abortion, strongly anti-abortion, and they are definitely not Catholic. To intimidate that Rounds is anti-abortion just because of his Catholic faith is just as stupid and insensitive as what the Mitchell paper said.

That being said, if it was a racial slur or sexual preference slur, there would be ____ to pay and lawsuits started. But religion is fair game these days.
Anonymous said…
PP and Epp - get out of politics quick! You are way too thin-skinned for this deal.

Large Catholic families is not a "stereoptype", it's a demographic fact.

What a pair of wussies.
Anonymous said…
It was just plain silly. Makes no sense at all. Anyway, haven't you heard that it is fine to bash Catholics but you can't breathe a word about Muslims? :-)
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Maybe I'm a wussie. But what the MDR did was wrong. If they were going to make a point that Rounds' faith played a role in his veto of the child seat law, then they need to say so and back it up with some evidence. They didn't do that, they made a bald assertion without any context.

While it is one thing for politicians and their operatives to attack their opponents on religion, which I also think should be verboten most of time, the issue here is a MSM newspaper making such a statement. I think that is a big distinction.

As a former journalist, TV producer, and executive producer, I would like to think I would not have allowed such a comment to creep into my reporting or the repoter of those I supervised.

If that makes me a wussie, guilty as charged.

I would not want someone reporting I did something simply because I was a Methodist or Buddhist without some sort of context or objective fact. I think Rounds deserves the same respect by the MSM.

What bloggers may do, well, that's a different story. And I still don't think that makes it right either.

Todd Epp
David Newquist Chair in Journalistic Ethics
S.D. Watch
Anonymous said…
Calling secular humanists pigs is hardly Christian isn't it?

How many of you here would heap praise on agnostics or athiests?

Where is this mythical bigotry against Catholics?

I see nothing but pro-choice bigotry, Muslim bigotry, Gay bigotry, Immigrant bigotry a lot coming from Catholics themselves.
Doug Wiken said…
I had Catholic relatives living in Pierre. They were overjoyed that a Catholic like Mike Rounds would become governor.

Politicians of all religions and their supporters love to have their cake and eat it too.

We take these principled positions because of our God (See Joe Lieberman for primary model) but anybody who criticizes our position or use is a bigot of some kind.

Allowing superstition to top information, science, statistics, and logic is not what we want from our politicians.
Anonymous said…
Apparently the author of that Mitchell article hasn't been in a Catholic church recently. Most families have two (read it, two) kids. Some have three or four, but that isn't even the rule anymore. Two generations or so ago all families had more kids. Admittedly Catholics had more kids back then, but so did others. I grew up Methodist, and we had a family with 16 Methodist kids! Better watch the stereotypes if you don't know your facts.
Anonymous said…
I suspect that the writer of the MDR article didn't realize how his or her reference to Catholics would sound to other people. Nonetheless, it was a stupid mistake from which that person will no doubt learn.

As far as Catholic bashing becoming more frequent, could that be because some people of that faith are trying to push their anti-abortion beliefs onto others through legislation? Or maybe it could be because they call pro-choice people baby killers? Those aren't exactly words of tolerance.

Bigotry should never exist, but when it does it often cuts both ways.
Lucretia Love said…
In fact, it was Sen. Greenfield, yes, of SDRtL fame (hmm, any Catholics in THAT bunch, I wonder), who injected stereotype into the floor debate on carseats when he said it is difficult for "Apostolic and Hutterite" families to fit everyone in the car if they have to have carseats. That argument was shot down when another Senator noted that the law already requires belts and shoulder harnesses, so what are those families doing now to abide by the law?
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…

Second try - link didn't seem to come through.
Anonymous said…
Oh drat!

Well, go to house blog ( here: http://house.typepad.com/ ). He has an interesting note on this "controversy"

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