Public Forum: A troubling political brochure
A troubling political brochure I found it thrown in the gutter after the Fourth of July parade in Spicer. It was a standard political candidate brochure with pictures of a cute puppy, cute kids, and the candidate with various constituency groups....
A troubling political brochure
I found it thrown in the gutter after the Fourth of July parade in Spicer. It was a standard political candidate brochure with pictures of a cute puppy, cute kids, and the candidate with various constituency groups.
Only one panel of the brochure seemed out of place and troubling. It shows the Republican Senate candidate for District 13, Joe Gimse, standing behind a lectern, apparently addressing a group of people. A cross and the letters "CCS" appear on the lectern. Gimse is wearing a Mark Kennedy sticker on his lapel, and Pawlenty and Gimse signs appear behind him. Where was Gimse? I don't know.
It could be that the picture shows Gimse campaigning for public office at a tax-exempt church or school. If that is the case, he may be providing prima facie evidence of a violation of U.S. Code Section 501(c)(3), which can result in lost of tax-exempt status for any school or church that permits this activity.
The question is where was Joe? The caption next to the picture includes the following sentence: "Speaking recently at a Marriage Amendment Rally in Willmar, Joe has the privilege of carrying a message from the Bishop of the New Ulm Catholic Diocese." Was Gimse at Harvest Community Church as the caption seems to imply? Was he at a Catholic church? Was he at a private, tax-exempt school? Was he at home in his basement? Where was Joe?
Doesn't it seem strange that the bishop would choose a politician running for public office as his messenger? Couldn't he find anyone else to be a messenger? Gimse seems to imply that he has the bishop's endorsement. Does he, or is he simply exploiting religion for his own gain?
Using religion to divide the electorate and gain votes is cynical and immoral. It undermines our democratic form of government and authentic religion. Gimse seems proud of his brochure. He continues to distribute it. I challenge this newspaper to find the answers. We need to know before we vote.
John H. Burns