Wikileaks releases allegedly ‘anti-Catholic’ email chain from top Clinton aides

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (Getty Images/CBS News)
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (Getty Images/CBS News)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — A newly-leaked email from the latest Wikileaks dump appears to show key Hillary Clinton aides making derogatory statements about Catholicism and evangelical Christianity.

The exchange was part of a 2011 email chain between Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri, campaign chairman John Podesta and John Halpin from the Center for American Progress.

Under the subject line of “Conservative Catholicism”, Halpin makes reference to Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch and Wall Street Journal managingeditor Robert Thompson for “raising their kids Catholic.”

“Friggin’ Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus”, Halpin says.

He goes on to claim that “(m)any of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic”, which he describes as “an amazing bastardization of the faith” that includes “severely backwards gender relations”.

“It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy”, writes Halpin.

Podesta does not respond to the email chain, but Palmieri replies, “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”

Catholic League president Bill Donahue says the emails “reveal anti-Catholicism on the part of the Clinton campaign” and called for Clinton to “sanction Podesta and Palmieri immediately.”

A statement from Donahue reads in part: “These anti-Catholic remarks are bad enough, but it makes one wonder what else Clinton’s chiefs, and others associated with the campaign, are saying about Catholics and Catholicism.

“If Trump’s inner circle spoke with derision about transgender persons, the sirens would be sounded by the mainstream media and his operatives would be hung out to dry,” says Donahue.

The Clinton campaign does not confirm the authenticity of Podesta’s leaked emails, noting that Russian hackers often fabricate documents.

Podesta tells the Associated Press the FBI is investigating Russia’s possible role in hacking thousands of his personal emails, an intrusion he says Donald Trump’s campaign may have been aware of in advance.

While Podesta didn’t directly accuse Trump of assisting in any Russian meddling with American campaigns, he suggests Trump was either “willfully ignoring” intelligence officials’ warnings about Russian government involvement or “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak dismisses the accusations as untrue.

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