RICHMOND, Virginia — A newspaper reports that one of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s new appointees to a state council on women’s issues has a history of making derogatory attacks against Catholics on Twitter.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Gail Gordon Donegan, a Democratic activist from Alexandria, was among new appointees to the Virginia Council on Women.
Examples of the offensive tweets include: “Abortion is morally indefensible to Catholic priests bcuz it results in fewer children to rape,” Christmas is “the one time of year the Catholic Church is allowed to focus on a little boy” and “Go tell a Catholic they have dirt on their forehead.”
Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky told the newspaper that the governor “certainly does not condone this language.”
Donegan says her father was severely beaten in Catholic foster homes. She says her husband is an ex-Catholic “and he’s not offended by my tweets.”
The Catholic Diocese of Arlington expressed disappointment in Northam in a statement for making the appointment after reviewing some of Donegan’s posts.
“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.
“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.”
Deborah Cox, spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, said the postings were “extremely offensive to Catholics and the Catholic faith.”
“We would expect anyone appointed to a council or commission for the Commonwealth to be respectful of all faith groups and civil in his or her public comments — including social media — given their status as a representative of the Commonwealth, appointed by the governor.” she said.
Crux staff contributed to this report.
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