(CNSNews.com) - Taking aim at presidential candidate John Edwards, the Catholic League and other religious organizations are calling for the former senator to fire two staffers who made "anti-Christian" remarks on their personal blogs.
Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan blog for the John Edwards for President campaign and also on their respective personal websites, Pandagon and Shakespeare's Sister.
The Catholic League took particular offense to a Marcotte posting (content warning) last year that mocked Catholic views on contraception and the Christian belief that Jesus was born of a virgin.
In a more recent posting on Sunday, Marcotte blogged (content warning) about the movie "Children of Men" and once again took aim at the virgin birth doctrine in a way most Christians would find offensive.
McEwan, meanwhile, has called religious conservatives President George W. Bush's "wingnut Christofascist base."
"John Edwards had better fire Marcotte and McEwan immediately," Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said Monday. "These two foul-mouthed bigots are loose cannons with no particular loyalty to Edwards."
In an earlier reaction - given several days before Marcotte's Sunday posting - Edwards published a statement on his own blog, saying, "The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me.
"It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else," he said.
"But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word," said Edwards.
"We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in," he added.
Donohue said he was disappointed in Edwards' decision not to fire the two staff members who, he said, "have a history of making obscene attacks on Christians."
"We either have one shoe that fits all when it comes to fighting bigotry, or we have a phony, politically correct approach to the subject. That is the ultimate issue, not John Edwards," Donohue said.
Donohue said several other organizations, including the Family Research Council and the Blue Dog Democrats, are supporting the Catholic League's stance.
Marcotte and McEwan issued their own apologies on Edwards' blog last week.
"My writings on my personal blog Pandagon on the issue of religion are generally satirical in nature and always intended strictly as a criticism of public policies and politics," said Marcotte.
"My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics," she said. "Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact."
McEwan added, "Shakespeare's Sister is my personal blog, and I certainly don't expect Senator Edwards to agree with everything I've posted.
"We do, however, share many views - including an unwavering support of religious freedom and a deep respect for diverse beliefs," she said. "It has never been my intention to disparage people's individual faith, and I'm sorry if my words were taken in that way."
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