Two bloggers hired recently by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards were criticized Tuesday by a Catholic group for posts they had written elsewhere on the Internet.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded that Edwards fire Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.
"John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," Donohue wrote in a statement. "He has no choice but to fire them immediately."
The Edwards campaign declined to comment. McEwan and Marcotte did not respond to e-mails requesting a response.
Donohue cited posts that the women made on blogs in the past several months in which they criticized the pope and the church for its opposition to homosexuality, abortion and contraception, sometimes using profanity.
"The Catholic church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics," Marcotte wrote on the blog Pandagon on Dec. 26, in an excerpt cited by Donohue.
Among the McEwan posts that Donohue listed was one she posted on Feb. 21, 2006, on her site, Shakespeare's Sister. She questioned what religious conservatives don't understand about "keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds and our families?"
Edwards put both bloggers on his payroll last week as part of his outreach to liberal voters and activists on the Internet. Their decision to work for Edwards is part of a broader move among prominent bloggers to jobs with political campaigns and progressive organizations.
The Catholic League counts its membership at nearly 350,000.