John Kerry's advisors are telling him justto shut up about "the communion thing":
The Rev. Robert Drinan, a Jesuit priest who served in Congress during the 1970s, says he has advised the campaign to clamp down on religious rhetoric and "keep cool on the Communion thing" after four Catholic bishops either barred Mr. Kerry by name from taking Communion in their dioceses or said pro-choice Catholics should be denied the sacrament.
At the same time, Kerry seems to have decided to shut up about religion altogether, much to the chagrin of other campaign advisors:
[T]he Kerry campaign also has sidelined its new religion adviser, closing journalists' access to Mara Vanderslice and ignoring her advice on how to appeal effectively to religious voters.
"Every time something with religious language got sent up the flagpole, it got sent back down, stripped of religious language," a Kerry campaign source said of Miss Vanderslice's ideas on overcoming Mr. Kerry's secular image.
Although given Miss Vanderslice's resume, I'd probably ignore her, too:
Miss Vanderslice, 29, grew up Unitarian in Boulder, Colo., then attended Earlham College, a Quaker institution in Richmond, Ind.
She joined a college socialist group, majored in peace and global studies, and graduated in 1997. After interning for a year at Sojourners, a liberal evangelical magazine in the District, she joined the Jubilee USA Network, a D.C.-based group that campaigns for Third World debt relief.
A socialist Quaker advising a secular Catholic on religion in politics strikes me as a poor recipe for appealing to the religious mainstream. But that's just me.
At any rate, she seems to be the only person they have who does know anything about religion:
Plans were, said Miss [Amy] Sullivan, for the campaign to assemble a "people of faith" page for the Kerry Web site, at which point Miss Vanderslice was to be announced as the contact person.
But with Miss Vanderslice not being allowed near the press, "They have no one in their communications shop who is conversant in religion," she said.
At least it's amusing to watch.