The UnDonohue (The Catholic Right, Twenty-three in a Series)
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Feb 19, 2007 at 02:08:00 PM EST
Bill Donohue and the Catholic League behave in ways that are radically out of synch with basic Christian ideas. Instead, they appear to be more of a partisan political attack squad, currying favor with, and financed by the superfluously wealthy and powerful. As the League's spokesman, Donohue is vulgar, hypocritical and a racist. Nevertheless, the lazy mainstream media treats him as a legitimate identifier of, and responder to anti-Catholicism.
Falling far short of being a model of tolerance and dignity, Donohue furthers the bigot's claim that American Catholics are crude, intolerant and anti-intellectual. Indeed, his approach to social tolerance smacks more of the anti-Semitic rants of Father Charles Coughlin in the way he fingers "Hollywood Jews" as social problems.

Although truly odd, it is telling that Donohue never couches his complaints in terms of forgiveness or wisdom. Instead he gallops in the opposite direction of Catholic teaching in his own bigoted and intemperate displays. He and his "League" indulge in character assassination, broad brushing Liberals as abnormally immoral and inventing attenuated incidents of anti-Catholicism.

Unlike Jesus, Donohue defends the powerful from the weak--usually by advocating for static institutions and hierarchies, not Catholic individuals. And when he does advocate for individuals, it is often for the powerful--a Mel Gibson. Rarely, if ever does he speak out on behalf of any individual Catholic disenfranchised by church hierarchy. Donohue's invective aimed ay Voice of the Faithful, the lay organization that seeks accountability for victims of clergy pedophilia is typical.

And Donohue is very well compensated. Many on the Right like to single out the likes of an Al Sharpton, who also defines a good part of himself through his civil rights activity. Whatever one thinks of Sharpton (and personally, I am not a fan) it can at least be said that as of the filing of the National Action Network's last IRS Form 990 filing, he took no financial compensation. Well guess what?  Donohue with his $303,766 2005 salary (plus a $30, 377 pension contribution) is more than Reverend Al's equal. So is League Vice-President, Bernadette Brady pulled down a salary of $160,000 in 2005 topped by a $16,000 pension contribution. Both incomes derive from a total 2005 League revenue of $2,688,533.00 (Donohue's compensation is a little over 8% of the League's revenue). That amount of money would fix a few church roofs; keep a few struggling Catholic schools going; or (gasp!) help the poor and homeless.

As a Catholic, I compare the League's work with that of its Jewish counterpart, the Anti-Defamation League. Its web page reveals an organization that speaks out against anti-Semitism in a dignified manner. There are no thinly veiled partisan attacks upon candidates of a specific politically partisan philosophy. And most of all, while sometimes controversial, there is no hateful language. From a 2005 income of $57,452,488, the ADL's Chief Executive Abraham Foxman received a salary of just over $307,000 (well under 2% of total revenue).

What does all this tell us? Simply that Donohue's and the League's agenda is much more political than religious. In fact, it is often political. And as I discussed in Part Twenty-two of this series the League has shown favor to certain candidates over others. Perhaps even more indicative of such an agenda, it may have improperly coordinated its recent attacks on recent US Senate candidate Bob Casey, Jr. as well as current Presidential candidate John Edwards--both Democrats with liberal economic agendas--with another 501(c)(3), Fidelis. If in fact true, that might well be a violation of IRS Rules and Regulations concerning no-for-profits. The mainstream media has been negligent in asking: Does Donohue abuse the Catholic League 501(c)(3) status improperly using it for political advocacy?

Of course, clownish fops such as Chris Matthews, concerned more about spectacle than legitimate news -- love the splash that a rude Donohue or for that matter, Jerry Falwell supplies. Far from treating religious faith with respect, and reporting on the significant role of religion in public life, the careless fools of the media indulge in false piety with the big ego bigots and pretend to care about the dignity of people of faith. In the end, the League is not about combating real incidents of Catholic bigotry, it's all about the aggrandizement of Bill Donohue.

American Catholicism needs no defense from a bigoted partisan hack.  Instead, we need someone who exudes dignity, forgiveness and most of all, personal self-discipline. The mainstream media needs to hear a Catholic voice that is not compensated like a celebrity or linked to conservative think tanks that advocate supply-side economics, but someone who speaks from the heart as a voice of unity, not divisiveness. Someone who can be seated right next to the bully from the League so that Americans can decide for themselves who better represents the Catholic teachings of Jesus Christ.

Sister Joan Chittister, are you listening?

And if by any chance there are cable newsroom producers reading this article, she is your true face of American Catholicism. Sister Joan is the Joseph N. Welch to the modern-day Senator Joseph McCarthy that is William Donohue. She is the unDonohue.

The Catholic Right: A Series, by Frank Cocozzelli :  Part One  Part Two  Part Three   Part Four  Part Five  Part Six   Intermezzo   Part Eight   Part Nine  Part Ten   Part Eleven   Part Twelve   Part Thirteen   Part Fourteen   Second Intermezzo   Part Sixteen   Part Seventeen   Part Eighteen   Part Eighteen   Part Nineteen   Part Twenty   Part Twenty-one   Part Twenty-two

NOTE: All income and revenue figures found in IRS form 990 for all organizations.




Display:
Watch for the following activity from Donohue:

  1. Coordination with Fidelis to attack Democratic candiates for the nomination while going after Republican opponents of Sam Brownback; and

  2. If either a Giuliani or McCain appear to have the GOP nomination locked up, look for more Fidelis/Catholic League press activity designed to put Brownback on the ticket as the price for Catholic Right support.

If this comes to pass, than that is a damn good indication Donohue is using the league for political purposes in violation of the IRS regs for a 501(c)(3). Remember: Tom Mongahan, who is on Brownback's exploratory committee has sits on the CL's board of advisors and has strong links to Fidelis.

Let's see if the mainstream press follows that angle.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Feb 19, 2007 at 02:20:56 PM EST


I'll watch Bill & Fidelis to see if they behave like you predict they will.  I think that Brownback would be Donohue's first pick, although if John McCain or Rudy Giuliani won the Republican nomination, Bill would endorse either of them over any Democratic candidate. McCain all too obviously lusts after the nomination, and he is trying too hard to court the Christian Right. Barbara O'Brien on Mahablog notes that like Bush, Giuliani has a tendency to retaliate against his critics, and she notes that Giuliani is much more dangerous than Bush because Giuliani is much more intelligent. I think that Bill would make excuses for Rudy's rather checkered marital career.

Kathy

by khughes1963 on Mon Feb 19, 2007 at 09:13:24 PM EST


What about the fact that Foxman <a href="http://www.markdankof.com/eckstein_reed.htm">i gnores the problem of dispensationalist theology</a> when it comes to religious right supporters of Israel. I think you are <a href="http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=118 01">letting Foxman off</a> too easily when it comes to partisan attacks.

Donahue is bad, but he isn't different from Foxman when it comes to republican partisanship.


by strayroots on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 05:03:44 AM EST
what's wrong?

by strayroots on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 05:13:26 AM EST
Parent

First and foremost, I was discussing tone and language.

Foxman doesn't make accusations about certain Gentile groups controlling specific industries--as Donohue does about Jews in Hollywood or about a Chinese student being a"gook." On that issue, Donohue clearly uses vulgar, thinly veiled anti-Semitic and other racist terms.

As for your accusation about Foxman and the Religious Right, I would have to see a confirming source for the one you provided.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 07:06:31 PM EST
Parent

 

"He is one of the most misunderstood and misjudged figures in the Jewish

community," says Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of the

Chicago-based International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Even Abraham

Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, insists Reed is no

bogeyman. "I find Ralph, in addition to being smart and perceptive, a

decent human being," says Foxman. "I consider him a friend."

In an interview, Reed comes across as moderate. The dialogue is open;

there's room for discussion, compromise. Yet, one wonders what beats

underneath the ice-blue shirt and the muted red tie. A political theorist?

A bloody-shirt-waving crusader? An Iago, as they like to say, looking for

an Othello?

 

 It is called The Rebirth of Ralph Reed



by strayroots on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 10:19:46 AM EST
Parent
Not being aware of this before, I cede to your point about Ralph Reed and some of Foxman's connections.  

I do, however, stand by what I said about the non-racist tone of his writings. And compared to Donohue, Foxman is much more mainstream.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 08:19:08 PM EST
Parent






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