Bishop Jenky Gets the Coveted Coughie!
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:23:49 PM EST
Yes, it's that time of the year, folks. It's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award.  The competition was stiff, but one Catholic Right mover and shaker stood out out from the crowd, head and shoulders above the rest.
The Coughlin Award -- affectionately known as "The Coughie" -- is our way of recognizing the person who has best exemplified an exclusionary, strident interpretation of the Catholic faith in the preceding year.  The award is named for Father Charles Coughlin, the notorious radio priest of the 1930s who is the role model for today's Religious Right radio and television evangelists, and other conservative media personalities.

This year our judges had a small but distinguished field of candidates from which to choose. Of course there was last year's winner, Catholic League head honcho Bill Donohue.  He,  along with 2011 honoree, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, used the occasion of the indictment of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Finn for failing to report a priest of suspected pedophilia to launch a war of attrition against a victims' advocacy group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  For their efforts, the dynamic duo were awarded (dis)honorable mentions.

The winner of this years' Coughlin Award is Bishop Daniel Jenky, of Peoria, Illinois for his outstanding achievements in fanning the flames of the culture wars.  But before we discuss the words and deeds that catapulted him over the dynamic due, a few words about the coveted Coughie itself are in order.

The award's namesake, Catholic priest and anti-Semitic broadcaster Fr. Charles Coughlin is best known for his diatribes against FDR, Judaism and his open sympathy with the racist policies of Adolph Hitler.  Such advocacy was clearly antithetical the very definition of the word "catholic," which, according to Webster's Unabridged Dictionary means:

   

Catholic Cath"o*lic\ (k[a^]th"[-o]*[i^]k), a. [L. catholicus, Gr. kaqoliko`s, universal, general; kata` down, wholly + "o`los whole, probably akin to E. solid: cf. F. catholique.]

    1. Universal or general; as, the catholic faith.

    Men of other countries [came] to bear their part in so great and catholic a war. -Southey.

    Note: This epithet, which is applicable to the whole Christian church, or its faith, is claimed by Roman Catholics to belong especially to their church, and in popular usage is so limited.

    *Not narrow-minded, partial, or bigoted; liberal; as, catholic tastes.

    *Of or pertaining to, or affecting the Roman Catholics; as, the Catholic emancipation act.

In order to win a Coughie, a candidate must successfully complete three qualifying tasks: 1) Make the faith decisively less inclusive 2) Engage in incendiary behavior and 3) Thereby ultimately embarrass the Church.

Now let's take a look back at the pugnacious Peorian's 2012 award winning performance.

Hands down, Bishop Jenky did his darned best to make Catholicism less inclusive.  Last April in a homily-screed aimed at the Affordable Care Act's requirement that religious employers provide women with insurance coverage that pays for contraception he compared with Judas Isacariot who betrayed Jesus to the Romans, American Catholics who disagree with the hierarchy on the issue

May God have mercy especially on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

He then claimed that President Obama is following in the footsteps of Hitler and Stalin.

Hitler and Stalin at their better moments would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care, in clear violation of our constitutional rights, president Obama with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Such language easily satisfies award-winning requirements two ("engages in incendiary behavior") and three ("ultimately embarrasses the Church").  As I noted at the time:

...comparing President Obama to Hitler and Stalin is not merely a violation of Godwin's Law, it is hurtful to those suffered at the hands of two of the worst tyrants of the twentieth century, not to mention their descendants. It is hard to beat Adolf Hitler when it comes to unspeakably brutal religious intolerance. Not only did he direct the murder six million Jews, but also he also similarly persecuted other people of faith. Jehovah's  Witnesses and Christians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Fr. Maximilian Kolbe and Father Bronislaw Komorowski immediately come to mind. The Nazis destroyed untold numbers of Churches and synagogues.

On a smaller scale Stalin initiated his own ruthless  war on faith. The Soviet leader used the League of Militant Atheists as a mechanism to decimate churches, mosques and synagogues. Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders were often murdered or imprisoned in Siberian gulags.

And to these examples of barbarity Bishop Jenky equates President Obama's health care policy?

Judas. Hitler. Stalin. Jenky is a master of the classics. But his comments didn't play well in or out of Peoria.   "There are few, if any, parallels in history to the religious intolerance and anti-Semitism fostered in society by Stalin, and especially Hitler,"  the director of Chicago's Anti-Defamation League responded, "who under his regime perpetuated the open persecution and ultimate genocide of Jews, Catholics and many other minorities."  Americans United for Separation of Church filed a complaint with the IRS that the bishop's comments violate the federal tax code provision that bars churches and other non-profits from intervening in campains for elected office.

These episodes alone might have clinched the Coughie, but Jenky was not done. After all, it was an election year.

On October 31, 2012 Bishop Jenky released a letter that he ordered read at all Masses within his diocese the weekend before Election Day.  Among other things he alleged, he claimed, "I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present" because "Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community's grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception."

Dennis Coday of The National Catholic Reporter dryly noted, "If I am reading this right, I think he is ordering all Catholics to vote." And knowing to which political party both the president and "the current majority of the Federal Senate" belong, you don't have to be Fellini to figure how he wanted his flock to vote!

Bradley University political science professor Emily Gil pointed out in thePeoria Star Journal;  "the Catholic Church can do whatever it wants to do with its own money, but not with the public's money" -- particularly when hospitals and other Church-affiliated agencies are using federal funds.

I give you the winner of this year's Coughlin Award:  Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois.




Display:
My parents remember Jenky when he said Mass at Notre Dame's church, Sacred Heart Basilica. Jenky belongs to the Holy Cross order. I can't think of a better winner. Jenky should consult some of his fellow European bishops who survived Communism and Nazism. He couldn't hold a candle to those men, and he borrows the Religious Right's hyperbolic rhetoric to disguise the fact that they are angry that they don't hold the upper hand over our religious or political systems. Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison might be a possible contender for future Coughie awards.

by khughes1963 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:58:18 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


The Author of Loathing Lincoln Explains Why Some on the Christian Right Loathe Lincoln
One under-reported result of the 2014 elections was the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in the U.S. This included the election of unabashed apologist for......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Catholic Theocracy Grows in Florida
Catholic Right pizza mogul Tom Monaghan and his Ave Maria School of Law are back in the news.  Journalist Eleanor Bader has a new......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.The proposal put forth by the......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the cities' mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the city's mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Houston's I Stand Sunday
In response to Houston's gay mayor's solicitation of church sermons, on Nov. 2, 2014, Houston Texas will host an I Stand Sunday.  The event,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.