Anti-Catholic Canard: Catholic League Accuses Church Critics Of Bias And Bigotry
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:50:37 AM EST

Have you ever found yourself in disagreement with the political positions of the Catholic bishops? If so, you're anti-Catholic.

Has it ever occurred to you that the church hierarchy didn't handle the pedophilia scandal very well, and have you voiced that opinion? You're anti-Catholic.

Do you get upset when priests and bishops violate federal law by endorsing candidates from the pulpit? That's anti-Catholic too.

I learned these things after examining a new publication from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights titled 2012 Report on Anti-Catholicism. Someone from the Catholic League was thoughtful enough to send it to me. I found its contents enlightening.

According to the League, "This comprehensive report documents incidents of anti-Catholicism that emerged last year from many different segments of society: activist organizations; the arts; business and the workplace; education; government; and the media."

Not quite. In reality, it looks like a gaggle of interns was set loose on Google News with a list of keywords. The report is more accurately described as an incoherent hodgepodge of news items from 2012 that annoyed William A. Donohue, the League's president.

Many of the items listed have nothing to do with Catholicism. (One example: The report goes on at length about the controversy over the anti-gay views of Dan Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-A restaurants. Cathy is a Southern Baptist.)

I suppose the Catholic League sent me the report because Americans United is mentioned in it more than once. What did we do in 2012 that was "anti-Catholic"? Well, we dared to assert that the bishops have no right under the First Amendment to restrict Americans' access to birth control.

We asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Catholic church in New York City that ran an item in its bulletin endorsing Mitt Romney for president as well as a bishop in Peoria who exhorted congregants not to vote for Barack Obama, comparing him to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. For expecting that federal law be followed, AU was labeled anti-Catholic.

According to this report, just about any attempt to enforce the separation of church and state is an example of anti-Catholicism. It contains numerous accounts of organizations like Americans United, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and others asking government officials to stop displaying sectarian symbols on public land or opening meetings with sectarian prayers. In many cases, the symbols and prayer used were not Catholic. No matter. According to the Catholic League, that's still anti-Catholic.

Here are some other things that the report says are anti-Catholic:

* New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is anti-Catholic because she wrote, "Even as Republicans try to wrestle women into chastity belts, the Vatican is trying to muzzle American nuns."

* Salon.com is anti-Catholic because one of its editors, Joan Walsh, asserted that the Catholic bishops often behave like an "unregistered arm of the GOP."

* Philadelphia officials are anti-Catholic because they put Msgr. William Lynn on trial for covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests. (Lynn, who was found guilty on one count of child endangerment, was sentenced to three to six years in prison.)

* An editorial cartoonist, Signe Wilkinson, is anti-Catholic because she drew a cartoon criticizing the bishops' stand on access to birth control and asserting that even Catholic women don't support it.

Here is my favorite example of anti-Catholicism from the report: Some thieves broke into a Catholic church in Hoboken, N.J., and stole copper pipes. Theft of copper has been a problem around the country because it has a high resale value on the secondary market. Such thievery is deplorable, but my guess is that the crooks who hit the church were interested in making a few bucks, not striking a blow against the Vatican.

(Unfortunately, the 2012 report is not online - although the League is happy to sell you a copy for $10 - but you can see examples from previous years here.)

With a definition this broad, can anyone escape the brush of anti-Catholicism? No - and that's exactly what Donohue, wants. Under his definition, millions of Americans (including many Catholics) who don't agree with the bishops on issues like legal abortion, LGBT rights, access to contraceptives and even the church's handling of child-abuse allegations are anti-Catholic.

It's really just an attempt to play the victim and intimidate anyone who is critical of the church hierarchy's political views or their attempts to require all of us to live under their dogma. Will it work? Nope.

Your martyr complex is tiresome, Bill. How about a little truth in advertising? I'd recommend a new title for the 2013 report: A Random List of Things That Really Bothered William Donohue Last Year.

 

 




Display:
They are, of course, using the same strategy that has worked so well for AIPAC, in that any criticism of Israeli government policy is automatically labeled anti-Semitic. Donohue defends convicted (and unconvicted) felons. AIPAC defends war crimes and violations of international law. The strategy is morally bankrupt, but it seems to be highly successful in some powerful circles.

by MLouise on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:59:04 AM EST

I must be an anti-Catholic Catholic, then, because I deplore the bishops' political positions, detest the hierarchy's lack of compassion for abuse, and strongly disagree with the bishops' positions on birth control and same-sex marriage. I agree, Bill's martyr complex is tiresome. It's fairly obvious to me that the bishops have decided to use "religious freedom," which is an individual rather than collective right, to cover up their attempts to ally with the Religious Right and use the secular government to enforce their birth control prohibitions. Interestingly, Maureen Dowd and Joan Walsh are both Irish Catholics, much like myself.

by khughes1963 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:52:25 PM EST

for misrepresenting Catholic laity, who, after all, are the Church, and for speaking silliness while claiming to represent the Church.

by NancyP on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:10:46 PM EST

that they don't mention any of the extreme rightwing protestant preachers who call the RC church the "whore of Babylon" and suggest the antichrist might be a pope - but agree to get in bed with the bishops over abortion, gay marriage, and women's rights. Politics really does make some strange bedfellows.

by phatkhat on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:26:30 PM EST

I don't know about anyone else around here, but I would wear being on the Catholic League's anti-Catholic list like a badge of honor. In fact, I'm now going to do my level best to get in the 2013 (and all successive) report(s). It's now permanent in my to-do list.

Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com


by DesElms on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:31:34 PM EST

...that the controversy over the Chick-fil-A founder's views was "anti-Cathy." He just had a really bad case of myopia, both literal and figurative.

by eeyore on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:50:35 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Could Support for LGBTQ Rights Disrupt the Coalition of Jews and Evangelical Christian Zionists?
Some might say that the relationship between the conservative US Jewish community and Evangelicals is inviolable, with support for Israel being the cement that......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)
Whine Festival: Second-Tier Religious Right Leaders Still Don't Like Marriage Equality
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.In preparation for this, a sad collection of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Whither the Christian Right in the Democratic Party?
You don't have to be a Hillary hater (and I'm not) to recognize that Clinton and other Democratic Party leaders have had long and......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Bishop Robert Finn Resigns Leadership of St. Joseph-Kansas City Diocese
Bishop Robert W. Finn, the Opus Dei Bishop who was convicted by a Missouri court for failing to report suspected child abuse by a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Two Overlooked Indiana Outcomes that Could Haunt the Christian Right
I think there are two underreported features of the fallout from Indiana that we should make sure do not get lost in the hoo......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)

Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
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 (3 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 (5 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 (5 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 (2 comments)
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)

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.