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."

* 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.



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

Northwest Arkansas, A Hotbed for Anti-Semitism
Three organizations in Northwest Arkansas are deeply interwoven into the most rabid Anti-Semitic teachings in the nation.  Gerald Smith, buried at the base of......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Joseph Cella is Back - Taking the Opposite Tack from Pope Francis
Joseph J. Cella has had a change of heart since he joined with those conservative Catholic activists who signed a declaration during the Republican......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Radcliffe Sucker Punched by Right-Wing Propagandists
The prestigious Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard College will host a panel on Monday, Oct 17, titled "Righting the Record: Conservatism and......
By Chip Berlet (1 comment)
Celebrating Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is the venerable annual celebration of the right to read and the highlighting of efforts by cultural vigilantes of various sorts......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Birthers, Birchers and Lee Harvey Oswald
"It would be more accurate to say that Oswald was his own agent, that he was moved to act by dint of his own......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Are Civil Rights and Religious Liberty Mutually Exclusive?
The question posed in the title might seem merely rhetorical:  but its not.  All sides, not to mention the media, often frame contemporary controversies......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Final Repudiation Of Phyllis Schlafly
Monday night around 9:40 I received an email with a curious subject line. "The Greatest American Woman, R.I.P.," it read. "Who could that be?"......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Is This the Dawning of the Age of Vulgar Demagoguery?
Before the end of GOP primaries, I wrote about how Catholic neo-conservatives couldn't bring themselves to support Donald Trump. Even now that he is......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
I am pleased to report that the task of getting the low down on dominionism may be becoming easier for scholars, journalists and activists.......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Dominionism Hiding in Plain Sight
Dominionism has been an evolving movement for a half century. Fed by two main streams, it has becoming a roaring current, tearing through American......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
Chancy Combo: Why The Founders Were Not Fans Of Preacher-Politicians
Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has vowed to repeal a federal law that bars houses of worship (and other tax-exempt non-profits) from endorsing......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Beware The Gender Unicorn: Franklin Graham Takes Aim At The Transgender Community
Part of my job involves monitoring the activities of Religious Right groups, which means every day my email box receives messages from groups like......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
The Politics of Fear
Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He moved to New York City and became a Communist.  Later on he......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Persecution-Free Park: Religious Freedom Still Not Under Attack In America
I just got back from a week-long vacation with my wife and son. We were in Acadia National Park in Maine.On our second day......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people......
By Chip Berlet (4 comments)

Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (2 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (4 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
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 (1 comment)
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 (2 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 (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 (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.