Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Catholic League Watch 3

The Catholic League claims that its aim is to "safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics whenever and wherever they are threatened." But, in reality, it functions as a rather shrill organ of the Republican right, and little more. This is the third in a sequence of posts designed to elucidate its hypocrisy.

In his latest unhinged tirade, Bill Donohue complains that the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have more religious rights than Christians in the United States. I'm serious.

"It is more than ironic--it is perverse--to note that while Christians and Jews are battling for their religious rights, accused Muslim thugs in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps are having no problem getting their religious rights honored during Ramadan....The situation at the Cuban base is so absurd that one Army official says, 'The deference that was given to them [the detainees] under the guise of religion was unbelievable'...The old adage, 'What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander,' needs emendation: 'What's Good for Accused Muslim Thugs is Good for Unsuspected Christians and Jews' makes more sense these days."
Where do I even start with this? Notice the vitriolic tone, the absence of any modicum of Christian charity. Donohue is a perfect example of what I discussed before: how the "Coulterization of conservatism" has seeped into Catholic discourse. And of course, Donohue is not exactly up to speed with how the Catechism treats Islam. Nor is he aware that of the words of Pope Benedict expressing respect and esteem for Islam. Then again, Bush trumps Benedict any day for Donohue and his fellow travelers.

Is Donohue even aware of the fact that many (if not most) of the "Muslim Thugs" held in Guantanamo Bay are innocent of any crime? Does he care? As noted by Andrew Sullivan (pulling from National Journal), Rumseld lied when he said all prisoners were captured on a battlefield. In fact:

"*A high percentage, perhaps the majority, of the 500-odd men now held at Guantanamo were not captured on any battlefield, let alone on "the battlefield in Afghanistan" (as Bush asserted) while "trying to kill American forces" (as McClellan claimed).
* Fewer than 20 percent of the Guantanamo detainees, the best available evidence suggests, have ever been Qaeda members.
* Many scores, and perhaps hundreds, of the detainees were not even Taliban foot
soldiers, let alone Qaeda terrorists. They were innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants with no intention of joining the Qaeda campaign to murder Americans.
* The majority were not captured by U.S. forces but rather handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords and by villagers of highly doubtful reliability."

Innocent men held in a prison without charge for five years. Tortured by the Bush administration. And now this same administration wants to legalize military tribunals held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, where defendants have no right to see the evidence accusing them. Shame on Donohue. Shame.

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