Thursday, October 12, 2006

William Donohue and Deal Hudson: Best Friends Forever (A Very Special Catholic League Watch)

Who is Deal Hudson? He was the hyper-conservative Catholic editor of Crisis magazine, who was first in line to swear fealty to the Bush administration, and to hector Catholics about how they needed to follow his lead. Along with his friend Bill Donohue, he led the Catholic assault on John Kerry in 2004. His bullying extended to the bishops, when he promised to take "a close look at some of the bishops who are allowing their local politicians to get away with the deception of calling themselves Catholic while voting for abortion rights."

Except that Hudson was undone by hypocrisy. In 2004, the National Catholic Reporter went public with allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a freshman female student when he was a professor at Fordham University. The girl in question is Cara Poppas, who was a troubled undergraduate at the time (in and out of foster names, mother an alcoholic). She was 18 when she met Hudson, her professor. He invited her to a bar with some other students, dismissing the fact that she was under age. According to the NCR article (based on Poppas's recollection), Hudson began French kissing two girls, and started doing "body shots". He then took Pappas back to his office, and persuaded her to engage in sexual activities. Afterwards, Hudson left Fordham and paid $30,000 to terminate the girl's lawsuit.

Now, everybody makes mistakes, and I'm not a fan of "outing" people's past behavior. The main exception is where hypocrisy is on the line. Given his background, it is interesting that Hudson had the following to say about Bill Clinton:

"Over and over again, we hear on the talk shows that we shouldn't hold the president to a 'higher standard.' I would argue quite the opposite. Those who are not willing to bear the burden of these higher standards should not seek office . After we have stripped away all idealism from offices that bind our culture together -- president, father, husband -- what will be left for us to aspire to? Who will want to sacrifice personal desires for public responsibilities?" Of his daughter's reactions to the scandal, Hudson wrote that "she is being imbued with the lie that a person's private conduct makes no difference to the execution of their public responsibilities. It's this lie, alive in our culture of death, that has shaped the character of Bill Clinton and encouraged the moral softness in all of us."
But what is Donohue's role in this mess? This blog has been examining some of the Catholic League's most glaring instances of hypocrisy and partisanship (and will continue to do so). But the most notorious of all Donohue press releases do date pertains to his defense of Hudson. This press release was pulled shortly afterwards. Yes, even Donohue has some shame. Luckily, the intrepid Amy Sullivan preserved a copy. Here are the lowlights:

"Effective today, the Catholic League has a new requirement for all future employees: all candidates must show proof of being immaculately conceived, that is, they must demonstrate that they were conceived without sin. We fully understand that we have raised the bar very high, but in light of the revelation that the National Catholic Reporter decided to expose a sexual harassment charge against Deal Hudson-- one that was made almost a decade ago by a drunken female he met in a bar-- we at the Catholic League are not prepared to take any chances. Unfortunately, we will not be able to make our new requirement retroactive, for to do so would mean the Catholic League would have to shut down. You see, unlike the puritans at the NCR, we at the Catholic League are sinners. "
A drunken female he met at a bar? Such a cavalier attitude to the sexual shenanigans of Republicans was also displayed by his reaction to the Foley scandal of course:

"As for the alleged abuse, it's time to ask some tough questions. First, there is
a huge difference between being groped and being raped, so which was it Mr.
Foley? Second, why didn't you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all,
most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?"


Anonymous said...

I wonder how much Donahue makes. The League is a non-profit. His salary must be public knowledge.

Anonymous said...

You failed to take many things into account before calling Deal Hudson a hypocrite. I'll make one or two points. First,Deal converted several years ago to Catholicism. He was not a dedicated Catholic at the time and has since apologized for his sins. So all should be forgiven because he recognized the errors of his ways. So you are not portraying his life story in any accurate light (typical)... Second, that incident was over ten years ago and he was not seeking elected office. Someone seeking elected office should not be as morally debased as Bill Clinton. They should be held to a much higher standard than any private citizen for they represent us all and should strive to be role models.

Anonymous said...

"He was not a dedicated Catholic at the time and has since apologized for his sins. So all should be forgiven because he recognized the errors of his ways."

Gee, that's nice. Please excuse this non-Catholic from being entirely unimpressed.

Anonymous said...

In response to the anonymous comment made a 7:21 AM. He was not running for public office???? A professor at Fordam university??? If that is not a role model for young adults you have severly lost your compass on morals. Teachers have always been role models second only to parents. But his conduct is Ok, because he was not running for public office??? Hypocricsy at its finest!!!!!!!!!