Monday, March 12, 2007

The Catholic Right and Sean Hannity

Who is Sean Hannity? A run-of-the-mill right-wing blowhard who places his ideology ahead of logic, reason, facts, and analysis. A man who nightly performs the ritual proskynesis before George W. Bush. A high-ranking resident of the truthiness universe. A prime example of the morally decadent Coulterized conservatism, which substitutes juvenile name calling for civil debate.

Hannity also likes to play up his Catholicism upon occasion, though it is often simply to score ideological points. This, after all, is the man who wrote a "book" entitled Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism. He takes the Lord's Prayer, and turns it into a partisan cudgel. Nice. For him, God is clearly a Republican. He once asked, on air, "Can we pray for the reelection of George Bush?". He was not joking. And he denigrates Church teachings on topics ranging from just war, torture, the living wage, health care, and immigration on a regular basis-- because they go against his ingrained secular ideology. For his opposition to the Iraq war, Hannity concurred with the statement that Pope John Paul was a "wild-eyed liberal loon". He attacked efforts to restore the Geneva Conventions on the grounds that they would "tie the hands of interrogators". His whole view of torture is framed by consequentialism, or, as he would put it, whether it helps or hinders the famous "war on terror". In Hannity's view, "aggressive interrogation will save lives ". Yes, Sean is a good Catholic...

But these are all political beliefs. Going deeper, Hannity clearly has no idea what it means to be Catholic in the first place. During the abuse scandal, he declared that he was so annoyed by the behavior of some bishops, he seriously considered leaving the Church. That tells you everything you need to know about Hannity's "faith". He is a protestantized Catholic. If he had even the vaguest understanding of what the Catholic faith means, he could never have made such a statement.

Anyway, this is all background to today's story. Hannity got involved in a spat with a priest over the issue of birth control, which Hannity supports. Fr. Tom Euteneuer of Human Life International sparked the exchange by calling Hannity to task, calling him a hypocrite. Hannity responded by hectoring Fr. Euteneuer about the sex abuse scandal, or something like that, in full blustering character.

First things first. What was Fr. Euteneuer thinking? Of all issues, he picks Hannity's opposition to birth control. This speaks volumes about the politicized Catholic right. An organization calling itself Human Life International has no problem with Hannity's views on the war, on torture, on his denial that the lack of health insurance is a pressing issue, on immigration.... only birth control. Where were you when Hannity insulted and mocked Catholic teachings in other areas? These guys have a truly distorted sense of the culture of life.

The response on the right was also interesting. Many seem shocked by his tone, his arrogance. Please. Where have they been for the past decade? At the same time, many of them retain a soft spot for Sean, given his history of supporting their pet causes. For example, Amy Welborn berates him for his attitude, but also notes his good work on the Terry Schiavo issue (not seeming to realize that the moral principles underlying this issue were not exactly clear, as the Catholic moral tradition always made clear distinctions between killing somebody and discontinuing treatment that offers no hope of recovery, and that the tragedy was used more for political purposes). Kathyrn Lopez of the pro-torture National Review claimed that Hannity was "a reasonable and good guy". She also berated Fr. Euteneuer for making the whole thing public, when he should have talked to Hannity privately. Note the hypocrisy. In 2004, the same Lopez was calling on bishops to publicly denounce John Kerry, in what would be "a healthy and helpful educational opportunity". And by the way, don't expect Bill Donohue to comment either. Wrong side of the political spectrum. It's all about the double standards.


Anonymous said...

Solid take on Hannity...though one does walk the proverbial "tight rope" critcising these neo-cons beacuse that is exactly what they are looking for, fodder from the "left" to stoke their fires of misplaced rage. Someone needs to do it; you did it well. Sadly, when Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly call themselves Catholic it insults those of us who can atually comprehend a cathechism, not just hear and read what suits us about the church...what fools, they are the reason I vote Pro-Choice. Viva Jesuits!

Cynical Casaubon

Michael Joseph said...

Morning's Minion,

I have aproject idea and I would like your help. When you get a moment, would you please email me so that I can send you the proposal? I can't find your email anywhere on your blog. Thanks!

evangelical.catholicism @ gmail. com

Franklin Jennings said...

You vote pro-choice because a couple of idiots with a soapbox don't understand or care about their catholic faith?

So much of that comment is simply... Astounding!!!