Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Catholic League Watch 7

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 seventh post in the series.

This aspect of the blog has been a little inactive these days. But then again, Bill Donohue is at his blustering best during election season. Remember his differential treatment of Bush and Kerry? And here he doesn't disappoint either. In a recent press release entitled "Look Who's Supporting Obama", Donohue claims Obama's website lists testimonials of "three controversial clergymen" including a Chicago-area Catholic priest. Among the accusations are that these clergymen condemned zionism, and blamed 9/11 on American foreign policy, received an award from the Nation of Islam, befriended Louis Farrakhan, and demonstrated against a gun store.

Now, if Donohue has complained about the unseemly nature of member of the clergy aligning themselves with partisan political campaigns, he has a point. I can't speak for the protestants, but no Catholic priest should do such a thing. But this is not Donohue's point. He appears to have no problem with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life endorsing Sam Brownback. And on the protestant side, he never complains about the fact that the Falwells and the Dobsons have done their very level best to align Christianity with the Republican party. No, it is the politics that Donohue has a problem with. Aside from the other complaints, to criticize somebody for "blaming 9/11 on American foreign policy" is ludicrous. In fact, only the hyper-nationalist and self-deluded refuse to admit that American foreign policy (especially the lop-sided support for Israel) has no hand whatsoever in promoting a terrorist backlash. Donohue should check what prominant Catholic leaders have to say about such subjects. But there are other religious leaders who blamed Americans for causing 9/11-- Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Where was Donohue then?

No, Donohue's only role is a partisan role. He adores religiosity in Republicans and abhors it in Democrats. Bush was a Christian, Kerry was a phony. God forbid that Obama ever gets himself a religious outreach adviser. Remember 2004? Kerry had two advisers, one after the other. Donohue claimed that the resume of one (Mara Vanderslice) is "that of a person looking for a job working for Fidel Castro", while another (Brenda Peterson) is lambasted for opposing "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. Yes, core Catholics beliefs under attack! Contrast this with his now infamous defense of Bush's Catholic liaison, Deal Hudson. After allegations that Hudson abused his authority as a Fordham professor by having sexual relations with a young, disturbed 18-year old female student, Donohue blamed the victim, decrying the allegations of a "drunken female he met in a bar." Even for Donohue, that's a low blow.


Anonymous said...

Bill Donohue is the Catholic Church's very own Archie Bunker. But it's even better than that.
Whereas Archie was a fictional character, created and scripted to appear as a blathering fool, Donohue's the real McCoy. Always willing to make a public fool of himself--and by extension, the Church--as the spluttering, outraged defender of American nationalism and Republicatholicism. To the politicized faction within the Church he's beloved. To everyone else, he's synonomous with a certain posterior section of the human anatomy.

Anonymous said...

I can give you a personal story about Bill. He attacked our local pro-life group here because we were criticizing the Catholic hospital's practice of euthenizing terminally ill babies (we know of this because a pro-life nurse within the hospital blew the whistle). Our Bishop is on the Board at this hospital and we took the Bishop to task over it. What did Bill do and say? He took us to task because we were attacking the Bishop. Incredible! He then sends me a letter asking for donations. I wrote him a scathing letter back to tell him exactly what I thought of him. Ugh! NOT my favorite person!

Chris said...

The Catholic League's
Board of Advisors:

Brent Bozell III
Gerard Bradley
Linda Chavez
Robert Destro
Dinesh D’Souza
Laura Garcia
Robert George
Mary Ann Glendon
Dolores Grier
Alan Keyes
Stephen Krason
Lawrence Kudlow
Thomas Monaghan
Michael Novak
Kate O’Beirne
Thomas Reeves
Patrick Riley
Robert Royal
Ronald Rychlak
Russell Shaw
William Simon, Jr.
Paul Vitz
George Weigel

Well well, isn't that a surprise!
A veritable Who's Who of NeoCon Republicatholic Pro Life War Hawks.
The perfect blending of the Catholic Church and God's Own Party, featuring Bill Donohue as Grand Dragon.
Jesus must be so proud.

Antonio Manetti said...

You have to give the devil his due.

Whether one likes it or not, Donohue has become the self-appointed spokesman posing as the defender of the aggrieved, persecuted Catholic, the ghetto Catholic in a hostile, secular world.

As such, he represents the brand of pugnacious Catholicism espoused by the Hannity-O'Reilly school. For that reason. the press loves him because he's always good for a quotable soundbite.

Like it or not, there is simply no other spokesperson with a stomach for the gutter fighting involved in counterbalancing his views.

What's more, since Donohue is always careful to side with the hierarchy (witness his defense of the bishop, as described by Radical Catholic Mom), opposing him can be too easily construed as opposition to the magisteria. It's not surprising that few Catholics are willing to risk censure by doing so.