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.