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Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Will The Catholic League Denounce Anti-Catholic Bigotry? Let's Find Out
If the unsuspecting web-surfer were to take a cursory look at the web site for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, he/she would probably surmise that the group serves the purpose of defending Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church from bigoted attacks and discrimination in much the same way that the ADL monitors and calls attention to anti-semitism.

Certainly, the Catholic League catalogues and speaks out against anti-Catholic bigotry and slanders. However, that isn't the whole story. When I was doing some non-blog related research on the American right, I found that some people and groups opposed to the sectarian right listed the Catholic League as a religious right organization that ostensibly deals with anti-Catholicism but which has a hard right agenda.

If you dig just a little deeper on the League's web site, you'll find some evidence to support this argument. The League's president William Donohue is a longtime right-wing activist (I once saw him promote his anti-ACLU book on The Morton Downey Jr. Show). The League's Board of Advisors (click here and scroll to the bottom) looks like the list of contributors to National Review.

Two recent episodes raise questions about whether the League is, in fact, a right-wing front group posing as a civil rights group. One involves an action by the League--the other involves a nonresponse by the League.

The Action first. Donohue recently sent some blistering press releases denouncing the Reverend Brenda Peterson who had headed the Clergy Leadership Network (CLN). Her crimes according to Donahue: she wanted to revert the Pledge of Allegence to its pre-"Under God" status; CLN's site had a link to what Donahue called "an anti-Catholic site" ; CLN opposes homophobia; and CLN links to MoveOn.org--which Donahue refers to as "a smear site." Nothing except the alleged anti-Catholic site (as if) even hints of anti-Catholic bigotry. In fact, I checked out the alleged anti-Catholic site and found it to be anything but an anti-catholic site (actually it's a blog; click here for the blogger's response to the false charge of anti-Catholicism).

Next is the Nonresponse. In the past few days, it was revealed that Jerry Corsi, the co-author of a bestselling book (right now, it is number one on Amazon.com and it hasn't even been released) made virulent anti-Catholic slurs that parellel the anti-Catholicism of the Know Nothings and Jack Chick (Quick aside: Check out The Unofficial Guide to the Art of Jack T. Chick: Chick Tracts, Crusader Comics, and Battle Cry Newspapers by Kurt Kuersteiner--it slams). This author said things like, "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press" and "So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the laywers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it." Nothing from Donohue and the League: Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Squat. Sweet Fanny Adams. Goose egg. Zip.

Why the numerous actions against Peterson and the silence regarding Corsi? It might be that Peterson was the Democratic National Committee's Senior Religion Advisor (until she had to resign due to Donahue's hectoring) and that Corsi is the co-author of an anti-Kerry smear book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. As the Church Lady might say: "How convenient."

Now I'm willing to cut Donahue and the League some slack because it's been only a few days since Corsi was exposed as an anti-Catholic hatemonger. Therefore, let's make sure that Donohue and the League knows about Corsi's anti-Catholic statements:

1) Tell William Donohue and the Catholic League about Corsi's anti-Catholic statements. Click here and write away.
2) Write Catholic League advisor Kate O’Beirne at nronline@nationalreview.com


Disclosure: I am not Catholic (my religious beliefs can best be summed up by those great sages, Bill and Ted who said, "Be excellent to each other" and "party on!"). I believe in karma, reincarnation, satchidananda, and in the benefits of yoga and surfing. I have many Catholic relatives and friends. In my youth, I hung out with a lot of kids from the parochial school because they partied hard (I learned early that Bill Joel was wrong when he said that Catholic girls start much too late). I do enjoy Jack Chick's comics but not for the reasons intended--and I don't believe Alberto for one minute).


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