Monday, February 19, 2007

thank you, Bill Donahue

I stopped following the John Edwards campaign kerfluffle for a few days. Last thing I knew was that Edwards was keeping Marcotte and McEwan on despite the crude attacks on the Catholic Church and the Pope on their respective blogs.

Now I see Andrea Marcotte has resigned and Melissa McEwan followed suit. Marcotte specifically notes that Bill Donohue's persistence in keeping the issue alive made it untenable for her to keep her position.

I used to be embarrassed by Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (CLRCR) but I think that was more a case of me trying to be a "cool Catholic" and not make waves in the Saturday Night Live culture that we Boomers helped create rather than me giving serious thought to what he was trying to accomplish.

But I'm seeing the wisdom of insisting on respect for Catholicism in the media. I've had my own battles, and am willing to applaud Donahue and CLRCR for exposing the double-standard of the mavens of public culture when they give a pass to anti-Catholic and anti-Christian bigotry but no other bigotries.

I like what LifeSite reports about the Donahue's tenacity in this case:

The Catholic League pursued the issue on grounds of equality saying, had the comments by the two women been addressed to any group but Christians, they would have been immediately denounced as bigoted.

“The purpose of this communication is to ignite a national discussion on the incredible double standard that exists regarding bigotry in American life,” Donohue said in a statement Feb.9. “We either have one shoe that fits all when it comes to fighting bigotry, or we have a phony, politically correct approach to the subject. That is the ultimate issue, not John Edwards.”

Newsweek coverage of the controversy illustrated the double standard operating towards hate speech when applied to Christianity, Donahue pointed out in a statement Feb. 12. In the February 19 edition of Newsweek, Morcotte’s and McEvans’ comments were referred to as “criticism” of Roman Catholic and religious conservatives.

Donohue responded, “It is not criticism of Catholicism when someone makes a comment about the Virgin Mary being injected with semen by the Lord. Nor is it criticism when religious conservatives are called motherf---ers. It is hate speech. And these are only two of their incredibly vulgar assaults.

“Newsweek reeks of a double standard. In its December 11, 2006 edition, it said that Michael Richards had gotten himself in trouble for his ‘racist rant,’ and in the same article it recalled Mel Gibson’s ‘anti-Semitic remarks.’ On February 5, 2007, it said that Isaiah Washington got himself into hot water for making a ‘homophobic comment.’ In other words, when someone makes a racist, anti-Semitic or anti-gay remark, Newsweek labels it as such. But when obscene comments are made about the Mother of God or religious conservatives, it counts as mere criticism.

Right on, Bill! The level of public discourse has become almost fatally degraded. And we are all complicit. Let's all clean up our acts. Anti-Catholics and anti-Christians included.

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