Secular Sabotage!

In their never-ending quest to elevate every ranting wingnut to the same status as genuine experts, the Washington Post has given a guest column to Bill Donohue – the extreme right-wing Catholic bully whose sole purpose in life is seeking out things to be offended by. Whether it’s The Simpsons, the “secular Jews” who run Hollywood and hate Christianity, store greeters who say “Happy Holidays”, or monogamous gay couples who want to adopt children, no insult or indignity against the Catholic church is too minor for Donohue to ignore – except, that is, for priests who sexually molest children and are protected by the church hierarchy, which he views as no big deal.

Let’s consider Donohue’s column one point at a time, starting at the beginning:

There are many ways cultural nihilists are busy trying to sabotage America these days: multiculturalism is used as a club to beat down Western civilization in the classroom…

Yet as I mentioned, Donohue has no qualms about using his own “offense” as a club to beat others. He successfully used this tactic to get two well-known feminist bloggers fired from the John Edwards campaign in 2008. Clearly, the source of his complaint is that he’s no longer the only one who can dictate to others what they can and cannot say in order not to offend him.

…artists use their artistic freedoms to mock Christianity… Today’s radicals are intellectually spent: they want to annihilate American culture, having absolutely nothing to put in its place.

If this is what Donohue considers “sabotaging” America, then the First Amendment sabotages America. Citizens of this country have always had the right to speak their minds, to criticize, and to parody. And that doesn’t make us “cultural nihilists”, it makes us people with a different value system than the scrunched-up wad of indiscriminate rage that apparently constitutes his entire worldview.

Sexual libertines… have sought to pervert society by acting out on their own perversions. What motivates them most of all is a pathological hatred of Christianity. They know, deep down, that what they are doing is wrong, and they shudder at the dreaded words, “Thou Shalt Not.” But they continue with their death-style anyway.

The Washington Post, ladies and gentlemen. Is this gibbering, spittle-flecked screed really the sort of garbage they want gracing their editorial pages? (If you don’t think so, e-mail onfaith@washingtonpost.com and let them know your views.)

Self-awareness is not a strong trait of the religious right, and this passage shows it. Donohue whines at length about how secularists mock him, but that’s only because he makes himself an irresistible target for mockery. Just think of the gigantic ego required to seriously argue that the world revolves around your personal likes and dislikes, and that everyone who believes or acts differently than you is doing it on purpose, just to be spiteful. What satirist could resist the chance to puncture such ludicrously inflated pretensions? How could one not tweak a nose that’s so invitingly bulbous and red?

This rant does illustrate a larger point, however. When it comes to religion, many expert pundits and theologians solemnly aver that we atheists are the nasty, rude, uncivil extremists who are making our cause look bad. Why is that criticism never applied in the other direction? Why are bigots like Donohue allowed to rant on about “death-styles” and “perversions” without condemnation, while we secularists are condescendingly chastised just for standing up and calling this delusional nonsense what it is? If the gatekeepers had their way, this debate would be reduced to Donohue and those like him standing on the ramparts and hurling bombs down at us, while we’d be forbidden to reply.

There was a time when Hollywood made reverential movies about Christianity. But those days are long gone. Now they just insult.

Yes indeed, the days of the Hays Code are long gone. That self-imposed industry code of censorship required that “no film… may throw ridicule on any religious faith”, nor could ministers be presented as comic relief or as villains. Doubtless, Bill Donohue looks back fondly on those days. But for the record, it also banned films from presenting “sex relationships between the white and black races”. Donohue is silent on whether he’s nostalgic for that rule, but since it seems clear that he views the Hays Code as a net positive, one would have to conclude, at the very least, that he considers anti-miscegenation laws an acceptable compromise if he also gets anti-blasphemy laws out of the bargain.

I want to emphasize this point, because I think it’s important to notice how religious conservatives consistently whitewash the uglier parts of our history when speaking of the past. They pine for the good old days, the era of perceived respect and civility, while steadfastly ignoring the virulent racism, sexism and prejudice of all kinds that ran rampant. This is a subtle form of racism in itself, and we shouldn’t let it pass unchallenged. Ask one, the next time you encounter them: Do you believe that the civil rights movement was a good thing? And if so, doesn’t that disprove your claims about the moral decay of civilization by showing that, at least in some ways, our society is morally better today than in past generations?

The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State harbor an agenda to smash the last vestiges of Christianity in America. Lying about their real motives, they say their fidelity is to the Constitution. But there is nothing in the Constitution that sanctions the censorship of religious speech.

Quite true, but there most definitely is something in the Constitution (that pesky First Amendment again!) that forbids the government from endorsing or supporting any particular religious view. This is a distinction that the religious right consistently fails to grasp. As Donohue already admitted, his desire is that Catholicism be the only belief system protected from attack or criticism, while everyone else is fair game.

Catholics were once the mainstay of the Democratic Party; now the gay activists are in charge.

The irony is, as pointed out in a comment on Donohue’s column, Catholics hold many top positions in the Democratic party – including the Speaker of the House, the Vice President, and last election’s presidential nominee – and are actually overrepresented relative to their share of the population as a whole. Indeed, Catholics voted for Obama over McCain by a nine-point margin. This just goes to show that Catholic laypeople are more progressive than the stultifying views of their self-appointed leaders.

And finally, in closing, comes this truly incredible wingnuttery:

The good news is that religious conservatives continue to breed like rabbits, while secular saboteurs have shut down: they’re too busy walking their dogs, going to bathhouses and aborting their kids. Time, it seems, is on the side of the angels.

While Donohue dreams of a rosy future overpopulated by desperately poor and uneducated Catholic faithful, the sad truth is that every reliable survey has shown rates of atheism, freethought, and support for gay rights rising in every generation.

It is remarkable, however, how openly the right-wingers have given up on winning the battle of ideas. Instead, they’ve set their hopes on outbreeding their enemies. Clearly, the only people they expect to be able to convince are young, susceptible children. This in itself is the best sign that we’re winning the culture war. Donohue’s shrill, vile rant is the swan song of a demagogue who’s fading into the dust of history, and knows it.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • klas

    Sexual libertines… have sought to pervert society by acting out on their own perversions.

    What about the perversions of the priests of your church, asshole? (I’m referring to Donohue here, lest there should be any misunderstandings.)

  • Valhar2000

    Don’t discount him so readily, Ebon. Young children are not the only susceptible humans in the world, not by a long shot.

  • Justin

    I pointed out at the Friendly Atheist blog that Donohue’s column sounds fascist. The paranoia, persecution complex, the Manicheanism (“the side of the angels,” really?) and the belief that a conspiracy of degenerates is trying to destroy society are the cornerstones of fascist ideology. Especially the last one, which was the title and the first couple paragraphs of Donohue’s column.

  • Erika

    When I hear this type of rant, I always want to respond, “Gee golly, I didn’t know we secularists were doing so well. I’d better start organizing the success party.”

  • http://twitter.com/Jaquento Pantalaimon

    I still hold a personal grudge abgainst him since the golden compass, though the movie wasn’t great, but this outright boycott… *grrr*

  • Alex, FCD

    They know, deep down, that what they are doing is wrong, and they shudder at the dreaded words, “Thou Shalt Not.”

    Or perhaps they know deep down that Bill Donahue is a loon who shudders at the dreaded words, “Dude, I totally shalt, and it is no business of thine.”

    …they’re too busy walking their dogs, going to bathhouses and aborting their kids…

    …aborting our dogs in bathhouses, consorting with the Fallen Ones, holding bake sales to fund the Cthulu ritual…Bill’s right, who’s got time for kids?

  • Alex, FCD

    From this column, it seems the Bill aspires to Ann Coulter’s job (which is to say: rant until somebody gives you a book deal). That’s remarkably sad.

  • john

    yeah, i saw this monday morning on the 700 Club. donahue’s blatant disregard for everything non-catholic really irks me to no end. that and pat robertson just eating it up for the faithful at home, scaring everyone to being christian. ugh. sometimes i wish the both of them would drop off the face of this planet.

  • Brian

    What a surprise, another fundamentalist. Now, what can we do about it?

    Donahue’s nonsense is a good incentive for atheists to make their points heard. People like him are the reasons why atheists must dispell the misconceptions he raises.

    I think if there is one thing religions do well, it’s reaching out to the public. We atheists need to get our message out, too.

  • Richard P

    On the sunny side of things. Donahue is getting pretty old, with all the stress he causes himself by being offended he should soon drop dead of a heart attack. Sure others will pop up, but each one in the grave is one less to listen to.
    We should all work on an anti catholic campaign to increase his blood pressure.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    How could one not tweak a nose that’s so invitingly bulbous and red?

    Great, Ebon. Just great. Now I’m going to see that every time I see Bill Donohue. Whatever shall I do?

    Seriously, this guy needs to eat a bowl of dicks before he blows a gasket or something. What a blowhard. I wonder what good he thinks all that anger does?

  • http://torhershman.blogspot.com/ Tor Hershman

    When I made this video I consider each POINT.
    The resurrection of Amazing Grace

    )))((((((
    (*)…(-)
    …..U…..
    ..[___]..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjK_yVdGNGk

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Ahh, I almost forgot! PZ wrote about this and had the best rejoinder ever to Donohue’s claim that the religious are “outbreeding” us:

    May your children and grandchildren be prosperous, healthy, and happy, and may they all succeed in finding wisdom in learning. And if my wish should come true, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be more like me than like you. Godlessness is cultural, not genetic.

    Awesome.

  • Cai

    Maybe we should call them the antichrist the way the Seventh Day Adventist Church does. I think that will get under Donohue’s nose.

  • Alex, FCD

    Maybe we should call them the antichrist the way the Seventh Day Adventist Church does. I think that will get under Donohue’s nose.

    Two thoughts occur to me:
    1) That would make zero sense coming from the likes of us.
    2) Getting up Donohue’s nose does not seem to be a particularly difficult feat. Try being gay and existing, for a start.

  • Danikajaye

    According to Bill, in his own words:

    Secularists= Nihilists, Communists, anarchists, saboteurs, obscene, charlatans, zealots, baby killers, morally void termites.

    I would use at least four of those words to describe Catholic priests.

    He sounds like a paranoid war veteran. Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get me….

  • Michael

    Just a minute while I scrape the Bill Donahue off my shoe that I stepped in on the way here………..

  • Cai

    Alex FCD

    Us calling them antichrist makes more sense than the garbage he’s spinning.

    But you’re right. We should arrange an atheist march for homosexual rights and see what he does then. I wonder if he’ll then arrange an inquisition. All this makes you wonder, is he for real? Where he lives, do they use lead in the water pipes or something?

  • Alex, FCD

    Us calling them antichrist makes more sense than the garbage he’s spinning.

    Granted.

    But you’re right. We should arrange an atheist march for homosexual rights and see what he does then.

    Ever seen a man’s head explode?

    So I guess what I’m saying is: I’m in.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Just think of the gigantic ego required to seriously argue that the world revolves around your personal likes and dislikes
    *Sigh*. They aren’t his likes and dislikes. They’re God’s. Bill wants to have hot gay mansex. He wants to look at pornography. He really does, but God is against things like that, you see, so Bill’s hands are tied. Which he also wants, the pervert.

    …and that everyone who believes or acts differently than you is doing it on purpose, just to be spiteful.
    People who don’t think like Bill are in league with Satan; slaves to their throbbing, sweaty urges. Bill is only a slave to the Lord. True story.

    When it comes to religion, many expert pundits and theologians solemnly aver that we atheists are the nasty, rude, uncivil extremists who are making our cause look bad.
    Pah! When they criticise you, they’re pointing out your faults (like not being Roman Catholic) because they are trying to help you on the path to the Lord. When you criticise them, you’re just being mean.

    And if so, doesn’t that disprove your claims about the moral decay of civilization by showing that, at least in some ways, our society is morally better today than in past generations?
    Ah, but despite the so-called “statistics”, crime is through the roof! And that Jackson girl showed a nipple that one time!

    Catholics were once the mainstay of the Democratic Party

    Ah, the times were good back then. The right people always got to sit at the front of the bus and there were separate-but-equal waterfountains, half of which worked.

    “Indeed, Catholics voted for Obama over McCain by a nine-point margin.”
    I don’t know if this helps, but the so-called “statistics” don’t reflect real Catholic views, since True Catholics™ stayed home, as one Party ran an adulterer and a Pentecostal and the other Party ran two Democrats.

    …they’re too busy walking their dogs, going to bathhouses and aborting their kids.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard of lefties aborting their kids, some of whom were aborted just for not making it in to a good college!

    While Donohue dreams of a rosy future overpopulated by desperately poor and uneducated Catholic faithful…
    God loves misery. Nothing works better than suffering to bring sinners to the Lord. Mother Teresa didn’t run a hospital. She ran a recruiting station.

  • colluvial

    The good news is that religious conservatives continue to breed like rabbits, while secular saboteurs have shut down: they’re too busy walking their dogs, going to bathhouses and aborting their kids. Time, it seems, is on the side of the angels.

    Is Donahue coming out in favor of dogs, bathhouses, and abortion then?

    Unfortunately for you, Bill, the offspring of “angels” are still susceptible to deconversion. I was.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard of lefties aborting their kids, some of whom were aborted just for not making it in to a good college!

    Well, Modus, you know how it is with us lefties. Getting into a good college is competitive these days, and the kids need to start prepping as early as possible. They can’t just be lollygagging about in the womb for nine months – they need to get started on those SAT courses and admissions essays! Just because you don’t have a central nervous system yet, that isn’t an excuse.

    Is Donahue coming out in favor of dogs, bathhouses, and abortion then?

    A superb point, colluvial. One could read Donohue’s essay to mean that he’s in favor of abortion as long as only liberals are getting them! (Which we all know is the case, because good conservative Christians never have a need for such things.)

    Of course, I’m sure if you asked him, Donohue would say he loves fetuses so much that he wants to ban abortion for everyone, even if it results in us liberals outbreeding him. He’s so selfless.

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    religious conservatives continue to breed like rabbits

    Oh, I get it now. Abstinence-only sex education is a deliberate stop-loss strategy.

  • Staceyjw

    UGH- Frothing Insanity.

    I’ve been hearing this awful xtian attitude more often as of late, I sum it up as:
    “If you can’t beat em, out breed em!”
    Fundies think that they will win the “culture war” demographically, and are working hard to indoctrinate enough women- sorry, I meant “wombs for the lord”- to make it happen.

    Makes me want to have LOTS of babies- but I have to go walk the dog before my monthly abortion :)

    Another thing- I am SO SICK of hearing people say that we are in a world of “moral decline”. Yes, it might have been a great world for the few RICH WHITE XTIAN PATRIARCHS, but for the rest of the population, modern times are a huge improvement. I think these angry white xtian patriarchs (all men aren’t patriarchs) are feeling threatened for the first time ever, they are starting to realize that their power and privilege is no longer unquestioned, inevitable, and eternal.

    So they are doing everything they can to get that control back- and they whine and cry, screaming angry insults any time they feel threatened. And any change that they can’t control is a threat……..

    Sick, and annoying.

    Stcaeyjw

  • Alex Weaver

    religious conservatives continue to breed like rabbits

    Would this be a bad time to note that rabbits eat their own poop?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Staceyjw “Another thing- I am SO SICK of hearing people say that we are in a world of “moral decline”.”
    Every generation thinks that things were better back when they were kids. This is, in part, because they aren’t remembering what was. Instead, they’re remembering the memory of what was. Children are also terribly naive (it’s a condition of childhood, really) and are insulated from a lot of things.
    That said, children respected their elders and music was much better when I was a lad. Now get off of my lawn! Git!

  • http://cycleninja.blogspot.com Paul Lundgren

    As I posted on my own blog this whole rant can be summarized in two points:

    “Catholics are being attacked!”
    “Buy my book!”

    So in response to Alex, FCD, yes, Donohue already has a book out on Amazon.com. Don’t know if it’s his first, but I’m sure we could affect the ratings of it just a touch if we all band together.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Lamarckianism strikes again.

  • anti_supernaturalist

    Undead deity still rakes in big bucks

    Faith provides no reasons — consequently xianity must indoctrinate, lie, punish, and seek secular power. It must feed upon the faithful to enrich itself in order to buy political clout. Follow the money: millions served junk food faith; billions raked in.

    Xian leaders are beneficiaries of unequaled fraud — a 2,000+ year old, world spanning, immensely profitable God fraud.

    God is dead. But no one notices. As long as the divine corpse can be used to make money; then like Colonel Saunders (KFC) or Orville Reddenbacher (pop corn) or Walt Disney, “His” carefully preserved facade will continue to serve prelate, priest, pastor, televangelist, rabbi, imam as a shill.

    We must dismantle the celestial Ponzi scheme.

    the anti-supernaturalist

  • Caiphen

    Anti-supernatualist

    I like your style. To explain a moment of anger, and there were many of them, when I was a Xian. I was in church, the minister after brainwashing his ‘faithful’ in giving 10% of their wage, was preaching to women and how they owed an obligation to their husbands to give them regular sex. I tell you now, as a man that f***ing infuriated me.

    Suffice to say that scumbag has had marital problems.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    If he’s had marital problems, it’s probably because his wife is giving him to much regular sex. It’s the irregular sex that holds a marriage together.

  • Ishryal

    If he’s had marital problems, it’s probably because his wife is giving him to much regular sex. It’s the irregular sex that holds a marriage together.Modusoperandi

    So true. Just like religion. Living on a promise of something more ‘later’… Sorry, you can’t have heaven right now, I’ve got a headache… it’s not the right time of the millenium… sorry, but last time you yelled out the name of the wrong God…

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    It’s the irregular sex that holds a marriage together.

    Heh!I Know what you mean.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    It’s the irregular sex that holds a marriage together.
    – Modusoperandi

    So true! And it works on so many levels! But as long as some people insist that there’s only one right way to do this or that particular thing, they’ll continue to miss out on all the joy of doing what you like as long as nobody’s getting hurt (without asking for it, anyway…).

    Fundies think that they will win the “culture war” demographically, and are working hard to indoctrinate enough women- sorry, I meant “wombs for the lord”- to make it happen.
    – Staceyjw

    Frothing insanity, indeed. You’re absolutely right that any change they can’t control is a threat. But change can’t be controlled and can’t be stopped. And to think we wonder why they see the Goddamnded Devil at work everywhere they look…

  • http://www.catholicleague.org bill donohue

    Nice to know I get under your skin. By the way, I am quite healthy and will be around to drive you people crazy for many years. So get used to it.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    For the record, I don’t know if the above comment was posted by who it claims to be posted by.

  • 2-D Man

    That’s hilarious if it is. Yes, Donohue is certainly driving us crazy. (snicker)

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Thanks, Bill. The laughs are priceless.


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