FFRF Runs Full-Page ‘Quit the Catholic Church’ Ad in Today’s New York Times

If you open up today’s New York Times, you should be seeing this full-page ad from the Freedom From Religion Foundation:

“As a member of the ‘flock’ of an avowedly antidemocratic Old Boys Club, isn’t it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en Mass,” requests the ad, signed by FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker.

The ad features a cartoon by Steve Benson depicting an angry bishop, with a woman next to a birth control pill telling him: “All the outrage over something this small is a bit hard to swallow.”

The Times required FFRF to alter its punchy headline, ‘It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church,’ to ‘It’s Time to Consider Quitting the Catholic Church.’ Barker called that decision “disappointing” and “a sign of the Catholic Church’s inordinate power to intimidate and muzzle criticism.”

The new headline isn’t quite as punchy, but it’s already making a splash. The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue is throwing a fit. (But, then again, what else is new with him?)

He also suggests that FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor should be grateful her mother didn’t have an abortion:

Never has there been a more vicious anti-Catholic advertisement in a prominent American newspaper than the one in today’s New York Times by Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The demonization of Catholicism is palpable.

The ad blames the Catholic Church for promoting “acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, overpopulation, social evils and deaths.” It says the bishops are “launching a ruthless political Inquisition” against women. It talks about “preying priests” and corruption “going all the way to the top.” In an appeal to Catholic women, it opines, “Apparently, you’re like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go.”

… Fortunately for Gaylor, her mother did not follow through on the advice she gave women in her book, Abortion Is a Blessing.

There’s a guy who no doubt celebrated International Women’s Day yesterday…

You can read more backstory about the ad here and here.

And if you haven’t read it already, please check out Gaylor’s open letter to “liberal” Catholics which led to the creation of this ad.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com/ GDad

    But any invitation to JOIN the church is OK to run in a newspaper?

  • Zeggman

    It is a pretty hateful ad.

    • Anonymous

      There is much to hate in the church. This ad doesn’t make anything up, it presents facts. The church gets a pass for it’s evils because it is a religion. It’s time for that to stop. They’re evil and should be reviled as evil.

      • Zeggman

         “reproductive freedom or back to the Dark Ages” isn’t a fact. “crusade to ban contraception” isn’t a fact. “crusade to … deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers” isn’t a fact. And that’s just in the first few lines.

        If you’re happy to see atheists resorting to exaggeration and outright lies in order to villify the Catholic church, I guess we have a difference of opinion. I’m an atheist, and I’m happy to see people leave the Catholic church over its REAL positions on birth control and same-sex marriage, but these demagogues don’t represent me.

        • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

          “reproductive freedom or back to the Dark Ages” isn’t a fact.

          The number one measure of the wealth of a nation is the ability for its women to be able to make choices regarding her own pregnancy. A nation that doesn’t allow this is doomed to be a reminder of the Dark Ages when the Catholic Church was in charge.

          “crusade to ban contraception” isn’t a fact. “crusade to … deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers” isn’t a fact.

          Do you deny that the Catholic Church tells women they shouldn’t use contraception? Do you deny that the Catholic Church is front and center in the uproar over insurance to cover contraception?

          If so, you’re a complete tool.

          Contraception – by its purpose, allows women to decide whether and when to become mothers. The Catholic Church is vehement in its desire to outlaw or make difficult the acquisition of contraceptions.

          • Nordog

             “Do you deny that the Catholic Church tells women they shouldn’t use
            contraception? Do you deny that the Catholic Church is front and center
            in the uproar over insurance to cover contraception?”

            Do you contend that constitutes a crusade to ban contraception?

            If so, you’re a complete fool.

            • Michael

              Do you contend that doesn’t constitute a crusade to ban contraception?

              If so you’re a complete fool.

              Your turn. Citations to give your claim validity please.

              • Nordog

                 Citations for something that’s NOT happening?  Right.

                You don’t know what words mean do you.

                The Church does teach that artificial contraception is wrong.

                The Church does oppose being made to provide others with artificial contraception and abortion services.

                Those two things do not constitute a program to ban any contraception for anyone.

                To hold forth that they do mean that is to either be a liar or an idiot.

                I’ll let you do the math, if you can.

                • Anonymous-Sam

                   So when a Roman Catholic is in the process of attempting to gain a position of authority in the United States and one of his number one priorities is to ban contraception, that’s not representative of Roman Catholicism? Then the pope had best put his foot down and tell Santorum not to infringe his religious beliefs on other people.

                  And if the pope does that, I’ll convert to Catholicism.

                • Zeggman

                   I’m no fan of Santorum (except I’d like to see him be the Republican nominee, because that would GUARANTEE Obama’s re-election), but I think I missed the speech where he called for banning contraception. Could you provide a link? Thanks in advance.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Don’t hold your breath.  There is no such speech.  In fact he has said just the opposite but that doesn’t fit the narrative that the freedom from religion folks want to peddle.

                • Anonymous

                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/rick-santorum-birth-control-sodomy_n_1181291.html

                  Lol, he sure wouldn’t lift a fiver to stop it either. After all it “unhealthy” for ‘Mercia

                • Anonymous

                   It sucks that the comments keep getting narrower…

                • Anonymous

                   Yes, you clearly missed it. And you could have easily googled it:

                  http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/rick-santorum-contraception-6520438

                  “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked
                  about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.
                  It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is
                  counter to how things are supposed to be.”

                • Zeggman

                   No, I heard that speech. Nowhere in it does he call for banning contraception. He says it’s dangerous because it leads to more unmarried people having sex, but he isn’t calling for laws against fornication either. Try again.

                • Anonymous

                  You are a naive fool  if you think that’s what
                  all
                  he meant

                • Anonymous

                  You know damn well that the only reason the church doesn’t call for actual crusades anymore is that it now lacks the ability. So long as governments tolerated it, your holy fathers were quite happy to burn people at the stake. Now the effort is limited to words, empowered only by superstition rather than law; but their intent is clearly the same.  The rhetoric has not changed, and impotence is not innocence.

                • Nordog

                   Meh, whatever.

                  In your world, people are guilty even when they are not because you say so.

                • Anonymous

                  In my world, people and institutions are guilty because evidence from statements and actions says so.

                  In yours, black is white and up is down because selectively-edited and -chosen ancient scribbles attributed to telepathic communication from invisible sky fairies is reinterpreted as saying so.

                  In short, you’re in no position to give anyone lectures on reality.

                • Nordog

                  Whatever.  You got bupkis.  You are bupkis.

                • Anonymous

                  Yeah, yeah, shout some names and run away blubbering as usual. Keep on telling yourself that your complete inability to field a decent argument is all due to “atheist bigotry” instead of your essential incoherence.

                • Anonymous

                   The church gets countless millions in tax dollars every year. If they don’t want to play by the rules, they should stop sucking at the public teat.

                • Nordog

                  You should look up “non sequitur” because your post is a great example of that.

                  But to address your non sequitur nonetheless…

                  The Church does play by the rules.

                  But playing by the rules doesn’t mean that you loose your first amendment right of free speech just because someone wants to change the rules regarding your first amendment right as regards the establishment clause.

                • Anonymous

                  Lol. Google does exist……

                  Your arguments suck in the information age. Try googling “catholic church risks tax exempt status” and enjoy all the tales of the church “playing by the rules”

                • Nordog

                  And just how does that google exercise show that the Church isn’t playing by the rules when it refuses to pay for contraception?

                • Anonymous

                  Is it an employer?

          • Zeggman

             [quote]Do you deny that the Catholic Church tells women they shouldn’t use
            contraception? Do you deny that the Catholic Church is front and center
            in the uproar over insurance to cover contraception?[/quote]

            No, I don’t deny either of those statements. I deny that the sum of both statements constitutes the aforementioned “crusade.”.

            Most women aren’t Catholic, and even most Catholic women ignore the Church’s call to avoid contraception. The “uproar” over insurance coverage is a non-issue for most women — if they have insurance, the insurance company has a financial incentive to make contraception available and encourage its use, since maternity coverage is orders of magnitude more costly to their bottom line. If they don’t have insurance, it’s a moot point whether the coverage they don’t have includes contraception.

            Please provide the evidence which supports your claim that the Catholic Church is “vehement in its desire to outlaw … the acquisition of contraceptions.” [sic] It may be trying to outlaw abortion as contraception, but there are many other less costly forms of contraception that they AREN’T trying to outlaw.

            • Anonymous

              Ever try to buy a condom in Vatican city? You know…where the church has actual power?

              • Anonymous-Sam

                 I wouldn’t try. You can be arrested merely for criticizing the Catholic church in Rome.

              • Zeggman

                What percentage of “all women everywhere, Catholic or not” would you estimate shop exclusively in Vatican City?

                • Anonymous

                  And? What does that have to do with the tea in china? It does serve as an example of what the church would do given a fraction of a chance.

                • Anonymous-Sam

                   And I would note that there are regions in the United States where the Catholic church owns so many of the local hospitals and drug distribution companies that it’s actually very difficult to find even mechanical contraception. Classmates of mine had stories of having to drive long distances to find a doctor willing to prescribe birth control, much less a druggist to fill the prescription — and this was for actual health issues, not sex. Personally, no store within 20 miles of where I lived carried condoms or any other form of contraception, because the store owners were deeply religious.

                  If you view something as a mortal sin, then you don’t have to be an oppressive, evil dictator to want to ensure that no one can perform that sin.

          • Rwlawoffice

             “The number one measure of the wealth of a nation is the ability for its
            women to be able to make choices regarding her own pregnancy.”

            You have to be kidding right? What a myopic viewpoint.

            Last time I checked the Catholic church’s position is no contraception, not just no contraception for women.  It is a couple’s issue, not a woman’s issue.

            The Catholic church is not trying to deny people contraception they just don’t want to be forced by the government to pay for it.  

            • Anonymous

              Lol. Nice try. Let’s see a quote from the Vatican that says contraception is OK as long as they don’t have to pay for it.

            • Anonymous-Sam

              I contest that. I say it is a woman’s issue because ultimately the responsibility almost always falls upon her to take care of the child’s needs. Traditionally, women are seen as the homemakers and child raisers, and they’re almost always the one to be stuck with the child’s full dependence if the father should cut and run (which is incredibly and frustratingly common).

              As only 16% of single parents are men, evidently males tend not to think of the baby as their problem, either. Which is disgusting and unfair, but nonetheless a fact — women are, by far, the most affected by a pregnancy (and that’s without ever touching on what pregnancy alone does to a woman, how it adversely affects her ability to get and retain a job, etc).

              Child support helps, but depending on the state and how it’s enforced (or how good the lawyers available to either party are, if there are any available at all), I’ve seen (and grew up in) situations where it was a pittance of what the child actually needed, if there was any forthcoming at all. If the father is able to take off and disappear, then it’s entirely the woman’s problem.

              TLDR: Pregnancy can ruin a woman’s life for a good 16 years, and that’s assuming her child grows up to be instantly successful and immediately moves out on their own. Being able to control whether or not she gets pregnant is extremely important.

              • Anonymous-Sam

                 Oh, I should add in the interest of fairness to men who aren’t complete asshats, even with couples who stay together, mothers are far too often expected to hold a part- or full-time job and be the one primarily raising the child(ren) at the same time. Even with the support of a husband, women still wind up being expected to take on huge responsibilities largely by themselves.

                So if pregnancy isn’t to be primarily a women’s issue, men need to stop expecting women to be the ones who’ll deal with it if they don’t feel like it. Right now, that’s just not the case.

            • Wintermute

              The government is mandating that insurance companies provide BC to all their customers who want it, regardless of whether they buy their plans through a religious employer who refuses to include it in the main health plan. So the outlay of money here is by the insurance company, who may in turn pass thee costs along to the customer in the form of higher premiums. Even that is uncertain, because their have been economic analysis done which show that using BC actually reduces costs by reducing the need for emergency contraception, abortion, and the costs of pregnancy. You’ll note that the insurance companies aren’t screaming bloody murder about it, as you might expect if they were going to lose money.

              So explain to me, how does all of that translate to “Catholic church forced by government to buy birth control?”

              • Rwlawoffice

                Quite a few catholic organizations are self insured (partly because of this requirement being in multiple states) so if they are forced to provide it then they are directly paying for it.  By shifting the payment now to insurance companies for those that are not self insured then the insurance they buy will include it which will be part of the cost of their premium, even if indirectly, so they are still paying for it. This is true even if the premium doesn’t increase as a result of adding it, it is part of the calculation of the premium 

                • Wintermute

                  So your argument is that for non-self insured organizations, even if they’re not actually paying more for it, they’re still ‘paying for it’ just because they’re forced to make it available?

                  Also, didn’t realize that many Catholic organizations self-insure, but I guess it’s a small price to pay to force your employees to behave the way you want them to. In those cases I suppose they are being forced to pay for something they don’t want. Of course, many Catholic organizations are tax exempt, so indirectly, I’m being forced to pay for things I don’t want.  Quite a conundrum for both of us,  then.

        • icecreamassassin

          This ad is pretty much targeting the “of course gay people should be treated as human beings, but I’m going to go ahead and give money to an organization that is pretty hell-bent on making sure that doesn’t happen” brand of Catholic.  Don’t know how many there are, but I know several, so the number is at least greater than zero.  They hold on to those ‘real’ positions and yet remain complacent and enabling of the Catholic church to do it’s thing.

          There is no doubt that this ad is intended to be emotionally charged; and, in all things emotionally charged, there is a high likelihood that things will be exaggerated towards a bias.  But that’s the point, isn’t it?  It’s basically a long-winded way of asking “Where is your outrage?”

          I’d like you to point out the ‘outright lies’ though, because  I didn’t notice any.  And “crusade to ban contraception” seems pretty close to a fact to me actually.  How else do you characterize the behavior of an organization that tries to make access to contraception as difficult as possible?

          • Zeggman

            “Crusade to … deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers” is an outright lie. Did you miss it the first time I quoted it?

            No one is being forcibly impregnated by bands of roving Bishops, and contraception is available universally. There is no crusade to outlaw condoms, diaphragms, spermicide, sponges, or birth control pills. The church is not blanketing Capitol Hill with lobbyists advocating policies to make contraception illegal. Since contraception is the method most women everywhere (Catholic or not) use to decide whether and when to become mothers, the Church’s seldom-honored policy that Catholics should avoid it hardly constitutes a crusade to “deny the right of all women.”

            The only semi-legitimate use of the charged word “crusade” is in trying to reverse Roe v. Wade and open the door to state-by-state statutes to outlaw abortion. Such a “crusade” does not apply to all women everywhere, but only to those who, despite their best efforts to avoid motherhood, have somehow become pregnant anyway.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

               no, it is not.

            • Anonymous

              Africa. Next?

              • Zeggman

                 Non sequitur. Care to try again?

                • Anonymous

                  Except your whole statement is based on an American point of view.    In America we are protected by the Constitution, it has an effect of Neutering the RCC.  Lets look at other countries for the effects of the RCC. 

                  Let’s look at Ireland:

                  Banned from 1935-1978, why?  Hint, it’s has something to do with the Catholic Church.

                  Now onto Africa. 

                  The RCC had the balls to LIE to the public, spreading false information?  Why?  Because the 3rd world is the only place left where people don’t have access to information needed to make a sound decision.  People think it’s wise to trust their religious leaders, and they are paying for it.

                  “No one is being forcibly impregnated by bands of roving Bishops, and contraception is available universally.”

                  There is a *joke* in there somewhere:)

                  Those roving bands of Bishops and clergy do tell complete lies to people who trust them.  The result is the same.  Women with 13 kids by the age of 45 who never knew they had a *choice*, why?  Because they trusted their local clergy.  The RCC puts it’s theology above the welfare people.

                  Witchcraft anyone? 

                  Why support an institution that has policies that hurt people?

                  I cannot fathom the mindset involved.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

           ok instead of bringing “reproductive freedom back to the Dark Ages” the church wants to bring society in toto back to the Dark Ages.

          • Zeggman

             Posts like yours remind me that religions people aren’t the only ones afflicted with delusional beliefs.

    • The Captain

      How is criticizing an organization “hateful”? Is the church above criticism then? 

      Ohhh you must be one of those people who through the word “hateful” around to discredit an argument, or your just a hypersensitive ninnys who have never seen real “hate” in their life.

  • Cadunphy280

    Women are second class citizens in the Catholic Church.  Our souls are too closely tied to nature and therefore we are unfit to be priests, or to hold an other function aside from wife, mother, or in the case of religious life, “a bride of christ”.  The ad is blunt, but it does point out the fallacy of continuing to patronize a church that wants you as a number but not as a contributor.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    And it’s that much more loving to promise that everyone who fails to convert will suffer in blinding, miserable, horrid agony forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, long after the most draconian prison sentence, long after the sun goes supernova and the Earth is obliterated by alien lizard psychologists, long after the stars have gone dark and all of the universe is cold and still… because God loves you?

    • Psalm 16

      We have free will.  We can choose to love God or not.  We choose our eternal home.  God stands at the door (to our hearts) and knocks.   

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ORC3MNN6LJHFDQIEEIIRIHCFVU Rob S

    Donohue says “Never has there been a more vicious anti-Catholic advertisement in a prominent American newspaper than the one in today’s New York Times by Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).”

    Response? There has never been a better time to publish such an ad.

    • Anonymous

      Precisely. Donohue is screeching … well, because he’s Donohue, but also because this hits the target and he knows it.

    • Anonymous

      He confuses the concepts of “Anti-Catholic” and “Anti-Catholic-Church”.  The ad is pro-Catholic if anything, in that it might help marginal Catholics break away from a Church that hates them and works against their beliefs.

      • Anonymous

        Right.  That’s like when U.S. politicians throw out the term “anti-American” at anyone who wants to make America better.  I’m pro-human, and that includes Americans.  I’m just “anti-” the current political and economic systems.  Likewise I’m pro-human, and that includes Catholics, but I’m anti-Catholicism.

    • Pseudonym

      It’s also refreshing to see good and potentially effective advertising coming from the FFRF. It’s been a long time coming.

    • Friendly

      Ahhh… The tolerance of the
      non-believers! Your gentle, non-snarky, and well reasoned arguments
      are guaranteed to persuade!
       

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    The air of “we’re telling you what to do for your own good, Catholics” is douchey, but the Catholic Church as an institution deserves all the criticism it comes in for in this ad.

    • Anonymous

      I actually don’t disagree with anything the ad says, although I do think the tone is a little off the mark.  Remember, this ad isn’t supposed to preaching to the choir (UGH, you know what I mean).  It’s aimed at people who don’t necessarily already agree with us, and that should have been taken into consideration.  However, I do prefer that this ad exists as opposed to no ad existing.

  • ORAXX

    Bill Donohue reminds me of my, half again as Catholic as the Pope, father.  Ever the victim where the church is concerned, and loving every minute of it.

  • Janibanani

    I’m saddened to read such hate-filled and anger-filled responses, especially those who speak with seeming-authority, yet are spreading misinformation (on both sides of the issues, by the way) … truly, anger and hatred continue to breed anger and hatred.  As a faithful and STILL LOVING OF PEOPLE Catholic, I am praying for all of you and hope that all of our hearts will be opened to the love of God that is available and waiting for all of us.  

    • Andrew B.

       Has it ever occurred to you that the hatred towards the RCC is the result of despicable things they have done and are STILL DOING?

    • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

      Jani, may I ask you why you’re still a member of the Catholic Church?

      Why do you continue to be a member of a Church that is headed by people who’ve done everything in their power to keep child rapists in their ranks?

      Why do you continue to be a member of a Church that wants to deny women their bodily autonomy and wants to deny couples the ability to decide when they want to have children?

      Why do you continue to be a member of a Church that lies about sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, which tells the African people that condoms cause AIDS?

      Why do you give money to this most evil of organizations?

      • Rwlawoffice

        Why do you assume that Catholics are not able to see some of the horrible things done by some members of the church and and the same time see the good that it teaches and does around the world?

        Why do you assume that the most important issues for all women in the Catholic church are the same as for you?

        Why do you think that other Catholic women disagree with its teaching on birth control? Maybe they agree with it.

        Do you support Planned Parenthood?  If so – why do you support an organization founded by a lady who supported eugenics and lies about the truth of abortion?

        The point of these questions is is in response to your condescending questions to Jani. Despite the flaws of the Catholic church and there are plenty, there are billions of people who enjoy it recognize it for the good it does in spite of its flaws.      

        • Anonymous

          I think Katherine’s questions were meant to be serious (as opposed to sarcastic rhetoric), although I can’t speak for her.  It is actually quite hard for us to understand why someone would want to associate themselves with the Catholic church, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way.  It is actually hard to for us to identify with.  I’m genuinely interested in hearing what Catholic women have to say about these things.  

        • Anonymous-Sam

          To put a spin on an old phrase, two rights don’t unmake a wrong. When the Catholic church has decreed that it’s better to lie about and refuse to cooperate with police in the criminal investigations of child molestation–and this is an order from on high, from superiors whose decisions affect the lives of everyone beneath them–then I think it’s very reasonable for members of the Catholic church to be outraged no matter what good the church has done.

          And if, as the church claims, those superiors are supposed to be closer to God than any other person? Then yes, quitting the church sounds like an excellent idea to me, because that would tell me very bad things about my choice of faith. At the very least, I would have to become a Protestant or something thereabouts. I don’t think I could trust an organization which condoned criminal activities and expected me to overlook them too, no matter what they were doing on the side.

          (Tangent: This seems to be a recurring issue around the world, too, not just in the Catholic church. “Yes, so what if I molested some children? Look at all the good I do.” As if children don’t have the right not to be molested, or if you could honestly buy back their innocence with enough money, or enough charity, or whatnot. It’s criminal. Condemn it for what it is.)

          • Anonymous-Sam

             

            Why do you think that other Catholic women disagree with its teaching on birth control? Maybe they agree with it.

            Actually, I can cite otherwise. 98% of sexually active American Catholic women have used birth control at some point during their lives, according to a recent poll.

            Then again, “skilled statisticians” according to this source proclaim that birth control will lead to the end of white civilization. I’ll… refrain from commenting on that one.

        • Diorbhail

           By your reasoning the nice old man who lives next door and mows my lawn and cuts my grass because he is a nice guy just happens to have a flaw which is molesting all the kids in the neighborhood?????

          • Rwlawoffice

            Not at all. I don’t condone at all what those in the Catholic church that either engaged in those behaviors or hid them.  But in a church of over a billion people  with thousands of priests that have not engaged in that behavior, I find no problem with understanding the wrong and recognizing the good.  It wold be like blaming all of the employees of Enron for the actions of a few.

      • Kevin

        Point one:  The RCC is not “headed by people who’ve done everything in their power to keep child rapists in their ranks?”  Your argument is not factual and is nothing more than a classic “straw man.”  There are more cases of sexual abuse in the public schools, and most other religious and service organizations, by many multiples. Would you make the same claim about them?
        Point two: An unborn child is a seperate and unique being with its own DNA.  Does it not also enjoy “bodily autonomy?”  If a pregnant woman, on her way to delivery is murdered, should the murderer be charged with one count or two? 
        Point three:  The RCC has no claim to “denying couples the ability when they want to have children.”  I presume you are referencing the teachings on birth control.  If one is not a Catholic, the Church makes no claim whatsoever about what you can and cannot do.  Why do I have to pay for your birth control, however?  If you want it, fine.  But grow up pay for it yourself.
        Point four:  The Church has NEVER made claims that condoms “cause AIDS.”  However, as someone who has worked with HIV patients in Africa, you should do some homework before you spout off your unknowing rhetoric.    It is a fact that the availability of condoms puts increased pressure on people who might otherwise not participate in risky behavior to do just that.  Condoms=more sex.  “Don’t worry, I have a condom”  being an obvious argument.  Condoms are not 100% effective in preventing STDs, including HIV.  More sex=more HIV.  Math isn’t fuzzy to me.  Y0u might also be surprised to know that the RCC cares for more HIV patients in Africa than any 10 organizations combined, including the administration of ARV medication, which I administered to dying patients.  Want to hear an “unitended consequence” or ARV drugs?  HIV+ patients who would be too sick to do anything other than lie in bed are resuming their (almost) normal lifestyles, including having more sex.  More sex for HIV+ patients =more new cases of HIV.  Very sad, but true.
        The RCC is anything but evil.  It has had evil men (and women) in positions of authority over the years, but it does the most wonderful work that is often not even talked about.    The Church is “divinely instituted, but humanly constituted.”  Saint Peter (the “Rock” and first Pope) was (arguably) the weakest of all the Apostles.  Why was he chosen?  Hmmm.
        Based upon your self-description, I have little hope of “converting” your heart (that’s God’s job, anyway), but I could not let your incorrect and hate-filled comments stand for others to read and without rebuttal.  Peace.

        • Anon.

           The current hierarchy has done everything in its power to protect child abusers, from concealing their crimes from the law, to punishing bishops who attempted to report the crimes of child abusing priests, to moving child abusers to new parishes so that they would have more children to abuse, to moving Cardinal Law to the Vatican to get him away from prosecution.

          There are in fact more documented cases of child abuse in the RCC than in any other *single organization* in recent years.  I assume you are not reading the newspapers. 

          Why do you make hate-filled and incorrect comments?  I could not let your incorrect and hate-filled comments, denying the reality of RCC child abuse, stand for others to read without rebuttal.

    • The Captain

      I don’t think you know what the word “hate” actually means.

    • Veronica Abbass

       What good does prayer do?.  Neither prayer nor the love of God helped the children that were  abused by the RCC clergy.  Don’t waste your time being saddened.  Exercise your mind and your body; walk briskly away from the Catholic Church.

      • Rwlawoffice

        How do you know that the children were not comforted by prayer?

        • Anonymous

          Prayer is the main reason that nothing bad has ever happened to me. 

          It’s awesome because God is so powerful that whenever anything bad happens to me (like being abused by a priest as a child), not only does prayer comfort me, but it motivates God to go back in time and stop the abuse from even happening in the first place.

          I heartily recommend it.

        • Anonymous

          Because prayer didn’t make it stop?

        • Anonymous

          Cause prayer brought them justice?

          Almost forgot that one.

        • Veronica Abbass

           I don’t “know” that the children were not comforted by prayer; however,  it takes a pretty cruel God to allow a child to be abused so that the child will say prayers in order to be comforted.

          PS:  Do you always hide behind a pseudonym?

          • Anonymous-Sam

             Hey now, with all the crazies on the Internet, pseudonyms aren’t a bad thing as long as they don’t change so often that the person is hiding behind a myriad of false identities. That’s just dickery, but privacy is as important to Christians as it is to anyone. God should be the only one peeking in on them when they’re not expecting it. :p

  • Annie

    I was thinking a follow-up ad explaining how to defect from the Catholic Church would be helpful, since those of us who were baptized are still counted amongst its members.   I did a google search, and along with fun little debaptism certificates (which don’t take you off the books, but surely make lovely wall hangings), I came across an Ask Richard column from February, 2010.  I followed the link to the “Count Me Out” website that Richard had recommended to the letter writer, only to discover it has been suspended.  According the CountMeOut, in April of 2011, “the Catholic Church modified the Code of Canon Law to remove all references to the act of formal defection, the process used by those who wish to formally renounce their membership of the Church.”

    Does anyone know how to officially defect?  It’s a little more than irritating that it is easier for a man who has numerous children with one wife can obtain annulment to the marriage AFTER he has remarried and had children with his second wife, but someone who was baptized before they could consciously (or even verbally) object to it has no out.

    • Wintermute

       It’s your business, of course, but really, who cares? If you’re not going to church, and you’re not tithing, why do you care if they’re pretending you’re still a member?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

         because they use the false numbers to claim political influnce. The fact that they claim to speak for so many is the only reason we hear in the media what bishops or popes have to say on topics that are none of their business.

        • Annie

          I wish I would have seen this before responding… your answer was more thorough than mine.

      • Annie

        Wintermute-  It never really bothered me until reading things like Bill Donohue’s claim that the RCC is growing.  Using inflated numbers because you won’t let anyone out irks me.

        • Wintermute

           That’s a fair point, but still, if their members are defecting (or at least staying home), then they’re losing money and they’re losing political power, which makes Billy boy’s screeching about how his church can beat up our church completely empty. Let them claim whatever they want–in my hometown (which is largely Italian and Irish Catholic with a large relatively recent Latino influx) a number of the biggest churches have either closed their doors or merged to survive in recent ears. The truth is on the ground, and the less it resembles the rosy images promoted by the brass the more it hurts their credibility.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      So many people defected that the church removed the facility. I think they never expected people to use it.

      You can still try for excommunication, but unfortunately as far as the church is concerned an excommunicated catholic is still a catholic.

      I got out while the door was still open.

      • Annie

        Lucky you!

        Until I can find an official way out, I’ve decided to try a new strategy.  Every time I am about to express my opinion, and it might be considered provocative (or at least not in line with the church’s doctrine), I am going to preface the remark with, “As a Catholic…”, but only when in the company of “other” Catholics.

        If I’m technically a Catholic, I think that is my duty.

        • Anonymous-Sam

           “As a Catholic, it’s my opinion that the Passion of the Christ was actually a romantic comedy…”

          • Annie

            When I read this, I laughed so hard I snorted.  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before!

        • kenneth

          Believe it or not, I think we might actually find allies for this cause among the most conservative members of the RCC itself! Yes, the church, and especially the Vatican and bishops love the power and influence that comes with inflated numbers, but they’re realizing it carries a price too.
              The ultra conservatives who increasingly are the core of the church are all about enforcing orthodoxy and they’re driven buggy by “Catholic in name only” folks. Many of them do seem to realize that holding people against their will and imposing Catholic identity as a sort of cultural momentum rather than belief is part of that problem. By handcuffing ex-members to themselves, who’s captive of who? If the simple act of having water splashed on you makes you irrevocably Catholic irregardless of belief, than Catholicism means nothing. It means whatever any Catholic wants it to mean. 

      • Anonymous

        Since Vatican II, excommunication isn’t what it used to be. They don’t really excommunicate lay people any more. It’s a last resort against people in higher positions

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

           Ratzinger has said that everyone involved in an abortion is automatically excommuniated, so if you donate $1 you can be excommunicated as a lay person.

          • kenneth

            I think you have to be directly involved in the completion of a particular abortion vs just sending a donation to Planned Parenthood. Even then, they only really publicly proclaim you excommunicated in highly conservative Catholic countries in South America etc, and usually only if it’s a high-profile case. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LNWAM4DYCN4MLBLHFGDHE2YKZM GloomCookie613

        “but unfortunately as far as the church is concerned an excommunicated catholic is still a catholic.”

        True that.  My dad was excommunicated, but they sure wanted my butt in that pew something fierce!  Even though I was from dad’s second marriage (that was looked down upon by the church and considered invalid).  Sunday Mass is where logic goes to die.

    • Anonymous

       My attitude is that since I haven’t considered myself a catholic since my teens, and hold that international pedophile ring beneath contempt, and am opposed to everything they stand for, therefore I am not a catholic, period. I don’t give a fuck if they delude themselves that I am still one of them – I know better.

    • kenneth

      It’s called an Act of Formal Defection. I completed mine in the summer of 2009. I could post the letter I wrote and the process if anyone is interested, though it is true they got rid of the procedure since then. The thing to bear in mind is you have no control over what they will or won’t acknowledge. But you can always let them know where you stand. In Canon Law, even the old formal defection procedure I used didn’t truly “un-Catholic” you in the eyes of the church. It just meant you were no longer eligible for sacraments and exempted you from ONE requirement having to do with marriage. I tell people if they want, there’s no reason not to submit a defection letter even if they won’t formally process it any longer. I was disappointed to see Count Me Out drop what they were doing. The only way things might change is if people keep the pressure on. If enough defection letters come in and enough people complain about the cult-like practice of forbidding exit, they’d have to confront the issue sooner or later. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

         Count Me Out only dropped what they were doing because the church closed the door. Too many people were using it.

        • kenneth

          I still think they ought to have kept going, with the caveat that the church was no longer processing things on their end. Hell, I’d do it myself if I knew how to build web sites. Just because the church chose to close the door doesn’t mean people have to stop knocking, as it were. Even in the absence of a formal defection process, someone at a diocese would still have to read, and at least mentally, acknowledge someone’s request, and craft a response, even if it is just a canned form letter. They will also keep a record of correspondence. They would also have to field questions from the media from time to time if someone like Count Me Out still had a running total which showed X number of thousand people completed (or at least downloaded) a defection response last year. 

  • Nordog

    “So when a Roman Catholic is in the process of attempting to gain a
    position of authority in the United States and one of his number one
    priorities is to ban contraception, that’s not representative of
    Roman Catholicism? Then the pope had best put his foot down and tell
    Santorum not to infringe his religious beliefs on other people.

    And if the pope does that, I’ll convert to Catholicism.”

    Anonymous-Sam,

    I disagree that what you’ve written comes anywhere close to being accurate portrayal of what is happening.

    But even if you are 100% correct, that is NOT the charge that was made.

    Rather, the charge made was…

    The Church telling women that contraception is wrong and not wanting to pay for the contraception of others is the same thing as a campaign to ban contraceptives.

    I am unaware of any campaign to ban contraceptives, by Santorum or anyone else, inside our outside of the Church.  But if there is such a campaign, it is not effectuated by the fact that the Church teaches against contraception and opposes paying for it.

    I thought atheists were supposed to be the smart ones.  This ain’t rocket science here.

    Post Script:
    Where has Santorum called for a ban on contraception?  And just how is it “one of his number one priorities”?  How many number one priorities can someone have anyway?  You do know what simple words mean don’t you?

    • Anonymous-Sam

       Your tendency to descend into ad hominem makes me disinclined to bother responding to you. I’m not going to argue semantics with someone who’s just going to insult me and my intellect. The links have already been provided in previous comments in this thread; feel free to peruse them and do all the mental gymnastics you need to in order to convince yourself that Santorum is not, in fact, intending to force others to live according to the values of his faith.

      • Nordog

        Once again you’ve avoided the point, which has nothing to do with Santorum.  Though I’m interested in learning just how many number one priorities he has.

        If by “links” you mean that broadside posted by FSq elsewhere, I’m not going to go a wild goose chase clicking a dozen or so links posted by that bigot.

        All you got to do is mention one speech or one policy paper in which Santorum calls for the banning of contraception.

        FTR, Santorum has no fans in my household, and I think the idea of banning contraception would be an idiotic idea and I oppose the idea of banning contraception.

        I just take exception to the charge that the Catholic Church is trying to ban contraception in the U.S.

        I also highly doubt that Santorum is trying to do that.  He might be trying to do that, but I have not seen any evidence of it, nor do I consider it likely.

        Or, put another way:

        I know of no credible evidence that Rick Santorum is trying to ban contraception.

        If he is, count me as an opponent of that effort.

        And, you do not have a right to not be insulted.  Believe me, I know.  Especially around here.

        • Anonymous-Sam

           But I do have the right, ability, and willingness to utterly ignore anyone who attempts to do so, and that is an ability I will exercise without hesitation.

          If you don’t consider it likely that an anti-intellectualism, deeply religious Roman Catholic who has already expressed the desire to unify church and state will not attempt to enforce his beliefs in the form of federal law, then I don’t know what to tell you. Someone who perceives something as a mortal sin is not going to sit idly by and allow people to continue mortally sinning if he can do something about it, and as president, he would have the ability to recommend federal laws to Congress, appoint Supreme Court justices and essentially stack the deck in favor of passing along his beliefs in the form of legal action against anyone who violates them.

          I think it’s quite reasonable to believe that he would attempt to do so. After all, proselytizing is the least of what he would want to do in that position with the power available to him to do more. I’m fully willing to accept that he doesn’t believe he’d be doing anything evil, that his actions would better us all in the form of greater spiritual enlightenment and lessening the depravity of easily accessible carnal sin, but the effect is the same: Santorum will try and make his beliefs a reality for everyone else. It’s “what any truly moral person would do.”

          • Nordog

            Let’s say that you are right, and Santorum would actually try to ban contraception (I’m dubious, but let’s say you’re right), does anyone think that such efforts would stand a snowball’s chance in hell?

            It’ll never happen.  Never.

            • Anonymous-Sam

              You are more optimistic than I am. I doubt such a law would last long, but not that it could be pushed through by a House and Senate of rich white males who have little or no connection to the public. The backlash would most likely lead to a quick repeal, but as of late, the only people you can count on as having a true voice are the ones making eight digits. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have so much bullshit going on in our country, like meat that’s on the nigh-side of being poisonous being approved by the government to be distributed to schools for lunches over serious objections to its safety.

    • kenneth

      There is a very active campaign to outlaw contraception. It’s called the “personhood amendment” initiatives. They have gone on the ballot in several states already and there are plans to try them in half a dozen more that I’m aware of. 

  • Recovering Agnostic

    This is serendipitous – I just posted something on my blog about how moderate Catholics in the UK have the perfect opportunity to make their views known. Here, the fuss is about the proposed gay marriage bill – every church is going to have to listen to a letter from the Archbishop of Westminster, telling them how gay marriage would mean the end of civilisation. Seems like the perfect time for a calm, dignified walkout.

  • Kimpatsu

    “En mass”?! Oh, please!

  • Slyfox

    It looks more like they’re using the Catholic church just to make a buck.

    Donations accepted of course.

  • Erp

    A few points,

    1. Defecting doesn’t mean you cease to be a Catholic just that for certain purposes you are not to be treated as Catholic.  If you decide to become a Catholic again, you don’t get rebaptized. 

    2. The Catholic Church when it has the power supports bans on contraception.  See Ireland from 1935-1980 when the sale or importation was prohibited (there are still limits on where and how).   Note that the church considers contraception (other than rhythm or abstinence) a violation of natural law and therefore forbidden for any human.

    “And now We wish to speak to rulers of nations. To you most of all is
    committed the responsibility of safeguarding the common good. You can contribute
    so much to the preservation of morals. We beg of you, never allow the morals of
    your peoples to be undermined. The family is the primary unit in the state; do
    not tolerate any legislation which would introduce into the family those
    practices which are opposed to the natural law of God. For there are other ways
    by which a government can and should solve the population problem—that is
    to say by enacting laws which will assist families and by educating the people
    wisely so that the moral law and the freedom of the citizens are both
    safeguarded.”Humanae Vitae

    • Anonymous-Sam

      Seems to me that that violates the tax exemption clause of 01(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Keulan

    That’s a good ad. More people need be made aware of the despicable things the Catholic Church has done and continues to do. I am not even remotely surprised that Bill Donohue is whining and complaining about it. That seems to be all he ever does.

  • Nordog

    Sunburned: “Is it an employer?”

    To which I say this administration and congress are not “playing by the rules” when they force private individuals to purchase anything for any reason.

    It’s called “unconstitutional”.

    In time the SCOTUS will have a say in that matter.

    If SCOTUS rules that the individual mandate is constitutional, then the U.S. Constitution is meaningless.

    • Nordog

      Which means of course, that “rules” have no meaning.  They simply become what the people in power say they are.

      In which case, if I were an atheist I would be very worried.

  • Anonymous

    New low for the NYT.

  • Anonymous

    New low for the NYT. They should advertise with Limbaugh.

  • kenneth

    So this is interesting. Maybe defection is not a dead process after all….

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0215/1224311799604.html

  • Anonymous

    Most of the comments posted,  remind me of a group of company sales people, standing in a circle, airing all their grievances (real & unreal) against something ( the Church).

    After a while they actually believe what they say, not realizing they are just talking to themselves.

    • The Waywardson

      Have you read the ten comandments? The first thing you do in the Catholic church is to bow down and recite “hail Mary” to a graven image. God told Moses in the TEN COMANDMENTS ” I am a jelous God, Thou Shault Have No Other Gods Before Me”.
      “Thou Shault Not Worship Any Graven Image.”

      Futher in the Old Testiment it says “Thou Shault Call No Man Father, But The Father In Heaven.”

      Also, the Leaders of the church, and this includes all preasts and nuns all the way up to the pope, they are all disobeying the very first commandment in the Bible, “Go Forth And Multiply” and ordered to Adem and Eve.

      And while I am on the subject, A lot of people are talking about the Gay comunity. As Moses said to the people of Issriel under Gods command, “Do Not Allow A Sodimizer To Enter The Temple”. In essence, a Homosexual is not allow to go into the temple to be forgiven of his or her sins, and is therefor condemed to HELL because of their lifestyle.

      I you don’t believe me, Read the Old Tesiment in it’s original Hebrew.

      Doctor of Philosophy, Religious History

      • J. Bob

         Waywardson,
        from your comment “The first thing you do in the Catholic church is to bow down and recite “hail Mary” to a graven image”, it is obvious you have little if any experience in observing Catholics in church, much less in the service. 

        As far as Mary goes, Catholics honor her, and do not worship her. In one of the Apparitions at Fatima, I believe, when answering a request for healing, Mary made it quite clear that Jesus heals, not her.

  • Marc

    “And as to tolerance, it is surprising
    how far removed from the equity and prudence of the Church are those who
    profess what is called liberalism. For, in allowing that boundless license of
    which We have spoken, they exceed all limits, and end at last by making no
    apparent distinction between truth and error, honesty and dishonesty. And
    because the Church, the pillar and ground of truth, and the unerring teacher
    of morals, is forced utterly to reprobate and condemn tolerance of such an
    abandoned and criminal character, they calumniate her as being wanting in
    patience and gentleness, and thus fail to see that, in so doing, they impute
    to her as a fault what is in reality a matter for commendation. But, in spite
    of all this show of tolerance, it very often happens that, while they profess
    themselves ready to lavish liberty on all in the greatest profusion, they are
    utterly intolerant toward the Catholic Church, by refusing to allow her the
    liberty of being herself free.”

    Leo XIII, LIBERTAS, June 20, 1888

  • Pop73

    Loads of hate-filled atheists here. Wow.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7FLYMOFYICTNO7KS6LGNELFHNY Beatrix

    If you think the NY Times to be servile, try to translate this ad into Italian and have it published by an Italian daily. The press in the US is still free, OK, 100% is never to be reached, the press in the US is rather free. Please keept it free. Regards, Beatrix

  • Eumesmo

    It’s time to quit the New York. Times. Like we did WY fox news

  • http://www.robinlionheart.com/ Robin Lionheart

    Interesting, “Stop Islamization of Nations” tried to run an anti-Islam takeoff of this ad.

  • God Bless America

    I am a Catholic American citizen.

    I practice my faith and I go to church and I love my Catholic Faith.

    Groups have taken out advertisements in newspapers to tell me to leave my church.   These ads are in effect saying I am discriminating others if I practice my faith.    These groups are actually discriminating against me and trying to stop me from LIVING my faith, which is what true Catholic believers are called to do.

    I can’t live my faith if the government makes laws that force me to support things that go against my core beliefs.   That is the bottom line here.  I am being discriminated against and it seems anyone who is Catholic can be kicked around lately—a form of accepted discrimination.

    I have a right to freedom just as much as any other citizen and my Catholic faith is expressed by the way I live.   It is NOT expressed  only at the times when I walk into a my church.  When I walk out I am still Catholic and want the freedom to live my life staying true to God’s words.

    I deserve that freedom as an American Citizen!  

    The Catholic Bishops are calling us together to pray during these next two weeks under Fortnight to Freedom because all of our religious liberty  is in danger and under attack.

    Every American Citizen should be concerned.

  • Silvercollins

    Non Christian groups should stay out of Christian issues. Let us handle it ourselves and you go handle your Athiest issues. You are not fooling anyone…I hope. Any Christian who believes an Athiest is out there to help them is sadly mistaken. Beware of the wolf in sheepskin clothing people. They only care about stealing your soul. I don’t care if you respond negatively, I said what I had to say

  • Rob

    Ad reminds me of a Jack Chick screed.  Atheist? sure, but so much for the “friendly” part, 

  • Bille

    Why are y0u so concerned over the way I believe because I am not concerned the way you believe. I do feel sorry for you and pray for you and ask God to forgive you. God forgive them they know not what they do.


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