“Conservative Catholic” Zeal for the Culture of Death

The other day, we took a look at one of the great heros of human history, : Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov who ignored orders and did not authorize a retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States when his technology falsely reported incoming nuclear warheads from the US.  I remarked:

I cannot help but wonder how many of our kill crazy trigger happy pre-emptive warriors in comboxes or on Talk Radio these days would demonstrate the steely restraint that man did in refusing to panic and push the button.

Some people thought this was mean, but then perhaps not everybody remembers the Drudge Report’s headline just before we launched out pre-emptive war in Iraq: “PUSH THE DAMN BUTTON”, nor all the neocons (led by the infallibly wrong Bill Kristol) declaring World War IV, nor the hysteria of the Rubber Hose Right cheering for salvation through torture and (in the person of Rick Santorum) the deliberate and premeditated murder of civilians in a country not at war with us as “wonderful“.

Nor do people remember some of the more colorful denizens of our comboxes, who moonlight writing as respected contributors to such various right wing webrags, calling for the nuclear annihilation of five major cities in the Mideast or fantasizing about rounding up the civilian population of New Jersey Muslims, locking them in a mosque and opening fire with tanks.

But most troubling is that it isn’t just cybermobs doing what cybermobs do.  It is also well-educated, allegedly Christian, right wing legal eagles who choose to go to the mat for stuff like this:

Soldier Who Taught ‘Total War’ Against Islam Threatens to Sue Top Military Officer

The Army officer who once taught that the U.S. ought to consider “Hiroshima tactics” for a “total war” on Islam has put America’s top general on notice for a possible lawsuit. Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley is accusing the government of concealing “the truth about Islam” at a time when proponents of his view of an inevitable clash between Islam and the West have succeeded at fanning precisely those flames.

On Thursday, attorneys for Dooley told Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey that Dooley is considering “a potential civil action,” said Marine Col. David Lapan, a spokesman for Dempsey. The written notice does not indicate that they’ve actually filed a lawsuit against Dempsey.

But Dooley’s lawyers, who have defended one of the most prominent anti-Islam voices in the United States, aren’t just flirting with legal action against the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. They’re launching a PR strike as well. A press release announcing that Dooley has retained them accuses Dempsey of compromising “the final bastion of America’s defense against Islamic jihad and sharia, the Pentagon” to “the enemy.” And it’s language that comes as Americans worry about Islamic radicals targeting U.S. embassies in the Middle East.

As Danger Room first reported in April, Dempsey shut down an elective course Dooley taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, which is under the auspices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The course instructed senior officers at the lieutenant colonel, commander, colonel and Navy captain level that “there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam,’” and that wartime protections against civilians of Islamic countries were “no longer relevant.”

Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley’s Joint Staff Forces College presentation on “A Counter-Jihad Op Design Model” calls for violent measures in a war against Islam. (emphasis added)

Materials distributed by Dooley’s guest lecturers suggested inaccurately that President Obama is a Muslim. Similar material taught to the FBI in 2011 compared Islam to the Death Star in Star Wars. Dooley himself taught, “Your oath as a professional soldier forces you to pick a side here.”

Dooley considered the reduction of Islam to a “cult status” an acceptable outcome of what he considered a civilizational war. Accordingly, his instructional material is reminiscent of The Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Islam video that was used as a pretext in the Middle East over the past week for anti-American protests. Dooley was removed from the college and received an administrative reprimand for teaching material that Dempsey called “totally objectionable, against our values and it wasn’t academically sound.”

The course Dooley taught and its parallels in the FBI has become something of a cause celebre in certain right-wing American precincts. Congresswoman and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann lamented to Glenn Beck in July, “They are purging everything from our military, from our FBI. So we’re not even teaching what the Muslim Brotherhood stands for. We’re not teaching what radical Islam even is.” Bachmann attracted derision this summer when she accused a top aide to Hillary Clinton of nebulous “ties” to the Muslim Brotherhood based on the aide’s heritage.

Dooley’s attorneys, at the Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center, have been sympathetic to such arguments. They’ve defended the Florida Pastor Terry Jones, whose burning of the Koran prompted violent protests in Afghanistan last year. They didn’t return Danger Room’s calls, but they’re portraying Dooley as another free-speech martyr.

I get that the military is not exempt from kooks going General Jack D. Ripper on us.  So it doesn’t bother me too much that some guy like Dooley should turn up in the ranks.  It happens.  And in his case, the system worked as sane heads intervened to remove this dangerous kook from forming hearts and minds.

No.  What bothers me is that, once again, the Thing that Used to be Conservatism, at the level of people who really ought to know better and not mere combox crazies, manages to combine enthusiasm for crimes against humanity with a supposed dedication to American values and–sickenly–a claim to represent “faithful orthodox” Catholics faith.  The Thomas More Center should be ashamed to be shilling for this filth and every person who is championing this filth should repent and go to confession and beg God’s mercy for creating a genuine public scandal. There is no justification–none whatsoever–for advocating genocidal war against civilian populations.  No.  Really:

2314 “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”110 A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons – to commit such crimes.

Catholics who advocate this are every bit as complicit in the culture of death as Nancy Pelosi or Catholics for a Free Choice.  Only, unlike Pelosi, these people lard on the disgusting hypocrisy of pretending to be “faithful conservative Catholics” while she is at least honest enough to be frankly and openly contemptuous of the Church’s teaching.

The bondage of conservative Catholics to the Thing That Used to be Conservatism is as deeply corrupting as the bondage of progressive Catholics to the Thing that Used to be Liberalism.  “Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:17-18)

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  • Scott

    I have rarely heard a statement from Pelosi where she did not remind all of us what a “devout” Catholic grandmother that she is . And the St. Thomas More Society “shilling for this filth” ? Bit of an uncharitable stretch don’t you think?

    • jacobus

      as the kids say,


    • She is “devout” to her own personal interpretation of the church but at least she’s honest and public about her desire for a church schism. Meanwhile, some misguided conservative Catholics behave as if by embracing torture and unjust war they are “defending Catholic orthodoxy” which I’m sure contributes to this image of orthodox Christians as bloodthirsty and “just as bad” as the violent, rioting Muslims.

    • Mark Shea

      Pelosi makes abundantly clear that “devout” does not, in her mind, mean “orthodox”. She quite proudly declares her defiance of the Magisterium and her fans love her for it while actual educated serious Catholics know she is simply a bad Catholic.

      The Thomas More Center creates scandal by giving Catholics who like to think of themselves as “faithful to the Magisterium” the false impression that you can support genocidal warfare as a “faithful Catholic” who is “loyal to the Magisterium”. It is better to have a millstone around your neck and be cast into the sea than to cause one of Christ’s little ones to buy that lie. We are talking about a sin “against God and man” that is every bit as horrific as abortion. What is a stretch is the contention that this is anything less then shilling for filth.

    • Irenist

      Nancy Pelosi creates scandal in the service of Moloch by advocating the slaughter of the unborn; the Tom Monaghan-sponsored Thomas More Center creates scandal in the service of Mars by defending the advocacy of genocide against millions of innocent Muslims (just think–some of the innocents nuked in Mecca and Medina might’ve been fetuses! That makes it important, right?). Mentioning one wrong doesn’t lessen the other.

      • Ted Seeber

        I am not against the concept that since Allah is theologically tied to a place and being used as such in the service of terrorists, the evacuation and near-permanent destruction of that place may well serve the greater good.

        But give Saudi Arabia the following first:
        1. A defined safe radius
        2. The time to evacuate ~4 million people to that defined safe radius
        3. Reparation enough for resettlement of 4 million people
        4. Don’t do it during Hajj, it will only make things extremely complicated.

    • antigon

      ‘“shilling for this filth” ? Bit of an uncharitable stretch don’t you think?’

      Mr. Scott: Let us assume you mean Mr. Shea was being uncharitable to filth, since the alternative would make a cistern look sparkly compared to what Dooley & Pelosi & their defenders have to offer.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Cisterns should be sparkly. Dirty cisterns breed disease for the people who drink from them.

  • Harry

    Well said.
    This line of thinking pops up a disturbing amount of times in the Conservative Catholic blog-o-sphere. I’ve had someone defend Franco to me as a “Catholic hero”, another blog holding him up as a model to be emulated (“He was a daily communicant!”) and others defend Facist regimes – that pursued activites like torture, persecution and mass shootings- because the Church benefited from it.

    • Mark Shea

      I’ll go you one better. I had a troll defending Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death at Auschwitz, as “heroic”. When I kicked him off my blog, he started a “support group” called “Banished by Mark Shea” on Facebook. The members are all Catholic, I believe. Hilarious.

      • Dan C

        Really? A Facebook page? Its kind of like a fan club. But….not….

    • Blog Goliard

      There were plenty of good things about Franco and his regime. And, in the context of the Spanish Civil War, the Falangists were vastly preferable to the Republicans.

      Yes, Franco was a flawed human being who ran a repressive regime that committed plenty of outrages against basic human rights. But he was also capable of, and often inclined towards, accomplishing genuine good; and he was a much better friend to the Church than most leaders of his time. (Let me emphasize that this does not mean we should bless or excuse the crimes of his regime…just that we should try to see the man in full.) Above all, while he couldn’t muster the character and courage to step down while still alive, he did bequeath to his country a stable, modern, democratic state upon his death. How many dictators have ever attempted, and succeeded, in pulling that off?

      Just because you don’t buy into right-wing whitewashing of Franco’s crimes, doesn’t mean you have to buy into the left-wing demonization instead. As with Pinochet, the Left loves to denounce his various crimes (often with justification); but there’s really only one thing that they are permanently outraged by and can never forgive him for: defeating the attempted Communist takeover (Leninist in Spain; Castroite in Chile) of his country.

      • Dan C

        Ok. Franco is indefensible. A Catholic should be wary of sympathietic portrayals of him, and avoid his defense. His crimes, like Obama’s, are indefensible, and of the same nature.

        Supporting Franco and Pinochet in the name of defeating Communism lacks moral decency, and we are living out the sinful consequences today. Many Catholics died at their hands.

      • MattyD

        “but there’s really only one thing that they (leftists) are permanently outraged by and can never forgive him (Pinochet) for: defeating the attempted Communist takeover”.
        Really, Blog G? There’s “only one thing” leftist can’t forgive of Pinochet? Only one? You seem like a bright chap, so I’d invite you to reflect on what a load of bullshit that is.

    • Irenist

      Brent Bozell and Warren Carroll were two prominent American conservative Catholic thinkers who romanticized Franco, IIRC. I think their thought is pretty influential in certain quarters. True story: A couple Spanish Jesuits showed up in my granddad’s hometown in Ireland one day. Gave a guest homily about how the Spanish Republicans/Loyalists were burning churches, raping nuns, and getting funding from England. (Which was worse in that audience, I’m not sure.) My granddad and some of his buddies, stirred by thoughts of chivalrous heroism and grateful senoritas, joined tinpot Irish fascist Eoin O’Duffy’s “blueshirt” Irish brigade and shipped off to fight for Franco. Once my granddad saw how awful the Francoist regime was, he regretted the decision for the rest of his life, despite his brigade having seen pretty much no action. Partly, I suspect, in atonement for that, he made a pilgrimage to Lourdes on his way home from Spain. I don’t really have a deep political point here, just thought I’d share. (Personally, when somebody in a Catholic forum starts defending Franco without the measured tone of our own Blog Goliard or complaining about the failure of France to put the current Bourbon heir back on the throne or something like that, I tend to back away slowly.)

      • ivan_the_mad

        There was an article a couple of months past on the Distributist Review which criticized some American conservatives such as Buckley and Kirk for not wanting to restore the old Catholic order of Europe. My ignorant self chimed in to protest (as I don’t think support for restoration of past Catholic monarchies is a sine qua non for anything), and received an accusatory reply about supporting the overthrow of James II. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

        • Irenist

          Plenty of my sires suffered in the war between the cowardly “Seamus a’ chaca” and the usurper Orange, so I’ve no warmth in my heart for 1688 and its Irish aftermath. But, y’know, parliamentary democracy is pretty great in a lot of ways, and 1688 was A LONG TIME AGO; it’s time to let go. I like Distributist Review and I like The American Conservative, but people who still feel the need to wave the flag for the Jacobites or the Confederates or the Bourbons or the Carlists or the restoration of the Hapsburgs to their “holy” empire make me despair that Catholic paleo-con intellectualism is ever going to get out of its weird little subculture. Since I resemble any remark on weird Catholic intellectual subcultures to at least some extent, the whole thing saddens me greatly.

          • Irenist

            This is not a new problem, btw. From the wikipedia page on Brent Bozell: “In 1964 Bozell ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland against Charles Mathias, one of the leaders of the then-influential liberal wing of the Republican Party; references to the gnostic heresy and to the ‘arcana of Spanish legitimism’ made during his campaign speeches may have contributed to his loss.”
            But yeah, better to worry about whether the “correct” position for French distributists is Legitimist or Orleanist than, like, y’know, do something that involved leaving one’s library and interacting with people.

  • antigon

    ‘“shilling for this filth” ? Bit of an uncharitable stretch don’t you think?’

    Mr. Scott: Let us assume you mean Mr. Shea was being uncharitable to filth, since the alternative would make a cistern look sparkly compared to what Dooley & Pelosi & their defenders have to offer.

  • Dan C

    The language here is good- an identification of a more universal series of truths underlying why a behavior is abhorrent, tying this to a methodology of evaluation already univerally accepted on the right- a “culture of death” analysis. Such a more expansive view of the “culture of death” could fit under a “Seamless Shroud” type ethic.

    • “Seamless Shroud” – I like that a lot. I’m going to steal it for my own writing, if you don’t mind.

      • Ted Seeber

        I’d love to meet a true Seemless Shroud philosopher, but I think I’d have to hold a seance as they would have obviously already committed suicide.

  • Michaelus

    With all this mighty talk about making war on the Mohammedans I find it actually funny that whenever the war actually happens it always seems to be 2 or 3 of our guys doing the actual fighting without any support from guys like this. I wonder how these mighty warriors would respond if some jihadist said “lets fight this out like men – I won’t wear a suicide vest if you do not call in an airstrike”. When certain groups of Mohammedans decide it is their religious duty to slaughter us they actually go ahead and do it and often die in the process. When certain groups of post-Christian neopagan Americans decide to make war on Islam they put together a Powerpoint. this is just a joke at this point.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I’m really disappointed in the Thomas More Law Center for taking up this case. Really, sadly disappointed.

    • Rosemarie


      While many of Terry Jones’ antics are stupid and imprudent, in this case he was wrongly prevented from exercising his First Amendment rights and even thrown in jail. So I am not disappointed in the Thomas More Law Center for defending him in this particular case. If neo-Nazis can march in Skokie, then this fruit bat can protest in front of the largest mosque in the US.

      • Well, since the US doesn’t have a hope for winning anyway, I don’t much sweat this sort of thing. But in this case, I wonder if the general in question may have crossed a line. I agree that these folks actually have the right to free speech, and they shouldn’t be prevented from voicing their opinions any more than anyone else. But if, as a general, he crossed some army line, there could be things beyond just simple freedom of speech to consider.

      • Mark Shea

        Dooley’s action are the issue here. The first amendment does not give him the right to preach genocide on the public dime and his superiors were perfectly right to shut him down.

        • Rosemarie


          Yeah, Dooley is obviously spouting extremist nonsense which may not be covered by the First Amendment. I don’t necessarily think this case is equivalent to the Terry Jones one, except insofar as both Dooley and Jones are offensive nutjobs.

          • Mark Shea

            Dooley actually was in a position to influence people who may later make policy. Jones is just a jerk in a field somewhere, setting fire to stuff.

          • Irenist

            Isn’t it the ACLU’s bailiwick to defend the KKK in Skokie types? I’d prefer not to have the name of St. Thomas More dragged into Terry Jones’ muck. After all, it just makes it too easy for people to point to that sort of thing when the Thomas More Center next takes up a case opposing the HHS contraception mandate. Besides, their budget is not infinite, and you can’t tell me there aren’t more important religious liberty cases out there than Jones’.

            • Rosemarie


              Good point.

  • JoFro

    That some guy like Dooley turn up in the ranks happens primarily because the US military now has rules calling on “sensitivity training” when dealing with Islam and Muslims.
    You have the case of that soldier in the Texas Fort Hood shootings, who despite showing worrying signs of Islamist support, was not confronted by his superiors because they did not want to be seen as “racist”!
    Can you imagine any of this nonsense taking place 60 years ago when America had to face the Nazis and the Japanese Imperial Forces? Did the US military have “sensitivity training” about how we should welcome Nazi and Expansionist Japanese Imperial views as this will increase the “diversity” of the military and make it better able to fight them?
    Get rid of men like Dooley but also get rid of those arm-chair Generals who are busy trying to come up with the latest nonsense of sensitivity training!

    • You might want to hold onto something.

  • I don’t know any conservatives that are enthusiastic (except as a joke), most that I’ve read or associated with would rather not have to make these choices at all.

    But then this all sucks, and the question is: what if we’ll have to? Just as sometimes bad things must happen to us to break our own pride, one wonders if terrible wars must be visited upon a people to break their cultural pride. (at first glance, this seems to be the lesson of WW2) Even Paul noted: “[F]or rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” I don’t want rulers eager to use the sword, but I expect the soldiers to keep it sharp and ready (the bend the metaphor beyond recognition). We may have to consider that on this side of eternity, the only way we’ll have peace is by being a bigger, meaner SOB than the big, mean SOB that wants to do harm.

    At the very least, we need to hang onto our nukes in case of attacks from the stars (whether alien or meteor).

    • Ted Seeber

      If what I’ve read is accurate, we don’t need to have them assembled at this point. MAD may have worked for 50 years, but it’s clear it is no deterrent to say, Nuclear Israel or Nuclear Iran. We could easily go down to two or three ICBMs with modern GPS software and ALL of the rest of our arsenal dismantled and stored, with no difference in our security whatsoever. The next round of wars will be over resources, not ideology or theology, and only an idiot would use a tactical nuke in that situation (because it would destroy the resource being fought over).

      • And what happens if the aliens send FIVE space ships after us?

        Ya gotta think about this stuff, Ted.

  • On an interesting side note, but still to do with the overall subject. I think the general gist is that our war in Iraq was an immoral, illegal, and unchristian enterprise. Especially since we now know there were no WMDs pointing at downtown Manhattan. Both Popes of the time condemned it, and the general Catholic view – apparently of all but conservative Catholics – is that we should never have been there and that we shouldn’t be either place since the whole enterprise was a moral failure (in addition to other types of failure).

    We were discussing this the other night with the family, and one of my sons asked ‘then why do we keep praising the troops who go over there?’ He didn’t mean those who were there when Americans caused 9/11. They potentially had no choice. He meant in the later years, knowing all that we know, the troops who were kids on 9/11 who volunteer to go there to fight. I mean, he has a point. How can we call an undertaking so wrong, so sinful, so evil, and yet turn around and support the one group of people making it happen by choosing to go there and keep it going? Especially if we keep condemning everyone else with their hands in the jar. I know I didn’t have an answer.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Dave, shut up and put a yellow ribbon on your car or you hate America, and puppies, and barbecued ribs!

      But seriously, I don’t know either. There’s the resurgence of jingoism and militarism. Add to that the poor prospects at home for many of the post-9/11 recruits and I think you just have a really terrible situation. It was really driven home a month ago at Mass, seeing a man who looked barely past twenty, sitting in a wheel chair emblazoned with the Army seal and missing both of his legs. It made me so angry and so sad at the same time.

      • I know what you mean. Somehow I can’t help but think it’s become too easy to have an opinion about this when there are so few things that directly impact me. Sometimes I want to say these things should be left to those living in the Middle East, those with loved ones in the military, or those in the military. Whether it’s Iran with nukes or our soldiers in the field, I get the feeling I just don’t have a dog in this fight. Even terrorist attacks. Who am I kidding? I live in the middle of Ohio corn fields. Do I really think if I’m wrong about this or that, some terrorist group is going to target our high school football field? So whenever I see a vet or see someone killed overseas, I can’t help but wonder if those impacted are the ones who should toss out the opinions, and the rest of us just keep quiet and listen. Unless, of course, we’re willing to do something to put ourselves in the crosshairs.

    • Rosemarie


      We’re supposed to keep praising the troops because we don’t want to be classed in with those anti-Vietnam activists who spat at soldiers returning from that war and called them “baby killers.” Maybe there’s a golden mean somewhere between those two extremes, but our culture has a tendency to swing from one extreme to the other. There are certainly many good people in the armed forces, along with the occasional monster like the one who murdered 16 Afghani civilians earlier this year (though even he might have been a victim of head trauma from an earlier deployment in Iraq.)

      • I think he is right in asking the question. If we, as many do, consider these to be immoral wars, what business do we have praising those who willingly go over and perpetuate them? Again, a clear line was drawn, and in no way was it suggested that those in the military when 9/11 happened were anything but praise worthy. But it’s a question I’m not prepared to answer, because I think there’s a valid point: if we are going to slam these military exercises as immoral, sinful, evil, or whatever, then we must slam those who willingly fight them. If not, then we are automatically conceding that there is room to disagree, wiggle-room so to speak. It can’t be both.

      • Will

        And as a result, now EVERYBODY, no matter what they say about “the war”, claims to “support the troops.” Reducing it to a contentless piety.

    • Rosemarie


      Anyway, since the morality of the war in Iraq came up, I just read an interesting opinion piece on that:

      The Arab Spring becomes a western winter

      Interestingly, it was published on that neo-con propaganda machine, Foxnews.com, and written by a commentator who was allegedly fired a few months back for not towing the neo-con party line (though the byline on the bottom says he’s still “the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel,” which means he wasn’t fired after all).

  • Joseph

    I agree with you, Mark, to some extent. But frankly, when vast swaths of Muslims around the globe take to the streets brutally maiming and murdering innocent people because some idiot whacks the hornets nest with a Muhammad cartoon or stupid 13 minute YouTube video that lived in obscurity before the first few media sensational corpses hit the floor, the whole “religion of peace” label shows itself for what it is… a lie.

    This coming from a guy who used to try to defend my Muslim friends from Republicristians in my family.I just can’t defend them anymore. Still, I’m against attacking another country without a just cause and definitely against pushing any “buttons”. But that wacky religion has pretty much lost all credibly as a religion of peace with the latest hijinks performed globally by large mobs of those who practise it.

    How many chocolate penises draping off the form of a cruciform Christ have resulted in global anti-martyrdom by Christians? But, then I read a comment by a follower of “the religion of peace” on CNN.com that that could be explained away as weakness and faithlessness in modern day Christians. That at least Muslims love their prophet enough to die for (actually he meant to say “kill for”) him.

  • Tim in Cleveland

    I’m not seeing what Thomas More Center is doing wrong here. Legal representation does not amount to advocacy of a client’s views or actions, so how can the article claim that the lawyers are “sympathetic” to this guy’s arguments.

    Rapists and murderers are entitled to legal representation (I hope we can all agree on that). No one would claim that their lawyers are “shilling” for rape and murder or promoting such things. I’m sure lawyers who deal with First Amendment issues many times do not agree with their clients’ views.

    • Mark Shea

      Would you similarly have no problem if they chose to defend a partial birth abortionists? Just doing their jobs? All part of the legal process?

      • Tim in Cleveland

        Depends on why they are representing him. Defending him to ensure he is afforded due process of the law seems fine to me. I would have a problem, though, if the Thomas More Center planned to argue that laws banning partial-birth abortion should be overturned.

        Everyone is entitled to the protection of just laws.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “Everyone is entitled to the protection of just laws.” Except that TMLC isn’t exactly your local public defender.

          • Irenist

            Exactly! TMLC clearly has skewed priorities in the allocation of their limited legal resources. Everyone is entitled to an attorney. Not everyone is entitled to an attorney from a “Christian” advocacy think tank.

            • Tim in Cleveland

              Attorneys have a right to represent whomever they want. But I think I see what you guys are saying. TMLC is holding themselves out as a Christian advocacy group and the cases they are choosing seem to be more political advocacy.

              I guess my problem is this comment from Mark:

              “The Thomas More Center should be ashamed to be shilling for this filth and every person who is championing this filth should repent and go to confession and beg God’s mercy for creating a genuine public scandal.”

              I don’t think they should be “ashamed” since I believe representing a client does not mean adoption of that person’s views. I am an attorney and I have many things for which I should repent and confess, but representing shady clients isn’t one of those things.

              • Irenist

                I’m hoping to be an attorney pretty soon myself, God and the bar examiners willing. I agree that a law firm or solo practitioner needn’t be ashamed to represent any and all clients, since everyone deserves representation in our adversarial system. But, as you said, it’s the way that TMLC, with its “Christian” brand name, chooses these cases, out of the many, many cases they could choose if they wanted to, on which to make their political stand. When a solo takes a case, it’s not political. When an advocacy group chooses to represent a client, everything about it is a political statement. In TMLC’s case, it’s often a scandalous one.

          • Tim in Cleveland

            Honestly, I’m not sure what TMLC is. The “Thomas More” part leads me to believe Catholicism is involved some way, but I’m not entirely sure. And the fact that lawyers are involved leads me to believe it is a law firm, but I’ve never seen a firm called a “Center.”

            So I guess it would be nice if they dropped the Thomas More part of TMLC, at least if politics is what is driving their mission. But regardless of their name, I don’t see anything wrong with representing this guy in court (I assume there will be some sort of court case involved since there are lawyers).

            • Irenist

              They claim to be “Christian” rather than specifically Catholic, but one of their founders/funders is Tom Monaghan of Legatus/Ave Maria University/Domino’s Pizza fame.

      • Will

        Since the sainted More has been brought into this.. “Yes, I would give the Devil benefit of law– for my own safety’s sake.”

    • Dan C

      Robert George has called them out this year already for their anti-Islam activities.

      Thomas More center can choose not to defend either Terry Jones and use its resources more wisely in other ways. There is no need to defend Terry Jones or Dooley. Unless they have chosen to pursue a generic civil liberties/freedom of speech mission. But I really don’t think this is the case.

      The common thread is the Thomas More Center’s anti-Islam stance. Their slip is showing.

      • Tim in Cleveland

        If Thomas More Center has an anti-Islam policy, then I certainly wouldn’t agree with them. But two cases does not make a policy and the article doesn’t say much on The Thomas More Center’s views. From what I can tell, they are just a group of attorneys representing a client.

        • Richard Johnson

          From the Center’s website: http://www.thomasmore.org/

          “Radical Muslims and Islamic organizations in America take advantage of our legal system and are waging a “Stealth Jihad” within our borders. Their aim is to transform America into an Islamic nation. They have already infiltrated the highest levels of our government, the media, our military, both major political parties, public schools, universities, financial institutions and the cultural elite. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, political leaders still claim “Islam is a religion of peace.” Our national leaders refuse to identify Radical Islam as the enemy. Political correctness has paralyzed our government’s ability to deal with these threats. That is why the Thomas More Law Center has been at the forefront of legal battle against this internal threat.”

          • Tim in Cleveland

            I’m against Radical Islam too.

            • Dan C

              There is a brand of anti-Islam that is against Radical Islam, but also indicates “there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim.” Which makes the individual or organization against Islam.

              I worry this group fits this.

              Also, the iissue Robert George called them out on.

              Three issues.

              • Dan C

                Robert George wrote on the matter at Mirror of Justice on May 25th.

                • Tim in Cleveland

                  I found this:


                  He’s criticizing TMLC for chastising the Becket Fund’s representation of Muslims. So the problem is not who TMLC represents, it’s who they refuse to represent. And I agree with the takeaway from that article: stand up for the religious liberty of all.

                  My problem is imputing the views of clients to lawyers.

                  • Irenist

                    “My problem is imputing the views of clients to lawyers.”
                    My problem is failing to distinguish between regular lawyers in law firms and solo practices on the one hand, and lawyers at advocacy shops like ACLU, ACLJ, TMLC, and EarthJustice on the other. When advocacy shop lawyers take a case, they are endorsing the clients’ position in a way that regular attorneys simply are not. The exception would be the “ACLU defends KKK” type case where the political flag being waved is First Amendment concerns rather than an endorsement of the KKK. It *could* be the same thing with TMLC and Jones/Dooley, but the pattern of only worrying about the 1st Amdt. rights of anti-Muslim cranks to the exclusion of other causes makes it easy for observers to think TMLC shares their clients’ anti-Sharia-hysteria agenda. And if they do, I for one would prefer that the name of St. Thomas More be kept well out of it.

        • Tim in Cleveland

          Also, this line from the article above is misleading:

          “A press release announcing that Dooley has retained them accuses Dempsey of compromising “the final bastion of America’s defense against Islamic jihad and sharia, the Pentagon” to “the enemy.”

          That quote is a quote from a former CIA agent, not from Thomas More Center itself. The press release seems over the top to me, but lawyers are always over the top.

          • Richard Johnson
          • Mark Shea

            When the Center puts the quote in their press release, they make it their own. These are Catholic lawyers advocating on behalf of genocide.

            • Tim in Cleveland

              Not necessarily. The press release seems to be arguing that there is a special sensitivity toward any criticism of Islam and that is why Dooley was fired. This quote was provided to “prove” that such a sensitivity exists and that the government has a policy against criticizing Islam. While the quote itself is stating that Dempsey destroyed the “last defense” against “the enemy”, TMLC seems to be using it to illustrate an illegal policy.

              It’s like you quoting Drudge to “JUST PUSH THE DAMN BUTTON.” You obviously didn’t agree with that statement but you used it to illustrate a point.

        • Richard Johnson
          • Tim in Cleveland

            I got a “page not found” with that link.

            • Richard Johnson

              It opens properly for me, but allow me to try again: http://www.thomasmore.com

              • Tim in Cleveland

                That takes me to avemariapress.com.

                Look, I’m not trying to play “gotcha” with anybody, I’m just trying give the lawyers the benefit of the doubt that they don’t advocate dropping bombs on countries just because they are Muslim. In my view, they haven’t said that (thought they obviously don’t like Islam).

                • Tim in Cleveland

                  I should have said in brackets that “though they don’t seem to like Islam.” They obviously don’t like radical Islam, and their criticism of the Beck Fund indicates they may have a problem with the entire religion.

  • MattyD

    I’d like to just state for the record that, IMHO, this post kicks ass.