Are Bill Donohue and the Catholic League anti-Catholic?

Are Bill Donohue and the Catholic League anti-Catholic? September 21, 2015

By Andrew L. Seidel
Staff Attorney
Freedom From Religion Foundation

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, with whom I have disagreed several times in the past, has missed the mark again. His recent piece, “Church-State fanatics must learn from Cuba” attacked our friends at Americans United and FFRF as “anti-Catholic.” He called the Freedom From Religion Foundation a “wild-eyed anti-Catholic group … even more extreme than Americans United.” (Coming from him, a compliment.)

Andrew Seidel (left) of FFRF squares off with Bill Donohue (right) of the Catholic League. We thought atheists were supposed to be the angry ones.....
Andrew Seidel (left) of FFRF squares off with Bill Donohue (right) of the Catholic League. We thought atheists were supposed to be the angry ones…..

Donohue wonders, “if they can build churches in Cuba” and “[i]f the Castro brothers are not scared to death of public money servicing the Church, then these militant secularists ought to take a deep breath and move on.” Donohue wants public money to go to his church for things like school vouchers, because we all know the Vatican is hard up for cash. (It’s not, and it’s in the top three landowners globally.)

Donohue seems to be confusing fear of religion with a desire to keep state and church separate. FFRF and AU are fighting to uphold the Constitution, a document that prohibits any “sponsorship, financial support, and active involvement of the sovereign in religious activity.”

Opposing the Catholic Church’s attempts to use taxpayer money to further its myths and superstitions is not “anti-Catholic,” it is pro-Constitution, pro-First Amendment, and pro-religious freedom. Freedom of religion cannot exist without freedom from religion. And while Donohue might wish FFRF and AU would stop enforcing the Constitution, that’s not going to happen.

Calling for individuals to quit the Church because of its terrible record in Africa, in dealing with child-rapists, and its medieval ideas is not “anti-Catholic” either. It’s criticism. Donohue’s skin is awfully thin.

Donohue labels FFRF and AU “separation of church and state fanatics,” but so then were the founders. And if Donohue’s Catholic chauvinism insists on seeking public funds to propagate its nonsense, then he might want to reread Ben Franklin, who thought that when a religion “cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its Professors are obliged to call for the help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad” religion. And if Franklin is correct that only bad religions need the support of secular government, then by seeking that support Donohue is, you guessed it, anti-Catholic.

 

 

FFRF is a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping state and church separate and educating about nontheism. For more information and a copy of our paper, Freethought Today, please click here.

 


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bob Jase

    Of course they’re Catholic, its the Pope who isn’t.

  • Derrik Pates

    Is the “Catholic League” really anyone else other than Bill Donohue and his fax machine?

  • Bill Donohue is one of my favorite people who doesn’t understand the first amendment.

    • edwords

      nor much of anything else.

  • Michael Neville

    Bill Donohue is a professional victim. If he can’t find some actual “Catholic bashing” then he’ll invent some. He’d really like to be a conservative pundit but that field is saturated, so he makes do with whining about people not being respectful enough to his church.

  • Otto

    Saying the Catholic Church is victimized is like saying the Hell’s Angels are victimized. Tell Bill to have a Coke and a smile and Shut the **** up.

  • Aegis

    “… it is pro-Constitution, pro-First Amendment, and pro-religious freedom.”

    Right, like he said. Anti-Catholic.

    • FreethoughtForever

      Zing!

  • Plutosdad

    Bill Donahue really wants to return to the state of affairs we had in the 13 colonies, when even Maryland wasn’t completely safe for Catholics? I keep telling my Catholic parents and family that separation of church and state protects them more than it protects atheists and musliims. They want prayer in school, but they would sure not allow forcing their kids to “Pray to Mary” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_the_Thirteen_Colonies

    • Otto

      I had a discussion with my Catholic mother about Kim Davis. My mother defended Davis’ religious basis for not doing her job. I pointed out to her that many Christians in this country think Catholics are following an Anti-Christ in the form of the Pope. I then pointed out if someone like that was in a gov’t position they could deny Catholics services based on that belief and asked if she would be OK with that….I think she got my point.

  • Geena Safire

    Donahue’s most recent effort relates to the preparation for the canonization of Junipero Serra today/tomorrow/Wednesday by Pope Francis. He wrote an 18 page pamphlet entitled “The Noble Legacy of Father Serra.”

    Most of it is what you would expect. Pages 11-12 addresses “Some Contend that the Indians Were Treated the Way Hitler Treated Jews?”

    This section ends with quintessentially Donahue-esque observation:

    “Those who make these malicious charges know very well that Jews never acted kindly toward the Nazis. They also know, or should know, that acts of love by the Indians toward the missionaries are legion. No one loves those who are subjecting them to genocide.”