Bill Donohue: Hypocrite

Bill Donohue: Hypocrite September 24, 2008

According to FoxNews, Bill Donohue has called for Catholics to disrupt Ramadam services around Iranian President Ahmadinejad:

Catholic League President Bill Donohue called on supporters to attend a rally to disrupt Thursday’s “obscene” Ramadan event.

Whatever else you might think of the Iranian president, Donohue’s action must meet with condemnation by Catholics who follow the Church’s teachings: religious liberty is to be respected, and one should not purposefully disrupt a peaceful religious ceremony just because you do not like someone who is at it. Religious liberty is to be granted even to those who might not otherwise grant it to us:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. (D.H. 2).

It is profoundly sad that someone whose organization has the claim of being there to serve for the defense of religious liberty will do exactly that kind of attack which he would deplore if it were done in reverse and aimed at a Catholic event. It is quite clear: his mission is not to defend Catholicism. Rather, The Catholic League has become a tool which uses Catholicism for a political agenda, one which is often in conflict with Catholic Social Doctrine.


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  • Funny, if abortion were as important in the political sphere as Donohue and his ilk claim it to be, then surely he should be showering praise on the Iranian regime?

    Anyway, I would not even say that Donohue tries to use Catholicism for a political agenda– he’s just another part of the evangelical right who uses the term “Catholic”.

  • S.B.

    If a Catholic splinter group had a dinner to honor a Nazi, and a Jewish group had a protest rally outside the hotel, I doubt that either 1) Donohue would be upset at the rally; or that 2) you’d be writing a post bemoaning the supposed interference with religious liberty.

  • If a Catholic splinter group went to worship Hitler as God, I wouldn’t stop their worship services. That’s what religious liberty is about. Nor would I tell anyone to interrupt it. Rather, I would tell people to respond to it in a proper fashion: explain what is wrong with the group, but don’t interrupt them as they do what they are free to do, worship as they see fit, in a way which has no direct harm to anyone (i.e., no human sacrifice going on).

  • S.B.

    Your facts are wrong. No one is stopping any worship services, nor is there supposed to be any “interrupt[ion].” There’s going to be a dinner inside a hotel; and Donohue has announced that there will be a rally outside the hotel. Inside/outside — two different places.

  • “Disrupt” is what FoxNews says…

  • There’s lots of talk about things conflicting with CST and little talk about what CST actually is.

  • I’ve already given a quote in relation to religious liberty, Zach.

  • And religious liberty has nothing to do with this Fox News story.

  • Zach — religious liberty has nothing to do with this story about Donohue wanting to interrupt a Ramadam celebration?

  • He’s protesting the event by staging a rally. This is what is meant by disruption. he’s not going to go into the event and literally interrupt people. His point is to draw attention to the celebration of a man with dangerous ideas.

    Is it a Ramadan celebration? The article mentions Ramadan but doesn’t say how it relates to the event. The article says the event is “organized by several religious groups to honor Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”. What does honoring the president of Iran have to do with Ramadan? I honestly don’t know.

    And if you read the religious liberty quote you provided, you will note it says religious liberty means “that all men are to be immune from coercion”, meaning no one is supposed to force (physically) religious beliefs on anyone else.

    It further clarifies the right saying that no one is “to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs”. This is absolutely not what Donahue and the other Jewish groups are doing in this protest.

  • Zach

    Re-read the original post.

  • Henry,

    This idea:”one should not purposefully disrupt a peaceful religious ceremony just because you do not like someone who is at it” Is not part of CST and is not found in the quote you’ve provided on religious liberty.

    It’s also not even clear that this is a religious ceremony.

    You are really reaching here.

  • S.B.

    “Disrupt” is what Fox News says. If you look at Donohue’s website, all he has done is call for a rally outside the hotel. Until and unless something more drastic happens, there won’t be any disrupting or interrupting or interfering with anything done inside the hotel. Thus, Donohue’s rally is itself the exercise of religious liberty; conversely, there is no good faith argument that Donohue is interfering with religious liberty, as Ahmadinejad will be perfectly free to do whatever he has planned inside the hotel.

  • Paul

    Karlson: “‘Disrupt’ is what FoxNews says…”

    In order to truthfully convict Donahue of being a hypocrite, you have to use Donahue’s own words against him. You’ve provided nothing except the word of an anonymous UPI reporter that the aim is to disrupt.

    Karlson: “It is quite clear: his mission is not to defend Catholicism.

    If you look at Donahue’s own words, his aim is to defend Judaism.

    If you look at the quote you provided from Vatican II, there is the proviso “within due limits” (some kind of proviso like that is to be very commonly found whenever the Church talks about religious freedom). Is it appropriate to protest and rally against a meeting that has a mixed religious/political purpose? Is it appropriate to protest against a meeting centred around the presence of a person whose idea of religious freedom is very noticeably contra-Judaism? Does such a protest amount to a kind of coercion?

  • Jimmy Mac

    Anyone who takes Bill-O Don’tYou serious about almost anything deserves the dyspepsia they will get.

  • S.B.

    The phrase “no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs” has absolutely nothing to say about whether it is proper to exercise one’s own liberty to hold a protest rally outside of a hotel in which a bloodthirsty bigot is having a dinner. Ahmadinejad isn’t going to be “forced” to do anything whatsoever.

  • TeutonicTim

    Heck, maybe Catholics should stone people who aren’t Catholic, execute people who have Korans, and violently spread Catholicism through global war and terroristic methods…

    Oh wait, that wouldn’t be allowing religious freedom and sounds like Islam to me. Now who are the hypocrites?

  • Henry,

    Do you now see why this is a silly argument to make?

    I suppose that is the case given your silence..

  • Zach

    Argument from silence on your part? No. What I see is I’ve made my point.

    What is going on here is quite easy for anyone to see. If the same thing happened to a Catholic meeting that Bill supported, the first thing he would do is bring in the anti-Catholic card. He does it all the time. But he is himself quite nasty when dealing with people of other religions, especially Islam. He does not follow Catholic doctrine which encourages respect for other religions; indeed, the Church teaches us to work with Muslims, to better understand them, and to overcome the silly polemics of the past.

    This is only one example of many. He does exactly what he criticizes, and sometimes much worse.

  • Yeah, I guess I don’t think you addressed any of the criticisms of your argument. Actually it seems you just ignored everything that was said and restated your original point.

  • Zach,

    The “you don’t respond, therefore I win” you use is illogical and invalid. I’ve already told you that (it’s an argument from silence). You try to “trap” people, but sometimes people see beyond it, and see beyond the necessity to respond to your claptrap. If they dont’ respond, it doesn’t mean you “proved” anything. It just means they didn’t respond. Perhaps they think there is no necessity to respond, because the so-called criticism not only did not convince, but was so non-sequitur, it’s not worth the time to respond.

    Here is the point: if this were a Catholic event, and the situation was reverse, with Muslims criticizing the events going on inside a church, he would be yelling “anti-Catholic hate is going on.” But he is very free with his anti-Muslim hate — yes, hate. Look to his desire for a ridiculous, polemical novel against Islam to be published, where he criticized the publisher for not doing so. It was a “Dan Brown” style of book against Islam. But since it was against Islam, he was ALL FOR IT. He is not for religious liberty, and indeed, his hostility to Muslims is a disgrace. As is he.

    Now I will not respond to you any further; your points are not convincing, and I don’t see the need to refute them. You are not interested in the truth, but political polemics. Good day.

  • Henry,

    I just asked you to address the comments that were made in response to your argument, by myself and others. Unlike you, I don’t see them as “so non-sequitur” or just “claptrap”, but rather essential to the claim you are making. I’m not trying to “trap” anyone, I’m trying to see whether what you wrote is actually true and valid given the data.

    I actually am very interested in the truth – you seem to be the one interested in making a political argument without being obligated to respond to honest questions your argument may raise.

    And I wasn’t trying to win, I was trying to provoke you into responding to my comments, which I thought seriously called into question the point you were trying to make. Maybe I’m wrong – if I am, I was hoping you could show me how. It seems that you don’t care to, because “I’m not worth your time”. I suppose that may be the case, but others might be.

  • Paul

    Karlson: “…if this were a Catholic event, and the situation was reverse, with Muslims criticizing the events going on inside a church”

    That would not be the reverse. A reverse would have to be a meeting in a secular hotel, combining various religious and political figures, discussing the state of the world. It would not be a religious ceremony, but occurring at a point in time that had a religious association. And the central figure in the meeting would have to be someone who had made very many veiled but extreme threats against a whole population that was not invited to the meeting, though it was held in city that had many members of that population.

    Karlson: “Look to his desire for a ridiculous, polemical novel against Islam to be published, where he criticized the publisher for not doing so. It was a “Dan Brown” style of book against Islam. But since it was against Islam, he was ALL FOR IT.”

    I looked up what Donahue said about this. You’ve misrepresented what he said.

  • Phil Donahue had something to say?

    Donohue, on the other hand, has a history of anti-Muslim polemics.

  • Paul

    A superlatively excellent point, Henri, which defines with great exactitude the outer limits of what you are willing to reply to.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    If I were Donohue’s bishop, I would forbid him from speaking publicly in any was as a ‘represtantive’ of the Catholic faith.

    But, unlike a few others who visit here (and particularly with regards to Communion reception), I submit to the prudential judgement of his local bishop.

  • Policraticus

    Just cast S.B.’s points by the wayside–I see no semblance of engagement with reality in them.

    There’s lots of talk about things conflicting with CST and little talk about what CST actually is.

    Perhaps here and here? There’s never been a lack of the what and the how in posts of this blog.

  • Come on, Poli. Henry is really reaching here – did you even read the arguments we made? I think S.B.’s points are right on and no one answered them. But I suppose certain commentators are beneath you now, too?

    And most of the time, the posts on this blog doesn’t express positively CST, it’s always “this and that are in conflict with CST”. For that matter most of the posts don’t really have much to do with CST at all, like your latest Palin post.

  • S.B.

    Yeah, Poli, your response was dumb. Henry claims (based on just about nothing) that Donohue is somehow going to directly interfere with a religious gathering, in such a way that would violate the “right to religious freedom.” As I pointed out — with no refutation or even an attempt at one — a rally outside a hotel is not interfering with anything whatsoever. Ahmadinejad remains free to have his dinner and carry on his activities 100% according to his desires; it’s just that someone might be outside the hotel carrying a sign. That just isn’t an interference with religious freedom in any way whatsoever, not even arguably close.

  • S.B.

    Henry does make one valid point: that Donohue is probably a hypocrite in some respects. That does not mean, however, that he is doing even the slightest thing to interfere with anyone else’s religious freedom in this instance. He’s simply not.

  • And most of the time, the posts on this blog doesn’t express positively CST, it’s always “this and that are in conflict with CST”. For that matter most of the posts don’t really have much to do with CST at all, like your latest Palin post.

    I’m not sure why our task at VN should be to constantly teach the basic principles of CST. Most of the VN contributors (not all, I’m afraid) presume the basic principles of CST. Many of our posts reference these principles explicitly, others don’t but presume them.

    We certainly provide countless resources for learning about CST for those unfamiliar with it. I think many of our commenters simply reject many of the principles, though.