Apparently I am not alone in hearing these questions. Blue Bayou (John Edwards and the Bloggers) notes: "I spoke to several Catholic friends this week who described them as a 'bunch of scary lunatics,' actually. The Catholic League is a political group that represents a pretty extreme fringe; that's fine, but let's not mistake them for something else." That's kind of reassuring, and removes a black mark from the church St. Peter is supposed to have founded.
Ah, but fortunately we have Custos Fidei (The Ignorance of John Whiteside) to set us straight. "The Catholic League is the largest Catholic civil rights organization in the United States. Because several of his alleged 'Catholic friends' state that the Catholic League is a bunch of 'bunchy of scary lunatics,' is not investigative reporting nor accurate reporting for that matter." So much for that, I guess, and the Church is once again mired to her hips in this moral filth.
Still, a look at the names of those who direct this organization has a lot of familiar names; it kind of makes it look like a shill for the Republican party. (The anti-Democratic remarks on the site don't help that appearance either.) Is the Catholic League an "Astro-Turf" Group? Bulworth asks, noting that "Members of the Catholic League's board of advisers include conservative author and media analyst L. Brent Bozell III; conservative radio host and syndicated columnist Linda Chavez; right-wing pundit and author Dinesh D'Souza; former Republican presidential and senatorial candidate Alan Keyes; and National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne. | Yeah, some Catholic group. It reads like the board of the Heritage Foundation."
So--I don't know. However many people they may represent, whoever is behind them, the key point here is their bizarre double standard on bigotry. Apparently it is all right for them to say any evil or disgusting thing they like about people they oppose for whatever reason, but any criticism whatsoever of the social agenda being pushed by the Roman Catholic Church in America is is (mis)labeled anti-Catholic bigotry. It is just fine for the church to come into my state, call us murderers and accuse us of trying to defraud doctors (as they did in opposing our Death With Dignity ballot proposition--which I voted against, by the way) and say all sorts of evil and disgusting things about us. It is perfectly okay for their leader to accuse our country of hating the handicapped (as Pope John Paul II did in my hearing) and in his vast ignorance accuse us of other imaginary crimes. But it''s "anti-Catholic bigotry" if we have the audacity to call them on their lies and hatred.
As Blue Bayou quite rationally pointed out, "Criticizing the Catholic Church or its belief is not 'anti-Catholic bigotry.' ... if a church is going to act like a political action committee, those activities are a valid target of criticism."
Oh no they're not, cries Custos Fidei; the Church, he says does not "[act] as a political action committee." Instead, he claims, "the Catholic Church teaches timeless truths in Catechesis and during Mass, among many places..." Thus Custos Fidei thinks there is a "line between the teachings of the Church and political activism."
I know for a fact that Custos Fidei is full of crap on this point. Nobody has any quarrel with the Church teaching timeless truths in its own private ceremonies for those who wish to be there, though if those "timeless truths" still include heretic-burning and gay-bashing they qualify as bigotry. But again, when the church came to Oregon to try to force a change in our laws, these guys woke me up with foul and offensive phone calls, they sent filthy fliers to my house, and they stomped around the state with political rallies making false claims and absurd judgments. In other parts of the country they have tried to influence the way politicians vote by making threats, they have tried to get their theology passed as law for the rest of us, and have engaged in all sorts of anti-democratic and anti-American behavior. It is thus Custos Fidei who comes off in this as ignorant, misinformed--or a liar.
Fidelis (Hate Speech Tolerated; Fidelis Decries Double Standard) claims to be "shocked and appalled that John Edwards would stand by a campaign staff member who has viciously attacked Catholics and all Christians publicly on her personal blog. If any staffer had written similarly about gays, blacks, or Jews, there is no question Edwards would fire them immediately. Sadly, it appears that former Senator Edwards applies a different standard to attacks on Catholics." This is crazy talk. There is no parallel. Words fail me, but fortunately not Raging Red (Undecided Voter). She notes that there is a big difference "between challenging people for what they believe and attacking people for who they are. The latter is the definition of bigotry, the former is not." Exactly. Her next paragraph is worth reading in its entirety:
Criticizing Catholics and other conservative Christians for their desire to enshrine their anti-abortion, anti-contraception, and anti-sex beliefs into law is not anti-Catholic or anti-Christian or anti-religion. It's not intolerant of religion per se, it's intolerant of a particular political philosophy, and there's nothing offensive about that. Maligning people because they are Jewish or Muslim or gay is bigoted, it's intolerant of people simply for who they are, and it's offensive. That's a big difference, and unfortunately, it seems to be the opinion of many that it is not okay to criticize people's religious beliefs, even when those beliefs take the form of political activism.After that, what more can I say?
[Other sites that noted this story include No More Mr. Nice Blog (The Head of the Catholic League Wants An Extra Fifteen Minutes), Matthew Yglesias (Catholic League), America Blog (AP Quotes Anti-Semitic Homophobe), and News Hounds (Special Report Gives Platform to Catholic League President)].