Catholic League

Religious Right Abandons Brooklyn Museum Protests – Anti-Da Vinci Code Group and Pro-Censorship Artist Carry on the Fight

Last year, when the Smithsonian hosted “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” a groundbreaking exhibit exploring gay and lesbian themes in American art, the Religious Right unified in protest. Inspired by a CNSNews story titled “Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts,” and egged on by the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, the campaign against the exhibit quickly gained the support of soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Within a day they succeeded in pressuring the Smithsonian to remove the most controversial work from the exhibit, David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly.

Last week, the exhibit opened at the Brooklyn Museum, famously the site of the Giuliani-fueled controversy over the 1999 “Sensation” show. Within days, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn sent a letter to the museum protesting the exhibit, and a small coalition of GOP elected officials followed up with a letter accusing the museum of “Christian-bashing.” New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser also weighed in, calling the Wojnarwicz work “a revolting piece of slime.”

However, the museum hasn’t budged in its support for the show, and the Right’s efforts to censor the work have mostly fizzled. Donohue himself has decided it’s not worth expending too much effort –instead simply issuing a statement reiterating his disgust with the exhibit and accusing Wojnarowicz of bringing about his own death from AIDS.

Left to fill the vacuum so far have been a far-right Catholic group inspired by a Brazilian fascist movement and an artist who was previously known for painting a heroic George W. Bush on horseback holding Osama bin Laden’s severed head.

On Sunday,America Needs Fatima, a campaign of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP), held a protest in front of the museum. TFP is a spin-off of a Brazilian movement that has been called “neo-fascist.” TFP’s foundational text is a treatise by founder Plinio Correa de Oliveira, which argues that the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and Communism have in their turn undone a natural order that must be restored. While the main American branch of TFP mostly focuses on anti-gay propaganda [pdf], America Needs Fatima is dedicated to organizing “anti-blasphemy” campaigns against targets like The Da Vinci Code, editorial cartoons and Madonna’s planned performance at the 2012 Super Bowl.

The other notable protest against the Brooklyn Museum has been that of Staten Island artist Scott LoBaido, who was thrown out of the museum after showing up with a painting of the museum’s director sitting on a toilet filled with green muck. LoBaido has been protesting art that he sees as blasphemous since at least 1999, when he was arrested for throwing horse manure at the Brooklyn Museum to protest the “Sensation” exhibit. His own work is not always negative, though. Along with his year-long project painting flags on rooftops across America, LoBaido has created fawning, heroic portraits of Ronald Reagan and of George W. Bush brandishing the head of Osama bin Laden.

 

Republicans Advocate Censorship Of New York Exhibit

On Friday, the Brooklyn Museum will begin hosting “Hide/Seek,” an exhibit about the experience of gays and lesbians in American art that provoked a firestorm of criticism from the Religious Right when it opened at the National Portrait Gallery last year. The New York museum has decided to include in its show A Fire in My Belly, the compilation of video work by the late artist David Wojnarowicz that was ultimately removed from the National Portrait Gallery show. Now, in what feels like a replay of last year’s drama at the Smithsonian, Republican politicians in New York are attacking the Brooklyn Museum for hosting “Hide/Seek” and Wojnarowicz’s work and demanding that it censor the exhibit.

The film A Fire In My Belly, a compilation of surrealist film footage exploring the suffering of people with HIV/AIDS, which was pulled from the National Portrait Gallery following complaints from Republican and Religious Right figures. While the Brooklyn Museum is defending itself from censorship proponents, Republican politicians are beginning to make threats against the museum. Republican state senator Andrew Lanza introduced legislation to have the government withdraw “all public funding of the museum”:

“It is outrageous for an institution that accepts funding from city, state and federal governments to display content that is so blatantly disrespectful and offensive to Christians during the holiday season,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for hatred and ignorance.”

Senator Lanza believes that the actions of the Museum are analogous to a hate crime. He is calling for all public funding of the museum to be withdrawn.

Rep. Michael Grimm, Councilman James Oddo, Councilman Vincent Ignizio, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblyman Lou Tobacco and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro signed onto a letter condemning the exhibit:

In 1999, the Museum presented the shock art exhibit “Sensation,” which featured a painting of the Blessed Mother Mary surrounded by pornographic images and covered in elephant dung. This week, the Museum is opening another controversial exhibit, “Hide/Seek,” which will include a film featuring ants crawling over the image of Jesus on a crucifix – just in time for the Christmas season. This is not art, this is Christian-bashing. This is an outrageous use of taxpayer money by the nation’s second-largest art museum, and an obvious attempt to offend Christians on the eve of one of the holiest times of the Christian faith. … As I’m sure you’re aware, this sacrilegious film was pulled from an exhibit at the Smithsonian last year after House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor objected to the use of taxpayer dollars to show a film patently offensive to Christians. I respectfully request that you do the same.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who led the charge to censor the Smithsonian exhibit, condemned the New York exhibit in a statement. “The fact is that the artist who made the vile video died of self-inflicted wounds: he died of AIDS,” Donohue writes. “The homosexual, David Wojnarowicz, hated the Catholic Church (had he lived by its teachings, he would not have self-destructed.”

For Arnold Lehman, there is no such thing as anti-Catholic art. Catholics who disagree are apparently too stupid to appreciate the complexities of these masterpieces. For example, in 1999 Lehman said it was not anti-Catholic for an artist to smear elephant dung and pornographic pictures on a portrait of Our Blessed Mother (he loved the “Sensation” exhibition). Now he says that a video featuring large ants crawling all over Jesus on the Cross is actually a statement about “human suffering and death.” Guess us stupid Catholics missed that one, too.



The fact is that the artist who made the vile video died of self-inflicted wounds: he died of AIDS. The homosexual, David Wojnarowicz, hated the Catholic Church (had he lived by its teachings, he would not have self-destructed). He once referred to Cardinal John O’Connor as a “fat cannibal,” and labeled the Catholic Church a “house of walking swastikas.” Sounds like the words of a bigot. But perhaps I’m too stupid not to understand that they were really meant to endear the artist to the Catholic community.

Bill Donohue Condemns Jeffress As A "Poster Boy For Hatred"

Last week we posted audio of Robert Jeffress, the prominent Rick Perry endorser who introduced the candidate at the Values Voter Summit, condemning the Roman Catholic faith as a “counterfeit religion” that represents “the genius of Satan” in a sermon last year. Jeffress linked the Catholic Church to a Satanic “Babylonian mystery religion” that worshiped a fish god and warned that Catholics will “miss eternal life” because of their religion’s supposed paganism:

Catholicism isn’t the only religion that has encountered hostility from Jeffress: he is best known for calling Mormonism a cult that is “from the pit of Hell.” He has argued that Hindus, Muslims and Jews are also destined for Hell.

Today, right-wing Catholic activist Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights released a statement slamming Jeffress for having “demonized” the Catholic faith. In 2008, Donohue called on John McCain to renounce one of his endorsers, John Hagee, who has a history of anti-Catholic rhetoric and once said that God sent Hitler to be a “hunter” of Jews. While McCain ultimately rejected Hagee’s endorsement, Perry has so far refused to disavow Jeffress:

Last Friday, Rev. Robert Jeffress, the Dallas pastor who introduced Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, spoke derisively about the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney, making the case that “Mormonism is a cult.” Two days later, he chided Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as “false religions.”

Last year, Rev. Jeffress said the Roman Catholic Church was the outgrowth of a “corruption” called the “Babylonian mystery.” He continued, “Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word. It comes from that cult-like pagan religion. Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered these remarks today:

Where did they find this guy? When theological differences are demonized by the faithful of any religion—never mind by a clergyman—it makes a mockery of their own religion. Rev. Jeffress is a poster boy for hatred, not Christianity.

Donohue Likens LGBT Rights Movement To Apartheid, Denies Ever Leading Pressure Campaigns

The Catholic League has rallied to the defense of their anti-gay allies the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family as a reaction to a campaign by LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates to have corporations drop out of the Charity Give Back Group, which sponsors the FRC and Focus. The Charity Give Back Group (formerly known as the Christian Values Network) allows customers to shop in a virtual mall and direct proceeds to CGBG affiliated groups, which led to complaints as a number of the CGBG’s charities are actually anti-choice and anti-gay political groups.

Yesterday, Bill Donohue joined Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, on his radio program Washington Watch. “Radical proponents of gay marriage have taken the culture war to the marketplace,” Donohue said in a statement on the CGBG controversy, charging them with declaring “economic war against any organization that embraces the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage.” He told activists: “If these extremists get their way, they will silence the Christian voice. Which is why the bullies must be defeated.”

Of course, it is ironic for the Catholic League to accuse “extremists” of trying to “silence” the voices of their opponents, seeing as that Donohue led the successful push for the Smithsonian to censor their exhibit on LGBT-themed art.

But the irony doesn’t end there.

During his interview with Perkins, Donohue denied that Religious Right organizations like the Catholic League or the Family Research Council lead similar pressure campaigns, saying “our side doesn’t do likewise,” continuing, “I don’t want people to say, ‘oh well you know Catholics and Protestants and Christians in general when we don’t get our way we try to do the same thing through retaliation,’ we do not.” He asserted, “we’re not asking companies, corporations to take sides in the culture war…we’re not asking for reprisal against those people with whom we disagree, we just leave the marketplace to itself.”

Donohue also warned Perkins that just as South Africa’s white minority held power for decades under the racist Apartheid system, supporters of gay rights can do the same in America:

If people don’t realize what we’re up against here, they may be a minority but you know it was a minority of people in South Africa who took away the rights of Black people. You can be a well-organized minority in this country here such as those on the left, gay and straight alike, and have a tremendous amount of influence if you have this lust and appetite for power.

While we already know that the Family Research Council backed pressure campaigns against companies like Wal-Mart and McDonalds, the Catholic League under Donohue has led countless boycotts and pressure campaigns.

Here are some of the companies and programs that Donohue launched what he would call “retaliation” and “reprisal” campaigns against: Disney; 20th Century Fox; Wal-Mart; ‘The Golden Compass;’ Miller; Showtime, and CBS, which it promised to face the “biggest boycott in history” if CBS hired Howard Stern.

So remember, when LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates ask companies to drop out of a service that directs money to right-wing political organizations, it’s “economic war,” but when Religious Right groups lead boycotts and pressure campaigns against companies, they are simply standing up for their values.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: PFAW Applauds Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law.
  • Good As You: Of course NOM's misrepping Louis' role. It's the one constant of the Brown/Marinelli marriage.
  • Alan Colmes: Sarah Palin Encourages Donald Trump’s Birther Fantasies.
  • Towleroad: Catholic League Takes Out Full-Page Ad in NYT Blaming Priest Abuse on Homosexuality.
  • Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: As Bachmann Preps For Speech To Family Leader, Her Political Director Calls Group’s Claim About Gays ‘Absurd.’
  • Equality Matters: Linda Harvey: Day Of Silence Creates "Hitler Youth Product."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • PFAW asks Gingrich, Huckabee & Barbour to tell Bryan Fischer what the First Amendment really says.
  • Bill Donohue of the Catholic League reacts to the new play “The Book of Mormon.”
  • Peter LaBarbera uses Apple controversy to rant against “homo-fascism.”

Donohue: Catholic Reporters Are Anti-Catholic

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League consistently goes out of his way to defend priests accused and convicted of sex abuse or covering it up, claiming that journalists have an anti-Catholic bias. According to Donohue, the crimes aren’t the alleged child abuse or the cover-ups, but the publications of journalists who are investigating the issue.

Today, Donohue released a classically-rambunctious statement criticizing the National Catholic Reporter, an independent Catholic newspaper, and Catholic journalists Maureen Dowd and Chris Matthews. Just last year the National Catholic Reporter won an award for “general excellence” from the Catholic Press Association. But in Donohue’s world, Catholics are anti-Catholic if they don’t want to cover up charges of abuse, and even exacerbate the sex abuse crisis:

Without getting into the gutter with those whose prurient interests make ordinary voyeurs appear normal, it will not be repeated here exactly what was said.

Among the most offensive chroniclers is psychologist Mary Gail Frawley O'Dea: her anger, which is so over the top as to require professional treatment, wrote a piece in the National Catholic Reporter that is impossible to top. Last month, the Philadelphia Daily News went tabloid with its "made for Hustler" contribution. Maureen Dowd's affection for lurid accounts was on display yesterday in the New York Times, and it so impressed the increasingly unhinged Christopher Matthews that he read a selection from it last night on the air.

We know what's going on: get Catholics so riled up that they will demand the Church adopt the liberal agenda on sexuality. They just don't get it: it was the detour from orthodoxy that allowed the abuse scandal to take hold in the first place.

Donohue: Everyone in the History of the World has Hated Gay People

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a group of openly gay soccer fans requested that the European Championships soccer matches set up separate seating for gay and lesbian attendees out of fear of anti-gay violence in Poland. Catholic League president Bill Donohue unsurprisingly took offense to the way the reporter cited “the teachings” of the Catholic Church as a reason for anti-gay views that are commonplace in Poland, and derided the “gay-crazy and anti-Catholic” media for pointing out the church’s attitude towards gays. “If being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady,” Donohue claims, “How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic?”

Donohue, no stranger to consistently promoting anti-gay bigotry himself, said in a statement:

Some homosexual Polish soccer fans are demanding that a separate seating section be created at the 2012 European Soccer Championship in Poland; they claim that gays and lesbians might otherwise be subjected to harassment and violence. Their plea would be of no interest to the Catholic League save for a comment made by the AP reporter who wrote the story from Warsaw.

The following is a direct quote from the news story: "Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism which treated homosexuality as a taboo and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country."

Let's follow the logic. Every world religion is either opposed to homosexuality or takes no position on it; not one finds it acceptable. So if being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady. Not only that, we are to believe that the problem in this case is not delirious homosexuals taking up the cause of segregation, it's the Catholic Church's teachings on sexual ethics.

How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic? That such ideological nonsense can appear in a sports article in a prominent media outlet shows just how far standards have fallen in journalism. It also shows how gay-crazy and anti-Catholic many in the media have become.

Donohue: Everyone in the History of the World has Hated Gay People

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a group of openly gay soccer fans requested that the European Championships soccer matches set up separate seating for gay and lesbian attendees out of fear of anti-gay violence in Poland. Catholic League president Bill Donohue unsurprisingly took offense to the way the reporter cited “the teachings” of the Catholic Church as a reason for anti-gay views that are commonplace in Poland, and derided the “gay-crazy and anti-Catholic” media for pointing out the church’s attitude towards gays. “If being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady,” Donohue claims, “How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic?”

Donohue, no stranger to consistently promoting anti-gay bigotry himself, said in a statement:

Some homosexual Polish soccer fans are demanding that a separate seating section be created at the 2012 European Soccer Championship in Poland; they claim that gays and lesbians might otherwise be subjected to harassment and violence. Their plea would be of no interest to the Catholic League save for a comment made by the AP reporter who wrote the story from Warsaw.

The following is a direct quote from the news story: "Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism which treated homosexuality as a taboo and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country."

Let's follow the logic. Every world religion is either opposed to homosexuality or takes no position on it; not one finds it acceptable. So if being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady. Not only that, we are to believe that the problem in this case is not delirious homosexuals taking up the cause of segregation, it's the Catholic Church's teachings on sexual ethics.

How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic? That such ideological nonsense can appear in a sports article in a prominent media outlet shows just how far standards have fallen in journalism. It also shows how gay-crazy and anti-Catholic many in the media have become.

Donohue: God Doesn't Look Out For Progressive Religions

Bill Donohue purports to defend religious Americans from anti-Christian and particularly anti-Catholic prejudice, but appears to find no problem with smearing others from Jews and gays and lesbians to victims of child molestation with his own bigoted and inflammatory remarks. The head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights also relishes another target: people of faith who disagree with his ultraconservative ideology, who he says are “no more Christian than the man in the moon.” Like other Religious Right groups and leaders, Donohue has a long history of criticizing and vilifying progressive Christians, especially progressive Catholics, even though his organization claims to defend the rights of Catholics “to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.”

Today, the self-proclaimed adversary of “anti-Christian hate speech” released a statement saying that God doesn’t care about mainline Protestant churches.

Donohue called a recent study showing a decline in attendance rates at mainline Protestant denominations as proof that God is only “looking out for those religions that don’t treat Scripture as if it were a post-modern text to be deconstructed by left-wing ideologues.” According to Donohue:

With the exception of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and to some extent the American Baptist Churches, all the other churches with declining membership hold liberal views on abortion and gay rights. Moreover, the smallest decline among the Baptist churches was registered by the most conservative among them, the Southern Baptist Convention (down .42). By sharp contrast, all the religions that experienced a growth in membership are pro-life and pro-marriage (normatively understood).

In other words, those religions whose teachings on abortion and marriage approximate the views of the New York Times and NPR are in free fall. Looks like God is truly looking out for those religions that don't treat Scripture as if it were a post-modern text to be deconstructed by left-wing ideologues.

Following Donohue’s logic, since the Roman Catholic Church grew by just 0.57% and the Mormon LDS Church attendance rate increased by 1.42%, does that mean that God is looking out for Mormons more than Catholics?

Donohue: God Doesn't Look Out For Progressive Religions

Bill Donohue purports to defend religious Americans from anti-Christian and particularly anti-Catholic prejudice, but appears to find no problem with smearing others from Jews and gays and lesbians to victims of child molestation with his own bigoted and inflammatory remarks. The head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights also relishes another target: people of faith who disagree with his ultraconservative ideology, who he says are “no more Christian than the man in the moon.” Like other Religious Right groups and leaders, Donohue has a long history of criticizing and vilifying progressive Christians, especially progressive Catholics, even though his organization claims to defend the rights of Catholics “to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.”

Today, the self-proclaimed adversary of “anti-Christian hate speech” released a statement saying that God doesn’t care about mainline Protestant churches.

Donohue called a recent study showing a decline in attendance rates at mainline Protestant denominations as proof that God is only “looking out for those religions that don’t treat Scripture as if it were a post-modern text to be deconstructed by left-wing ideologues.” According to Donohue:

With the exception of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and to some extent the American Baptist Churches, all the other churches with declining membership hold liberal views on abortion and gay rights. Moreover, the smallest decline among the Baptist churches was registered by the most conservative among them, the Southern Baptist Convention (down .42). By sharp contrast, all the religions that experienced a growth in membership are pro-life and pro-marriage (normatively understood).

In other words, those religions whose teachings on abortion and marriage approximate the views of the New York Times and NPR are in free fall. Looks like God is truly looking out for those religions that don't treat Scripture as if it were a post-modern text to be deconstructed by left-wing ideologues.

Following Donohue’s logic, since the Roman Catholic Church grew by just 0.57% and the Mormon LDS Church attendance rate increased by 1.42%, does that mean that God is looking out for Mormons more than Catholics?

Donohue Defends Museum Censorship, Blames “Gay Activists” and “Bathhouses” for Artist’s Death

Last month, Catholic League president Bill Donohue’s ugly attack on the Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek exhibit led to the censoring of a work by late artist David Wojnarowicz after Republican leaders joined in his demand that the Smithsonian pull Wojnarowicz’s film. The Smithsonian’s decision to censor the exhibit received widespread scrutiny and criticism. In yesterday’s New York Times Michael Kimmelman wrote about the European reaction and a British museum that is now screening the censored film. “So the Smithsonian’s surrender at least had the virtue of reminding everyone on both sides of the Atlantic of his work,” writes Kimmelman, “the voices of those who died from AIDS mostly died with them, but Wojnarowicz’s, deep and distinct, returned in recordings played at the Tate.”

But Donohue, who pays himself handily to find almost anything and everything offensive, was not taking any more criticism of his censorship-advocacy.

In a statement released today, Donohue defended his campaign for censoring the Smithsonian and blamed the LGBT community for killing Wojnarowicz, who died as a result of AIDS. Never a fan of civility, Donohue attacks Kimmelman for branding “the artist a hero who fought bigotry” and said that if Wojnarowicz “followed the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality, he would be alive today.” Donohue instead says “gay activists” had “killed the artist,” saying:

The man who made the vile video died of AIDS. Had he followed the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality, he would be alive today. Instead, he blamed the Church. That's why he liked to make videos showing Jesus' head exploding, and that's why he called John Cardinal O'Connor—whose archdiocese spent more money fighting AIDS than any other private source—a "fat cannibal from that house of walking swastikas." Yet Kimmelman brands the artist a hero who fought bigotry!

It was not the Catholic Church that killed the artist, David Wojnarowicz: it was gay activists, many of whom are in the artistic community. They were the ones who demanded that the bathhouses be kept open, even as their brothers were dying left and right. To exploit this tragedy any longer is sick. Catholicism is the answer, not the problem.

Donohue Defends Museum Censorship, Blames “Gay Activists” and “Bathhouses” for Artist’s Death

Last month, Catholic League president Bill Donohue’s ugly attack on the Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek exhibit led to the censoring of a work by late artist David Wojnarowicz after Republican leaders joined in his demand that the Smithsonian pull Wojnarowicz’s film. The Smithsonian’s decision to censor the exhibit received widespread scrutiny and criticism. In yesterday’s New York Times Michael Kimmelman wrote about the European reaction and a British museum that is now screening the censored film. “So the Smithsonian’s surrender at least had the virtue of reminding everyone on both sides of the Atlantic of his work,” writes Kimmelman, “the voices of those who died from AIDS mostly died with them, but Wojnarowicz’s, deep and distinct, returned in recordings played at the Tate.”

But Donohue, who pays himself handily to find almost anything and everything offensive, was not taking any more criticism of his censorship-advocacy.

In a statement released today, Donohue defended his campaign for censoring the Smithsonian and blamed the LGBT community for killing Wojnarowicz, who died as a result of AIDS. Never a fan of civility, Donohue attacks Kimmelman for branding “the artist a hero who fought bigotry” and said that if Wojnarowicz “followed the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality, he would be alive today.” Donohue instead says “gay activists” had “killed the artist,” saying:

The man who made the vile video died of AIDS. Had he followed the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality, he would be alive today. Instead, he blamed the Church. That's why he liked to make videos showing Jesus' head exploding, and that's why he called John Cardinal O'Connor—whose archdiocese spent more money fighting AIDS than any other private source—a "fat cannibal from that house of walking swastikas." Yet Kimmelman brands the artist a hero who fought bigotry!

It was not the Catholic Church that killed the artist, David Wojnarowicz: it was gay activists, many of whom are in the artistic community. They were the ones who demanded that the bathhouses be kept open, even as their brothers were dying left and right. To exploit this tragedy any longer is sick. Catholicism is the answer, not the problem.

Bill Donohue’s Lesson from Tucson: More Censorship, More Smears

Catholic League President Bill Donohue’s time in public life has been centered on pushing anti-gay bigotry, ridiculing progressive Christians, and promoting censorship and boycott campaigns. He most recently won a notable victory when, with the help of GOP leaders and other social conservatives, he convinced the Smithsonian to censor an exhibit on the marginalization of gays and lesbians in America. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery removed a film by the late artist David Wojnarowicz exploring the suffering of people with HIV-AIDS because the video, which included a short clip of ants crawling on a crucifix, might “spoil the Christmas season.”

Rattled by the Smithsonian’s decision to censor its exhibit, other museums began screening the film. Today, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) announced that it has acquired Wojnarowicz’s banned film, A Fire In My Belly, leading to a swift and ugly response from Donohue and the Catholic League.

In a statement released today, Donohue tried to use President Obama’s speech in Tucson, which called for greater civility and dialogue in American politics, as a reason for the MoMA to keep challenging and provocative artwork such as Wojnarowicz’s film out of the public eye. (Of course, there is a very significant difference between the violent imagery and incendiary rhetoric that the President criticized and the intense, but nonviolent, debate that the artwork in question might engender.) And then, after misusing the President's call for civility, Donohue switched gears and engaged in the same gutter politics and hate mongering, even calling MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry a “corporate welfare queen,” that have long-defined his career:

In Tucson, President Barack Obama correctly noted that "our discourse has become so sharply polarized" that it has disfigured our society. He made note of the "lack of civility" which marks our culture, beckoning us to "sharpen our instincts for empathy." And just one day later, MoMA announced that he was wrong. It wants a sharply polarized society; it delights in incivility; and it abhors empathy. That is why it has decided to assault Christian sensibilities by hosting the vile video.

"We really do live in a time when anything can be hailed as a work of art. This has naturally led to a proliferation of pretentious and often pathological nonsense in the art world." Those words were penned ten years ago by noted art critic Roger Kimball. As evidenced by the reaction to this "artwork" by the artistic community, nothing has changed.

Unlike the Smithsonian, which is federally funded, MoMA is largely supported by fat cats like Glenn D. Lowry, the museum's director, thus alleviating some of our objections. Lowry makes over $2 million a year and lives for free in a $6 million condo atop the museum. Unlike the rest of us, he pays no income tax on his housing.

Looks like the artistic community got fleeced twice: once by embracing the "pathological nonsense" of this masterpiece, and once by the corporate welfare queen who runs—and lives in—the joint.

Bill Donohue’s Lesson from Tucson: More Censorship, More Smears

Catholic League President Bill Donohue’s time in public life has been centered on pushing anti-gay bigotry, ridiculing progressive Christians, and promoting censorship and boycott campaigns. He most recently won a notable victory when, with the help of GOP leaders and other social conservatives, he convinced the Smithsonian to censor an exhibit on the marginalization of gays and lesbians in America. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery removed a film by the late artist David Wojnarowicz exploring the suffering of people with HIV-AIDS because the video, which included a short clip of ants crawling on a crucifix, might “spoil the Christmas season.”

Rattled by the Smithsonian’s decision to censor its exhibit, other museums began screening the film. Today, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) announced that it has acquired Wojnarowicz’s banned film, A Fire In My Belly, leading to a swift and ugly response from Donohue and the Catholic League.

In a statement released today, Donohue tried to use President Obama’s speech in Tucson, which called for greater civility and dialogue in American politics, as a reason for the MoMA to keep challenging and provocative artwork such as Wojnarowicz’s film out of the public eye. (Of course, there is a very significant difference between the violent imagery and incendiary rhetoric that the President criticized and the intense, but nonviolent, debate that the artwork in question might engender.) And then, after misusing the President's call for civility, Donohue switched gears and engaged in the same gutter politics and hate mongering, even calling MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry a “corporate welfare queen,” that have long-defined his career:

In Tucson, President Barack Obama correctly noted that "our discourse has become so sharply polarized" that it has disfigured our society. He made note of the "lack of civility" which marks our culture, beckoning us to "sharpen our instincts for empathy." And just one day later, MoMA announced that he was wrong. It wants a sharply polarized society; it delights in incivility; and it abhors empathy. That is why it has decided to assault Christian sensibilities by hosting the vile video.

"We really do live in a time when anything can be hailed as a work of art. This has naturally led to a proliferation of pretentious and often pathological nonsense in the art world." Those words were penned ten years ago by noted art critic Roger Kimball. As evidenced by the reaction to this "artwork" by the artistic community, nothing has changed.

Unlike the Smithsonian, which is federally funded, MoMA is largely supported by fat cats like Glenn D. Lowry, the museum's director, thus alleviating some of our objections. Lowry makes over $2 million a year and lives for free in a $6 million condo atop the museum. Unlike the rest of us, he pays no income tax on his housing.

Looks like the artistic community got fleeced twice: once by embracing the "pathological nonsense" of this masterpiece, and once by the corporate welfare queen who runs—and lives in—the joint.

VA Gov. McDonnell Will Display Catholic League Nativity Scene

Earlier this week, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League announced that they had sent out a "Holy Family Nativity Scene" to all of the nation's 50 governors asking them to display it in the Capitol Rotunda as part of an effort to counter the "atheists [who] are out in force this year trying to neuter Christmas."

And apparently Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is eager to play his part, though he will be displaying it in the Governor's Mansion instead of the Capitol: 

The Catholic League's manger will find shelter in the Executive Mansion ... Gov. Bob McDonnell, a practicing Catholic, has received the league's tabletop crèche and intends to incorporate it in his holiday display in the Executive Mansion. He said this week that a Nativity scene is traditionally part of his family's holiday décor.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue asked the nation's governors to display the scene in their capitols alongside any secular symbols, such as a Christmas tree, this coming holiday season.

In an interview yesterday, Donohue said he is happy that McDonnell embraced the gift and plans to display it in the mansion. He still would like to see it added to any other holiday display in the Capitol.

"We would prefer the most public spot possible, but the fact that it would be displayed anyplace would be suitable enough for us," he said.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Twice-divorced, thrice-married Newt Gingrich has been confirmed as a speaker for the FRC's Values Voter Summit.
  • The Traditional Values Coalition, of all groups, opposes "Burn a Quran Day."
  • David Barton, Rick Green, and Tom DeLay go on and on about how poor DeLay was the victim of a partisan witch-hunt because he was such an awesome Congressman and Christian.
  • Focus on the Family is outraged that George Soros donated $100 million to the "Anti-Family, Anti-Faith Group" Human Rights Watch.
  • I genuinely have no idea what the point of this Catholic League press release is supposed to be.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund: "Judges and politicians can ignore all the legal and constitutional standards they want to ram the homosexual political agenda down our throats. But they will never make the actions at the base of that agenda anything but a sin—and like any other sin, its indulgence brings only misery, for individuals, and for a nation."

Religious Right Launches Citizens Against Religious Bigotry To Target Comedy Central

A few weeks ago, Comedy Central announced that it had a new program in development called "JC" that is about Jesus Christ who moves to New York to "escape his father's enormous shadow."

In response, a collection of Religious Right leaders have banded together to form Citizens Against Religious Bigotry and urge advertisers not to support the program

Citizens Against Religious Bigotry will unveil a campaign Thursday to protest Comedy Central’s new animated show about Jesus Christ called “JC.” The coalition of Jewish and Christian leaders are urging advertisers to boycott the show, based on Comedy Central programs, such as South Park, which have mocked or disparaged Christ and other religious leaders.

“After we reveal the vile and offensive nature of Comedy Central’s previous characterizations of Jesus Christ and God the Father, we expect these advertisers to agree wholeheartedly to end their advertising on Comedy Central and discontinue their support for unabashed, anti-Christian discrimination,” said Brent Bozell, president of Media Research Center and founding member of Citizens Against Religious Bigotry.

Bowell said his group will publicize advertisers who agree to boycott the Comedy Central show and those who refuse.

Bozell will be joined at a Thursday press conference to protest the show by Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president; Michael Medved, syndicated talk radio host; Bill Donohue, Catholic League president; Tim Winter, Parents Television Council president; and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, The American Alliance of Jews and Christians president.

The group is sending a letter to potential advertisers, giving them two weeks to report on whether they will agree to boycott the program, warning that failure to respond will mean they support religious bigotry: 

As a sponsor, you have the power to act upon your corporate values and send a clear message to Viacom and its channels that this type of blasphemous programming has no place in our homes. It cannot be an effective use of sponsorship dollars to underwrite content that is certain to offend and alienate viewers. And of course, the damage to our children is virtually immeasurable. No sponsor could possibly say they would be proud to be associated with such insensitive material.

...

We are reaching out to you and other leading television sponsors, and we ask you now to agree with us and respond. We must hear from you in the next two weeks, so time is of the essence. On June 17 our coalition of like-minded organizations will hold a national press conference where we will identify which sponsors have responded to this effort and have agreed not to sponsor Comedy Central.

If you fail to respond to this letter before that time we will assume that your company is open to sponsoring the kind of religious bigotry on display by Comedy Central. We look forward to hearing from you directly.

In The Cycle Of Violence, The Right Only Cares About The Christian Victims

Yesterday, the Catholic League sent out an email announcing that Bill Donohue would be taking a short break from tirelessly defending the Catholic Church from any and all criticism regarding the sex abuse scandal in order to protest violence against Christians in Nigeria:

Please join the Catholic League on Wednesday, April 7 to protest recent massacres of Christians and others at the hands of radical Muslims. Bill Donohue will be speaking at the event as well as other religious and secular leaders. The protest will take place at 5 PM at the Nigerian U.N. Consulate.

Among the others who have endorsed this event are Gary Bauer, Harry Jackson, Frank Gaffney, Niger Innis, and Andrea and James Lafferty, all with the mission of highlighting the victimization of Christians in Nigeria:

On Wednesday, April 7th from 4:45 pm on, religious, civic and human rights leaders of many faiths and backgrounds will gather in front of the Nigerian Consulate in New York City to raise their voices of conscience about the continuing massacres of Christians as well as the ongoing barbaric persecution of non-Muslim minorities by jihadists in Nigeria and elsewhere across the globe.

While there are no official figures yet to confirm the numbers killed in the March 7th Massacre of Christians in Nigeria, we do know that many of the victims were children, women and the elderly. They were trapped in nets and hacked to death, slashed as they slept in their beds, beheaded, and set on fire. Those arrested reportedly belong to the Muslim Fulani terror group.

As I explained a few weeks back when Donohue first started commenting on this issue, the cycle of violence in Nigeria has been going on for years: 

If you read this Human Rights Watch report on the recent massacre, it says that hundreds of Christians were murdered by "Muslim men speaking Hausa and Fulani" and that "the attacks appeared to be in retaliation for previous attacks against Muslim communities in the area ... on January 19, more than 150 Muslim residents were killed in an attack on the nearby town of Kuru Karama."

This Human Rights Watch report on the January massacre states that more than one hundred Muslims were killed by Christians in an attack that was set off by either "an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home destroyed in the November 2008 violence in a predominately Christian neighborhood" or an "attack by Muslim youth on Christian worshippers in the Nassarawa Gwom district of Jos."

So the current massacre of Christians by Muslims is believed to be retribution for an earlier massacre of Muslims by Christians, all of which is wrapped up in a cycle of violence in which "more than 13,500 people have died in religious or ethnic clashes since the end of military rule in 1999." 

And according to a recent HRW report, the March 7 attack was part of this on-going cycle of violence.  And do you recall Donohue, Bauer, Jackson or any of the others speaking out in January when Christian mobs murdered 150 Muslims?

Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that groups of armed men attacked the largely Muslim population of Kuru Karama around 10 a.m. on January 19, 2010. After surrounding the town, they hunted down and attacked Muslim residents, some of whom had sought refuge in homes and a local mosque, killing many as they tried to flee and burning many others alive. The witnesses said they believed members of the armed groups to be Christians.

I certainly don't.

It would make sense of Donohue and others were hosting a rally calling for an end to the cycle of religious violence that has killed thousands of people over the last decade. But that is not what they are doing; they are merely protesting the violence against Christians. 

Apparently, the related slaughter of Muslims by Christians is perfectly okay.

Randall Terry Now Focusing His Antics On the Archdiocese of Washington, DC

Last week, the Catholic League told Randall Terry to cram it and stop demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi be excommunicated from the Catholic Church and that Archbishop Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC stop allowing her and others to take Communion, saying "it's not the job of Randall Terry, or anybody for that matter, to lecture the bishops on what they should or shouldn't do."

Of course, Terry has no intention of stopping, which is why he and his crew are protesting outside of the Cathedral of Saint Matthew, demanding that Archbishop Wuerl stop granting communion to "people who have literally participated in the murder of babies":

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Catholic League Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/19/2014, 4:10pm
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League announced today that the controversy over the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade’s ban on LGBT groups has inspired him to apply to march at the New York pride parade with a “Straight Is Great” banner. Donohue told conservative talk show host Steve Malzberg that if his application is approved he will “bring a big wedding cake” to the pride parade, in what he seems to think would be a slight to LGBT people. Donohue told Malzberg that he’s had his “last pint” of Guinness after the beer company dropped its... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/17/2014, 4:30pm
Donald Trump has decided not to run for governor of New York. Gee, who could have seen that coming? Bill Keller wants to debate Bill Maher. Matt Barber's latest column is exactly what you'd expect from Matt Barber. You too can now add your name to the World Congress of Families' "World Family Declaration." Bill Donohue is calling for a boycott of Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams. Gordon Klingenschmitt says it is the Palestinians who are the real occupiers in Israel. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 11/01/2013, 4:37pm
Matt Gertz @ Media Matters: 60 Minutes Benghazi Report Takes A Huge Credibility Hit. Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Defense Secretary Orders States To Provide Same-Sex Benefits To National Guard Servicemembers. Hemant Mehta @ Friendly Atheist: Catholic League’s Bill Donohue: ‘Intelligent People Normally’ Believe in God. Jeremy Hooper: Professional anti-gay would appreciate it if you stop stealing his English language; he owns it—it's his. Towleroad: Sally Kern Weighs in as Oklahoma Tribe Hosts Third Gay Marriage: 'I Find It Kind of Sad.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/31/2013, 2:10pm
NewsMax TV interviewed Bill Donohue of the Catholic League yesterday where he spent most of the interview explaining that he, like the Catholic Church, has no problem with gay people as long as they are celibate or married to someone of the opposite-sex. After Donohue argued that the only purpose of marriage is procreation, host David Nelson asked him what he thinks then of married heterosexual couples who can’t have children. Donohue said there is nothing sinful about that…since they will serve as “ready substitutes” who will raise kids whose parents have died. He... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/22/2013, 5:50pm
Jane Mayer @ The New Yorker: Is Senator Ted Cruz Our New McCarthy? Stephanie Mencimer @ Mother Jones: Tea Party Group Behind Saturday’s Gun Rallies Under Fire.   David Weigel @ Slate: The Most Misleading Number About the Tea Party and the Senate. Andrew Leonard @ Salon: Conservatives declare war on college. Eric Boehlert @ Media Matters: The Bush Years And What A ‘Lapdog’ Press Really Looked Like.  Aviva Shen @ Think Progress: House Republicans Strip Protections From LGBT Victims In New Violence Against Women Act. Mark Silk... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/31/2013, 4:30pm
We’ve heard a lot of the Religious Right complaining about “special rights” for gays, but Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is taking that charge to a whole new level. Donohue reacted to a story about a woman, Stephanie Fryns, who rescued a dog from a kill shelter after a Facebook posting reported that the dog had been abandoned “because his owner says he’s gay.” According to ABC, Fryns said “she saw Elton on an adoption website and had made plans to rescue him even before his story went viral.” The posting came from a Facebook group “... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/12/2012, 4:26pm
Bill Donohue says that "listening to [Joe] Biden discuss his Catholicism is getting weary." We say that listening to Dononhue discuss anything is getting weary. Mitt Romney has secured the coveted Lindsay Lohan endorsement. Gun Owners of America has endorsed Joe the Plumber. Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day does not seem to be taking off like Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day did. Finally, the Liberty Institute has now launched something called "Texas Values" which vows to "to stand for biblical, Judeo-Christian values by ensuring Texas is a... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/27/2012, 4:34pm
Adele Stan @ AlterNet: 3 Big Lies in Religious-Right 'Voter Guide' Hitting 13 Million Cell Phones. Simon Maloy @ Media Matters: Jennifer Rubin: Obama's Terrorism Record Worse Than Bush's (9-11 Doesn't Count). Jeremy Hooper: Conservs (like Matt Barber) trying to pass off Obama '08 rally as a Romney '12 event. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: A topic Akin should try to avoid. Rosie Gray @ BuzzFeed: Catholic League Responds To Controversial Artwork With Obama Bobblehead And Fake Feces. MORE >