Bill Donohue upped the ante in an emotionally disturbed rant belittling the Catholic Advisory Council for presidential candidate Barack Obama on May 8. The expanding Council had responded courteously to his previous critical press release of May 2. Citing the three most important Catholic issues as abortion, stem cell research, and school vouchers, Mr Donohue had tarred the members of the Council as being "dissidents" for not taking a Republican view on his three selected issues.
Mr Donohue's response focuses on abortion entirely, distilling his criticism down to a single misrepresentation of Senator Obama's role in dealing with the Republican sleight of hand on partial birth abortion in the Illinois Senate, and then labelling that misrepresentation as "a Hitlerian decision." It seems reasonable to assume that once someone resorts to a Hitler comparison, he has failed to make his argument in any credible way on its own terms.
There's a certain irony in Mr Donohue's invoking the name of Hitler while himself diminishing the significance of war, torture and world hunger as moral issues.
Neither Catholic League press release makes any mention about the ongoing killing in the Middle East, Administration sponsorship of torture, the current worldwide threat of starvation due to spiraling food prices, or the global warming crisis that threatens the poorest people all over the world. Pope Benedict has been outspoken on all these injustices, but they do not make Mr Donohue's list of the "three major public policy issues."
His Catholic League is supposed to be a 501c3 non-profit organization, but it has a well known Republican bias. Although the group's charter states that it exists to defend Catholics in public life, it attacked Catholic Senator John Kerry in 14 press releases during the presidential race in 2004. Senator Obama appears to be the new object of Mr Donohue's fury.
His efforts begin with picking and choosing what kind of person qualifies as a faithful Catholic, in the criticism of the 26 current or former Catholic office holders who publicly endorsed Senator Obama in April, excluding both chairs of the Council and all the academic members. Unspoken by the Catholic League was any criticism of the Catholics for McCain, which broadcast a similar list in an effort to calm the waters amidst the John Hagee anti-Catholicism controversy in March. The Catholics for McCain is led by Senator Sam Brownback, a major backer of the immoral war in Iraq, and Governor Frank Keating, one of the nation's most egregious enforcers of state-sponsored killing (as governor of Oklahoma he oversaw 54 executions). Apparently Mr Donohue considers neither to be a Catholic "dissident."
The other members of the McCain Catholic leadership team were nearly all involved in the Catholic outreach efforts that elected Mr Bush in 2000 and reelected him in 2004. Each worked to blur Catholic opposition to unilateral war and state-sponsored killing, not to mention their indifference to the slowing of progress against abortion under the Bush Presidency. Abortion rates fell more than twice as fast under the Clinton Administration as they have under Mr Bush, who also vetoed Democratic abortion reduction legislation in October 2007. The McCain Catholic team may be the single most important group that enabled a war that continues killing scores of people every day and has caused massive dislocation of millions in Iraq.
Mr Donohue seems to be unaware that the 'partial birth abortion' legislation upheld last year by the Supreme Court has not been shown to have stopped even a single abortion anywhere in the US. This law, similar to ones considered in 28 state legislatures, was an admitted attempt by Republicans to label Democrats as 'pro-abortion,' rather than something intended to actually have any effect on abortion in the US. In other words, partial birth abortion has everything to do with politics and virtually nothing to do with abortion.
Although Mr Donohue will plead that he is an equal-opportunity critic, with his recent harsh comments about Pastor Hagee, his emotional name-calling and lack of respect have significantly spared Senator McCain personally and been leveled almost exclusively at Senator Obama. Mr Donohue himself, who has no publicly-expressed guilt feelings about the massive killing in Iraq that was facilitated by his own support for Mr Bush in 2000 and 2004, can be expected to continue maligning any Catholic who steps forward to support either Senator Hillary Clinton or Senator Obama.
The Catholic League is Catholic in name only, and should be widely viewed as nothing more than another corrupt niche mouthpiece for the Republican establishment.