'Tis the season for a puzzling brouhaha over GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's holiday campaign ad that displayed an image of a white cross floating in the background behind the Huckster's head. Was it a bookcase or a window pane? Was the cross intentional, a subliminal seed to be planted in the minds of evangelical voters and religious conservatives to wonder, "Are you the one?" Serious News Organizations sucked on the story like a sugar plum dancing in their heads. WH contender Ron Paul (R-TX) jumped into the media frenzy to quote Sinclair Lewis' famous comment about "fascism... ...carrying a cross." Who could top that?
Enter Fox, er, Faux News, the dedicated propaganda network for the three R's -- radical, Republican and rightwing -- where the Huckster was criticized for wearing his religion on his sleeve. The lead attack dog and paragon of pious contradictions, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, said that Huck went too far. Really? Doesn't the self-appointed Flared Nostril repulsed by the alleged secular assault on God Almighty know there's a War on Christmas?!! That Christians in America suffer persecution in having been banished from the public square? Poor things have been forced to display nativity scenes in their own front yards and on church properties. Genuflect and gasp with us, "Oh, the injustice!"
But hark! During the yuletide season, comes God's candidate advertising a holiday message with the ubiquitous symbol that unites all Christianists. So why did Donohue kvetch?
More confusing still, when did rightwing pandering to religiosity become gauche? Unpopular? Verbotten? And fodder for another religious panderer like Donohue? His primary objection:
"The whole idea is to give the appearance of a cross," he said, "and this is just injecting religion into politics even too far for guys like me."
Asked if the ad was "too much," Donahue said it was.
"Because there's a pattern here," he added. "Every other word out of [Huckabee's] mouth is that 'I'm Christian.' He's calling into question Romney's Mormonism...let people talk about [their] faith, but don't sell it on your sleeve."And with that, Donohue pronounced, "Sell yourself on your issues, not on what your religion is." Harumph-ity dump!
[Read on... video and more righteous wingnuttery after the jump.]
FOX & Friends discuss Huckabee ad with Bill Donohue via ThinkerHA
During the Faux News video, Donohue referred twice to anti-Catholic staffers at Huck's campaign, a legit complaint and what probably sharpened Bill's axe head. Corpus Juris raised the anti-Catholic issue earlier this week in remembering JFK and addressed the Donohue-Huckabee ad problem directly. Here's just a snip:
...it wasn't long ago when good Protestant Americans wouldn't vote for a "papist." The marriage between Catholics and evangelicals over pro-life issues is a shotgun marriage at best.... ...Some of Huckabee's fellow "Christians" deeply believe Catholics are also members of a dirty anti-Christian "cult."Unlike Corpus Juris, the Catholic League president didn't express this troublesome Christianist relationship fairly or honestly. Au contraire! The Flared Nostril inhaled crazy snuff and accused Huck of the same tactic he himself has employed in the past -- "injecting religion into politics."
The record of Donohue's hypocrisy, partisan bias, and bullying are legion.
In February, Bill attacked the John Edwards campaign for hiring two bloggers whom he denounced as anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots. The AP, NYTimes, MSNBC, and CNN interviewed Donohue over the high-blown controversy or helped spread Bill's vitriol without once challenging his bigoted history or anti-Democratic motives. Yet, when Jerome Corsi, "one of the ringleaders of the smear campaign by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)," spewed anti-Catholic harangues in 2004, Donohue stayed conveniently quiet. He uttered not a word in defense of the character assassination of a fellow Catholic. In fact, he later piled on Kerry. Neither did he deride Corsi for his "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking" bigotry.
Over time, the mainstream press has permitted Donohue to advance a religious rightwing agenda never questioning his hypocritical double standard. In August last year, Bill responded to actor Mel Gibson's anti-Jewish rant with the excuse, "There's a lot of people who have made comments which are bigoted who are not necessarily bigots." Oh, but Mel is a strict Traditionalist Catholic and favorite son of conservatives. No tongue lashing for Gibson! See how Bill operates?
And there's Donohue's own vulgarities and religious bigotry jumbled in with politics:
* "People don't trust the Muslims when it comes to liberty." [MSNBC's Scarborough Country, 2/9/06]
* "Name for me a book publishing company in this country, particularly in New York, which would allow you to publish a book which would tell the truth about the gay death style." [MSNBC's Scarborough Country, 2/27/04]
* "The gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done." [MSNBC's Scarborough Country, 4/11/05]
* Addressing former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) in a press release, Donohue said: "[W]hy didn't you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?" [10/4/06]
* "I'm saying if a Catholic votes for Kerry because they support him on abortion rights, that is to cooperate in evil." [MSNBC's Hardball, 10/21/04]
* "We've already won. Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost." [MSNBC's Scarborough Country, 12/8/04]
* "Well, look, there are people in Hollywood, not all of them, but there are some people who are nothing more than harlots. They will do anything for the buck. They wouldn't care. If you asked them to sodomize their own mother in a movie, they would do so, and they would do it with a smile on their face." [MSNBC's Scarborough Country, 2/9/06]Are we to take the rants of Bill Donohue seriously? He's the same crackpot who besmirched a devout Catholic artist for sculpting a chocolate Jesus for Easter. Let's see... Easter, chocolate, Jesus... what's so out of the stratosphere about a sweet Jesus? Lucky for the artist, Donohue sarcastically consoled, the slightest puff of fire and brimstone streaming from his nose, "I'm not like the Taliban, because you would lose more than your head." Unfortunately, Bill pressured the exhibit venue to ban the sculptor's work by threatening to bankrupt them financially. Adding further injury during his interview on CNN, Donohue called sculptor Cosimo Cavallaro a "loser", "morally bankrupt", "disingenuous", and a liar. Insults offer a fine example of Christ-like behavior during Lent, don't they?
While the media has remained content to let Donohue strew his toxic aspersions -- to conjure controversy and lap the limelight with a flick of his tongue -- other Catholics have been paying attention:
Mark Silk, director of the Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College said, "He's a thug. He reverts to bullying because he thinks that's what the job entails."
Rev. Mark Massa, a Jesuit priest and co-director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University, accused Donohue of being unable to differentiate between healthy debate and real religious bigotry. "Not everyone who criticizes the church is anti-Catholic," he said.
The editors at the Catholic weekly magazine America seem to agree. In 2000, they chastised Donohue for denouncing movies he hadn't even watched. "While being first may increase one's chances of attracting media attention, there is a danger that the Catholic League reinforces the stereotype that the Catholic Church is at best unreflective and at worst unfairly biased and paranoid," wrote Rev. James Martin. "In the long run, this may do more harm to the church's reputation than a short-lived movie or play."During this week's Donohue tirade over Huckabee's "subliminal cross" ad, Faux News Friend Alisyn Camerota, astonished at his grumbling, could only retort, "Bill, you are a complicated man! You don't like Huckabee's Christmas ad, yet though, you don't like the War on Christmas. Very interesting."
No, Alisyn, Donohue isn't complicated. He's deceitful, vain, and crass, and you've succumbed to Bill's gaslighting in not exposing his thuggery. Journalism much? It's simple. Donohue's hyperbolic media whoring and Judas act to progressives, Catholic Democrats, gays, Muslims, Wiccans, and Jews pleases him. He excoriates or discounts anyone who disturbs his unbridled wingnuttery. Big Media, having given him a bully pulpit, turn a blind eye to his hypocrisy. He's just another kazoo in the noise machine.
That's why the Flared Nostril, who can turn the Mighty Wurlitzer up with a single snort like Santa ascending a chimney, gets the award for this week's yuletide achievement.
Happy holidays, Bill Donohue.