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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bill Donohue and David Dukes

Bill Donohue is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. You may know him from his many, many appearances on cable news programs, op-ed pieces in newspapers, or for any other of the many media outlets where he brings his crusade. He can be bombastic, loud, and engage in histrionics, however these are but a few of the reasons to love him! He is one of the few consistent voices in the media speaking in defense of the Church, and isn't afraid to take on any comers. This article, from Inside Catholic (the web version of the old Crisis magazine) by way of Catholic Online, is a most enjoyable satire.
God love you!
Father V.
Bill Donohue Parody:
'I'm Catholic, Staunchly Anti-Racist, and Support David Duke'
By William Donohue, Ph.D
Inside Catholic (

I have informed my conscience. I have weighed the facts. I have used my prudential judgment. And I conclude that it is a proper moral choice for this Catholic to support David Duke's candidacy.

NEW YORK, NY (Inside Catholic) - EDITORS NOTE to our readers: Bill Donohue is vehemently against racism as much as he is strongly Pro-life. He wrote this piece to point out what he sees as the absolutely inherent contradictions in a Pro-Life Catholic such as Dean Cafardi saying that he is pro-Life but then endorsing a Candidate who promises as one of his first acts to sign the "Freedom of Choice Act".

The following is a tongue-in-cheek reply to Nick Cafardi's article, "I'm Catholic, Staunchly Anti-Abortion, and Support Obama.":

I believe racism is an unspeakable evil, yet I support David Duke, who is pro-racism. I do not support him because he is pro-racism, but in spite of it. Is that a proper choice for a committed Catholic?

As someone who has worked with minorities all his life, I answer with a resounding yes. Despite what some say, the list of what the Catholic Church calls "intrinsically evil acts" does not begin and end with racism. In fact, there are many intrinsically evil acts, and a committed Catholic must consider all of them in deciding how to vote.

Last November, the U.S. bishops released "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," a 30-page document that provides several examples of intrinsically evil acts: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, torture, racism, and targeting noncombatants in acts of war.

Duke's support for racist rights has led some to the conclusion that no Catholic can vote for him. That's a mistake. While I have never swayed in my conviction that racism is an unspeakable evil, I believe that we have lost the racism battle -- permanently. A vote for Duke's opponent does not guarantee the end of racism in America. Not even close.

Let's suppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act is overturned. What would happen? The matter would simply be kicked back to the states -- where it was before 1964. Overturning the 1964 Civil Rights Act would not abolish racism. It would just mean that racism would be legal in some states and illegal in others. The number of racist incidents would remain unchanged as long as people could travel.

Duke's opponent has promised to appoint "judicially activist" judges who would presumably vote not to overturn the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But is that sufficient reason for a Catholic to vote for him? To answer that question, let's look at the rest of the Church's list of intrinsically evil acts.

Both Duke and his opponent get failing marks on embryonic stem cell research, which Catholic teaching opposes. The last time the issue was up for a vote in the Senate, both men voted to ease existing restrictions.

There's another distinction that is often lost in the culture-war rhetoric on racism: There is a difference between being pro-choice (e.g., the right to choose racist practices) and being pro-racism. Duke supports government action that would reduce the number of racist incidents, and has consistently said that "we should do everything we can to avoid unprovoked confrontations that might even lead somebody to consider racist behavior." He favors a "comprehensive approach . . . where we teach the tenets of civility to our children." And he wants to ensure that therapy is an option for bigots who might otherwise choose to commit a racist act.

What's more, as recent data show, racist incidents drop when the social safety net is strengthened. If Duke's economic program will do more to reduce racism that his opponent's, then is it wrong to conclude that a Duke presidency will also reduce racism? Not at all.

Every faithful Catholic agrees racism is an unspeakable evil that must be minimized, if not eliminated. I can help to achieve that without endorsing the immoral baggage associated with the party of Duke's opponent. Sustaining the 1964 Civil Rights Act is not the only way to end racism, and a vote for Duke is not somehow un-Catholic.

The U.S. bishops have urged a "different kind of political engagement," one that is "shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences." I have informed my conscience. I have weighed the facts. I have used my prudential judgment. And I conclude that it is a proper moral choice for this Catholic to support David Duke's candidacy.

William A. Donohue is the president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.


Tom in Vegas said...

I like William Donahue. I admired his bold engagement with Christopher Hitchenns on Fox News not too long ago. Yes, he can be all those things you describe him to be, and sometimes I wish there was less histrionics and a more factual disposition.

I still like the guy.

radio45 said...

Whether Donahue supports David Duke or not is of little consequence since the tide has turned on public opinion on civil rights in America. It took well over 100 years to make it so.
Look, the civil rights movement gained ground in America because the hearts and minds of the average america were changed. Donahue can vote his conscience all he likes. In my opinion he would still be a practical Catholic. But the civil rights leaders of the 1960's saw something that few of the leaders of the pro-life movement acknowledge, that to change laws you must first change hearts. Donahue's arguments would have been very appropriate for endorsing and voting for George Wallace or former Georgia governor Lester Maddox. Why are they not good arguments today? Because attitudes have changed. As for abortion, today most Americans believe life begins at the first breath and ends at the last. Until you make those very same Americans understand that life begins at conception, there will be no law against abortion. Indeed if we turn over life and death decisions to the state, and feel it is quite right and proper to do so, how can we argue that women cannot have the same right over a life that is totally under her support and control? These issues must be first won by the pro-life side before laws can be enacted. If pro-choice laws are signed, and they will be, it is because the pro-life groups, and Bill Donahue himself, have focused too much on the law makers and not enough those who fall under the law.