Has Anyone Seen Bill...At All? (The Catholic Right: Eighteenth in a Series)

Submitted by RWMaster on Wed, 11/23/2016 - 16:09

"In Part Six of this series I asked:

As of 9:00PM, June 24, 2006, a Google search has revealed that the Catholic League has not even uttered a peep about Left Behind: Eternal Forces. There is nary a word from the usually pugnacious Donohue on the Catholic League's web site, in its periodical Catalyst, nor any sign of a bombastic press release on the matter. Admittedly, Google searches are far from definitive and perhaps Donohue said something somewhere about the game. But if he did, it was not done in a way that was calculated to inject a splashy condemnation into the mainstream press--or in other words, he did not follow standard Catholic League procedure.

 Well, it is now December 23, 2006--one day short of fully six months later--and still nary a peep from the Catholic Right's version of Mr. Bluster.

 And nor can Donohue and the Catholic League plead that they are unaware of the anti-Catholic tendencies of LaHaye-inspired creations. Just two years ago, the Catholic League in very cogently written piece for its periodical, The Catalyst pretty much nailed the inherent religious bigotry of the Left Behind book series. As the essay's author, Carl E. Olson remarked, "But I was--and still am--surprised by how many Catholics fail to see how biased against Catholicism are the Left Behind novels and companion volumes produced by LaHaye. "

 And as a Catholic, I am surprised that neither the league nor its president have spoken out against such an obvious example of anti-Catholicism that is Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

 Nor is Donohue the only member of the Catholic Right who has failed to speak out against the vile hatred of Left Behind: Eternal Forces. Not a peep has been heard from the often easily insulted Tom Monaghan nor his Thomas More Law Center, Fidelis, Legatus nor anyone from Opus Dei. These are "Catholic" talking heads who often complain about the most attenuated incidents of anti-Catholicism--and often many just imagined. But while the Catholic League has plenty to say about the phony "War on Christmas," even going as far as taking out a costly advertisement on the matter in the New York Times, it oddly has nothing to say about a video game that clearly validates violence against Catholics.

 It would seem like a "no brainer' for a group calling itself "the Catholic League" to speak out against a video game that teaches young males the validity of a "convert or die" mentality, especially when Catholics are one of the targeted groups of those to be "saved" at the point of the sword. But Ole Bill's current priority is to transform the usually joyful salutation of "Merry Christmas" into a pejorative statement of religious exclusiveness. So much for fighting the good fight.

 In fairness to Donohue and the league, the Left and mainstream Catholic community has been just as remarkably silent. While several  several members of the progressive religious community have spoken up, The Liberal Catholic group Call to Action has not yet condemned the game. A search of the National Catholic Reporter's online achieve has shown no coverage either.

 But the Catholic League is held to a higher standard. By its own definition it "...works to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics whenever and wherever they are threatened." Supposedly speaking out against anti-Catholicism is reason for being.

 As a Catholic I want to know why the National Council of Churches, the Anti-Defamation League, CAIR, as well as numerous Protestants--both Left and Right, as well as bloggers and journalists of all kinds who share their concern about the violent bigotry demonstrated in Left Behind: Eternal Forces, but the League and some others cannot?  Is Donohue turning a blind eye to a political ally?

 It don't know why Donohue and the league has failed to speak out against the video game. Perhaps it truly is a question of priorities. Donohue has previously overlooked interfaith quarrels to battle the Religious Right's common hatred for Liberalism. As Max Blumenthal noted in The Nation: of the April 24, 2005 Justice Sunday event:

Justice Sunday also featured a token Catholic, William Donohue, who heads the nation's largest "Catholic civil rights organization," the Catholic League. In the battle to confirm far-right judicial nominees like William Pryor, who happens to be Catholic, Donohue has become a key asset for the Christian right's evangelical faction. He has argued that Democratic senators opposing Pryor and others are motivated by anti-Catholicism. "There isn't de jure discrimination against Catholics in the Senate," Donohue claimed on Sunday. "There is de facto discrimination. They've set the bar so high with the abortion issue, we can't get any real Catholics over it."

 But for all his concern with anti-Catholicism, Donohue had no qualms about sharing the stage with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr. Albert Mohler. "As an evangelical, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a false church," Mohler remarked during a 2000 TV interview. "It teaches a false gospel. And the Pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office." Donohue, who has protested against Democrats who have made no such comments about Catholics, was silent about Mohler. In fact, the site of Justice Sunday, Highview Baptist Church, in Louisville, Kentucky, is Mohler's home church.

 But for whatever reason the Catholic League is sitting out this battle, it is time for it to get involved. If Donohue's organization is truly about fighting anti-Catholic bigotry--whatever its sources, it must speak out against the Eternal Forces video games. And no matter how much distaste I have for both many of the league's policy positions and associated personalities, I would welcome them to join us in condemning those who profit from or proselytize through this hateful product.  

 Yet as I first wondered last June, if an organization that claims to be dedicated to combating anti-Catholicism would take on Left Behind: Eternal Forces, I ask,  has anyone seen Bill--at all?"


Note: Content reposted with the permission of the author.

Author
Frank Cocozzelli
Year Published
Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:24:45 AM EST
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