We’re quite used to the Catholic League’s outspoken Bill Donohue and his unabashed bigotry in “defense” of Catholicism. Donohue has always felt the best defense is a good offense and he regularly makes claims that are, to put it delicately, difficult to substantiate.
But in this case, for once, he has come down on the right (or should we say left?) side of the fence, like so many other Americans, speaking in opposition to Lowe’s boycott of TLC’s All American Muslim. And no, this is not April 1. It turns out Donohue does have a shred of human decency. We might call it “proto-decency” where he is concerned, because he has taken time off from gay-bashing and smearing Church abuse victims to defend TLC’s reality series about Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan.
This is what Donohue wrote on the Catholic League website yesterday:
I have not been shy in my criticism of Muslim extremists who hate Israel and equally loathe the United States. Nor have I been reluctant to condemn Islamism: Sharia law is totalitarian. Furthermore, I am not opposed to boycotting sponsors of TV shows that bash Catholicism (I have led such initiatives). But count me out when it comes to the Florida Family Association’s protest of the TLC show, “All American Muslim.” Lowe’s made a mistake when it bowed to the protest and pulled its ads from the show.
“All American Muslim” is a show about five Muslim families from Dearborn, Michigan. Does it put a positive spin on them? One would hope so. After all, what kind of appetite would it be feeding if it did the reverse? To say it should show “both sides” is equally unpersuasive: a reality TV show is not a documentary. If the show attempted to promote a positive image of Islamists, that would be a different story entirely.
The Florida Family Association says “99.9 percent of Muslims agree with the principles of Sharia law.” The figure is certainly inflated worldwide, and it is grossly overstated for American Muslims. Just as I condemn those who love to depict Catholic priests as molesters, I condemn those who love to depict American Muslims as terrorists.
Lowe’s has no record of being unfair to any segment of the population, which is to its credit. It should not take the bait and flex its muscles with those who want to paint Muslims with a broad and dirty brush. It is hardly too late to pivot.
This is a rather startling turnaround for Donohue, sticking up for something other than Catholicism. I have previously called him a “serial liar for Christ,” espousing nonsense at every turn, for example, the following gem:
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.
As I argued then and before, none of this is true but that doesn’t stop Bill from saying it anyway, which brings up his comments about a “broad and dirty brush”:
Just as I condemn those who love to depict Catholic priests as molesters, I condemn those who love to depict American Muslims as terrorists.
But it’s okay, of course, to paint gays with a broad and dirty brush, or abuse victims, or anyone critical of the Catholic Church, and let’s face it, Catholic priests isn’t quite equivalent to American Muslims – the latter is a much broader category. And I don’t think anyone is saying ALL Catholic priests are molesters. But Donohue insists none of them are molesters and that therefore, as mentioned here before, Church abuse victims were “active” participants in their own abuse.
We can applaud Donohue standing up to the Florida Family Association but don’t mistake him for a good guy. He’s a rank apologist for all things Catholic, a homophobe who says Mel Gibson is NOT an anti-Semite, and the same man who compared our first black president to our most notorious white supremacist, saying, “To give him [Obama] an honorary degree would be like Howard University giving David Duke a degree in racial politics.”
So yes, the Florida Family Association and Lowes are in the wrong and Bill Donohue is right about that, but Bill Donohue is so catastrophically wrong on so many other issues that it’s difficult to extend a pat on the back. Donohue has done the right thing here, but it is time for him to look closely in the mirror and see himself for what he is – no different at all from those he is now condemning.