Denver, CO – Colorado state house member Gwyn Green introduced two separate bills—one for private institutions and one for public institutions—regarding lawsuits involving the sexual abuse of children. We addressed this legislation with two releases noting that Rep. Green’s bills made suing private institutions easy and essentially gave public institutions a pass. Her legislation reminded us of the invidious doctrine of “separate but equal.”
Two years earlier, Rep. Green sponsored similar legislation specifically targeting private institutions, i.e. Catholic schools and the Church. When it was exposed as a witch-hunt, public schools were blanketed with the same legislation. Once the Colorado education establishment realized that it would be placed under the same scrutiny that the Church was, the legislation was effectively killed. For the record, Colorado bishops, led by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput (as well as the Catholic League), favored the bill as long as it was inclusive of all institutions.
When interviewed, Green wears her Catholicism on her sleeve, but rubs it in the dirt as well. She knew that the Colorado bishops had never opposed bills that treated all institutions equally when she remarked, “I think it’s really ironic that the leaders of a church that profess to follow Jesus would be working against the protection of children.” Green never apologized for this lie.
We also noted that Rep. Green has a 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood and highlighted the score on her website. Along with Planned Parenthood’s glowing score, she is also endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, undercutting her so-called commitment to the protection of children.
After we contacted the Colorado lawmakers asking them to nix Green’s politicized effort, we received both support and opposition. Rep. Morgan Carroll claimed our releases hurt our credibility and made us look like we were “about politics over policy.”
We are happy to note that State Sen. Dave Schultheis pledged his “full support” for our position if the bill reached the senate.
On March 5, Colorado’s House Judiciary Committee killed Green’s objectionable bill.
The Colorado legislature introduced three bills that would limit the freedom of faith-based hospitals to practice medicine in accord with their religious beliefs.
HB 1173 would allow courts to modify a hospital’s use of funds if it was thought that they were not being used appropriately. HB 1203 would forbid transactions between licensed hospitals that would interfere with practices such as abortion and sterilization. SB 182 stated that hospitals must provide “essential health service” which would be defined by the Colorado Department of Health.
We commented on this stating, “It is the Church’s adversaries who want to impose their secular conception of health care on
Annapolis, MD – On February 6, we reported that Maryland legislator Eric Bromwell introduced legislation that would have suspended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases for almost two years. It would allow alleged victims to sue the alleged predators and the organizations where the abusers worked. The bill, however, did not apply to public institutions, which would be subject to less punitive measures.
We opposed this legislation because it treated private and public schools differently. Although Rep. Bromwell appeared to have benign motives, he was wrong on the issue nonetheless. We said it was simply intolerable to allow one set of penalties for private institutions and another set for public ones. If the protection of the children is the goal, then justice demanded that all institutions be treated equally.
On February 28, we reported that Rep. Bromwell withdrew the bill and stated that he would give “serious consideration” to resubmitting the bill during the next legislative session.
February 27 – May 22
After being pummeled by the Catholic League, Senator John McCain made a straightforward denunciation of anti-Catholicism and explicitly cited Rev. John Hagee’s role.
When McCain solicited and embraced the endorsement of Rev. Hagee on February 27, he slapped American Catholics in the face. Hagee, a pastor from San Antonio, had a long history of anti-Catholic bigotry. He had also made a living out of demonizing Catholicism and had distorted the historical relationship between Catholics and Jews.
We slammed McCain with ten news releases before he denounced the bigotry of Hagee. Prior to our denouncing Hagee, McCain had only offered a pedestrian response simply saying that he didn’t agree with the views of everyone who endorsed him.
After McCain put this issue to rest, we noted that we never doubted that he was a friend to Catholics and we only wanted him to distance his campaign from Hagee’s bigoted comments.
In May, a complete reversal occurred—John Hagee apologized for offending Catholics. In a May 12 letter addressed to Bill Donohue, Pastor Hagee wrote, “I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics found hurtful.” A few days later, on May 15, Donohue and Hagee met for the first time and put the issue to rest. Hagee’s change of heart came after weeks of meeting with Catholic scholars and leaders on Catholic-Jewish relations. At the end of their meeting Donohue and Hagee pledged to work together on the moral issues where they found common ground: abortion, embryonic stem cell research and doctor-assisted suicide.
A week after the meeting, Pastor Hagee pulled his endorsement of John McCain; subsequently McCain renounced Hagee’s endorsement. Donohue commented on the situation by stating: “Hagee’s decision to sever all ties to McCain is noble: He knows he has become a liability to McCain, even after he has made amends with Catholics….Pastor Hagee can now move in the religious circles he has become accustomed to, and continue his ministry without distraction.” (See the end of the article for more information)
Nelsonville, OH – Senator Barack Obama told a crowd that he believed that Christ’s Sermon on the Mount justified his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions.
In a campaign speech Obama said, “I don’t think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state,” he continued, “If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than obscure passage in Romans.” He was referring to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans condemning homosexuality.
In the same speech Obama addressed the issue of abortion and his belief that his support for abortion didn’t make him “less Christian.”
Sacramento, CA – A U.S. district court judge ruled in favor of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care and rejected a challenge by the State of California to the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, a federal law that protects hospital and health care workers from being forced to perform abortions. The court’s decision “merely recognizes what has always been the case in our country: liberty of conscience and religious freedom matter,” said the California Catholic Conference.
La Crosse, WI – The Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Catholic schools operated by the Diocese of La Crosse were not exempted from the state’s age discrimination laws. The ruling came after a former employee sued the diocese for age discrimination, but Coulee Catholic Schools argued that the employee’s position was ministerial, therefore exempting the diocese from anti-discrimination laws.
The ruling was an example of the state overstepping its boundaries by placing jurisdiction over the Church.
The ACLU of Florida stood in the way of a specialty license plate that promoted Christianity. The license plate featured a Christian cross, a stained-glass window and the inscription “I Believe.” We supported the bill’s sponsor Rep. Edward Bullard and contacted every member of the Florida House urging them to do the same.
The ACLU argued that the license plates would send “a message that Florida is essentially a Christian state.” If that were the case, we wondered, why not adopt an “I Believe” plate with a Star of David for Jews or a Crescent and Star for Muslims? Florida already has many types of specialty plates such as “Choose Life,” “Family First” and “Family Values.” Why then should it deny Christians and other religions the opportunity to display their religious beliefs?
We issued a statement that demonstrated the hypocrisy of the ACLU. We noted that in the 1980s and 1990s, the ACLU chapters in Louisiana and Pennsylvania opposed laws that limited the size of vulgarities on bumper stickers. For example, words that described bodily functions, women’s body parts and sex acts were only allowed if the lettering was in small print; the ACLU objected to these terms.
The ACLU and those who opposed the bill needed to realize that censorship over public expression of religion is un-American.
April 8 – 11
Colorado Springs, CO – We learned that some faculty and cadets were mandated to attend an April 9 seminar at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA); the seminar featured footage from the virulently anti-Catholic movie, “Constantine’s Sword.” We issued two news releases lambasting the academy for playing host to the film. Because of our relentless effort, the USAFA brass came to their senses and pulled the plug on the film before the event began.
It all started when we caught wind of an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette stating that the USAFA would host an event titled, “USA’s War on Terror: Not a Battle Between Christianity and Islam.” The seminar featured three speakers representing the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an advocacy group for the separation of church and state; among the speakers was MRFF president Mikey Weinstein. The seminar was made mandatory for hundreds of cadets and faculty whose coursework intersected with the topic discussed.
The seminar was billed as an event on the war on terror and to counter speeches that were given at the USAFA in February by three “former terrorists” who allegedly “demonized” Islam. The event was also meant to combat the alleged heavy-handed evangelical Christian proselytizing that occurred on the campus. The Gazette also reported that during the seminar, those attending would watch clips from the controversial film, “Constantine’s Sword.”
The movie is based on a book of the same title, written by disgruntled ex-priest James Carroll. The book version says that the Gospels are inherently anti-Semitic and that unless the New Testament is gutted to the point where the messiahship of Jesus is rejected, Christian anti-Semitism will not end. Carroll’s book was discredited by theNew York Review of Books saying of the author, “He is not a historian; everything he has to say on the subject of anti-Semitism is borrowed from other writers, and much of what he offers as fact is in reality highly contentious.”
The movie version of “Constantine’s Sword” goes a step further. The movie’s director, Oren Jacoby, asked the following question on the movie’s website: “Is there something in the DNA of Christianity—the majority religion in our country—that demonizes ‘the other’ and is inclined toward violence?”
On April 8, we sent copies of books by noted authors to the Academy’s library. These books refuted the propaganda that was on display in the film. We also contacted the officials of the U.S. House and Senate who oversee the military academies. On April 9, we applied more pressure. We wrote to the Board of Visitors of the USAFA and asked them to launch a probe of what was occurring; we copied their letters to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
We felt the added pressure was necessary, especially after USAFA director of communications, Johnny Whitaker, placed a phone call to his counterpart at the Catholic League, Kiera McCaffrey. Whitaker admitted that he had seen the entire film and that it was indeed anti-Catholic but that those clips wouldn’t be shown. He also told us that Weinstein wanted to include some inflammatory clips, but that the USAFA denied that request.
The event went on as planned on April 9, but one thing was removed from the agenda—the officials at the USAFA decided to cancel showing the clips from “Constantine’s Sword.” Indeed, we were delighted at this result.
On April 10, Lt. Gen. John F. Regni, the superintendent of the USAFA, called Bill Donohue and had an honest and fruitful exchange. Donohue commended him for his intervention that proved to be decisive. We were glad that Lt. Gen. Regni recognized that this film did not contribute to the overall aim of the seminar and omitted it from the event.
We issued a news release later that day stating: “We know that there have been accusations of religious bias on the campus, and if that is true, it needs to be rooted out. What can never be tolerated is to slam one religion while purportedly addressing religious intolerance expressed toward another religion.”
Because the clips were cancelled, we considered the matter closed. And in fairness, we wrote to all of the public officials we had previously wrote to asking them to ignore our request for an investigation.
Senator Barack Obama announced the formation of his Catholic National Advisory Council and said he was “deeply honored to have the support and counsel of these committed Catholic leaders, scholars and advocates.” Of the 26 Catholic former or current public office holders listed as either National Co-Chairs (5), or as members of the National Leadership Committee (21), not one of them agreed with the Church on all three of the following public policy issues: abortion, embryonic stem cell research and school vouchers. Of the two National Co-Chairs with a NARAL tally one agreed with the extremist group 65 percent of the time and the other agreed 100 percent of the time. Of the 20 members of the National Leadership Committee with a NARAL score, 17 scored a 100 percent rating.
We urged Obama to dissolve the Council immediately, stating that Catholics had every reason to be insulted by an advisory group on matters Catholic when most of its members reject the Catholic Church’s position.
On May 8, Obama’s Catholic advisors responded to Donohue’s request for Obama to “purge” his Catholic National Advisory Council (letter can be found at the end of this section). Donohue replied by saying, “It is more than embarrassing—it is shocking—to read how these Catholics regard abortion. The Catholic Church regards abortion, as well as embryonic stem cell research, as ‘intrinsically evil.’ But not these folks. For them it is merely ‘a profound moral issue.’”
No sooner had Obama’s Catholic advisors written to Bill Donohue than Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann censured one the National Co-Chairs, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, due to her long support of abortion rights.
Slidell, LA – U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ruled that a painting of Jesus that hung in the foyer of the Slidell City Court was unconstitutional. The judge also ruled that inserting an image of Jesus in a group portrait of other historical figures was permissible. Lemelle ruled that the plaintiffs’ (the ACLU) constitutional rights were violated by the display of the portrait of Christ.
Bill Donohue wrote a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, asking the senator to reconsider his reservations about Judge Robert Conrad. Judge Conrad’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was held up for over 300 days because Conrad was (falsely) accused of anti-Catholicism. The accusation of Conrad’s anti-Catholicism stemmed from his criticism of Sister Helen Prejean’s book Dead Man Walking. We mentioned that there was a fine line between criticism and bigotry. Note that in 2007, Leahy criticized the Church for its record of protecting priests accused of sexually abusing children: “I’ve always thought also that those bishops and archbishops who for decades hid pederasts and are now being protected by the Vatican should be indicted.” We recognized that this was a criticism and not an attack on the Church and asked that Judge Conrad be treated with the same respect.
Frankenmuth, MI – The city council voted unanimously to retain the Thomas More Law Center to assist them in keeping a cross in their city shield and a cross in the city park. The city had come under attack by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, stating that the crosses violated church-state separation.
Clermont County, OH – The Clermont County Public Library banned quoting from the Bible in its community room. A couple had planned to use it for a financial planning seminar, but were told by library employees that the library’s policy would not permit them to use the room because they would be using the Bible during the seminar.
On August 14, a federal court ruled that a library couldn’t stop a conservative Christian organization from meeting inside the library’s meeting room. The library prohibited the Christian-based group from activities in the meeting room because they were quintessentially religious” and had the “inherent elements of a religious service.”
The Democratic Party credentialed offensive blog sites to cover the Democratic National Convention. The most offensive site that was credentialed was Bitch Ph.D.
On the home page of Bitch Ph.D., there was a picture of two children: one of them was shown flashing his middle finger. The lead post on August 17 was titled “Jesus Christ.” It began with, “I’m a really crappy Catholic who hasn’t been to mass in ages because most parishes around here ‘will insist on being aggressively anti-abortion….’” The writer then objected to some children’s toys on the grounds they were more offensive than desecrating the Eucharist. The toys were actually balloons that were made to depict Jesus in various poses, including a crucified Christ; one of the images showed Jesus with a penis. Several people commented on this image; some made patently obscene comments.
Another offensive blog site was Towleroad, a site that describes itself as “A Site with Homosexual Tendencies.” It had a post on Pope Benedict XVI that took him to task for wearing a cape with ermine. They proudly displayed profane and vulgar comments about the pope’s attire.
We called for these offensive blogs to be nixed from the Convention, saying, “To allow them access to the Democratic National Convention sends a message to Catholics they will not forget.”
August – November
Virginia – Keith Fimian, the Republican candidate for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, came under attack by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in a series of mailings and video clips; he was accused of “rolling back women’s rights,” and being “an officer of an organization that promotes a group so extreme they encourage women to be more submissive. The organization DCCC referred to is Legatus, a Catholic group of CEOs founded to bring their faith-based values to the workplace; Fimian belongs to Legatus.
In its campaign, the DCCC said that Legatus “promotes groups supporting a radical agenda.” That was an outright lie. In fact, Legatus does not promote any group. Like many organizations, it contains a “Links” section on its website that lists various sister organizations; as is customary, Legatus makes it clear that it does not necessarily endorse everything said on these outlets. The DCCC knew this, but chose to lie anyway.
The website that the DCCC referred to in its attacks is a Christian group called e5 Men; the biblical reference to women cited in the DCCC’s ad was taken out of context so as to embarrass Fimian.
We issued two news releases defending Fimian and called attention to the despicable acts of the DCCC. In the September 10 Washington Post, Bill Donohue was quoted as accusing the DCCC of lying about Fimian and misleading the public on Legatus.
In our releases we didn’t hold Fimian’s opponent, Gerald Connolly, responsible for the actions of the DCCC, but we requested that he denounce the anti-Catholic bigotry; Connolly, a Catholic, failed to do so, even though he was the beneficiary of the attacks.
We also called on the DCCC’s head, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to intervene and immediately stop these scurrilous ads.
Beaufort County, SC – Beaufort County Councilwoman Laura Von Harten blasted the Catholic Church for its strictures regarding the priesthood and its teachings on abortion. She took the occasion to vent at a scheduled hearing regarding a zoning request by a local Catholic church, St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton, South Carolina, that would allow it to expand. Several area residents quickly denounced her for her comments; when the vote was taken (which passed 6-0), she recused herself.
Von Harten ripped the Church for not allowing women priests and for its anti-abortion position (what she called “uterus rights”), saying they were “an affront to my dignity and all womankind.”
When we caught wind of Von Harten’s rant, we quickly issued a statement saying: “Without the slightest provocation, Laura Von Harten decided to bash Catholicism. This suggests an animus so deep as to call into question her fitness for public service. She should do more than recuse herself on matters Catholic—she should resign from her post as councilwoman.” We ended our news release stating, “There is no legitimate role for bigots in public life.”
The following is the text of Obama’s National Catholic Advisory Council’s letter to Bill Donohue:
Dear Mr. Donohue:
We write in our individual capacities and not on behalf of the campaign. Last week you labeled many of our friends, and some of us, as “Catholic dissidents” because we support Senator Obama.
Unlike the Catholic League, the U.S. Catholic Bishops advise careful consideration of candidates’ positions on a broad set of issues. While abortion and other life issues are of fundamental concern, the bishops teach that particular issues must not be misused “as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity” such as “racism and other unjust discrimination, the use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war, the use of torture, war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care or an unjust immigration policy” (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, #29). Our bishops go on to point out that “these are not optional concerns which can be dismissed.”
Across these issues Senator Obama offers much to the well-formed Catholic conscience, which helps explain why many Catholics are supporting him.
As Catholics, we view abortion as a profound moral issue. But what have nearly three decades of Republican promises to end abortion accomplished? Other aspects of the conservative Republican agenda have been carried out with fervor, such as weakening of the social-safety net, privatization, deregulation, destruction of labor unions, and belligerent and aggressive foreign policy. But ending abortion remains the perennial promise, one that is too often hijacked by partisan operatives who seek only to divide voters. Many Catholics are fed up with the divisive tactics and empty promises around this issue.
Senator Obama recognizes that abortion presents a profound moral challenge, tied in part to a loss of the sense of sacredness of sex and lack of parental involvement. On the campaign trail he regularly calls on parents to turn off the television and has called on fathers to meet their family responsibilities. Regrettably, these clips are not included in your press releases.
Senator Obama has also reached out to Americans on both sides of this issue and embraces practical proposals designed to reduce the number of abortions in this country, including comprehensive health care and sex education, better health care, economic support for women, and promoting alternatives like adoption.
Like other Americans, we have watched as many candidates brought to office on a so-called pro-life platform insisted on policies that have left the lives of millions more of our brothers and sisters at risk from war, uncontrolled pollution, deeper poverty, and a growing economic inequality.
Not this year.
This year, there are many Catholics—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—who won’t let that happen again.
We are proud to be counted among Senator Obama’s Catholic advisors. Collectively our experience spans decades of scholarship and service working for and with the Catholic Church on the broad set of issues under the “consistent ethic of life.”
We were drawn into the campaign by Senator Obama’s vision for the common good, his profound message of hope, and his ability to unite citizens across class, race, and even party lines. We are excited about his promise as president, and we commend him to our fellow Catholics.
Mr. Donohue, your work to fight legitimate cases of anti-Catholic bigotry in this country should be applauded. But when you smear other Catholics with whom you disagree, you betray your own cause. Our measure of what it means to be a “good” Catholic is not defined by the narrow pronouncements of partisan operatives; but rather by the rich teachings of our Church and our informed consciences.
HAGEE IN HIS OWN WORDS
The following are some of the offensive comments Pastor John Hagee made over the years prior to his apology to Catholics:
· “This is the Great Whore of Revelations 17. [Hagee is pointing to a picture of a woman on the back of a beast.] This is the anti-Christ system [pointing to the beast]. This is the apostate church [pointing to the woman again]. In this cup [the cup the woman is holding], if you will read it in the Book of Revelation, is the blood of the saints. This is talking principally about the blood of the Jewish people. Where from the crusades that happened back here [pointing to a place on a timeline], from the Spanish Inquisition, from the Holocaust. When Adolf Hitler came to power he said, ‘I’m not going to do anything in my lifetime that hasn’t been done by the Roman Church for the past 800 years, I’m only going to do it on a greater scale and more efficiently.’ And he certainly had done just exactly that. God has said, ‘I gave you the time to repent but you did not.’ You, this false cult system [pointing again to the woman and beast] that was born in Genesis 10 and progressed through Israel and became veiled worship. God says, ‘The day is going to come when I’m going to cause this beast to devour this apostate system.’ So you can see very clearly that while the Church is in Heaven, this false religious system is going to be totally devoured by the anti-Christ.” (From a video of Hagee discussing the Book of Revelation, available on YouTube)
· “There is no difference between the popular religious hatred of the Church Fathers and the Nazi hatred for the Jews, save the clerical robes of the religious princes and the Swastika arm bands of the Third Reich.” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
· “Anti-Semitism in Christianity began with the statements of the early church fathers, including Eusebius, Cyril, Chrysostom, Augustine, Origen, Justin, and Jerome…. This poisonous stream of venom came from the mouths of spiritual leaders to virtually illiterate congregants, sitting benignly in their pews, listening to their pastors. They labeled the Jews as ‘the Christ killers, plague carriers, demons, children of the devil, bloodthirsty pagans who look for an innocent child during the Easter week to drink his blood, money hungry Shylocks, who are deceitful as Judas was relentless.’” (Jerusalem Countdown, with a quote from, Should Christians Support Israel?)
· “The church fathers did not tell you who to kill; they told you who to hate!” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
· The Crusaders “were thieves and they were murderers who marched from Europe to Jerusalem. Who murdered, who robbed and raped the Jewish people coming and going because they had been forgiven by the pope in advance of their sin before they left Europe.” (“Southern Steps: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy”)
· “The Roman Catholic Church, which was supposed to carry the light of the gospel, plunged the world into the Dark Ages…. The brutal truth is that the Crusades were military campaigns of the Roman Catholic Church to gain control of Jerusalem from the Muslims and to punish the Jews as the alleged Christ killers on the road to and from Jerusalem.” (Jerusalem Countdown)
· “The Crusaders beheaded thousands of people. Others were shot with arrows. Infants were tossed into the air and caught on swords. Others were forced to jump from the towers of the city wall to their deaths…What Jews the Crusaders could not find were accused of having aided in the defense of the city [Jerusalem]. They were rounded up and taken to the synagogue. There the Crusaders locked them in the synagogue, set the synagogue on fire, and as they listened to men, women and children begging for their lives, screaming for mercy, the Crusaders marched around the synagogue singing ‘Christ, we adore thee.’” (“Southern Steps: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy”)
· “The Spanish Inquisition was perhaps the most cynical plot in the black history of Catholicism, aimed at expropriating the property of wealthy Jews and converts in Spain for the benefit of the royal court and the Roman Catholic Church.” (Jerusalem Countdown)
· “In the fanatical effort to determine who was truly a loyal Catholic and who was not, Jewish children were choked to death in the presence of their parents.” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
· “Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews.” (Jerusalem Countdown)
· “When Hitler came to power he dutifully followed…Roman Church policies.” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
· “It is to be noted that Hitler’s blood-purity rule in which Germans had to prove they had no Jewish blood for three generations was clearly formulated by the Roman Church in Spain five hundred years before Hitler came to power.” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
· “Adolf Hitler attended a Catholic school as a child and heard all the fiery anti-Semitic rantings from Chrysostom to Martin Luther. When Hitler became a global demonic monster, the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII never, ever slightly criticized him. Pope Pius XII, called by historians ‘Hitler’s Pope,’ joined Hitler in the infamous Concordat of Collaboration, which turned the youth of Germany over to Nazism, and the churches became the stage background for the bloodthirsty cry, ‘Pereat Judea.’” (Jerusalem Countdown)
· “Nazi legality was immensely strengthened by the concordat with the Vatican (July 20, 1933), an agreement that the Catholic Church had refused to grant the previous Weimar Republic. Hitler described the Concordat of Collaboration as an ‘unrestricted acceptance of National Socialism by the Vatican.’ Indeed it was, since it subordinated all of cultural and educational activities of the church to Nazi ideology and regimen. It began with the placing of Hitler’s portrait on the walls of all Catholic, parochial, and Sunday schools, and ended with the church bells ringing at every Nazi victory, including the arrest and transportation of the last Jew from every town and hamlet in Germany. The sell-out of Catholicism to Hitler began not with the people but with the Vatican itself…The German bishops followed the Vatican, represented by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pacelli, and later Pope Pius XII. The priests obeyed the bishops, and the parishioners fell in line.” (Jerusalem Countdown)
· “In all of his [Hitler’s] years of absolute brutality, he was never denounced or even scolded by Pope Pius XII or any Catholic leader in the world. To those Christians who believe that Jewish hearts will be warmed by the sight of the cross, please be informed—to them it’s an electric chair.” (Jerusalem Countdown)
· Hitler “simply enforced policies that had been approved by the church over the course of history and that remained the official policy of the church when the Nazi party came to power.” (In Defense of Israel)
· “Need we be reminded that the loving theology of the New Testament, as translated by the Roman church fathers, is what sponsored the Crusades, the Inquisition, and ultimately produced the Holocaust?” (In Defense of Israel)
· “Was Hitler a Christian? The Roman Catholic Church certainly thought so…” (Jerusalem Countdown)
· “The Nazis dismissed every Jew working in a civil service job in Germany. Overnight, thousands of Jews were without jobs. It was, once again, economic control of the Jews through the law and a reflection of a long-standing policy of the Catholic Church…. Hitler, the most notable example of anti-Semitism in the twentieth century, simply enforced policies that had been approved by the church over the course of history and that remained the official policy of the church when the Nazi party came to power.” (In Defense of Israel)
· “Where are the Jews of Spain? They were murdered in cold blood by the Roman Church! Where are the Jews of Portugal? They were murdered in cold blood by the Roman Church! Where are the Jews of Italy and France? They were murdered in cold blood by the Roman Church! Where are the Jews of Austria and Hungary? A Godless theology of hate that no one dared try to stop for a thousand years, produced a harvest of horror.” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
· “The venom of Christian hatred for the Jews reached its crescendo with the coming of Saint John Chrysostom (A.D. 345-407), known as the ‘bishop with the golden mouth.’ One of the first to describe the Jews as ‘killers of Christ,’ for centuries Chrysostom’s anti-Semitic venom was considered classic Roman church reading.” (Final Dawn Over Jerusalem)
· “The words of this honored clergyman [Chrysostom] rang in the ears of Christianity for 1600 years. ‘God hates you…and I hate you.’” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
· “The crusaders were, in fact, seasoned soldiers operating under a blanket of papal protection known as the indulgence…in other words, the crusaders could kill, maim, rape and steal from the Jews with impunity—and God would turn a blind eye to their sins.” (Final Dawn Over Jerusalem)
· “The Fourth Lateran Council met in November of 1215 in response to the call of pope Innocent III…The official Christian policy that came out of the Fourth Lateran Council was a formal declaration supporting the conduct of the Roman Church toward the Jews for centuries prior. It would be the officially approved standard of conduct for European Christians toward Jews until Adolf Hitler came to power.” (Should Christians Support Israel?)
HAGEE – McCAIN TIMELINE
The following is the timeline from John Hagee’s endorsement of John McCain to Hagee’s apology for his past anti-Catholicism.
February 27: Republican presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain appeared with Pastor John Hagee and embraced the endorsement of the anti-Catholic bigot. McCain proudly exclaimed he was “very honored by Pastor Hagee’s endorsement,” calling the minister, “the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement.”
February 28: “There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but not anti-Catholic. John Hagee is not one of them. Indeed for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system…’ Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee.”
—Bill Donohue on McCain’s embrace of John Hagee’s endorsement
February 29: “If Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama were fighting over the support of Louis Farrakhan, we’d say they’re nuts. So what are we to conclude about McCain’s embrace of Hagee, and Huckabee’s lament for not getting the bigot’s endorsement…McCain repudiated the remarks of talk radio host Bill Cunningham. He should now repudiate Hagee’s long record of bashing Catholicism.”
—Bill Donohue commenting on Mike Huckabee’s disappointment with Hagee’s endorsement of McCain
February 29: “[It] does not mean that I support or endorse or agree with some of the things that Pastor Hagee might have said or positions that he may have taken on other issues…In no way did I intend for his [Hagee’s] endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee’s views, which I obviously do not.”
—John McCain responding to the criticism surrounding the Hagee endorsement
February 29: “McCain’s latest response is helpful, if disappointing…Contrast McCain’s tepid response to what George W. Bush said…regarding his 2000 appearance at Bob Jones University. Bush said he did not approve of ‘the anti-Catholic and racially divisive views associated with that school…’ McCain will have other opportunities to address this issue. He would be well advised to model himself on Bush’s Bob Jones response if he wants to bury it altogether.”
—Bill Donohue comparing McCain’s tepid response to the concrete response from George W. Bush in 2000
February 29: “While John McCain certainly cannot be expected to defend or espouse the views of every individual who has thrown their support to him, McCain completely repudiates any and all remaining elements of anti-Catholicism in America today.”
—Senator Sam Brownback defending McCain
March 2: “I think they’re two very different situations. Pastor Hagee has done some very good things, particularly with regard to Israel and the support for Israel and denouncing terrorism in that area…His endorsement, I think, is for people who believe and work for him.”
—Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson comparing Hagee’s endorsement of McCain to Farrakhan’s endorsement of Obama
March 3: “Farrakhan has done some very good things too…yet no one is citing his good work as a justification for his bigoted comments. The same rule should apply to Hagee. We hope McCain gives us something concrete the next time he speaks to this issue. And we’d like to hear from him, not his surrogates.”
—Bill Donohue responding to Brownback and Hutchinson
March 3: “I am shocked and saddened to learn of the mischaracterization of my views on Catholics that has spread while I spent the weekend celebrating the 50th anniversary of my entry into the ministry with family and friends.”
—John Hagee’s statement on this issue
March 3: “Did we also mischaracterize Hagee when he called my religion ‘The Great Whore,’ the ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ’ and a ‘false cult system’? McCain cannot ignore Hagee’s lies any more than he can tolerate his bigotry. This is getting out of control.”
—Bill Donohue responding to Hagee’s statement
March 4: “The difference between the way Obama and McCain have handled their endorsements by bigots is enormous. Even worse, McCain actually solicited for Hagee’s endorsement. If Karl Rove is right to criticize Obama for not being strong enough in his denunciation of Farrakhan (which Obama explicitly did), what does that say about McCain’s response to Hagee’s endorsement? In short, Obama has set the bar for McCain. Whether he wants to clear it or walk away is his choice.”
—Bill Donohue responding to Karl Rove’s criticism of Obama’s repudiation of Farrakhan
March 4: “I’ve learned that some have accused me of referring to the Catholic Church as the ‘great whore,’ of Revelations. This is a serious misinterpretation of my words. When I refer to the ‘great whore,’ I am referring to the apostate church, namely those Christians who embrace the false cult system of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism.”
—An amended paragraph to John Hagee’s statement of March 3
March 4: “Anti-Catholic Protestants have long labeled the Catholic Church ‘The Great Whore,’ and no amount of spin can change that reality.”
—Bill Donohue responding to Hagee’s amendment
March 5: “If McCain was right to slam Bob Jones in 2000, why is he letting Hagee off the hook now? In fact, when Bush did apologize for his visit to Bob Jones (he was explicit and forceful in his denunciation of the school), McCain criticized him for taking so long. He said, if ‘you don’t say anything until three weeks later, then you have—are—abandoning your role as a—as a person.’”
—Bill Donohue comparing McCain’s reaction to the Hagee controversy with his reaction to Bush’s speech at Bob Jones University in 2000
March 6: “No one should take from my criticism of McCain on this issue that I in any way think he is anti-Catholic. If anything, John McCain has been a good friend to Catholics. But he and his staff have, thus far, grossly mishandled this issue.”
—Bill Donohue on McCain’s poor judgment regarding the Hagee endorsement
March 6: “Pastor Hagee endorsed me. That does not mean I endorse everything Pastor Hagee said. All I can say is lots and lots of people endorse me. That means they embrace my ideas and positions. It does not mean I endorse them.”
—John McCain when asked about the Hagee controversy while in Georgia
March 7: “Fortunately for McCain, he did not shut the door and say this matter is over. But time is running out. We expect to hear a more definitive statement that explicitly rejects Hagee’s anti-Catholicism…It is one thing for a candidate to disagree with the Catholic position on certain public policy issues, quite another to break bread with an anti-Catholic bigot.”
—Bill Donohue on McCain’s steadfast tepidness
March 7, evening: “We’ve had a dignified campaign, and I repudiate any comments that are made, including Pastor Hagee’s, if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics…I sent two of my children to Catholic school. I categorically reject and repudiate any statement that was made that was anti-Catholic, both in intent and nature. I categorically reject it, and I repudiate it.”
—John McCain when interviewed by the Associated Press
March 10: “Sen. McCain has done the right thing and we salute him for doing so. As far as the Catholic League is concerned, this case is closed.”
—Bill Donohue, in response to McCain’s repudiation of Hagee’s anti-Catholic comments
May 12: “I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful. After engaging in constructive dialogue with Catholic friends and leaders, I now have an improved understanding of the Catholic Church, its relation to the Jewish faith, and the history of anti-Catholicism.”
—An excerpt from Hagee’s letter to Bill Donohue
May 12: “Pastor John Hagee has demonstrated an improved understanding of the Catholic Church and its history….The tone of Hagee’s letter is sincere. He wants reconciliation and he has achieved it. Indeed, the Catholic League welcomes his apology. What Hagee has done takes courage and quite frankly I never expected him to demonstrate such sensitivity to our concerns. But he has done just that.”
—Bill Donohue commenting on Hagee’s letter of apology
The following is the text of Pastor John Hagee’s letter of apology to Bill Donohue:
Dear Mr. Donohue,
Insofar as some of my past statements regarding the Roman Catholic Church have raised concerns in your community, I am writing in a spirit of mutual respect and reconciliation to clarify my views.
Out of a desire to advance greater unity among Catholics and Evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful. After engaging in constructive dialogue with Catholic friends and leaders, I now have an improved understanding of the Catholic Church, its relation to the Jewish faith, and the history of anti-Catholicism.
In my zeal to oppose anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its ugly forms, I have often emphasized the darkest chapters in the history of Catholic and Protestant relations with the Jews. In the process, I may have contributed to the mistaken impressions that the anti-Jewish violence of the Crusades and the Inquisition defines the Catholic Church. It most certainly does not. Likewise, I have not sufficiently expressed my deep appreciation for the efforts of Catholics who opposed the persecution of the Jewish people. It is important to note that there were thousands of righteous Catholics—both clergy and laymen—who risked their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust. According to many scholars, including historian Martin Gilbert and Rabbi David Dalin (author ofThe Myth of Hitler’s Pope), Pope Pius XII personally intervened to save Jews.
In addition, I better understand that reference to the Roman Catholic Church as the “apostate church” and the “great whore” described in the Book of Revelation is a rhetorical device long employed in anti-Catholic literature and commentary.
I hope you recognize that I have repeatedly stated that my interpretation of Revelation leads me to conclude that the “apostate church” and the “great whore” appear only during the seven years of tribulation after all true believers—Catholic and Protestant—have been taken up to heaven. Therefore, neither of these phrases can be synonymous with the Catholic Church.
In recent decades, Catholics and Evangelicals of good will have worked together to defeat the evil of Communism, promote what Pope John Paul II called “a culture of life” that protects every human life from conception to natural death, honors the institution of marriage, and defends the rights of the poor.
As I wrote in my tribute to Pope Benedict XVI after President Bush welcomed him to the White House, he “spoke for all of us when he said that ‘any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted’ and called for Christian participation ‘in the exchange of ideas in the public square.’” Both Catholics and Evangelicals have been engaged in an effort to assert the primacy of faith and values in our increasingly secular society.
My profound respect for the Catholic people has been demonstrated in my own ministry. For example, when the Ursuline Sisters of San Antonio were on the verge of losing their home, our church bought the property for our school and allowed them to continue living in their home free of charge for twelve years. The sisters were part of the daily life of the school, walking the grounds and the hallways where the children would embrace them and hold their hands in friendship. The love of our school children for these sisters symbolized my own feelings as well. I pledge to address these sensitive subjects in the future with a greater level of compassion and respect for my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is this sense of Christian fellowship I hope to reestablish with Catholics with whom I and all Evangelicals must unite to be a voice for life, the family, marriage, and Christian values to our nation and the world.