Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on remarks made last night by MSNBC host Keith Olbermann:
Keith Olbermann went on an extended rant against Tea Party-backed candidates, and one of his targets was Ron Johnson, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin. Olbermann said Johnson “testified against toughening laws on pedophiles and employers who shield them. He argued this could damage a business. A business like the Catholic Church.”
Here are the facts. Johnson, a Lutheran, once sat on the finance board of the Diocese of Green Bay. Earlier this year, he testified against a bill that would relax the statute of limitations on cases involving the sexual abuse of minors.
If Olbermann is opposed to the uniform application of civil liberties—statutes of limitations are central to them—he is entitled to do so, but not without explaining his preference for selective justice. Nonetheless, it is troubling to listen to him indict someone who, in this instance, stood for the rights of the accused. In every state where a bill has been introduced on this subject that applies equally to the private and public sectors, the teachers’ unions and superintendents have uniformly opposed them. But Olbermann would never target them.
Since Olbermann is not interested in civil liberties for Catholics, he may want to rethink his criticism of Johnson. Bending to pressure from SNAP, the professional victims’ group, Johnson came out last month urging the Diocese of Green Bay to release the names of accused priests; it is striking that he did not make a similar request of any other religious or secular group. In this instance, the MSNBC host and Johnson are on the same page: they want one rule for Catholics, and one for everyone else. It is only Olbermann, though, who is known for his Catholic-bashing tirades.