Catalyst July/August Issue 2009, From The President's Desk
The first book that I wrote, The Politics of the American Civil Liberties Union, was published in 1985. The groundwork for that book had already been done: my NYU dissertation was on “Organizational Change Within the ACLU.” To write the book, I not only revised my dissertation, I added much new material and concentrated more on the ACLU’s political agenda.
That book helped to get me to The Heritage Foundation a few years later, and it was there that I wrote a book on contemporary social problems, The New Freedom: Individualism and Collectivism in the Social Lives of Americans. I returned to La Roche College in Pittsburgh where I wrote Twilight of Liberty: The Legacy of the ACLU. All of my books were published by Transaction Press, and were it not for Transaction’s founder, Irving Louis Horowitz, my career would not have been the same.
Since becoming president of the Catholic League in 1993, I have written hundreds of articles and several chapters in books. I have also granted an endless number of TV, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews. Despite many offers to write a book, I always turned them down, citing my crazy work demands. But then a few years back I was interviewed by Deal Hudson about a book he was doing on the political implications of Catholics and evangelicals working together. My responses to his questions flowed out of me so easily that I reconsidered my reasons for not writing a book.
The book I began to write was an exploration of the social and cultural reasons why religious conservatives were coming together. When it was done, it was a huge, uncoordinated mess, the product of someone too preoccupied with other matters (e.g, running the Catholic League). Not only that, I fell back on my professorial mode, writing a book that may have had an appeal to academics, but not to the reading public. In other words, my agent and prospective publisher were not all that impressed.
What did they want that would make them happy? They wanted the Bill Donohue they saw on TV: provocative and unyielding. They wanted something hot. I got the message. In no time at all, I changed the entire focus of the book (it would no longer be about Catholics and evangelicals), and made substantial additions and deletions. I told Loretta Barrett, my agent, that the new book was so hot that she had better be wearing gloves when turning the pages.
The result is Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America. I chose the title, and Harry Helm, my editor at Hachette, offered the subtitle. It will be available on September 2, the Wednesday before Labor Day; an “open access” version, a large print edition, electronic book and an audio version will be available, as well as a hardbound copy. In the next edition of Catalyst, information about obtaining discounted copies will be published.
The thesis of the book is quite simple: the radicals of old, namely the Marxists, wanted to tear down society and replace it with something new; today’s radicals just want to tear it down—they are nihilists, out to annihilate our social and cultural heritage. This should sound familiar to Catholic League members.
The book covers such topics as multiculturalism, sexuality, the arts, Hollywood, constitutional law and politics. Peppered with Catholic League anecdotes throughout, it shows how secular saboteurs have targeted Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, for devastation. There is also a chapter on how Catholic dissidents have sought to destroy Catholicism, and another on how Protestant dissidents have sought to sunder their religion. Quite frankly, I spare no one.
Like most of you, I’ve had it. I’ve had it with mean-spirited secular activists out to turn our society and culture inside out and upside down. They will stop at nothing to smash our traditions, norms and values, making mince meat out of our Judeo-Christian heritage. Like termites, they eat away at the cultural edifice of our society. Some, perversely, are working to sabotage their own religion. They must be stopped because there is too much at stake.
Never in my lifetime have I seen our society more under attack than it is today. And I don’t mean from abroad, although that threat is all too real. I mean from within. A frontal assault on everything we hold dear has been underway for decades, reaching a crescendo in the first part of the 21st century. This includes mutiny within Catholicism and Protestantism, the result of which has been an array of scandals. From the classroom to the arts, from legal activists to Hollywood, our way of life is being altered right before our eyes. Indeed, it is being disfigured.
Too many Americans have become complacent, sitting back as if they were impotent spectators. The good news is that most of them know in their heart of hearts that something has gone awry. It is my hope that Secular Sabotage will open their eyes and light a fire under their behinds.