THE DEEPEST BIAS
Catalyst November Issue 2000
When Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. said anti-Catholicism was America’s “deepest bias,” he might have had in mind the extent to which well-educated people feel right at home expressing their bigotry towards Catholics. That’s what comes to mind when we ran across an issue of Booklist that took due note of an anti-Catholic book, and yet failed to show outrage.
Booklist is published by the American Library Association and is thus relied upon by thousands of librarians as a guide in making new acquisitions. In the June 1 & 15 edition, there was a review of a new book by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy entitled, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the “Original Jesus” a Pagan God? The reviewer, Steven Schroeder, opened his remarks by admitting that the book was anti-Catholic. But the worst he could say about this was that the bigotry of the authors’ “diatribe” (his words) was “distracting.”
On August 21, William Donohue wrote to Bill Ott, the editor and publisher of Booklist to know his thoughts on this matter. “Specifically,” Donohue asked, “I would like to know how Booklist treats books that are patently anti-Jewish, anti-black or anti-gay. Has there ever been a diatribe against Jews, blacks or gays that was reviewed in Booklist and was treated in this manner? If so, please send me a copy of the review. If not, I’d like to know what’s going on.”
Ott has not answered Donohue’s letter of August 21. Perhaps if Catholic League members bombard him with letters, he’ll be jolted out of his comfort zone. Write to him at Booklist, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611.