American Atheists has announced that on January 27 it will greet Pope John Paul II with a protest when he is in St. Louis. Saying that the pope is a “very real threat” to separation between church and state, American Atheists commented that “They [Catholics] want non-adherents to support their schools, they advocate and promote prejudice and bigotry toward Atheists, gays, and other minorities, and they are buying up American hospitals in order to limit or eradicate women’s health services.” For these reasons, they argue that the U.S. should withdraw the diplomatic status it has with the Vatican.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, remarked as follows:

“Having been fleeced of $629,500 by their founder and former hero, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the struggling American Atheists are now lecturing Catholics once again. Catholics do not want the public to support their schools but it would be sweet if the bureaucrats would simply allow Catholic parents to use their tax money to fund schools of their choice. Catholic hospitals are buying up community hospitals, and this is something that all champions of human rights should applaud, if not fund.

“Any scholar worth his salt knows that Catholic prejudice and bigotry against gays is a red herring. The crack about Catholics being bigoted against atheists is even more absurd: Catholics don’t hate atheists, they just ignore them. Would that atheists do likewise, but, of course, they can’t: to ignore Catholics would gut their identity, an identity that was forged by their Commander-in-Thief, Madalyn Murray O’Hair.”

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