Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on ads run by an atheist organization:
Being an atheist does not necessarily mean being anti-Christian, but being an atheist organization, especially these days, means exactly that. It’s how they survive—by bashing Christians. Their favorite target, of course, is the Catholic Church.
Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is one of the most Christian-hating atheist organizations in the nation. It advertises its hate speech on billboards, the internet, radio, television, and in newspapers. With rare exception, it chooses liberal-left venues. That is quite revealing. Of course, not all of those who are left-of-center are haters, but when it comes to those who harbor an animus against religion, they are found almost exclusively on the left.
In the October 15 presidential primary debate of Democratic contenders, FFRF ran two ads featuring “unabashed atheist” Ron Reagan. Choosing an audience of mostly Democrats was a smart move. A Pew poll that was recently released found that college-educated young Democrats were joining the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated faster than any other segment of the population; they would be the most likely to be attracted to an FFRF ad.
Ron Reagan said he was “alarmed by the intrusion of religion into our secular government.” He provided no examples (examples of the opposite—government encroaching on religion—are easily found on the Catholic League’s website). He also bragged how he is “not afraid of burning in hell.” Good luck with that.
The station that carried the ad, CNN, is no longer considered a moderate cable network, having moved decisively to the left. By contrast, CBS, ABC, and NBC, are more moderate: they will not run FFRF attack ads.
Rachel Maddow is the most popular left-wing talk-show anchor on television. It figures that FFRF would choose her MSNBC-TV show to advertise on more than any other. The atheist organization also likes to strut its hate speech on Comedy Central, especially Trevor Noah’s show. There is no network that attacks Catholics more than Comedy Central, and Noah has contributed mightily to it.
Stephen Colbert is host to late-night TV’s Trump-hating audience, a segment of the population that is not exactly known to be religion-friendly. Predictably, FFRF likes to advertise on his show. “Morning Joe” is another show that appeals to those on the left, and it is also home to FFRF ads.
The New York Times is known as the gold standard of liberal-left commentary, and is therefore a perfect spot for FFRF. We counted over a dozen full-page ads placed in the Times by FFRF. Other newspapers that it uses are the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer, both of which attract a liberal-left readership.
The content of the ads is the best index of FFRF’s mind-set.
Religious liberty is something FFRF disdains. In 2014, when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, affirming religious liberty, FFRF not only set off the alarms, it reverted back to its anti-Catholic bigotry by condemning the “all-Roman Catholic majority” on the high court. Its ads ran in several liberal newspapers, reserving its big bucks for a color ad in the New York Times.
Donald Trump is one of the most religion-friendly presidents in American history. To prove that he is, FFRF wasted no time attacking him. It did so over a month before he took office. “Washington, D.C. is about to be overrun by zealots. The Religious Wrong will soon control all three branches of government.” Why a theocracy has not taken root by now remains unexplained.
Whenever a pope visits the U.S., it’s a sure bet that FFRF will go bonkers. The visit by Pope Francis in 2015 was no exception. FFRF placed its demagogic ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Its “Global Warning” ad accused the pope of imposing Catholic doctrine on the nation. How did he manage to do this? By addressing a joint session of the Congress.
FFRF loves abortion. This is not an exaggeration. How else to characterize an organization whose co-founder, Anne Nicol Gaylor, wrote a book titled, Abortion Is A Blessing?
It was hardly surprising, then, to read a New York Times ad this past June that warned how “Emboldened Christian Nationalists are ramping up their relentless, religiously motivated war on reproductive rights.” Who are these people? The ad identifies them as “fundamentalist Protestants and Roman Catholic zealots.” They are “ruthlessly trying to inflict their punitive religious views upon the rest of us.”
While FFRF despises evangelical Protestants, it saves it biggest guns for Catholics. “Value Children over Dogma: It’s Time to Leave the Catholic Church.” This ad is part of its “Quit the Catholic Church” campaign. Another ad reads, “It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church,” beckoning “Liberal” and “Nominal” Catholics to seize “your moment of truth.” It sure knows its audience. In Times Square it also ran a billboard saying, “Quit the Church. Put Women’s Rights Over Bishops Wrongs.”
Loving abortion and hating Catholicism certainly go hand in hand, so we can’t argue with FFRF about that. It should know—it is Exhibit A.