Seattle, WA – A local restaurant, Lunch Laboratory, created an advertising campaign that showed Jesus smoking marijuana and eating a cheeseburger. The advertisement read, “Buy One Burger of the Gods & Get the 2nd One Free! On Easter Sunday.” A thought bubble above Jesus’ head read “When I get back, all I want is the Burger of the Gods.” There is a menu item named “Burger of the Gods.”
Tide released a new commercial for their detergent titled “Dirty Little Habit” featuring a nun in a convent. The nun in full habit says “I’ve had a dirty little habit for years. I didn’t even know it was dirty, it didn’t look dirty, although it did start to smell a little funny.”
The nun is shown standing by herself. Other nuns in full habit walk away from her. The nun says it was not her habit that was dirty, but “the machine, it was filthy.” She says “I was a dirty little washer.” At this point the nun is shown looking towards the sky and a sound effect implies that she receives some kind of divine intervention/inspiration.
The nun then talks about Tide detergent and says she uses it monthly to “smell divine.” Then she is shown playing croquet and interacting with the other nuns.
October 29 – November 3
A few days before Halloween, Walmart, in deference to plus-size women, decided to pull a line of “Fat Girl Costumes.” That inspired us to see how the store treated Catholics. Here is a list of the Catholic costumes made available by Walmart:
Jesus; Joseph; Mary; Virgin Mary; Monk; Cardinal; Priest; Nun; Saint; Joan of Arc; Pope; Angel; Adult Confessional; Adam and Eve; Catholic School; School Girl (the last two feature “Sexy Miss Prep School Girl” costumes).
Most of these costumes, we determined, were not in bad taste. There were three, however, that crossed the line: “Scary Mary Adult Halloween Costume” came with a mask of Our Blessed Mother showing blood dripping from her eyes; “Adult Evil Religious Nun Scary Men’s Halloween Costume” showed a nun in habit wearing a mask with a skeleton’s face; and, “Adult Confessional Costume” featured a priest with a mock confessional unit over his head extending to his waist (his face was shown in the middle of the confessional box).
Not wanting to be hypersensitive, we asked Walmart to pull the three offensive costumes, not registering an objection about the others. At first, we got nowhere. But we persisted, making the case that Walmart had no problem pulling the “Fat Girl” wear, or apologizing to women who were offended. We also noted that the few Jewish costumes were inoffensive, and there were no Muslim outfits.
On Halloween, we received notice that Walmart was going to pull the three costumes in question, though by the weekend it had yet to do so. When we returned to work on November 3, they were gone. It is safe to say they will not be reordered for next Halloween.
Here is what Walmart said about the offensive Catholic outfits: “This never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologize. We have removed it and ensure this never happens again.”
Orange City, FL – A 70-year old man went to his Planet Fitness gym wearing a T-shirt that said, “Abortion Kills a Person.” Although he has worn the shirt many times before, this time he was told to leave. The next day he showed up wearing a shirt that read, “Pray to End Abortion.” He was booted again.
Planet Fitness’ mission statement says “We at Planet Fitness are here to provide a unique environment in which anyone—and we mean anyone—can be comfortable.” The mission statement also says, “As we evolve and educate ourselves, we will seek to perfect this safe, energetic environment, where everyone feels accepted and respected.”
A few weeks before this incident, Chris Rondeau, the CEO of Planet Fitness, was asked about bringing his franchise to Canada. “What’s your culture like?” His response was precious: “Very strong. The ‘judgment free zone’ is really true to everyone’s heart. That is the most important in my eyes because once you believe in it, you’ll always do the right thing for the customer.” Planet Fitness’ mission statement and ‘judgment free zone’ did not apply when it came to the pro-life t-shirts.
Designer Tom Ford introduced a new piece to his jewelry line. Called “The Penis Necklace,” the charm is a penis in the shape of a cross. It was available in three sizes.
POLITICS OF THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
The New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade is as Catholic as it is Irish: it begins with a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Over 200,000 march in the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade, and they have been doing so every year since 1762. Those who truly believe in diversity and tolerance love the parade for what it is—a celebration of St. Patrick and Irish heritage. That some want to deny Irish Catholics their constitutional rights, when no one is stopping them from having their own parade, is a sad commentary on the state of our culture.
On June 19, 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade was a privately run operation that could write its own rules for participation. Writing for the high court, Justice David Souter noted that gays and lesbians had never been barred from marching in the parade; they were banned from marching under their own banners. The court’s unanimous ruling was a victory for the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly.
Once this decision was reached, gay and lesbian groups in many cities, including New York, were angry, and some tried, unsuccessfully, to march without a permit on the same day as the big parade. The protests quickly fizzled: only a very small contingent of gays and lesbians showed up in subsequent years. In 2014 the fight was rekindled, thanks to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: he did not march in the parade because gays and lesbians couldn’t march under their own banner. Other public officials followed suit.
It must be noted that the organizers of the parade, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, did not allow pro-life Catholics to march under their own banners. Nor were NRA Catholics allowed. But just as gays could march, so could pro-lifers and NRA members: they simply must blend in like everyone else. No one feels victimized save for homosexuals.
Besides the huge march up Fifth Avenue, there are also many local St. Patrick’s Day parades; they are usually held on the weekends prior to the big one. On March 2, Mayor de Blasio marched in the Sunnyside, Queens “St. Pat’s for All” parade, organized by gay Catholics. He looked lovely with his arm around Pandora Panti Bliss, an Irish drag queen. In one sense, this was a plus: it showed exactly what the goal of these gay activists is. They do not want to honor St. Patrick—they want to draw attention to themselves.
Mayor de Blasio looked even more foolish when his spokesman said the reason his boss would not march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Rockaways, also in Queens, held the day before the Sunnyside one, was because gays were banned from marching in their own unit. This was false—they can. For the same reason, the mayor also didn’t march in the parade held on Staten Island, though the ban on a separate gay contingent didn’t stop him from marching as a public official before he became mayor.
Adding to de Blasio’s confused approach to the St. Patrick’s Day parade was his decision to cancel the annual breakfast at Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence. Bill Donohue publicly accused the mayor of not wanting to associate with Irish Catholics; apparently such criticism had an effect because the breakfast was later reinstated.
What was particularly disturbing about this contrived controversy is the reaction of gay activists and public officials. The Stonewall Democrats accused the parade of “breathing hate.” The following levied the charge “bigoted” at the parade: City Councilman Daniel Patrick Dromm; Irish Queers; the Irish Independent; and Denis Hamill of the Daily News. Moreover, dozens of New York notables signed a statement accusing the parade of discrimination.
People such as Brendan Fay, an Irish gay activist, Niall O’Dowd of Irish Central, and even Father Brian Jordan OFM, proposed various “solutions” and attempts to “mediate” this issue. But there was nothing to solve: they lost. They lost in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in the court of public opinion. Quite frankly, there was nothing to mediate with those who are bent on crashing the parade. If there is any doubt about this, consider that the organizers of the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade approved a bid for what they thought was a gay veterans’ group, but had to rescind their invitation after they found out they were lied to: it was not a legitimate veterans group, and the marchers intended to wear gay T-shirts.
On the evening of March 16, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness announced that it was pulling its sponsorship of New York’s parade because gays were allegedly banned from marching. Heineken also pulled their sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade; the Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams, withdrew its sponsorship of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, though the latter two did so further in advance.
This 11th hour decision, which angered pub owners who had already stocked their bars with Guinness, was based on a lie: contrary to what Guinness said, gays had never been banned from the parade; they simply could not march under their own banner. The timing, the reason given, and the punitive response, explains why the Catholic League called for a boycott of Guinness.
In just the first week alone, 82 media outlets reported on our boycott of Guinness. From Australia and England, to Canada and the United States, the boycott story was picked up by TV, radio, newspapers, and the Internet. And that was just the beginning.
We heard from bishops in Peru, cardinals in Rome, pub owners in cities across the nation, chapters of the Knights of Columbus, men and women from many ethnic and religious groups—they had it with the corporate bullies at Guinness.
The Catholic League also launched a petition on our website, and printed a copy of the petition in the May Catalyst. The petition read:
Gays have never been barred from marching in any St. Patrick’s Day parade—they simply cannot march under their own banner. Neither can pro-life Catholics. The message of the St. Patrick’s Day parade is simple: it is to honor St. Patrick. It is not about any other cause. That’s why we have parades that celebrate other causes: it’s called respect for diversity.
In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 to sustain the right of private parade organizers to determine their own rules for participation. If this ruling were otherwise, then groups that seek to veto the message of any parade would be allowed to march, thus undercutting the purpose of the parade. This would effectively kill freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Guinness is showing its disrespect for diversity, its support for intolerance, and its contempt for the First Amendment rights of everyone associated with the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Make no mistake about it, Guinness chose to boycott this parade because of its quintessentially Catholic nature: radicals who hate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church fingered this parade because of its religious significance.
If Guinness reinstates its sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, this campaign will end. Until it does, I support the Catholic League’s boycott of Guinness.
Bill Donohue sent a letter to three top officials at Diageo-Guinness in Norwalk, Connecticut, and three others in London, England. In the letter, Donohue outlined how “The decision to withdraw sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is not being welcomed by Catholics, especially Irish Catholics; we are also impressed by the number of non-Catholics who have expressed their support for our boycott.” Donohue also placed an emphasis on how there were no new rules implemented this year that made the parade differ from parades that occurred in the past.
The Catholic League contacted over 300 divisions of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, 7000 members of the Knights of Columbus from 1500 councils across all 50 states, over 200 beer distributors, all 14 regional offices of the Holy Name Society, as well as over 100 of its officers. Additionally, we reached out to 175 Catholic War Veterans posts across the country, and over 1800 pub owners from all across the country. Each group was informed about the boycott and asked to join.
After 3 months the Catholic League conducted an online survey of pub owners in several cities and the results were as follows:
- 75 reported a decrease in sales
- 24 reported no difference in sales
- 4 reported an increase in sales
From what we were able to determine, it appeared that the decrease in sales was due to three factors: (a) there is a drop off in sales following St. Patrick’s Day (b) the increase in the sales of craft beers is hurting Guinness and (c) the boycott worked. Here is a sample of the responses:
- “April-May 2014: We sold 1,030 pints; April-May 2013: We sold 1,245 pints”
- “I have switched to other stouts”
- “Holding back on buying Guinness”
- “Our sales are down 3-4%”
- “I was gonna pull Guinness but instead I put Murphy’s in beside it”
- “I own 12 bars in Manhattan and I will let you know that we are disgusted with Guinness”
- “My Guinness sales have declined by about 40%”
- “I sold my stock in Diageo when I first heard the news”
We notified officials at Diageo, the owner of Guinness, of our results. We also sent them the thousands of names of those who signed our petition.
In September the decision by the organizers of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade to allow an NBC gay group to march in the 2015 parade was announced.
Prior to the announcement that a gay group would march under its own banner in the 2015 parade, Donohue was consulted by parade organizers about their plans and told them that he could only support this decision if there were a formal revision in the parade’s rules governing marching units, and that is exactly what he said in his first public statement about the decision. To be specific, he asked them to pledge that a pro-life Catholic group would also be permitted and was told that a formal change in the rules had been approved and that a pro-life group would march. After the gay group was announced he was told that the list of marching units was set and that no pro-life group would march in the 2015 parade. Accordingly, Donohue decided to withdraw the Catholic League’s participation.
The Catholic League, which has marched in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 20 years, will not do so in 2015.