On Thursday, August 14, President Clinton is scheduled to speak on religious freedom. Invitations to the Rose Garden speech have been extended to many religious leaders, including Catholic League president William Donohue; Donohue plans to attend.

Today, Donohue explained why he hopes that President Clinton will address the controversy over the ABC show, “Nothing Sacred”; he sent a letter to the President on Friday asking him to speak to this issue. The following is the text of his letter:

“I am honored that I have been invited to attend your speech on religious liberty this Thursday and look forward to hearing your remarks. It is my hope that you will address the ABC show, ‘Nothing Sacred,’ which debuts on September 18. From the enclosed news releases, you can see why the Catholic League is so troubled by this program.

“On January 20, 1995, I published an open letter to you on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times registering my misgivings with your administration’s approach to Catholic sensibilities. However, more recently, I have written favorably of your support for religious liberty in the schools. In particular, your splendid 1995 memo to Janet Reno and Richard Riley, as well as your steadfast support in Agostini v. Felton, demonstrates your much appreciated concerns for the religious liberties of Catholics. And, of course, your courageous defense of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was noticed by many observers.

“Just this week, your wife spoke out against the pro-smoking image of Julia Roberts in ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding.’ It would be great if you, too, spoke out against another objectionable Hollywood portrayal, namely the exploitative and highly politicized depiction of Catholic priests in ‘Nothing Sacred.’”

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