A nominal Catholic brought up by irresponsible parents in a moral wasteland turns his back on his religion, converts to another, and commits treason. So in the eyes of the media, he’s Catholic. But not to us. Which is why we used this instance as a teaching moment.

We’re talking about John Walker, the American Taliban traitor. Bill Donohue calls him “Johnnie Walker Red.” The New York Post liked Donohue’s description so much they featured his news release on its celebrity page, Page Six.

Donohue was particularly peeved at the Houston Chronicle. In its December 4 headline on Walker it said, “Catholic teen molded into bloodied Taliban fighter.” It then commented on his “middle-class Catholic parents.”

“The first mistake,” Donohue informed the media, “is in thinking that Walker’s father is a practicing Catholic.” Donohue then laid bare the truth:

· Walker told the San Francisco Chronicle (12/5) that he was “raised Catholic,” suggesting he no longer is.

· Walker’s mother converted to Buddhism years ago (Sunday Telegraph, 12/17).

· As for Walker himself, it is hard to see how he can accurately be called Catholic when his own mother trained him in Native American spirituality and Buddhism (Boston Globe, 12/10) and encouraged him to dabble in Hinduism (Calgary Herald, 12/9).

· A friend of Ms. Walker said of her that she “opened all doors for her kids” in contrast to “dragging her kids into Catholicism like she’d been dragged into it” (Time, 12/17).

· Shelby Steele in the Wall Street Journal (12/10) remarked that Walker’s upbringing was anchored in the kind of “fashionable relativism” that “makes places like Marin County so cool.”

· In terms of formal religious training, John Walker had none. Not until he traveled to Pakistan to attend an Islamic school in the village of Bannu, that is (Washington Post, 12/3).

· As a matter of fact, he was home schooled by his Buddhist mother (Newsweek, 12/17), then went to Kensington-Parkwood Elementary School in Montgomery County (Washington Post, 12/4) and finally graduated from an “elite alternative high school where students are allowed to shape their own studies” (Newsweek, 12/17).

“In short,” Donohue exclaimed, “Johnnie Walker Red is no Catholic.” So what is he? Here’s Donohue’s answer: “He was raised by flower children and wound up a confused filthy hippy dippy treasonous lout.”

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