On the July 11 episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher discussed the Hobby Lobby case that the U.S. Supreme Court recently decided. Here is an excerpt:
• “…but the five Catholic men on the Supreme Court agreed with Hobby Lobby that those women who have pleasure sex should be saddled with a baby.”
• “And those five Catholic men on the Supreme Court, they know that God loves every tiny spec of human life, every single sperm from the moment it leaves the penis, until it tries to sneak into America. Then you’re on your own.”
• “…the five Catholic men on the Supreme Court they decided that, I think, that Catholic doctrine trumps federal law.”
• “I just think that it’s a little suspicious that its five Catholic men, and the Catholics do the thing about ejaculating. They do.”
The real problem is HBO and its parent company, Time Warner. Over the last year, the top brass at Time Warner has been bombarded with letters of protest from cardinals, bishops, priests, and religious. Moreover, thousands of lay Catholics have registered their outrage with letters and emails. For several months, Maher toned down his anti-Catholic rhetoric, but now he is back.
The big mistake was allowing Maher to get away with his bigotry because he is a “comedian.” A bigot is a bigot, and it matters not a whit whether he delivers his venom with a smile. It was also a mistake to say that Maher treats all religions with equal derision: he manifestly does not.
More important, it is his meanness, and obscenities, that separate him from the likes of Mel Brooks and Don Rickles. Those men had real talent, and while they poked fun at everyone, they rarely crossed the line. The same cannot be said about Maher.
Almost as bad as Maher are his guests, many of whom are quite well known. They sit there and allow him to riff on priests non-stop. Some laugh with him, while others appear nervous. We know it is his show, and we don’t expect a confrontation, but surely someone could say something to him, at least off the air. We know of no such instance.