On August 29, Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers addressed a crowd of wealthy businessmen at a luncheon hosted by the Suburban Rotary Club of Omaha.  Chambers, who is black, attacked the Catholic Church before an all white audience.  “The Catholic Church is more effective as a criminal enterprise than the mafia,” said Chambers.

Catholic League president William Donohue commented as follows:

“Ernie Chambers is an anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, racist state senator who hates America.  Here’s the proof: he has engaged in the most virulent anti-Catholic remarks while opposing school vouchers; he has disfigured Catholic devotional objects and distributed them to his colleagues; he has been denounced by several leading Jews for his anti-Semitic remarks; his comments regarding white people have earned him the label ‘one of the biggest racists in Omaha’; he has been crassly dismissive over 9-11 saying, ‘It didn’t affect me at all’; and he has accused President Bush of being a drunken moral coward who is bent on starting World War Three.

“This is the kind of man welcomed by the Rotarians in Omaha.  I have written to Edwin H. Futa, general secretary of Rotary International in Evanston, Illinois, and to Peggy Carrell, executive secretary of the Rotary Club of Omaha, asking if Chambers’ comments are ‘the kind of sentiment [that] accurately reflects the position of your organization.’  I asked this question because it was at the August 29 Rotary luncheon that Chambers lashed out at Catholics and made his disparaging remarks about the horror of 9-11.  An AP story said the crowd was ‘unfazed’ by Chambers’ remarks.

“All of which suggests that these Rotarians are bigots: either they’re anti-Catholic or anti-black.  Regarding the latter charge, only some smug white racists would allow someone like Chambers to entertain them and then feign appreciation for his act.  Chambers, of course, isn’t bright enough to know that the white boys are laughing at him.  But either way, we want an answer from the Rotarian leadership.”

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