Sheryl McCarthy, columnist for the Long Island daily Newsday, had an article in the October 24 edition of the newspaper that provided a classic example of anti-Catholic bigotry. It was so bad we decided that a new strategy was needed.
We mailed a copy of McCarthy’s article to every bishop in the nation and to all 235 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. With regard to the latter group, we asked the English department chairs to distribute copies of this column to professors of journalism. “Catholic students need to know how anti-Catholic bigotry has been mainstreamed,” William Donohue said, “and no one offers a better example than Sheryl McCarthy’s piece of October 24.”
McCarthy had some cute ideas about Halloween costumes. Her list of characters included Martha Stewart, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Kenneth Lay, Lizzie Grubman, Michael Bloomberg and Johnnie Cochran. There was one entry that was not a character: it was a group.
“A Catholic priest’s costume would also be a crowd pleaser this year,” McCarthy said, “replete with clerical collar and a lascivious grin.” Donohue picked up on this by commenting, “Notice she wants a bin Laden and a Hussein costume but not a Muslim one. That’s because McCarthy has learned that it is wrong to generalize from the individual to the collective. Except for priests. They deserve it—all 46,000 of them. Never mind that a whopping two-thirds of one percent of priests have had to step aside awaiting an investigation of charges against them, McCarthy says it’s time to stick it to them all.”
Donohue noted that McCarthy “is sensitive to others.” He quoted her saying, “Some characters would be in bad taste for Halloween costumes. There should be no suicide bombers with dynamite strapped to their waists, and no Beltway snipers carrying rifles and cell phones.” But “what is not in bad taste,” Donohue said, “is to mock priests as perverts, even though 99 and a third percent of them are not even being questioned about sexual misconduct.”
What McCarthy did was classic bigotry, plain and simple.