Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the reaction to Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

Most critics of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh are not anti-Catholic, but some are. We know this because both political parties have had their fair share of anti-Catholics—at every level of government—and they are not shy about flaunting their bigotry. In the case of Kavanaugh, it is the Democrats who bear watching.

Some of Kavanaugh’s critics are trying to get out in front of this issue by attacking those who protest anti-Catholicism, making them sound like some kind of well-greased cabal. Sarah Posner, writing on the website of the Nation magazine, makes the most lengthy effort to date.

Her article, “The ‘Anti-Catholic’ Playbook,” begins by asking, “Does Brett Kavanaugh think abortion should be illegal? A secret network of right-wing activists has spent millions attacking such questions as anti-religious bigotry.”

Posner further describes this campaign as a “tight-knit network” that will intimidate probing senators: instead of doing their job, they will “instead pull their punches, fearing ferocious, well-funded attacks that deliberately misrepresent such scrutiny as signs of anti-religious bias.” Of particular concern to her are issues such as abortion, LGBT rights, and church-state separation.

Posner mentions several organizations that allegedly make up this “secret” and “well-funded” network, beginning with the Catholic League.

I happen to know most of the people Posner mentions, but the fact of the matter is I have not spent one minute discussing Kavanaugh with any of them. We prize our autonomy at the Catholic League, and while I have worked cooperatively with many of those mentioned in the article, I have not done so in recent years.

In other words, this “secret” network was so closely guarded that it was kept secret from me. Moreover, the Catholic League has not received a dime from any of the sources cited by Posner.

Posner is a conspiracy monger. When Cardinal Timothy Dolan agreed to give the closing benediction at the 2012 Republican National Convention, she said his acceptance “solidifies a partisan partnership between the GOP and the Bishops.” She failed to mention—it would bust her conspiracy—that Dolan said he would be happy to close the Democratic National Convention as well.

Posner is also wrong to say that organizations such as the Catholic League consider those who might question Kavanaugh about the legality of abortion are guilty of “anti-religious bigotry.” Nonsense. Just as some who are critical of Israel are anti-Semites, and some who champion abortion rights are anti-Catholic, it is unfair to say that all those who take such positions are bigots. In other words, this is another one of Posner’s straw men.

If anti-Catholicism emerges at the Kavanaugh hearings, we will address it, but hopefully that will not happen.

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