You may recognize William Donohue as the one-man Catholic anti-defamation league, in a state of perpetual outrage. He is notorious for his sound bites and press releases, fired off in response to any insult to the Catholic Church. But in a new book, Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights gets in more than a few sound bites. Donohue believes that the very concept of moral truth is held in contempt by too many who have a leading influence in the popular culture and — well, you get the idea from the book’s subtitle. Bill Donohue took some questions from National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez on the occasion of the book’s release.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What is secular sabotage?
WILLIAM DONOHUE: It is a determined effort on the part of radical activists to upend the Judeo-Christian tradition.
LOPEZ: Is it really fair to blame “liberals”? What does that even mean?
DONOHUE: As I say in the opening chapter, I am not blaming all liberals. Just the extremists.
LOPEZ: You cite one former Democrat who refers to the Democratic party as “the Anti-Christian party.” Can that even pass a laugh test after the clearly Christian display we saw last weekend surrounding the death of Senator Kennedy?
DONOHUE: Your colleague Ramesh Ponnuru called those who support abortion “The Party of Death.” David Carlin, a longtime Democrat, feels betrayed by his former party and wrote a book about it. A lot of people missed what happened on Saturday: Only a handful of priests were in procession at Kennedy’s funeral. Normally, there would have been about 300 — these processions go on for at least a half-hour. But not for Teddy. That was deliberate, and it was justified.
LOPEZ: When you look around at the Republican party, religious conservatives seem to be doing their part to destroy religion and culture with their infidelities, crimes, and other sins. Is that your “Christian party”?
DONOHUE: Personal failings have nothing whatsoever to do with policy decisions. It is not the Republicans who ask Catholic universities to put a drape over the name of Jesus before the president agrees to speak. And it is only the Democrats who align themselves with the most anti-Catholic group in the nation — Catholics for a Free Choice. Besides, I’m not a Republican.
LOPEZ: How are Catholics guilty of self-sabotage?
DONOHUE: Left-wing priests, laypeople, and nuns who promote abortion, gay marriage, and the like are termites.
LOPEZ: Yet you report that these folks who are eating away at the foundations are no longer thriving. Are dissidents really a dying breed?
DONOHUE: Yes. Young people may be indifferent, but they are not joining orders of priests and nuns that seek to radically restructure the Catholic Church. If they join at all, they join the most conservative orders of priests and nuns.
LOPEZ: Why should anyone who is not Catholic care about the Catholic League and anything you have to say?
DONOHUE: Non-Catholics should care about the Catholic League for the same reason they should care about any anti-defamation or civil-rights group: It offends American values whenever any racial, ethnic, or religious group is trashed for no reason other than to elicit some sick, visceral response. Criticism is one thing. Insulting, demeaning, and disparaging commentary is quite another.