Bill Donohue’s Ignorant Distinctions


Right wing Catholic blowhard Bill Donohue has a problem. The new pope has made helping the poor a major focus of his leadership and spoken out about the dangers of income inequality. So has President Obama. But he hates Obama and is forced to defend the pope, so he has to make presumptuous and ignorant distinctions like this:

When Pope Francis speaks about our “throwaway” abortion culture, or comments on marriage as a union between a man and a woman, he wins no points from those on the left.

But when he speaks about income inequality, he is praised by the likes of President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. However, these three men are not speaking from the same page. What is driving Obama and de Blasio is envy; what is driving the Pope is justice.

The Catholic Church considers envy to be one of the seven capital sins. It is not identical to jealousy. The jealous want what others have; the envious want to deprive others of what they have.

Okay, so when the pope says that too much income inequality is bad and unjust and that governments should expend greater resources to help the poor, that’s okay because he’s only got good intentions. When Obama says that too much income inequality is bad and unjust and that governments should expend greater resources to help the poor, that’s bad because he has sinful intentions. How does Donohue actually know Obama’s intentions? He doesn’t, of course. But he knows they must be bad.

But what is the difference in terms of policy? Not much. The current pope, like the last several, says that there should be universal access to health care. So does Obama. Donohue? Probably not. In fact, the Catholic Church has long advocated stronger policies to help the poor. In a document called the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church the church has endorsed what The American Catholic calls a “de facto bill of rights for the working class in all countries.” Those rights are:

The right to a just wage.

The right to rest.

The right to a working environment and to manufacturing processes that are not harmful to the workers’ physical health or moral integrity.

The right that one’s personality in the workplace should be safeguarded without suffering any affront to one’s conscience or personal dignity.

The right to appropriate subsidies necessary for the subsistence of unemployed workers and their families.

The right to a pension and to insurance for old age, sickness, and in case of work-related accidents.

The right to social security connected with maternity.

The right to assemble and form associations.

Support for the unemployed, the right to a just wage, the right to form unions, get social security and insurance — sounds a lot like basic liberalism, doesn’t it?

Comments

  1. Matt G says

    Yes, but those rights are what people in civilized countries have. If YOU want them, then you’re envious, and that is a sin.

  2. Randomfactor says

    So the left only likes the pope when he’s right, and argues against him when he’s wrong? Isn’t that, like, what you’re SUPPOSED to do? I mean, the guy’s not infallible.

  3. Chiroptera says

    Donahue: When Pope Francis speaks about our “throwaway” abortion culture, or comments on marriage as a union between a man and a woman, he wins no points from those on the left.

    Well, yeah, but that’s because he is just plain wrong on this.

    But when he speaks about income inequality, he is praised by the likes of President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    Yeah, I admit that it’s weird when people get praised for doing something that they should just be doing automatically without having to think about it. It’s kinda like praising someone for not just randomly punching people in the face as they walk down the street. But that’s the state of the culture in which we live.

    -

  4. dogfightwithdogma says

    Donahue’s comments remind me of a line from the move The Perfect Parents. Kathleen Turner plays the role of a very active member of her Catholic church who has been nominated for the Catholic Woman of the Year award. One of Turner’s daughters is married to another woman and this of course presents problems for Mom’s beliefs as well as her chances for receiving the award. In one scene Turner is engaged in a heated conversation with her daughter about her same-sex marriage and her lifestyle. Turner has just come from a meeting where she signed a petition opposing adoption rights for same-sex couples. The daughter is very distraught about this. Mom dismisses her signing of the petition by saying that at least the petition was not her idea. The daughter, angry and frustrated, asks Mom (Turner) what she actually thinks about the matter. Mom replies, “I’m Catholic. I don’t have to think.” I think this pretty much sums up the approach of many members of the Catholic Church. We should also keep that thought in mind when thinking about Donahue’s remarks.

  5. says

    “I’m Catholic. I don’t have to think.”

    This is why I always like to argue that believing one’s morals come from god is actually immoral. It allows a person to adopt a strongly-held position without understanding why they think it’s good or bad, which is in itself an immoral act.

  6. says

    Obama is wealthy and he’ll make even bigger piles of money when he leaves office. Why would he be envious? Oh, I get it, black people are ipso facto poor even when they’re rich.

  7. sinned34 says

    Dr X @ 8:

    Obama is envious on behalf of all poor black people, which is even worse than being envious for yourself. White people don’t get envious for other people, they have empathy instead. But it’s the good kind of empathy that doesn’t lead to killing people, unless Jesus tells you otherwise. The difference is obvious, you atheists are just too blinded by demons to see it.

  8. ehmm says

    “What is driving Obama and de Blasio is envy”

    These clowns never wound more ignorant than when they’re trying to psychoanalyze people. Someone needs to remind Donahue that Obama, simply put, is rich. He also occupies a position that arguably has more power and influence than the Pope. So what the hell is he envious about?

  9. Dave Maier says

    The jealous want what others have; the envious want to deprive others of what they have.

    That’s not what they told me in school. Othello was jealous (as was the OT God), or as an online dictionary puts it: “fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions”. Donahue has it basically backwards – to want what others have is generally called envy or covetousness – although there is some semantic overlap here, as we do sometimes (informally?) use “jealous” this way too. Still (need I say it), like many who presume to dictate usage, Donahue is full of it.

  10. greg1466 says

    When Pope Francis speaks about our “throwaway” abortion culture, or comments on marriage as a union between a man and a woman, he wins no points from those on the left.

    But when he speaks about income inequality, he is praised by the likes of President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    I’m thinking that’s because rational people are capable of agreeing or disagreeing with someone on individual issues regardless of that persons overall ideology. As opposed to irrational people who automatically agree or disagree with someone on all issues based solely on that persons overall ideology.

  11. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    So the left only likes the pope when he’s right, and argues against him when he’s wrong? Isn’t that, like, what you’re SUPPOSED to do?

    Given the popularity of idiotic objections of the form “But if we [accept/reject] Argument X which has [true/false] premises, how can we then [reject/accept] Argument Y which has [false/true] premises?!” in both social and philosophical discussions…apparently not.

  12. jonathangray says

    Support for the unemployed, the right to a just wage, the right to form unions, get social security and insurance — sounds a lot like basic liberalism, doesn’t it?

    Replace ‘unions’ with ‘corporations’ and it sounds a lot like basic fascism. Which is not to say it’s a bad thing — even liberalism contains elements of the truth.

  13. says

    @7:

    Were you thinking of fuckface@15, Johnnyboy?

    fuckface @15:

    Severe logic fail, at the very least. But then, your “logic” is always a fail. Go fuck yourself with one of your crucifixes, you demented asshole.

  14. jonathangray says

    Concern for the material welfare of the workers and the poor is not peculiar to liberalism. Communism and fascism both shared that concern. In Catholic teaching, oppressing the poor and defrauding workers of their just wages are two of the Four Sins That Cry to Heaven for Vengeance. Liberalism, communism and fascism err in seeking a remedy through the technocratic application of state power.

    Go fuck yourself with one of your crucifixes, you demented asshole.

    I’ve no interest in modern art.

    @7

    This is why I always like to argue that believing one’s morals come from god is actually immoral. It allows a person to adopt a strongly-held position without understanding why they think it’s good or bad, which is in itself an immoral act.

    So what’s your criterion for holding something to be good or bad?

  15. Al Dente says

    Jonathangray is still pretending the Catholic Church as a redeeming quality or two. Maybe that’ll be true when they drop their misogynist, homophobic, anti-humanist agenda. But that won’t happen any time soon.

    So what’s your criterion for holding something to be good or bad?

    Being moral would help. Supporting and protecting child-rapists is immoral so the Catholic Church doesn’t qualify.

  16. says

    Liberalism, communism and fascism err in seeking a remedy through the technocratic application of state power.

    Your laughable over-generalization, and your total failure to admit the differences between those three things, once again proves you’re a complete idiot. I’ve heard that shit from Christian bigots before, and it’s nothing more than a means of pretending they care about the poor without actually doing anything to help them.

  17. leonardschneider says

    Hell, I had the first four covered in their little list when I was homeless in San Francisco.

    “The right to a just wage.”
    When you have no phone or address and wash up in fast food bathrooms, it’s hard to land a job. I finally got one… As a telemarketer. They paid a percentage of sales, and I hustled my ass off, so, yeah, I guess I got a “just wage.”

    “The right to rest.”
    The Glen Park BART station wasn’t the most comfortable place to sack out, but it was pretty quiet, dry, and a hell of a lot safer than being downtown. I also got to know the station agents; they realized I was friendly and harmless (not a junkie or a nut case) so they’d let me use the bathrooms to clean up and shave. Glen Park really didn’t have any homeless — too far out from downtown and the various support organizations — so I really tried to keep from being noticed. Except for when I had to panhandle, I’d keep my duffel bag stashed in the bushes and sit on a bench outside the station, reading a newspaper or one of the three books I owned. (I also kept my hat on, to cover up my mohawk. I’d have shaved it off, but how?) It really was a matter of giving off the image of “just some guy” instead of “homeless dude.” That way, nobody would complain about my presence and call SFPD, who’d have driven me to a shelter: the absolute last place I wanted to be. The phrase “Bedlam hell” doesn’t even start to describe what the shelters are like.

    “The right to a working environment and to manufacturing processes that are not harmful to the workers’ physical health or moral integrity.”
    I was indoors, it’s hard to hurt yourself with a telephone unless you’re really trying, and me and my fellow phone-monkeys were all cool with each other. Couldn’t ask for much more at the time.

    “The right that one’s personality in the workplace should be safeguarded without suffering any affront to one’s conscience or personal dignity.”
    I guess this translates to “At work, no one should be bugging you or giving you shit because of who you are.” Nope, nobody did. They didn’t care about the mohawk, or that all my possessions were in a giant military duffel bag by the lobby door. I showed up sober, worked (and hard; my goal was to get enough cash up for a month’s rent at an SRO hotel back in Oakland), and was generally treated with good manners and respect.

    So the first half of the American Catholic’s list is achievable by anyone, really. Like a lot of other people, I’m still waiting on the last four.

  18. says

    So what’s your criterion for holding something to be good or bad?

    Observing whether it’s beneficial or harmful to people. Do you really not understand this simple concept?

  19. dshetty says

    In Catholic teaching, oppressing the poor and defrauding workers of their just wages are two of the Four Sins That Cry to Heaven for Vengeance. Liberalism, communism and fascism err in seeking a remedy through the technocratic application of state power.
    The state power still works a little bit here and there – but I wonder why the cry for vengeance is never answered?
    So what’s your criterion for holding something to be good or bad?
    There is a whole bit of philosophy and ethics here – and its too complicated to fit in a comment – whats yours?

  20. magistramarla says

    It does sound a lot like basic liberalism, and makes it all the more puzzling that American Catholics took such a turn to the right. When I was a kid in the ’60s, growing up in a very Catholic area, I can remember that all of my friend’s homes and my RC aunties’ homes had pictures of President Kennedy right next to the picture of Jesus in their front hallways. They were all cradle-to–grave Democrats.
    My Catholic cousin spat venom when Billy Graham came to town, calling him a “dirty scumbag Baptist”.
    I was surprised in ’97 when my daughter’s senior trip was cancelled because he was going to be in town that weekend, and most of the parents requested a refund on the trip. Even my daughter’s Catholic friends were going to sing at his revival. All I could do was shake my head.
    I know that the RCC and the fundis got together about the whole abortion/contraception thing, but it still seems like a huge turn around for the Catholics. Truly strange bedfellows!

  21. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    When Pope Francis speaks about our “throwaway” abortion culture, or comments on marriage as a union between a man and a woman, he wins no points from those on the left.

    But when he speaks about income inequality, he is praised by the likes of President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    The idea that we must either completely disagree with or completely agree with a person is simply a reflection of the tribalism so common among RWNJs these days. “You’re either with us, or agin’ us.” And they can’t understand how anyone can think differently.

  22. jonathangray says

    Al Dente:

    So what’s your criterion for holding something to be good or bad?

    Being moral would help. Supporting and protecting child-rapists is immoral …

    If “moral” and “immoral” just mean “good” and “bad”, you haven’t answered the question. How do you distinguish between them? Why is raping children immoral?

    Raging Bee:

    So what’s your criterion for holding something to be good or bad?

    Observing whether it’s beneficial or harmful to people. Do you really not understand this simple concept?

    So “beneficial to people” is good and “harmful to people” is bad. Why?

    (Remember, our guiding principle here is Marcus Ranum’s remark that anything which “allows a person to adopt a strongly-held position without understanding why they think it’s good or bad” is in itself immoral.)

  23. dingojack says

    So jon-jon – what exactly is your ‘rank’ amongst the NAMBLA* hierarchy? Assistant-Bugger-in-Chief?

    Since you think there is some kind of objective standard of morality – what exactly is that standard? Who sets it? What should be done to those who transgress it?

    We all await your latest exercise in hole-digging with baited breath.

    :) Dingo
    ——–
    * No, not the National Association of Marlon Brando Look-Alikes, the other one.

  24. jonathangray says

    dingojack:

    Since you think there is some kind of objective standard of morality – what exactly is that standard?

    God’s law.

    Who sets it?

    God.

    What should be done to those who transgress it?

    They should be punished.

    OK my turn. Do you believe in “some kind of objective standard of morality”? If so, who sets it etc? If not, how can you say NAMBLA is bad?

    (From the NAMBLA website:

    The 1960s saw the blooming of a new and democratic concept of children, youth and the family. Childrens’ natural spontaneity and joyful exhuberance, their pursuit of discovery and experiment, all were seen as vitally important social activities. Children are not simply our beneficiaries; they are our benefactors as well.

    Ever since this transformative period, forces of reaction have been working to sow seeds of anxiety about the freedoms widely considered necessary to a healthy functioning society.

    I wonder if that qualifies as “basic liberalism”?)

  25. dogfightwithdogma says

    @27

    If you are going to claim that there is an objective morality based on “God’s law” then you are going to first have to establish the existence of God. So give it your best shot. Many have tried to date and none have succeeded. The evidence just isn’t there.

  26. says

    “OK my turn. Do you believe in “some kind of objective standard of morality”? If so, who sets it etc? If not, how can you say NAMBLA is bad?

    Well, you’re either a sociopath, indignorant or just jumpin’ the shark. Any of those conditions obviate the need for or possibility of explaining how fucking stupid that comment is.

    “I’ve no interest in modern art.”

    There are plenty of antique crucifixes out there, fuckface.

  27. zenlike says

    Ah, I see jonathangrey is still as full of shit as always.

    “Here, let me replace this word in this sentence with a completely different word. See! Now it says something bad!”

    You really are one of the biggest dumb-fucks to ever grace these comment sections. And boy, that competition is a stiff one.

  28. colnago80 says

    Re zenlike @ #30

    Gray is a phalangist who admires the late and unlamented Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Like dimwit Donahue, he’s an apologist for the Raping Children Church, the largest criminal enterprise on the planet.

  29. dingojack says

    Further to SLC above – and clearly a fully paid-up member of NAMBLA – hey Ed perhaps you should drop a dime on him before he does real damage to some innocent toddlers.
    Dingo

  30. jonathangray says

    So there would seem to be a consensus that there is no objective morality but that certain things are objectively morally wrong. I guess that means you’ve all failed the Marcus Ranum test, since you are unable to explain your strongly-held moral views. (Happily I suspect Marcus is unable to explain why being unable to explain strongly-held moral views is itself immoral and therefore fails his/her own test, so you’re probably off the hook as far as that goes.)

  31. jonathangray says

    colnago80:

    Gray is a phalangist who admires the late and unlamented Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

    Not really a Falange fan as they retained an element of revolutionary anticlericalism not untypical of fascism. The Carlists are more my cup of tea. I do quite admire Franco, though obviously he was far from perfect. As for “unlamented”, who knows? A few years ago there was a poll in Portugal to find the greatest Portuguese of all time … the result had all the shitlibs gnashing their teeth and rending their garments.

  32. dingojack says

    Sorry Jon-Jon (AM NAMBLA) you’re gonna have prove your case. Pouting and stamping your feet just won’t cut it I’m afraid….
    Dingo

  33. Matrim says

    *shrugs at Jon* I’m willing to bet most of these folks could explain their beliefs fairly well. It’s just a lot of effort to spend on someone who obviously has their biases and will not deviate from them. Plus, it’s more fun just to poke you with a stick and see what comes out.

  34. Matrim says

    Sorry for the double post, but I forgot that I had something about the original article to say. Apparently, among the rest of his obvious ignorance, Donohue doesn’t know the definitions of envy or jealousy.

  35. zenlike says

    jonnythetroll

    I do quite admire Franco

    You admire an actual fascist (a fascist, not in the rhetorical sense, nut in the very real meaning)?

    Congratulations, you are a terrible human being.

  36. jonathangray says

    zenlike:

    You admire an actual fascist (a fascist, not in the rhetorical sense, nut in the very real meaning)?

    Franco was a right-wing authoritarian reactionary, not a fascist. The coalition he put together did include a fascist element (the Falange) but the tail was not allowed to wag the dog.

    Congratulations, you are a terrible human being.

    If I thought you had any sense of irony, I’d recommend this.

  37. says

    So “beneficial to people” is good and “harmful to people” is bad. Why?

    If you really don’t know the answer to that question, and if you really can’t answer it without reference to an unseen unprovable being, then there’s no use arguing morality with you. Do you really expect us to believe you can’t tell us why you think blowing off your head or a leg is bad? Do you really expect us to believe you need a god to tell you not to let such a thing happen to you?

    Who sets it? God.

    WHICH god? There’s more than one, you know.

  38. says

    So you think all morality comes from (your) god — and you admire a dictator who violated some of your god’s most important commandments? This hypocricy pretty well disproves any notion that morality coming from this or that god is in any way superior or preferable to morality derived from observation and reason.

  39. zenlike says

    If Franco wasn’t fascist, then no one ever was. But fine, you are not a fan of a fascist you are a fan of a

    right-wing authoritarian reactionary

    Congratulations. Idiot.

  40. says

    The 1960s saw the blooming of a new and democratic concept of children…

    Excuse me, you lying piece of filth, but the sexual exploitation of children predates the 1960s by CENTURIES. Also, such exploitation is a hallmark of unchecked authoritarianism, which people in the 1960s were rebelling AGAINST. Blaming hippies for the atrocities they were trying to fight just proves what an amoral bigot johnny gray is.

  41. jonathangray says

    Raging Bee:

    Do you really expect us to believe you can’t tell us why you think blowing off your head or a leg is bad?

    The question is, why should I believe it’s bad to blow someone else’s head or leg off?

    Franco was a right-wing authoritarian reactionary, not a fascist.

    And the important difference is…?

    Fascism was populist and totalitarian.

    The 1960s saw the blooming of a new and democratic concept of children…

    Excuse me, you lying piece of filth, but the sexual exploitation of children predates the 1960s by CENTURIES. Also, such exploitation is a hallmark of unchecked authoritarianism, which people in the 1960s were rebelling AGAINST. Blaming hippies for the atrocities they were trying to fight just proves what an amoral bigot johnny gray is.

    That quote was by NAMBLA, an organisation with emerged in the aftermath of the 1960s cultural revolution and, as the quote made clear, identified itself with the libertine spirit of that revolution. And there was no shortage of leftist counter-cultural intellectuals happy to champion this cause.

    Somehow I don’t think intellectuals in Franco’s Spain would have got away with that.

  42. zenlike says

    Somehow I don’t think intellectuals in Franco’s Spain would have got away with that.

    That’s because your buddy Franco ran a bloody dictatorship where intellectuals and lefties were jailed for the crime of being lefties and intellectuals.

  43. chippanfire says

    “Blowhard” seems such an inadequate epithet where Donohue is concerned.
    Ed, may I ask that in future you use the term “Gobshite“, please? As someone whose name hints at Irish ancestry, I’m sure Bill will appreciate the courtesy.

  44. says

    jonathangrey, the Wikipedia article you cite doesn’t even mention NAMBLA; and 69 signatories to an open letter isn’t exactly a representative sample, even in a nation much smaller than France. And none of that touches on the fact I cited, which is that the sexual abuse of children predates the ’60s by rather a long time.

    Your case is pure bullshit.

  45. says

    The question is, why should I believe it’s bad to blow someone else’s head or leg off?

    Because you know you wouldn’t want it to happen to you, and that others would most likely feel the same way, and that trying to do such things would make life much more dangerous for you.

    So tell us…what better answer does your religion give to that question?

  46. jonathangray says

    zenlike:

    You can’t get more ‘totalitarian’ then a fucking dictatorship. Idiot.

    I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong. There is no necessary connection between totalitarian government and rule by a dictator. The hallmark of totalitarianism is that the ruling faction takes control of, and identifies itself with, the state and then proceeds to establish absolute control over all subordinate institutions. Schools, universities, the press, the judiciary, industry and unions, churches, youth organisations, families — the whole of civil society is ruthlessly assimilated to the command structure of the state. Historically the most perfectly realised totalitarian regime was the Soviet Union. German National Socialism was pretty total although the Church retained a degree of independence, albeit it was increasingly harassed. Italian Fascism aspired to totalitarian rule but was only partially successful: not only did the Church remain a powerful autonomous institution but so did the monarchy, which proved key in Mussolini’s downfall. The authoritarian regimes of Franco, Salazar and Dollfuss (often inaccurately labelled ‘clerico-fascist’) did not aspire to this type of totalitarian rule — by contrast, modern Western liberal democracies, with their technocratic mania for regulation and micromanagement of every aspect of life by the omnicompetent state, seem at times to verge of a kind of ‘soft totalitarianism’.

    Somehow I don’t think intellectuals in Franco’s Spain would have got away with that.

    That’s because your buddy Franco ran a bloody dictatorship where intellectuals and lefties were jailed for the crime of being lefties and intellectuals.

    Thus preventing them from promoting paedophilia, modern art and suchlike symptoms of degeneracy.

    Raging Bee:

    the Wikipedia article you cite doesn’t even mention NAMBLA; and 69 signatories to an open letter isn’t exactly a representative sample, even in a nation much smaller than France. And none of that touches on the fact I cited, which is that the sexual abuse of children predates the ’60s by rather a long time.

    I never said the Wiki article mentioned NAMBLA. The point is, a bunch of leftist intellectuals supported paedophilia and explicitly aligned their cause with the social radicalism of the 1960s, just as NAMBLA did. As for how “representative” this was, you must remember that France was the dominant source of left-wing intellectual theory from the post-war period until very recently. Among the signatories of that letter were Foucault, Sartre, Althusser, de Beauvoir and Barthes — these were not marginal figures but intellectual titans who continue to exert considerable influence. Of course sexual abuse of children predates the 1960s — but it was not, and could not have been, openly promoted until liberationist ideology became the dominant paradigm. Thankfully, that particular strand of left-wing radicalism appears to have withered on the vine.

    The question is, why should I believe it’s bad to blow someone else’s head or leg off?

    Because you know you wouldn’t want it to happen to you, and that others would most likely feel the same way …

    And I should care what others think because …?

    … and that trying to do such things would make life much more dangerous for you.

    That is true in our society, which still retains some scraps or Christian morality. But if we look at history we see entire civilisations based on nothing other than the subjugation and humiliation of their fellow men and nobody saw a problem with that. If you wanted to see another human being brutally murdered, you didn’t have to live the perilous life of a lone wolf in constant fear of detection — you just had to buy a ticket to the games.

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