Bill Donohue, ghoul

Oh god. Bill Donohue weighs in on Anthony Bourdain’s suicide.

If Anthony Bourdain had been a religious man, would he have killed himself? Probably not. The celebrity chef was found dead today in his hotel room in Strasbourg, France.

As I have recounted in my book, The Catholic Advantage: How Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful, there is an inverse relationship between religiosity and suicide: those who are regular churchgoers have a much lower rate of suicide than atheists like Bourdain.

Nice of him to use the opportunity of the man’s death to plug his book.

You know, though, I think he’s sort of right: if you’re told over and over again from childhood on that suicide, in addition to ending your life and bringing grief to loved ones, will only lead to even greater misery as you’re tortured for eternity, I can see where it might dissuade some potential suicides. So let’s take it as a given that you can reduce the suicide rate by being indoctrinated in the Catholic faith (there’s data!) with the side effect that you are increasing fear and guilt to achieve your end. Would it be worth it?

If you could save Bourdain by erasing part of his character, do you think he would have chosen it? He had the opportunity, after all — his father was Catholic.

Would reducing the suicide rate be worthwhile if, instead, we increased the rate of child rape?

I’ll just leave this here.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has reached a $210 million settlement agreement with 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, officials announced Thursday.

At $210,290,724, it is estimated to be the second-largest payout by the Catholic church in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. It comes after nearly four years of bankruptcy proceedings and negotiations.

Before you ask…

The largest clergy abuse related settlement to date was reached in 2007 by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which paid 508 victims $660 million.

That’s almost a thousand children in just two cases, raped with the collusion of the Catholic church. Is that a fair price to pay? For anything?


  1. anthrosciguy says

    Rick Warren’s son famously committed suicide a few years ago.

    Oral Roberts’ son committed suicide.

    Ah, but they weren’t Catholics, were they? But then of course they weren’t, because as Evangelicals will tell you, Catholics aren’t Christians.

  2. whheydt says

    I’m going to pick at another aspect of the post…

    I don’t think that bankruptcy courts should be able to accept petitions from churches (or, in this case, an archdiocese). Being under bankruptcy protection means that the (civil) court is running a (religious) business. That seems to me to fly in the face of the Establishment Clause. The bankruptcy courts should decline to hear cases from religions for that reason.

  3. consciousness razor says

    Jesus committed suicide-by-cop, no? I mean, I understand that it’s stipulated that he wasn’t tormented for eternity as a result. (And sure, whatever you say. He’s a sick fuck and all, but why would he want to do that to himself?) Maybe it’s a “why are there still monkeys” sort of question…. But why isn’t he still around, if this is such a great place to be? Or at least why didn’t he die of disease or old age or whatever, like the rest of us are expected to do? Was he not setting a good example? Did he have no choice in the matter, whereas we do?

    Anyway, the story also goes that there isn’t really any such thing as “death,” even for us non-deities who nonetheless have god-like immortal souls. And the “place” reserved for people who aren’t arbitrarily condemned by the superpowered idiot will lack things like suffering and grief, among other things. They do try to make heaven sound nice, someplace you should want to spend your time. But that is kind of a strange way to put it: it will be practically all of the time that there is, whenever your pseudo- or physical-death may happen to occur, which seems to make the duration of your physical-life irrelevant.

    So … what part of this is our fault? It sounds like God is a sadistic, hypocritical asshole, who selfishly wants to keep all of us dirty rabble out of heaven for as long as possible and to prolong our suffering here (even though a few years or even centuries is a trifle and seems to serve no purpose whatsoever). If we don’t buy into all of this for whatever reason, he will take even that potential relief away and punish us forever. As a good Catholic, I guess one is supposed to feel guilty for being too weak to withstand all of this “mercy” that God is dishing out. It just shows (somehow) that you’re not really prepared for life in heaven where you wouldn’t need that kind of strength, where such tests or preparations or whatever would be pointless. Or you don’t deserve it because God wasn’t quite ready to stop bullying you. Well, okay then … fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

    I guess I can understand why believers might be too intimidated by all this and may conjure up a few additional reasons (all incoherent) for rejecting suicide…. But is it a true story? Is this really the sort of thing we ought to tell ourselves? Or does it boil down to manipulating people with fear and confusion, shock and awe, and so forth? Do people like Bill Donohue fail to understand the difference or do they not care?

  4. Saad says

    Didn’t their own CEO commit suicide? In a weird roundabout way, but still suicide, right?

  5. bcwebb says

    I don’t think we should be turning suicide into a joke.

    And in any accounting you have to consider the huge number of gay and lesbian kids who contemplate or commit suicide after being told they are going to hell. A friend rode a flight to Salt Lake City next to a kid going back to be expelled from the Mormon church after failed (of course) conversion therapy. Unmarried pregnant women are in the same boat. A friend was shunned by his Jehovah Witness family. Of course, these people are no longer attending church regularly….

  6. willj says

    You know, if I’m reading a novel and the characters have all gone bad and the plot sucks, I’ll put the book down and I won’t pick it up again.

    If you wanna leave the party, just do it. And for god’s sake, don’t talk about it because they’ll have you committed. The world isn’t ready for that conversation.

  7. whheydt says

    Re: bcwebb @ #8…
    Recommended reading: “God and I” by Teresa Nielsen-Hayden. The copy I have is in her essay collection “Making Book”. It’s about how she deliberately got herself excommunicated from the LDS following the LDS working to stop the Equal Rights Amendment.

  8. militantagnostic says

    I am sure I am not the only one wondering how many suicides have occurred as result of sexual abuse by priests.

  9. vucodlak says

    You know, though, I think he’s sort of right: if you’re told over and over again from childhood on that suicide, in addition to ending your life and bringing grief to loved ones, will only lead to even greater misery as you’re tortured for eternity, I can see where it might dissuade some potential suicides.

    It worked for me, as a teenager. I didn’t want to go to Hell. I mean, I was already half-convinced that I was Hell-bound anyway, but I thought I might be able to squeak by if I was sorry enough. I really wanted to die, though, because I was absolutely miserable here on Earth. Paradise had to be better, right? So I couldn’t kill myself, and didn’t try to do so. Much.

    Then I learned what Heaven looks like to the Christians I was raised by: an eternity of praising God. Church, in other words. Church forever.

    As above, so below. That scared me right off suicide for good. It scared me off death.

    Mind you, I still tried to shoot myself in the head when my best friend died, which was maybe a year after I decided that I would just have to live forever. If my mentor’s gun hadn’t had a safety (which gave her the time to wrestle the gun out of my hands and beat the crap out of me) I’d be dead. And a couple of months before that I tried to throw myself out of moving car, into the path of a semi. If my best friend hadn’t grabbed me, I’d have been a greasy stain on the highway.

    Yep, Christianity sure saved me…

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    Please! Despite their dietary habits, Ghouls are a proud people. Just ask Richard Upton Pickman!

    If anything, Donohue is more like a Gug or a Ghast.

  11. rietpluim says

    I am working for a grassroots organization of people with mental issues. Some of our colleagues have experience with suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. The last couple of months, some attempts succeeded.

    What I’ve learned from them is that they do not literally want to die. They just don’t know how to continue their lives. Their despair surpasses their will to live.

    So fuck you, Bill Donohue, for using people’s misery to push your agenda.

    Accidentally, shortly we are participating in a suicide prevention project. I am a little skeptical, because 1) I cannot think of anything that would have prevented our colleagues from killing themselves and 2) the project is quite a naive attempt of well-meaning professional caregivers.

    But that’s okay. That is where we come in. Hopefully the experiential expertise of my colleagues will teach them better.

    Vucodlak, hugs from me too, if you appreciate it.

  12. says

    I believe that the Catholic church has changed it’s position as far as suicide is concerned. I went to a Catholic funeral a couple of years ago for the guy who I’d shared an office with for over 20 years who was a Catholic. There was no question that as far as the priest was concerned and made clear the suicide would not keep him out of Heaven.

  13. cartomancer says

    Funny, I thought the Catholic church had a prohibition against smug self-aggrandisement and overweening arrogance. A rather substantial one, given that it forms one of their deadly sins.

    Then again, I also thought it frowned upon sexual harassment. At least officially. Wasn’t this Donohue character fired for that a few months back?

  14. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    You may be confusing him with Bill O’Reilly. It’s hard to keep all of these Catholic ghouls straight.

  15. Chris Capoccia says

    Donohue’s article is useless bragging about his tribe. But his book has a chapter on suicide that cites an interesting study:
    * Dervic, Kanita; Oquendo, Maria A; Grunebaum, Michael F; Ellis, Steve; Burke, Ainsley K; Mann, J. John (2004). “Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt”. American Journal of Psychiatry. 161 (12): 2303–8.

  16. Ragutis says

    We haven’t had a Donohue post in a while. I’d hoped he’d sunk out of sight for good.

    I’ve had/have depression issues. I’ve thought about suicide, though I wouldn’t say I ever really really considered it. But as a liberal Catholic in my youth, I always felt Jesus would understand. I mean, who could be more in need of his comfort and forgiveness than someone in that kind of despair? And I can think of 3 people from my church youth group alone that attempted suicide, let alone several others at my high school that I’m fairly certain were of a religious bent.

    As an atheist now, well something’s better than nothing, right? The sun’ll come out, the clouds will part, and even if just for a brief time there’ll be good that should be witnessed, experienced, valued. The cutest cat/puppy/baby video of all time could pop up at any time. There’s a gator seatrout or 40+” snook out there for me to catch. Maybe Rush will tour again after all. Maybe I’ll get the chance to move somewhere where there’s waves again. Maybe I’ll meet HER. I might just be able to afford that PRS Vela and Victory Countess by xmas. And in the meantime there’s another Star Wars movie coming, and that Disney park. There’s new books and albums. A woman Doctor.

    In all likelihood, there’s an eternity of oblivion ahead. Can’t think of a better time to procrastinate. I might only be finding needles of happiness at times, but I’m willing to dig through as many haystacks of misery as this short life offers me to get every one I can.

    That’s me though, and I just feel sadness for those unable to find or appreciate those needles. As stated above, I feel its more about someone not knowing how to continue to live than wanting to die. As good as they may be at hiding it, I think we need to do far more about learning how to recognize them and helping them dig through the haystack they’re currently mired in.

    So STFU, Bill. People and humanity may be the only things you understand less than Jesus’ teachings.

  17. cartomancer says

    Ah yes, I had got the two of them confused. They need to do more to differentiate their brand!

  18. says

    Unfortunately, each one strives to differentiate by being more blatantly inhuman, so they just end up being neck-and-neck and ever worse.

  19. Marissa van Eck says

    Distasteful as you may find this, I sincerely hope Donohue ends up with some kind of horrible disease or condition that makes him want to end his own life. And I hope he’s terrified of Hell to the end, pissing and shitting and sweating all over himself, as he dies slowly, every moment wracked with fear and despair, eventually in a condition where he couldn’t kill himself even if he decided to.

    Catholics, and Christians in general, are worse than ghoulish about this. There is no telling how many people have been permanently broken thanks to their hellfire and brimstone pornography.

  20. rietpluim says

    Marissa van Eck, yes, that is distasteful.

    Having said that, it is not going to happen, because we all know how hypocrite Donohue and his like are. He will have euthanasia and simply declare that God forgives him.