By Gerry Dantone
Much has already been written about the Catholic League yet it is still seems amazing
that they receive the coverage that they receive for their attacks, ironically, on present
and former Catholics. They've been savaging "Dogma" director Kevin Smith (a
practicing Catholic) for quite a while and apparently they are now scrutinizing his
Smith appeared on Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" and Maher, raised as a
Catholic, took some shots at the Catholic Church, though not at Catholic persons. He
basically considered the church corrupt historically.
Patrick Sculley of the Catholic League said it amounts to "anti-Catholicism."
Now let's get this straight: If someone criticizes the Church as an organization, that's
bigotry. If they criticize a Church leader, that's bigotry. If they criticize Church
doctrine, that's bigotry.
But if the Catholic League rips apart what they consider a wayward Catholic, no
The attacks the Catholic League aimed at director Smith for "Dogma" were
often personal and in no instance did I ever hear them respond to the implied criticisms
in the movie. Were the criticisms legitimate? Were the theological premises for the
conflict in the storyline valid and if not, why not? Instead, the Catholic League offered
only insults. Their issue is only whether someone criticizes Catholic Orthodoxy. Never
mind that the movie actually was a love letter to faith as Kevin Smith claimed and if
anyone were slighted it would be non-believers who were painted, more or less, as missing
out on something!
Now where does the lay Catholic stand on issues that rile the Catholic League? For
example, according to a NY Daily News poll, more Catholics sided with the Brooklyn Museum
of Art than with the Catholic League over de-funding and evicting the museum over the
"manure on the Virgin Mary painting" brouhaha. In fact, it would not be a
stretch to argue that the average Catholic person might side against the Catholic League
on nearly every one of the issues they've chosen to pursue! Who is really bashing
These observations constitute praise of the average Catholic who has the good sense to
live and let live and knows the difference between bias and questioning of doctrine. The
Catholic person, it would seem, has more innate benevolence than the doctrine that the
Catholic League so aggressively defends. Who defends the average Catholic's position? It's
not the Catholic League as far as I can see.
We are all getting used to this Catholic League modus operandi, but why does the media
seem to consider the League as speaking for Catholics? The Newsday headline on 11/11/99
read "Catholics call Maher religiously incorrect." No, they did not, the
Catholic League did. Newsday, and much of the media, owes the average Catholic person an
Gerry Dantone is the founder and President of Long Island Secular Humanists, a local
humanist group affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism. He is the editor of the
Standard Ten Commandments, a First Amendment-proof alternative to the biblically based
Commandments. He received his M.B.A. in Finance from St. John's University and is a
commercial real estate broker specializing in retail leasing.
He is also the lead singer
and songwriter for the rock band UniversalDice.com and has released a humanistic rock
opera CD entitled "My Name Is Thomas..." on self-owned Infidels Records which
can be found on the web @ www.UniversalDice.com. His wife and children think that's pretty
Long Island Secular Humanists
Greenlawn, NY 11740
516 742 1662
Fax 516 742 4618