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Defending Catholics

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 acquaintances.

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.

Oh.

But if the Catholic League rips apart what they consider a wayward Catholic, no problemo.

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 Catholics?

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 apology.


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 cool.

Gerry Dantone
Long Island Secular Humanists
Box 119
Greenlawn, NY 11740
516 742 1662
Fax 516 742 4618
InfidelsRe@aol.com


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