The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s ad, which takes the form of a letter to a “liberal Catholic,” asks “Cafeteria” Catholics, “Why are you propping up the pillars of a tyrannical and autocratic, woman-hating, sex-perverting, antediluvian Old Boys Club?”
Its authors accuse “the conscienceless Catholic Church” of “launching a vengeful modern-day Inquisition” by opposing the HHS mandate that religious employers provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs in their health insurance coverage. “No politician should jeopardize electability for failure to genuflect before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.”
They tell those who do not believe in the Magisterium of the Church, “Your continuing Catholic membership, as a ‘liberal,’ casts a veneer of respectability upon an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment and threaten liberty for women worldwide. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.”
“If you’re part of the Catholic Church, you’re part of the problem,” they state.
The authors welcome Catholics to “a more welcoming home…free of incense-fogged ritual, free of what freethinker Bertrand Russell called ‘ideas uttered long ago by ignorant men.’”
The Freedom from Religious Foundation is led by Annie Laurie Gaylor and her husband, Dan Barker. Gaylor is author of the book, Abortion Is a Blessing.
(Click “like” if you want to end abortion!
“Never has there been a more vicious anti-Catholic advertisement in a prominent American newspaper,” said Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Donahue said the ad uses the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops’ opposition to the HHS mandate as a “pretext…Its real agenda is to smear Catholicism.”
“Not a single Catholic who reads this ad will be impelled to leave the Church. That is not the issue,” Donahue said. “The issue is the increase in hate speech directed at Catholics.”
“Nothing will stop Catholics from demanding that the Obama administration respect their First Amendment rights…Why the Times allowed this ad is another issue altogether.”
John Leo of the Manhattan Institute agreed the newspaper exercised poor judgment in running the ad. “Why is it OK for the Times to push this stuff? Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. should apologize immediately, or else explain that, out of basic fairness, he is equally willing to run a similar ad savaging Muslims, Jews, or Protestants. The Times may be slipping, but it doesn’t want to morph into a gutter rag, does it?”
“The issue is that the Times has handed [FRFF] a microphone,” wrote an author at The No Left-Turns blog, operated by the Ashbrook Center. “Try to imagine a similar ad aimed at Muslims – or attacking atheists – and imagine the reaction of the New York Times – and the liberal disciples of tolerance who are suspiciously quiet in the wake of this obvious expression of hate and intolerance.”
In 2009, the New York Times rejected an op-ed piece written by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, saying much of the newspaper’s coverage amounted to “anti-Catholicism.”