Ignoring Donohue's own incendiary comments, Wash. Times quotes Donohue criticizing choice of Robinson to give prayer

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

A Washington Times article about President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Bishop Gene Robinson to deliver a prayer as part of the inauguration ceremonies quoted Catholic League president Bill Donohue criticizing the choice as "polarizing" but did not note Donohue's own "polarizing" comments regarding gays and lesbians, Muslims, Jews, and others.

A January 13 Washington Times article about President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to deliver a prayer as part of the inauguration ceremonies uncritically quoted Catholic League president Bill Donohue criticizing the choice as "polarizing" but did not note Donohue's numerous "polarizing" comments of his own regarding gays and lesbians, Muslims, Jews, and others.

Times reporter Julia Duin asserted that "Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, criticized the selection" of Robinson, who is openly gay, and quoted Donohue as saying: "President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to unite Americans, and yet he chooses the most polarizing person in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Gene Robinson, to offer a prayer at one of his inaugural events." Absent from Duin's article, however, was any mention of such "polarizing" Donohue comments as one he made during the February 27, 2004, edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, in which he referred to "the gay death style." Also, during the April 11, 2005, edition of Scarborough Country, Donohue asserted: "The gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done."

In addition to these comments, Donohue has also said that "[p]eople don't trust the Muslims when it comes to liberty" and that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular." Also, as Media Matters for America documented, Donohue once repeatedly referred to "gook jokes" in a 2002 debate with Columbia University student Andy Hao about purported anti-Catholicism.

Duin reported that Donohue listed "some of Bishop Robinson's past remarks criticizing the Catholic Church" and quoted Donohue saying, "Obama has chosen a man who offends Catholics as much as he does Protestants." However, Duin did not note that Donohue has dismissed smears of the Catholic Church when offered by Jerome Corsi, who, as co-author of Unfit for Command (Regnery, August 2004), was among those leading the smear campaign by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). In 2004, Media Matters first detailed anti-Catholic comments made by Corsi. Among Corsi's comments: "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press." In a 2006 news release, Donohue dismissed Corsi's comments as "quips."

From the January 13 Washington Times article:

The Rev. Susan Russell, president of the gay Episcopal caucus Integrity called the choice of Bishop Robinson "good news not only for gay and lesbian Americans but for all who share the audacious hope of a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal."

"It is encouraging that the president-elect has chosen this spiritual hero for all Americans to lead the nation in prayer at the Lincoln Memorial inaugural concert," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

Bishop Robinson's spokesman, Mike Barwell, said the invitation came "a couple of weeks" ago but that nothing could be said until the committee made its announcement Monday.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, criticized the selection.

"President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to unite Americans, and yet he chooses the most polarizing person in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Gene Robinson, to offer a prayer at one of his inaugural events," he said.

After listing some of Bishop Robinson's past remarks criticizing the Catholic Church, Mr. Donahue said "Obama has chosen a man who offends Catholics as much as he does Protestants," he added. "If that's his idea of inclusion, he can keep it. The only saving grace is that Robinson says he will not use a Bible next week. It would be news if he did."

Bishop Robinson will be part of a star-studded event at the Lincoln Memorial featuring readings by celebrities Denzel Washington, Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx and Martin Luther King III, and performers such as Beyonce, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder. The extravaganza, which begins at 2 p.m., will be aired exclusively on HBO Sunday evening. Both the president and vice-president-elect will attend.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBTQ
Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
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