Loading
Catholic League president spars with NPR over religious 'double standard' charge
Bill Donohue
Bill Donohue

.- After National Public Radio fired commentator Juan Williams on Oct. 20, for saying on a television program that he felt unnerved by Muslims on airplanes, a number of persistent questions resurfaced about public discourse in a post-9/11 world, and the line between civility and censorship.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has another question for NPR: Does the network have one standard for discussing Muslims, and another for talking about Catholics? He believes it does - but NPR has stood by its record, saying that Donohue's examples don't add up.

On Oct. 26, Donohue jumped into the debate over Williams' firing, wondering why “no one has been terminated by NPR” for what he called “anti-Catholic fare.” He cited a local affiliate's program that mocked the Eucharist, a nationally aired performance of Tom Lehrer's “Vatican Rag” (also satirizing the sacrament), and discussions of whether “too many Catholics” were on the Supreme Court.

“As I've documented, there are many instances where National Public Radio has acted in the most offensive way to Roman Catholics,” Donohue told CNA. Those instances, he alleged, were much worse than what Williams had been fired for saying about Muslims. Donohue called the remark “fairly innocuous,” saying it had “probably been made by so many Americans over a cup of coffee.”

Donohue pointed out that a mockery of the Eucharist, “the heart and soul of our religion,” was particularly egregious.  Likewise, he doubted that any speculation about “too many” Supreme Court justices of another religion - such as Judaism - would have been allowed.

The Catholic League president clarified that he was not calling for NPR to fire anyone else in response to his concerns. Rather, he said, NPR should “begin ... thinking of Catholics as if we were Muslims.

“Because if they thought of us as Muslims, they would never offend us for the rest of our lives.”

Anna Christopher, NPR's Senior Manager for Media Relations, contacted the Catholic League on Oct. 26, telling Donohue that he was “cherry-picking” a small number of instances to present a misleading characterization of the network. Two days later, she addressed some of the league's concerns in a telephone discussion with CNA.

Christopher pointed out that NPR had “no editorial control” over the local affiliate that had aired the program parodying the Eucharist. She described the Lehrer performance from 1997 as an isolated incident, and said the song's performance from “13 or 14 years ago” had no connection to any commentator's remarks about religion and the Supreme Court in 2005.

NPR's spokeswoman also strongly denied Donohue's allegation that the network had ever applied different standards of discourse to different religions. In fact, Christopher went further, denying that there is evidence of any bias - at NPR or any other American media outlet - favoring Muslim sensitivities over those of Christians.

Christopher said that NPR's journalistic record speaks for itself and urged those who share Donohue's concerns to listen NPR's “diversity” of discussions and topics online.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
20

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014

EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Gospel
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Homily
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: