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FFRF tells Catholics it’s time to leave the church

By Jerry A. Coyne | 9 March 2012

Way to go, Freedom from Religion Foundation! Their co-presidents, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, have put a full-page ad in today’s New York Times calling for Catholics to do a mass egress (cutely, “exit en mass”) because of the Church’s odious position on reproductive rights. The ad is below (click to enlarge), and you can see the FFRF’s press release here.

Predictably, there’s a response from the Catholic League’s creepy Bill Donohue, which includes this:

The pretext of the ad is the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Health and Human Services mandate forcing Catholic non-profits to include abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization in its insurance plans. Its real agenda is to smear Catholicism. Here is how the ad begins: “It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages?”

The ad blames the Catholic Church for promoting “acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, overpopulation, social evils and deaths.” It says the bishops are “launching a ruthless political Inquisition” against women. It talks about “preying priests” and corruption “going all the way to the top.” In an appeal to Catholic women, it opines, “Apparently, you’re like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go.”

Yep, Donohue sums up the case pretty well. He continues:

Not a single Catholic who reads this ad will be impelled to leave the Church. That is not the issue (Catholicism, unlike many other religions, is actually growing in the U.S., and worldwide). The issue is the increase in hate speech directed at Catholics.

I’m not sure about Donohue’s numbers here; other data I’ve seen have shown a drastic worldwide decline in Catholicism, although the loss in America may be somewhat offset by Hispanic immigants, and I think the Church may be growing in South America (readers can weigh in). In general, I think we all know that Catholicism is in trouble because it’s simply out of step with the times.

Nothing will stop Catholics from demanding that the Obama administration respect their First Amendment rights, this vile assault by FFRF notwithstanding. Why the Times allowed this ad is another issue altogether.

It’s not hate speech directed against Catholics (Donohue always plays the persecution card); it’s hate speech directed against the odious and repressive policies of the Catholic Church. And rightly so—next to Islam, it’s the most oppressive and woman-hating of all major faiths. Kudos to Dan and Annie Laurie, and a thanks to the donors who had to pony up for what was a very expensive ad.

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3 Responses to FFRF tells Catholics it’s time to leave the church

  1. Graham ASH-PORTER Reply

    April 1, 2012 at 7:19 am

    The Demonisation of the Catholic Church has been accomplished from within!
    Abuse and rape of minors by the Clergy and Nuns is just the latest in an awful catalogue.
    Inquisition, Witch Burning, Holy Wars, Suppression of Women etc.

    • Stoifan ODomnhaill Reply

      April 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      A global organisation with hundreds of thousands of charitable institutions will undoubtedly fall foul to opportunistic paedophiles, amongst other monsters. However the willful misrepresentation of the scale and nature of the events as a pathology of Catholicism betrays your own motives.

      Inquisition, witch burning,holy wars (if there were any) were features of the temporal society of the day the same way as the destruction of Iraq, the sacking of Libya, the McCarthy-ist witch hunts of the 50's and the assassination of Oscar Romero are characteristics of the secular temporal society of the modern US. The suppression of women is an evolutionary issue and I'm sure Jerry Coyne can cobble together some vague Social Darwinist theory to explain that.

  2. John Reply

    April 5, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Ex-Catholics make up the second largest "religious" denomination in the United States (behind the Catholic Church). The marriage of the Catholic Church and the Republican Party is part of the reason people leave the Catholic Church. Another reason is boredom. Young people are leaving over the issue of women's ordination and the surly and sarcastic ways so many Catholics, clergy and lay, talk about homosexuals.

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