So anyway, you can probably imagine the thud sound my jaw made when it hit the floor after I read this:
The opening seconds of [Mike] Hucakabee's Christmas spot features the candidate seated in front of a window pane which appears to form the shape of the Christian cross. Speaking in the ad, the former Arkansas governor tells viewers that "sometimes it's nice to pull aside" from politics and "remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and our friends."
Donahue, the president of the Catholic League and an ardent defender of Christmas in what he believes is a secular "war" against the holiday, told hosts of the Fox and Friends morning program that the ad had gone too far.
"The whole idea is to give the appearance of a cross," he said, "and this is just injecting religion into politics even too far for guys like me."
Asked if the ad was "too much," Donahue said it was.
"Because there's a pattern here," he added. "Every other word out of [Huckabee's] mouth is that 'I'm Christian.' He's calling into question Romney's Mormonism . . . let people talk about there [sic] faith, but don't sell it on your sleeve."
Don't sell it on your sleeve. This from the guy who said in 2004 that for a Catholic to vote for John Kerry was "to cooperate in evil" and spent the entire election year attacking Kerry's faith. From the guy who threw a huge stink over the Bushes putting "Holidays" instead of "Christmas" in the White House greeting cards.
Well, guess what, Bill? You made this bed, and now the Republicans are making you lie in it. You spent an entire year hammering Kerry for not being Catholic enough to suit your tastes, and you blow an O-ring every time some artist or comedian does something you think is disrespectful of Christianity; don't be surprised now when guys like Huckabee feel like they have to go on TV and show the world what awesome Christians they are. They're doing it for you, Bill.
The weird thing is, though, that isn't the first time Donohue has said something completely out of character regarding a current presidential candidate. A few months before criticizing Huckabee for being too God Squad-y, he basically told pro-lifers not to be so hung up on Rudy Giuliani's pro-choice stance:
"The problem with the pro-life movement is that some people are purist, and as far as I'm concerned, they're detrimental to the cause," Donohue said. "It's important to be principled, but it's also important to be prudential."
Whaaaa? The guy who accused Catholic Kerry supporters of "cooperating in evil," now saying we shouldn't be such "purists" about the issue? I wonder if it's any coincidence that Donohue's startlingly laid-back attitude was expressed in late April, just days after three major polls showed Giuliani with double-digit leads over the rest of the field of Republican presidential candidates. Thus I also have to wonder whether Donohue didn't jump on that bandwagon a little early, figuring the writing was on the wall as far as the GOP nomination was concerned, and is now feeling a little heat as that faith-on-his-sleeve Bible-beater Huckabee edges past Rudy in some of the national polling. Rest assured that if Huck wins an early primary or two and starts looking like he's rolling toward the nomination, Donohue will pop right up to tell us what a nice, upstanding guy he is compared to Hillary/Obama/Edwards, who supports abortion and wants to put naked Jesus statues made of poop in our public libraries.
Let's call a spade a spade here: For all their talk about adhering to Catholic teachings, Donohue and the Catholic League depart completely from the church's official stance on the death penalty and the Iraq war (and even lied about the Pope's position on the latter), and are willing to be "prudential" about the abortion issue as long as the candidate in question is a Republican. The League is not a Catholic civil rights organization but rather an independent Catholic arm of the Republican Party, designed to manufacture outrage over alleged slights in Hollywood and the "liberal media" and then spin that outrage into votes for the GOP. It's a nifty little racket, one that worked out quite nicely for the Republicans in 2004 -- but let's be clear, it's no more grounded in actual Catholic theology than it is in the teachings of Immanuel Kant or Papa Smurf.
Then again, I still haven't seen "The Passion of the Christ," so in Donohue's mind I'm probably not a true Catholic in the first place. So don't listen to me.