Pay Attention to the Changing Face of Religious Persecution


A cross stands in the Colosseum. (Photo credit: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

The 2021 report on Religious Freedom in the World, issued by Aid to the Church in Need, details two genres of religious persecution. The first is the most familiar one: violence against people and property (houses of worship). The second is a more subtle way of persecuting the faithful, typically relying on restrictive measures encoded in public policy and law. 

Pope Francis is credited with broaching this second strand: non-violent expressions of religious persecution may not be as immediate or acute, but they can be culturally lethal.

The report found that the most persecuted religion in the world is Christianity. As in years past, Muslim-run nations and communist states continue to be the worst offenders. The evidence shows that Africa, Asia, and the Middle East remain hotbeds of Christian persecution in its most violent form. 

The report also notes that “the predominance of Christianity” “is no guarantee that religious freedom is upheld.” Nations that disrespect religious liberty tend to disrespect human rights in general. For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, the worst offenders are Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. All three are Marxist-inspired police states. 

It is the second type of religious persecution, the more gentle one, that should concern those who live in North America and Europe.  

Pope Francis calls it “polite persecution.” He is alarmed by the spike in new “rights,” cultural norms or laws that relegate religion “to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience,” or that narrowly confine them to “the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues, or mosques.” 

The Holy Father has put his finger on a real problem. If Christians in the Middle East need to fear the machete, Christians in the Western world need to fear the media, higher education, activist organizations, and government. They are the ones advocating, or imposing, a secular agenda on religious institutions. 

The report quotes Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, warning us about “a radically individualistic interpretation of certain rights and the affirmation of ‘new rights.'” The report cites by way of example violations of the conscience rights of those in the medical profession. Forcing doctors to end life (euthanasia), or to stop it from developing (abortion), is a growing threat to people of faith in many nations. 

Laws aimed at curtailing the rights of religious schools are also a problem. Graduates of some religious colleges and universities are being discriminated against in employment. Parents who object to classroom instruction that explicitly runs roughshod over their religious beliefs (e.g., sex education) are being summarily ignored by administrators. “Hate crime” legislation is being used to criminalize the beliefs of those who hold to traditional moral values. 

Another variant of “polite persecution” are attempts to limit the scope of religious liberty or undervalue its role in a free and democratic society. 

For religious liberty to thrive, it must be afforded a wide scope and not be suffocated by restrictive norms and laws. It is not only offensive, it is downright insulting, to tell the faithful that they can pray in their house of worship. Faith that cannot be exercised in the public square is faith denied. To be sure, no right is absolute, but efforts to narrowly define religion’s reach are stifling.

There would be no liberty, anywhere in the world, had it not been for the Western vision of individual rights and justice before the law. These ideas did not spring from Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. It is the West that gave birth to liberty and equality, and it is our Judeo-Christian ethos that shaped it. That is why the movement to secularize our religious institutions makes no sense historically, logically, or morally.

“Polite persecution” of religion may not put us in imminent danger, but  in the long run it can accomplish the same end. Campaigns to subvert it are in everyone’s interest.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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Maxine Waters Leads the War on Cops


Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) gives a speech. (Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Over the past year, there has been an explosion in anti-police rhetoric and behavior, much of it violent. Indeed, the cops are under siege in many American cities. Now Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has thrown gas on the fire. Her goal is to racially divide America, targeting the police as enemy number one. 

Waters, whose district is in California, traveled to Minneapolis on Saturday to insist that Derek Chauvin must be found guilty of murdering George Floyd (the former police officer is not being charged with first-degree murder). 

She joined a rally Saturday night telling the protesters, some of whom have resorted to violence, “We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Everyone knew what she meant.

To understand the serious nature of Waters’ remarks, her comments must be taken in context. The police have been continuously demonized by celebrities, pundits, and politicians. 

Hollywood star Alyssa Milano recently charged, “Police exist to uphold white supremacy.” Never mind that the mostly non-white police force in our nation’s largest cities might find this risible. Madonna is just as keen. She has called for police officers involved in fatal shootings to be denied due process, saying there should be “no trial.” 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib went a step further tweeting, “Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.” She demanded that we end policing and incarceration. She did not say in whose neighborhood we should release the murderers and rapists, nor did she renounce taxpayer-funded security for herself.

These pleas for injustice are not without effect. In Minneapolis, the police are banned from using chokeholds, tear gas, and tasers, leaving them with no other choice but to use their guns when they are threatened. In New York City, the NYPD’s budget has been slashed and the plainclothes anti-crime unit—a major success—has been eliminated. This is happening at a time when the qualified immunity that police officers have earned has been nixed. 

Policies matter. There are 1,500 state parolees living in New York City shelters. Every morning when I come to work, there are dozens of crazed men hanging out inside and outside of Penn Station, and nothing is done about it. The cops are told to stand down. 

Now an Asian undercover cop was almost thrown onto the subway tracks in Queens. The offender, who has a long rap sheet, went before a judge and was quickly let go.

“My hands are tied because under the new bail rules, I have absolutely no authority or power to set bail on this defendant for this alleged offense,” said the judge. 

Last June, city leaders in Portland slashed $16 million from the police budget; they also eliminated the gun-violence unit. Guess what happened? Gun violence surged. Conditions are so bad—the result of intentionally disabling the police—that now the mayor is demanding they refund the police. 

Chris Cuomo told his declining CNN audience that police reform will not happen until “White people’s kids start getting killed.” He is not likely to get his wish. As CNSNews Managing Editor Michael Chapman notes, “For black victims of violent crime, a Department of Justice report for 2018 shows that 70.3% of their offenders were black and 10.6% of their offenders were white.” Moreover, because whites are involved in relatively few interactions with the police, Cuomo’s scenario is not likely to come true. 

Attempts to blame the police for the violence committed by Black Lives Matter protesters don’t square with the evidence. Last year, researchers at Princeton University studied this issue for a three-month period. They counted approximately 570 Black Lives Matter riots in nearly 220 locations throughout the nation. Last month, it was revealed that Black Lives Matter is responsible for at least 25 deaths and thousands of injuries. 

It is not the average African American who wants to destabilize the police. Indeed, in a Gallup survey released last August, 61% of those surveyed want policing to remain the same. Of those surveyed who have had an interaction with the police, 79% of blacks want the cops to spend more or the same amount of time in their neighborhood.

Maxine Waters does not speak for African Americans. In fact, she is not their ally: She is their enemy. It’s time she, and others like her, were exposed for what they are—race baiters and cop bashers.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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NCAA’s Anti-Christian Bias Runs Deeper Than You Think


NCAA president Mark Emmert is seen after the championship game of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four. (Photo credit: Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)

Collegiate sports and professional sports have traditionally been apolitical. They have also been at least tacitly supportive of traditional moral values. No longer. They have now laid anchor with the politics of the left, and that, in turn, has led them to adopt an aggressively secular worldview, one that is increasingly anti-Christian. Consider the NCAA.

On Monday, the NCAA Board of Governors stated that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.” It also said that it will not hold championship events in locations that do not agree with its position.

Truth to tell, the NCAA does not believe in inclusion and fair competition: It believes in exclusion and unfair competition.

Its policy of restricting championship events to locales that conform to its transgender politics manifestly excludes parts of the country that maintain a Christian view of sex and sexuality. Moreover, there is nothing fair about allowing males to compete against females in athletics.

There is something else going on here that needs to be addressed. Why is the NCAA promoting sex reassignment therapy when it is well-known how dangerous it is to the psychological and physical wellbeing of those who undergo it? To this point, are NCAA officials aware that hormone therapy causes physical changes that are irreversible? 

Sweden has a comparatively long history of accommodating transgender persons. It does not have an admirable record. In fact, what we know should give us pause. For example, the suicide rate for those who undergo sex reassignment therapy is astonishingly high, and the range and scale of psychiatric disorders are also disturbing. None of this has anything to do with stigma—Sweden enthusiastically embraces the transgender community.

In this country, the American Heart Association has concluded that those who undergo sex reassignment therapy have higher rates of strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots. Another study found that females who transition to males have a greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. 

Last month, the Mayo Clinic reported on several risk factors for males who transition to female. They include blood clots, high blood pressure, infertility, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and breast cancer.

It is a sure bet that the NCAA will distance itself from reports of serious health issues that arise from transgender athletes. It will claim it has nothing to do with them. 

In March 2021, the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that male athletes who transition to female maintain their body mass and strength for up to three years, putting natural-born women at a major disadvantage. In other words, once the change takes place, biological women will be hamstrung for years.

Even if there weren’t any serious side effects to sex transitioning, there is still the anti-Christian bias that is evident in the NCAA’s policy. 

For instance, states such as Mississippi, Tennessee, Idaho, and Arkansas have banned transgender participation in women’s sports, and all of them are overwhelmingly Christian. Is it by accident that none of them are allowed to host an NCAA championship contest? Or is it a direct consequence of the NCAA adopting the anti-Christian animus that colors the politics of the left?

The NCAA commitment to inclusion stops short when it comes to Christian schools. None of the 25 members of the Board of Governors hail from these states, and the two religious-affiliated board members—from Georgetown University and Hamline University—represent schools that are unabashedly “progressive,” not orthodox.

In general, male athletes are faster and stronger than female athletes. That is why everything from pre-school athletics to the Olympics are sex-segregated. Similarly, we have the Special Olympics for the disabled. There should also be a forum for transgender athletes, even if it is limited to regional competition. 

The NCAA should stay out of politics, stay away from affirming sex transitioning, and stay clear of imposing punitive measures on Christian states and schools.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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Is Border Chief Nominee Anti-Catholic?


Tucson Police Department Chief Chris Magnus gives a news conference. (Photo credit: YouTube/KGUN9)

President Joe Biden has nominated Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to be the head of Customs and Border Protection. The Senate will have to confirm him. He needs to be asked about some disturbing remarks he made two years ago about Covington Catholic High School students. 

After a March for Life rally in the nation’s capital, Nick Sandmann, a Covington Catholic student, was taunted by an Indian activist, Nathan Phillips. Although Phillips beat his drum in the student’s face, Sandmann did not retaliate. All he did was smile. Immediately, many pundits and the media attacked Sandmann for disrespecting Phillips. Among those who jumped on the bandwagon was Magnus.

When more complete videos became available, most of Sandmann’s critics regretted their rush to judgment. It was Phillips who baited Sandmann, not the other way around. What made Magnus different from the other critics was his determination to collectivize the guilt—he indicted all the Covington Catholic students. 

Surely Magnus knew the students were Catholic—it was all over the media—so why did he indict their status? On Jan. 19, 2019, he tweeted, “What kind of parenting or school experience leads to this?” He called out their behavior, which was completely passive, saying what they did was “cruel & wrong.” 

Had these been public school students, it is not likely Magnus would have questioned their upbringing. But these students were raised by Catholic parents and attended a Catholic school. 

After Magnus saw more video clips, he stuck to his guns. Two days after his first tweet, he blamed the Catholic students for acting like a “mob”—even though the videos proved they did nothing wrong. He also said this was a “totally avoidable” event, putting the onus on them.

Magnus is not an ordinary cop. He is a left-wing activist who participated in a Black Lives Matter protest while in uniform when he headed the Richmond, Calif. police department in 2014. This earned him the rebuke of local law enforcement unions and his own police force. While in the same job, he was accused by a records clerk of “cultivating a gay environment.” In 2015, Magnus was accused by a male officer of sexual harassment and for using racial slurs. 

Magnus needs to explain himself. Not only was his judgment in the Covington Catholic case seriously flawed; the comments he made about the students’ family and school deserve to be probed. What was he getting at when he asked about the “parenting or school experience” of these Catholic students? 

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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Hawaii Permits Nurses to Abort Babies


Hawaii Gov. David Ige speeks during a press conference about preparations for Hurricane Lane’s arrival to the state. (Photo credit: RONEN ZILBERMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Hawaii’s new abortion law yields different fruit. The bad news is that feminists are once again endangering the lives of women. The good news is that fewer doctors want anything to do with abortion.

Feminists scored another victory this week by championing a law in Hawaii that allows nurses to perform an abortion. In a time when lawmakers demand that every segment of the population be afforded the highest standards of medical care, it is striking to note that there is one exception: The credential bar is actually being lowered for abortionists; Hawaii is one of several states that allow non-physicians to perform an abortion. 

If a woman were to have her tooth extracted, instead of her baby, the qualifications of those doing it would be more exacting. 

Hawaii now allows women seeking an aspiration abortion to bypass a hospital or clinic and get it done in a nurse’s office. How convenient. As Thomas D. Williams accurately puts it, this procedure involves putting “a vacuum to suck the fetus out of her mother’s womb through the cervix.” While most of these abortions are without complications, not all are, and that is where the danger lies for the woman.

The difference in training that doctors and nurses go through is considerable. After graduating from college, obstetrician/gynecologists must complete another eight years of training. Nurse practitioners are done in two years after college. Quite frankly, they are not equipped to handle serious problems that may arise. 

Common issues following an abortion include vaginal and intra-abdominal hemorrhage, infection, intravascular issues, complications of anesthesia, heart attacks, and strokes. Other problems occur following incomplete abortions. This is serious: Non-physicians are almost three times more likely to preside over an incomplete abortion than are physicians.

Dr. W. Matt Zban, a well-respected emergency doctor in Charlotte, North Carolina, told me that he sees “complications of abortion several times a year. Endometritis (uterine infection), sepsis (blood stream infection), pelvic pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, and death are all complications of legal abortion.”

What happens to a woman in need of a doctor after having an abortion? If she is lucky, she may be attended to by a physician at a nearby hospital. That’s assuming the nurse’s office isn’t too far away.

Obstetricians are trained to bring life into the world, not end it. This explains why so few of them want to do abortions. It also sheds light on why some states keep lowering the bar so that those not repulsed by doing them are accommodated. 

What makes this so obscene is that persons not trained as physicians are operating on women in the name of women’s liberation. So much for equity in healthcare.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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School Choice Opponents Persist in Punishing the Poor


Featured is a school bus in Broward County, Fla. (Photo credit: Johnny Louis/Getty Images)

The waiting list to get into charter schools is considerable in most cities. Many on the list are non-white. They want an alternative to the public schools. Why? For the same reason that rich people do: the public schools are unsatisfactory, and in many cases they are positively dreadful. But unlike the rich, most minority parents cannot afford to send their children to private schools. 

Enrollment at Catholic schools during the pandemic is down overall, though there are many important exceptions. Many low-income parents, and those who are out of work, cannot pay the tuition. A report by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) found that “Disadvantaged communities have been particularly affected by recent closures [of Catholic schools] with more than half of the closed schools located in low-income urban areas.”

However, there are some places where Catholic enrollment has surged—Boston and Cleveland are just two cities that have witnessed an uptick. The NCEA study found that “In 2020, nearly 40% of Catholic schools report that they have a waiting list for students—an increase of more than 11 percentage points from 2019.” The increase is due to the failure of the public schools to open. That there has been no outbreak of COVID cases in these Catholic schools is undeniable.

One might think that those educators who are truly interested in quality education for black and brown students might be promoting charter schools and school choice. But few are. One of the most striking attacks on charter, Catholic, and Christian schools was published on April 12 in USA Today by Derek W. Black and Rebecca Holcombe; he teaches law at the University of South Carolina and she is the former Vermont Secretary of Education.

They call for an end to charter schools and to school-choice programs. In doing so, they are consigning minority students to dead-end schools, the effect of which is to increase racial inequities. If someone were to devise a policy to punish the poor—to deny upward social mobility for Hispanics and African Americans—they could not suggest a better way to do so. 

Public school advocates have always been worried, if not terrified, of competition. Their number-one goal has always been to create a total public-school monopoly, even if it means discriminating against minorities. 

Black and Holcombe complain that some Christian schools adopt textbooks that advance “anti-science and white-centric ideology.” Their resort to racist labeling is invidious, but this is what we have come to expect from those who want to indoctrinate students in critical race theory; it is now the norm in California. 

These educators are exercised about a Christian textbook that allegedly teaches that “dinosaurs and humans lived together.” They should instead worry about the California curriculum that teaches that Jews are “gaining racial privilege.”  

Similarly, Black and Holcombe fret over a Catholic school whose website says faith “is weaved into every aspect of life” at school. It is a sure bet that they are not perturbed by public schools that tell young boys and girls that they can switch their sex. Nor are they likely to object to public schools that weave racism into every part of the curriculum, including math.

If we were sincere about helping minority students, we would promote more charter schools and fund more school-choice initiatives, the exact opposite of what these two sages recommend.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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Holocaust Taught the Perils of Deconstructionism, Which Is on the Rise Again


A lone red rose lies on one of the concrete steles of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Holocaust memorial) in Berlin on Nov. 9, 2020. (Photo credit: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Observing Holocaust Remembrance Day is special for Jews around the world, but it should also be recognized by those of us who are not Jewish. There are many things that we can learn from this monstrous event, among them being the seminal moral lessons that it bequeathed.

At Nuremberg, the standard Nazi defense was to claim that they were only doing what they were instructed to do. It did not work. The London Charter of the International Military Tribunal determined that “following orders” did not exonerate them. Though the Tribunal did not explicitly invoke natural law—e.g., we know in our heart of hearts that certain acts, such as the killing of innocents, is wrong—it essentially validated what Aristotle broached and what the Catholic Church later pioneered. 

We need to remember this moral lesson because of the prevalence in our culture of moral relativism, the notion that there are no objective truths. This pernicious idea is not new, though it is more widely embraced today—allowing for glaring inconsistencies—than ever before, especially on college campuses. Its legacy is rich with irony.

“There is no such thing as truth, either in the moral or in the scientific sense.” Many professors and their students would fully endorse this view today. Hitler is the author.

Before Hitler, there was Nietzsche. He spent his adult life trashing the teachings of the Catholic Church. He is famous for opining, “There are no facts, only interpretations.” The Nazis later agreed. Martin Heidegger also embraced Nietzschean relativism and, not surprisingly, he was a big fan of Hitler.

The idea that there are no objective meanings also marks deconstruction, a school of thought that originated in France in the 1960s; Jacques Derrida is its intellectual father. In this country, his views achieved currency through Paul de Man. Many intellectuals were shocked when it was revealed that de Man had been a Nazi collaborator in Belgium. If they understood the logical consequences of denying moral truths, they wouldn’t have been shocked. 

In a survey of college seniors, conducted in 2002, nearly three-quarters of them said they were taught that right and wrong depend “on differences in individual values and cultural diversity.” 

When James Q. Wilson, a professor of political science who taught at UCLA and Harvard, discussed the Holocaust with his students, he found no general agreement that the Holocaust itself was a moral horror.

“It all depends on your perspective,” one student said.

Professor Roger Simon, who taught at Hamilton College, experienced the same reaction. He estimated that 10 to 20 percent of his students could not condemn the Holocaust. “Of course I dislike the Nazis,” one student told him, “but who is to say they are morally wrong?” 

Even more troubling, philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers found that students at Williams College, who were taught that “all knowledge is a social construct,” doubted the Holocaust even occurred. As one student said, “Although the Holocaust may not have happened, it’s a perfectly reasonable conceptual hallucination.”

The good news is that the reality of objective truth cannot be erased, even in our cancel culture, though admittedly it is harder to voice this verity than ever before. It is incumbent on those of us who know better to point out the flaws inherent in moral relativism. It does not help when we have a president who will not speak to this issue.

The White House statement by President Joe Biden on Holocaust Remembrance Day is embarrassing. Instead of focusing on anti-Semitism, he twice mentions, in short address, the plight of “LGBTQ+” people; he also denounces “homophobia.” What day does he think he is observing? 

It is noble of him to object to “dehumaniz[ing] groups of people,” and to “all forms of dehumanizing bigotry.” But if “LGBTQ+” people are to be cited in this regard, why is there no mention of the most dehumanizing of all behaviors—child abuse in the womb? We all know why: Our “devout Catholic” president champions abortion-on-demand. 

The Catholic League salutes Jews all over the world for honorably observing Holocaust Remembrance Day. They prove that this day can be commemorated without exploiting it for political purposes.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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If MLB Commissioner Is So Concerned About Rights, Why Partner With China?


The Chinese flag flaps in the wind. (Photo credit: Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)

Dear Commissioner Manfred:

As president of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, I would like to commend you for your new-found interest in policing human rights in the United States. While your objections to the voting reform law in Georgia are baseless, let’s assume nonetheless that you have a genuine interest in alleged violations of human rights. 

However, if that is the case, why did MLB just renew its contract with Tencent, the Chinese company with close ties to the Communist Party?

According to chinanews.com, the Chinese State Media, the new contract will enable MLB and the communists to expand live broadcasts and membership services. “For the first time, it [MLB] has joined hands with Oriental Pearl New Media, and it is the first time that MLB has achieved multi-platform copyright cooperation in China, allowing baseball content to cover 100 million household users.” Baseball will also be shown on screens in bus terminals and subways. There will be at least one game aired per day, with approximately 200 games available for live broadcast and on-demand services.

You must be very proud of MLB’s expansion into Communist China. After all, the Chinese people need some relief from the totalitarian conditions under which they live, and this is particularly true of those who take their religion seriously. Unfortunately, their rights are being summarily abused by the government that you support. 

Religious persecution in China is at obscene levels. Freedom House, a well-respected organization that monitors human rights around the world, details the desecration of places of worship, torture and murder of religious Chinese people by the state. Worse, religious prisoners of conscience are the largest contingent of prisoners in China. 

The Chinese communists have engaged in genocide against the Uyghurs,  a Muslim ethnic minority. That was the conclusion of the United States government in 2021. Upwards of two million have had their religious rights decimated; they have also been subjected to forced labor and forced sterilizations. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, torture is common in the “reeducation” camps, and reports of women being sexually abused and raped are ongoing. 

Catholics and Protestants have had their churches raided and stripped of crosses. They are forbidden from having their own independent clergy, forced to accept communist-chosen priests, bishops, and ministers. Christmas is practically forbidden, and Catholics and Protestants have had to post images of Xi Jinping, the tyrant who runs the Communist Party.

Buddhists and members of the Falun Gong are also persecuted. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has detailed how Buddhist monks and nuns who refuse to denounce the Dali Lama are expelled from their monasteries, imprisoned, and tortured. Practitioners of Falun Gong have had their organs harvested in prison.

These egregious violations of human rights demand the attention of the entire world, and this is especially true of human rights champions. If you are exercised about alleged violations of human rights in Georgia, such as requiring voters to show ID (the same ID that MLB insists on to pick up baseball tickets at the Will Call window before games), surely you must be up-in-arms over the monstrous conditions in China. Sadly, I see no evidence that you are. 

Where does this leave us? To be specific, could you please explain how you can aid and abet genocide in Communist China while boycotting Georgia over a non-issue? Does it all come down to making money and sucking up to left-wing activists? If so, what does that make you, Mr. Manfred? 

I will be only too happy to alert Catholics, and many others, to your compromised status. More than that, I will ask everyone not to watch the All-Star game on July 13th. Yes, MLB will get its revenue, no matter what, but if there is a dramatic drop in TV ratings—and it is a sure bet there will be—that message will not be lost on anyone. It may even set the stage for a loss of revenue in next year’s All-Star game. 

Sincerely,

William A. Donohue, Ph.D.

President

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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‘Christian Nationalism’ Is an Invention of Christian Bashers


A cross stands in the Colosseum. (Photo credit: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

Scholars rightly take umbrage when pundits and activists exploit their work for political purposes. The latest example, at least in religious circles, is the way in which a new book, “Secular Surge: A New Fault Line in American Politics,” is being received by militant secularists. 

The authors, David Campbell, Geoffrey Layman, and John C. Green—all of whom have distinguished records—maintain that the number of Americans who no longer claim a religious affiliation is growing quickly, accounting for a secular surge. The data support their thesis. 

Their volume becomes somewhat more controversial when they attribute some of the exit from religious institutions to the more conservative members of the Republican Party. The authors say that many Americans have an “allergic reaction” to mixing religion and conservative politics. They further note that “a secular-religious divide” may lead each side to view the other “with suspicion and perhaps even hostility.” 

As I have recounted in reviewing their work in the past, these authors are well aware of the fact that the secularization of American society has been going on for decades. Layman previously cited 1972 as the pivotal year when secularists took over the Democratic Party. Twenty years later, he wrote that “The Democratic Party now appears to be a party whose core of support comes from secularists, Jews, and the less committed members of the major religious traditions.” 

In 2004, Green directed a survey by the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron on this subject and found similar results. Campbell’s work in this area is consistent with these findings.

Unfortunately, those who are more interested in propaganda than scholarship are using their work to advance their own agenda. The latest to do so is Adam Gabbatt, a reporter for The Guardian; it is being flagged by Yahoo.

In his news story of April 5, Gabbatt offers a fair presentation of “Secular Surge,” but then descends into politics when he says that “Christian nationalists” are “thrust[ing] their version of religion into American life.” He finds support for this view by citing Alison Gill, vice president for Legal and Policy at American Atheists. She cites a report by the organization, “2020 State of the Secular States,” that claims Christian nationalists are at the forefront of this movement.

To begin with, Layman, Campbell, and Green never use the term “Christian nationalists” in their book. More important, although this label is mentioned 12 times in the report by American Atheists, never once is it defined. It’s just bandied about, the way it always is. 

“Christian nationalists,” according to the report, are those who believe in such things as religious exemptions, pro-life legislation, school vouchers, homeschooling, and our national motto, “In God We Trust.” Fairly common stuff. In other words, American Atheists thinks that a very large swath of the American public qualify as “Christian nationalists.”

To be sure, there are Christian extremists, but I hasten to add that they are far less influential than their secular counterparts. A militant brand of secularism has gripped the country, and this includes many of those in elite positions of power. 

We don’t have to worry about “Christian nationalists”—we have to worry about those who are promoting this fiction as a weapon to assault our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.



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Biden Holding Rosary Beads on Easter Will Not Mollify Catholics’ Concerns


Joe Biden is given a rosary while meeting with individuals during the presidential campaign. (Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

During the presidential campaign season last year, it was obvious that candidate Joe Biden was not having an easy time with some U.S. bishops. After he won the election, that observation was validated. Now that we are at Easter, it is undeniably true that the president’s relationship with many bishops is rocky, if not seriously strained.

Last summer, Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin issued a tweet that was both sarcastic and pointed. “Biden-Harris. First time in awhile that the Democratic ticket hasn’t had a Catholic on it. Sad.” The dismissal of Biden’s professed Catholic status was lost on no one.

A month before the election, Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Biden should not receive Communion, adding that he was not a Catholic “in good standing.”

A few weeks after the election, Archbishop José Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, opined that President-elect Biden supported policies that “attack some fundamental values we hold dear.” Noting that it could be confusing to Catholics to see a Catholic in the White House who rejected the Church’s teachings on abortion and other matters, Gomez appointed a Working Group, chaired by Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, to help the bishops “navigate” this “difficult and complex situation.”

In December, the recently retired archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, said that Biden’s support for gay marriage and abortion rights meant that he “should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic.” On the day he was inaugurated, Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, called the president a “devout Catholic.” 

Archbishop Gomez, speaking for the bishops’ conference, also weighed in on Inauguration Day: 

I must point out that the new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.

A week later, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, teamed up with Bishop David Malloy, the head of the bishops’ International Justice and Peace Committee, to take Biden to task for promoting abortion overseas. “It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations.” They said his executive order “is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching.”

In February, Naumann, the archbishop of Kansas City, Kans., said that Biden “should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic,” noting that he is “100% pro-choice on abortion.” He accused Biden of “usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people.” What should be done? “The bishops need to correct him, as the president is acting contrary to the Catholic faith.”

Within days of Naumann’s remarks, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Tex. declared that “Biden is not a real Catholic.” In March, Bishop Richard Stika, who heads the Diocese of Knoxville, tweeted that Biden “likes to brag on his Catholic background when convenient. So very dishonest!” 

At the end of March, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, who leads the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, said that Biden “should not present himself” for Communion. He cited Biden’s long history of supporting abortion rights, saying that if politicians are “living in a way or holding positions that are contrary to church teaching, then the Minister of Communion has to deny them the sacrament.”

Paprocki’s comments were followed by Cardinal Burke’s. Speaking of Biden, he said that “a person who claims to be Catholic and yet promotes in such an open, obdurate, and aggressive way a crime like procured abortion is in the state, at least, of apostasy.” He concluded that the penalty for the “crime of apostasy” is “excommunication.”

As we approach Easter, the bishops, as well as millions of practicing Catholics, are not going to have their concerns about Biden allayed by photos of him clinging to his rosary beads. He cannot at once declare himself to be a “devout Catholic” while at the same time supporting abortion-on-demand, gay marriage, sex transitioning for minors, and the war on religious liberty. 

It’s time for President Biden to stop living a lie.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.





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