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Donahue defends Beck, but who’s the “phony”?

March 12, 2010, 1:50 pm | Posted by Beth Dahlman

While an amazingly diverse array of faith groups have condemned Glenn Beck’s smears on churches who follow the call to social justice, conservative Catholic Bill Donahue has jumped in to defend him:

Beck didn’t say Christians should abandon their religion. He recommended shopping around to find a more conservative parish if one is dissatisfied with hearing left-wing sermons. Nothing new about that. In the Catholic Church, there are priests who are stridently left-wing and stridently right-wing; many parishioners shop accordingly. Protestants shop by leaving one denomination for another. And so on.

Some of those who have criticized Beck have done so in a sincere way. Others are just phonies.

Donahue goes on to downplay Beck’s remark as “flip” even though Beck’s made similar accusations several times before.

Donahue’s defense is rather perplexing. First, Beck did not say “shop around.” He said to “run as fast as you can” if you find the words “social justice” on your church’s website.

As Matthew Yglesias points out, this would require all Catholics to leave their churches since “social justice” is all over the Vatican and USCCB websites.

Furthermore, contrary to what Donahue implies, “social justice” is not just some “left wing” concept Catholics are supposed to take or leave as it fits their political sensibilities — it is a core tenet of the faith:

  • The Catechism says social justice (in particular the principle of solidarity) is a “direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.”
  • Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical Caritas in Veritante was all about social and economic justice. It even included a healthy critique (gasp!) of unchecked capitalism.

Donahue is generally quick to chime in when a conservative Catholic, fairly or unfairly, is criticized in the press.

But does Donahue, the self-anointed defender of the Catholic Church against “defamation” “whenever and wherever” it occurs speak up and quote the Catechism or the Pope when a tenet of his Church is attacked by a conservative?

No. Instead he makes excuses for his ideological compatriot.

I’m not sure Donahue is in a position to call anybody else a “phony.”

2 Responses to “Donahue defends Beck, but who’s the “phony”?”

  1. Ron Krumpos says:

    Supporting and promoting social justice are good Christian acts. They are also good Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan acts. It should be obligatory for all of us if we are to be truly human. Is Glenn Beck part of humanity?

  2. Tom says:

    Donahue like most conservative Catholics conveniently overlooks the entire Catholic social justice tradition simply because it is inconvenient and doesn’t make them easy bedfellows with those who desire to reduce the Catholic church’s moral concerns to the womb.