The lovable lug. If you’ve lived under a rock or have been in a coma for most of recent times, this is Bill Donohue. I have known him for over two decades and am proud to call him my friend. As with those who participate in the audacious practice of advocacy, controversy is not an alien concept to Sir William.
His style is loud and combative and confrontational, so whenever he’s involved in any controversy (which is not the rarity), the mainstreamers pay particular attention and note to his words because (a) he’s good copy and (b) he’s great with a quip and quote. Here’s Bill’s curriculum vitae.
The gravamen. It’s being suggested that Donohue is somehow excusing the murders. That Charbonnier and others should have known better. WRONG! He never said that, meant that, intimated or insinuated that. Not even close.
Prolegomenon. No stranger to controversy and full-throated advocacy, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, an organization that “monitors the culture, acting as a watchdog agency and defender of the civil rights of all Catholics,” issued a statement titled “MUSLIMS ARE RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.”And, as you can imagine, the reaction was loud and constant. Per usual.
In it, Donohue criticized Charlie Hebdo’s history of offending the world’s religiously devout, including non-Muslims. The murdered Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier “didn’t understand the role he played in his [own] tragic death,” the statement reads. He further notes in this quote that the media have interestingly omitted, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.” As you can imagine, this confounds many for the usual and obvious reasons.
The points to be addressed. In the event you, like most of the Western world, have no critical thinking skills to speak of and react viscerally and via Pavlovian, patellar reflexes, let me give you this unsolicited advice on how to review this issue and what points you should attend to.
- Read exactly the word of the person you’re commenting on and anent.
- “Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated,” says Donohue. “But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.”
- The media and various commentators have no problem in suggesting that mayors and civil rights leaders “caused” and promoted violence upon police officers, thereby establishing a justification and causality argument.
- If the media can suggest that mayors and protestors “caused” police to be assassinated by lunatics and have blood on their hands, they should have no problem in understanding that “cartoonists” likewise can incite violence.
- If no cartoon is subject to limitation and if they should be aired freely why are so many networks refusing to run that which they embrace as free speech?
- Geopolitical terrorism is the issue that has escaped many as they focus on the immediate.
- To understand a crime doesn’t mean you agree with or countenance it.
- When a group has repeatedly reacted violently in the past, notwithstanding having no basis in fact or law or justification to do so, to that which they have repeatedly suggested is blasphemous and which they vowed retaliation over, can anyone actually claim surprise. Remember: This is not an excuse for the event.
- Charlie Hebdo defends its “right to blasphemy,” in the words (and drawings) of Bernard Velhac, known as Tignous, one of the cartoonists killed in the shootings today. “We publish caricatures every week, but people only describe them as declarations of war when it’s about the person of the Prophet or radical Islam,” cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, told Der Spiegel in 2012. He was also killed in the shootings today. [qz.com]
The horse’s mouth. So, let’s hear what he really said and meant from Mr. Donohue himself, shall we?