« Guest post: Belmont Abbey, continued | Main | Scientology state HQ still up in the air »

October 22, 2009

Simpsons take another shot at the Catholics

Bill Donohue says he’s okay with “gentle fun” being poked at his faith. But the Catholic watchdog says The Simpsons went too far on Sunday when they cracked wise about the Eucharist.

At issue is this year’s installment of the annual Halloween episode. One of the three stories – and we’re taking Donohue’s word for it, because we didn’t catch the show – involved people in Springfield becoming zombies after eating hamburgers infected with tainted meat.

Bart tries one of the infected hamburgers, but proves immune to the virus, and so becomes the “Chosen One.” When the Simpsons reach a safe zone with other uninfected people, a guard says, “Welcome, son. To survive, all we must do is eat your flesh.” Which leads Marge to ask: “What kind of civilized people eat the body and blood of their savior?”

“What kind of uncivilized people work at Fox?” asked Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and the author of “Secular Sabatoge: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America.”

“Last year, when they poked some gentle fun at the Apostle’s Creed on the Halloween episode, we said nothing,” Donohue said. ”That’s because it didn’t cross the line. This year is different: mocking the heart of any religion always crosses the line, and mocking the Eucharist does it for Catholics. They know this at Fox, which is precisely why they did it.”

His statement includes the name and e-mail address of Fox Broadcasting's chairman of entertainment.

John Gehring of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, meanwhile, is decrying the media reliance on Donohue as a spokesman for the faith on the Washington Post’s On Faith blog.

"While Donohue's bluster makes for sensational television," Gehring writes, "he rarely raises his voice to speak about issues at the heart of Catholic social teaching. While the U.S. Catholic bishops' 2008 election-year statement on political responsibility emphasized a consistent ethic of life tradition that recognizes torture, unjust war, the death penalty, genocide, racism and poverty as 'direct assaults on innocent human life,' Donohue is uncharacteristically mute on these points. Abortion is not the only 'life issue' for Catholics."

Back to The Simpsons: It isn’t the first time the long-running animated comedy has drawn Donohue’s ire. A decade ago, he complained about a couple of episodes in the same season. In the first, aired in November 1998, a hungry Bart asks Marge, "Mom, can we go Catholic so we can get Communion wafers and booze?" She replies: "No one is going Catholic. Three children is enough, thank you."

The second episode aired on Super Bowl Sunday 1999, and included a scene in which Marge and Lisa were watching a television advertisement during the iconic sporting event. As Los Angeles Times columnist Howard Rosenberg described it:

Inspired by an old ZZ Top video, the commercial spoof showed a dusty service station where a car pulled up to the pumps and the nerdy driver got out, looked around and hit the horn. Gyrating to rock music, three scantily clad babes emerged from the station seductively, and as the driver's eyes widened, they suggestively flipped open the hood, shook off the squeegee and plunged the gas nozzle into the tank. The driver was even more excited when spotting a glittering cross hanging in one of the wiggling female's ample cleavage.

Voice-over: "The Catholic Church: We've made a few . . . changes."

Rosenberg was writing about Donohue’s apparent effectiveness. His 1999 column described the decision of Fox to change “The Catholic Church” to “The Church” for subsequent broadcasts, under pressure from the Catholic League.

Simpsons executive producer Mike Scully told Rosenberg that he was asked to make the change by Fox’s vice president of broadcast standards. When Scully balked, he said, the Fox executive suggested changing it to "Methodists, Presbyterians or Baptists" – anything but Catholic.

"When I asked what would be the difference changing it to another religion, and wouldn't that just be offending a different group of people,” Scully told Rosenberg, “he explained that Fox had already had trouble with Catholics earlier this season."

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 6:00 AM | | Comments (62)


Poking fun at Catholics. If you step away and consider some of the issues that the Church has had (not just recently either) it's understandable. Last year, Garrison Keilor in a column alluded to some sort of Catholic mumbo-jumbo and bead rattling. At first I was perturbed but then looking at the overall picture - consider the source. No need to say more...

Bill Donohue is a living cartoon character, who was pilloried as a cartoon character on an episode of "South Park" not long ago. That he has the gall to appear in public after being shown for the fool he is, is only a measure of his ignorance and stupidity. He is one the reasons why religion is held in low regard. Having him as their spokes-person makes about as much sense as having Charles Manson chosen as the spoke-person for PETA. I hope he keeps on talking because he couldn't do more harm to delusionalism than if he was being paid to do so.

I agree, I am a Christian and was actually hear this comment in the background, ( I wasnt watching it), I was shocked! I value communion and was just very upset about this remark. I made sure the channel got turned. I cant believe how much the simpsons, and TV in general mocks religion. This upsets me very much. The Simpsons could actually be a good show if they didnt make fun of religion so often. Here's my two cents: The kind of civiled people who eat the body and drink the blood of their Savior are the ones who will be in Heaven with their Savior (Jesus). I value communion a lot more than any tv or anything the world could ever provide me with.

The Catholics who really know their religion, know how to think, and are fully aware that this onslaught of persecution by the liberal media is deliberately done with malice aforethought because the discrediting and destruction of the Catholic Church is meant to be a victory for Atheistic Communism/Socialism (at which shrine they worship) and the consequent annihilation of western civilization as we know it. During the 20th century, the murders of 100,000,000+ people by Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and their ilk, were essentially the murders of Catholics, other Christians, and political conservatives who stood in the way of Godless tyranny. Think about it. Shows like "The Simpsons" are merely vehicles to deliver the liberal message of hatred and mockery of God and His Commandments.

I'm a pretty conservative Catholic, but I don't find offense in this line, rather I find it theologically interesting. Marge's comment is basically the same thing that Jesus's followers said in John chapter 6: ( V. 60. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" ) and ( V. 66. From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. )

The writers were trying to be ironic, when the real irony is that it points out there there are still those who deny the Real Presence.

For years I've known that the most vicious attacks on the Holy Catholic Church are made by atheists, who have not come even close to accomplishing the good works of the Holy Catholic Church.

The Holy Catholic Chruch has built hundreds of thousands of Hospitals, Clinics, Primary and Secondary Schools, Colleges, Universities, Burn Centers, Homes for the Aged, Orphanages and more.

Atheists don't do anything for the good of humanity. Let's see atheists build at least one hospital before they mouth off again about my beautiful Holy Catholic Church. Two to one bet, atheists won't do anything except hurl vicious attacks on good people who help others.

The first person you should laugh at is yourself. It's a farce, people.
Notice how no one has gotten their under roos in a bunch about the countless shots as Scientology and Hinduism.

All of these silly cartoon shows seem to put down Christians. Look what it does to kids when they watch them. Satan loves it. My former pastor doesnt allow a tv in the house. His kids seem to be doing ok. I dont have any kids but I surely would keep an eye on what they watch if I did.

I'm beginning to see the great value in getting rid of my TV.

Clay - Thank you for not passing on your genetic material. The world cannot help but profit from your sacrifice.

Philip Saenz - Unlike the church you seem to be totally obsessed with, Atheists are not organized into tight little groups that can pool extorted wealth into organized projects like building hospitals. What you are doing is like saying that mud-wasps are no good because they don't make bee-hives.

In general - I find it interesting that most religions, but especially Catholics, think that any generalized put-down of religion is all about them. I state the absurdities of the notion of god, and all at once I'm jumped of for being anti-Catholic. In the broad sense, I am anti-Catholic, but only in the context that it is part of the entire cornucopia of delusional belief in god concepts. I must admit that certain religions are more irritating than others, especially the ones that think their god has a deep interest in my sex life, or that want to force women to breed children against their will, but in general, they all are pretty much institutionalized superstition that weak people cleave to like a pathetic crutch because they are afraid of death.

It is interesting people are STILL offended by a program that's been on the air 20 years. I'm Catholic and "The Simpsons" has never offended me (at least on religion. Poor writing - which the show has guilty of the last few years -is another issue.) Get a life.

Well, I'll weigh in. I think that some of the Catholic bashing is self-inflicted, but most of it is due to just plain ignorance. Most atheists that I know could not care less about religion; it really does not get them riled up. But then we have Robert who does take himself a little too seriously.

I'm a practicing Catholic. I missed Treehouse of Horror this year, and was just lamenting that fact to my husband. Now I'm really sorry I missed it. It's a funny line.

Lighten up, people.

Some folks out there have actual problems. Instead of railing (again) about the "war on Christianity" why not go feed and clothe the poor?

Hi Steph. Christians do feed the poor. However there would be a lot more donations towards that end if people werent always so anti-Christian because of things like tv.

Greg - The Atheists you know don't make waves. Isn't that exactly what religion demands of us, so they can continue without any voices to oppose them? As long as people are showing up at my door selling your crap, as long as religion infringes on the rights of women to choose, as long as I have to pay higher taxes to subsidise that portion all the prime down-town properties don't pay because they were given an unfair advantage, then you will find that not all Atheists are willing to let you get away with it. We will, as noisily as your screaming preachers, not let you off the hook unchallenged.

Clay you seem to be too deeply acquainted with Satan for your own good.

Patricia Pflum you got your history plum wrong. Mao couldn't possibly have killed a lot of Christians or Catholics because most people in China followed either Confucius or Buddha or no God whatsoever or followed a God but also followed opium, licentiousness and greed before Mao came in with his cultural revolution to level the playing field and level everyone, the religious and the irreligious into the dust.

Philip Saenz, man, you're out in left field. There are numerous hospitals in the US and most of them are not Catholic--a majority don't belong to any religious denomination. And many doctors running around in these hospitals serving the poor and busting their butts for a pittance the insurance companies cast their way are atheists who cast God belief as an asinine escape into dustbins.

Why do Catholics do all these good deeds? While they are at their good deeds in the Third world and among the poor, they proselytize, they convert, they swell their depleted numbers so the Vatican plutocracy can ensure its own survival and relevance. It is called entrapment with good deeds--drink the wine, eat the flesh, bless the Lord and play soul bingo to hustle the masses into a prison cell of unending dos and don'ts--even the pygmies and the Bantus have been seduced.

And Meekrat--you obviously were not on these blogs when the Scientologists journeyed through them, behaving like the nuts they really are, stoutly defending their brainwashed states, claiming all of modern medicine is a hoax, flaunting their cult's idiocy as wisdom and inviting everyone to come drink at the fountain of their revelations. Try lampooning them--they will be at your throat in an indignant jiffy. As for the Hindus, they monitor insults and jokes with a jealous eye for details. When toilet seats were painted with Hindu Gods, exoticized (believe it--toilet seats with 10 armed voluptuous goddesses, mythic nymphs, monsters and Ganesha the elephant God) and sold to art lovers (some of them Christians) the Hindus (American Indian Anti Defamation Coalition--you haven't heard of them Meekrat?) jumped up with a furor that would put Catholics to shame.

Robert Littel is dead right to wage his word wars. Atheists have taken the crap too long from the God believers. I know so many of the latter--sniffing cocaine?--you can change, get yourself another addiction, get yourself God--ditto if you are doing marijuana, if you are beating your wife, if you are eating yourself into oblivion, build yourself a church, become a pastor and through the back door, find yourself a double life even as your congregation fills your collection plate, thunder like Clay that Satan is around the corner and God is watching you night and day-- embezzle what you can from the so called house of God; then turn around like Tammy Faye or Ted Haggard, wipe off the croc tears, declare yourself a sinner, saved repeatedly by a God only too grateful for the opportunity to die and save everyone.

The cycle of being saved is sickening to the core--it is but a terrible hoax. The Catholic Church is a den of many hyper sexed power mongers--gays too afraid to accept they are gay; hiding behind their ornate vestments, looking for boys to screw--the church hands them the altar boys as perfect sacrificial lambs and this is better than Atheism?

And what do we have coming out of Islam--god believers so fierce, they want all who don't believe as they do to die. Look at the pharmacology Phd from Massachusetts, just arrested--an aspiring terrorist, he made it through pharmacy school but they didn't want him in terrorism school, in Pakistan, because he wasn't experienced in the art of killing for Allah. But he sure wasn't discouraged. He was going shoot up some innocents in a mall in the name of Allah.

There is no God--only men who say there is a God to enslave men who dare not believe there is no God--who quake there might be a God, who imagine there is a special place for them somewhere because there is a God, who point to man made scrolls and say, "There--word of God!" who listen to fables distorted through time and order or convert everyone to worship the megalomaniacs of the past who were audacious enough to call themselves prophets or Gods.

The quest for salvation is the unadulterated fear of being human. It is a waste of time-- a self induced trance. Wake up folks and smell the pungent religious brew for what it is and discover what your pastor, your pope, your minister, your seminarian, your archbishop, your bishop, your priest, your rabbi, your imam, or even your fears, don't want you to discover--there is no God, and if there ever was one then that God has cut out leaving you to your own devises.
Ravensfan's Anon
So they joke about the Catholics on the Simpsons? Why not? The Catholics lend themselves well to splendid comedy.

Greetings from Spain!
Patricia, I really agree with your remarks.
Here the socialist perscution against the Catholic Church is incredible. They use all their media, newspapers, TV, radio. Always moking, ridiculing.... removing the Christian symbols everywhere, promoting abortion etc.

Context, context.

Bill Donahue does not understand that the "Marge" character always says the Liberal bigot thing. She's a real modern day spoof on Herodious!! The daughter, "Lisa" ? -- it's been awhile since I've watched -- is almost expect to follow the mother as a kind of "Delilah"!

I read the NOR Feed item w/ interest, because I have loved the even-handed way that The Simpsons writers -- and producer$ -- take off on all blow-hard, superiority Centrists!!

So, no, Marge asking: “What kind of civilized people eat the body and blood of their savior?” to her son, Bart's innocent comment, shows the dumb, but always erudite-sounding "consistent anti-Life ethic" of the Liberal character of Marge -- the blue-haired hippie. At least, Homer and his dad, Abe, keep growing younger in their old age.

I'm 68, father of 5 and grand-dad of 3. I always watched the series with our kids and my glee at all of it was well-known.

If we are to believe the account offered in the article, I think all right thinking people should see this as “crossing the line”.. Because the Church should never be challenged? No. Because the Church should never be held to account for it’s stated aims and beliefs? No

Consider for a moment a person who has no belief in an after life. Would it be “wrong” for this person to urinate or throw paint on a cenotaph commemorating the fallen heroes of a war long since ended? Even if this person disagreed with the war being commemorated, would their actions be morally justified? If so, why?

In my view it is wrong because of it’s fundamental disrespect for the beliefs of others. It crosses the line in it’s derisory and disrespectful manner. Of itself the monument does not prohibit the individual attempting to have it removed but it does challenge him to show respect for others and the beliefs he may disagree with.

Such double-standards are becoming a regular occurrence in Western society. We claim to hold respect as being an important and necessary virtue but only in cases of agreement. Respect is no longer seen an absolute virtue. This may be because respect is often understood to be synonymous with agreement. If we disagree with another person’s religious, political or social views then it becomes permissible to disrespect them as people.

Whilst we may possess an ability to be disrespectful to others, we have a greater moral obligation to be respectful to them. This does not mean the beliefs of others shouldn’t be challenged; nor does it mean they shouldn’t be held to account for their actions. However it does require us to be respectful of them as people. Without this chaos naturally ensues. Society as a whole does not benefit from the moral cowardice that merely rants, sneers, jeers and openly mocks the beliefs of others. This only spreads hatred, rancour and a considerable degree of negativity. Society is strengthened by the courageous efforts of those who don’t resort to such actions but instead, seek to enter into dialogue and debate to achieve a greater level of mutual understanding. In a society dominated by relativism “me” is all that matters. Others are only important in so far as how much pleasure they can give “me”.

Finally I will conclude by suggesting that the programme went too far simply because it dehumanised the people whose beliefs it was mocking. For them I suspect it is the dollar not people that matter.

God wants men to be in charge of their families. Any man who lets his kids watch a program where the man of the family is often seen as an idiot isnt in charge of his own family, and he certainly isnt doing what God wants him to.

Ah, Pax Vobis, you are an incredible stuffed shirt--with you on board religion loses once more-the ability to laugh at oneself, a sense of irony, humor, this is what religion robs-- aside from outright robbery of the human brain to turn it to mush--religion produces pedants like you for whom even jokes seem like wounds--don't you understand the entire universe is nothing more than chaos--right this minute a minute virus called H1N1 is running around together with millions of microorganisms-created by this God (according to those for whom you seek respect) killing and creating chaos---life is chaos man. Let there be jokes--let there be chaos if that is what jokes cause. Dehumanized you say? What dehumanizes the Catholic church is its clergy and its leadership who declare preemptive bankruptcy so those who have been raped within its precincts will not be justly compensated. No outside help needed on the dehumanization front.
Ravensfan Anon

Anonymous – That was a sad, nonsensical and lengthy outburst. What happened to that wit? Now you sound about as desperate as Robert. My only comment is that all you said is your opinion not fact. You can tell yourself differently if you like. Maybe you'll even convince yourself, but in the end all it is your personal opinion or sermon. We can add it to the atheist bible behind the book of Robert. Maybe we can call it the book of Ravensfan's Anon. Or do you like the book of hate better? Whatever it’s called it comes across as someone very angry and without compassion.

Ravensfan, Don't let Anonymous (who obviously is too cowardly to give his real name; otherwise, he would proudly stand up for his beliefs) and Robert drag you into their webs. This is exactly what they want to do. Just ignore them. This is my last post on this thread.

Greg - Don't think we don't appreciate when a coward turns tail and runs. Shows you have a bit of common sense though, having no supportable position you can defend.

Yes Robert we all stand in awe at how well you've supported your position. From your made up odds on the God's existence to your fairy tale explanation of when life begins you have done your fellow atheists proud with you ability to mount a rational logical argument. Oh and let’s not forget that patriotic and well thought out position on rewriting the first amendment in order to silence us evil Christians. Bravo Robert keep fighting the good fight.

This is such a gentle, innocuous joke, I'm surprised it's actually upsetting people.

Take it out of context and pretend a Catholic friend made a similar joke. You'd crack a little smile and that would be that.

I've surfed into these animated so called young adult/children shows. I only have to stay but 5 minutes and you are confronted by sex and blasphemy of the Christian religion. Fox is notorious for this moral devaluation.

Catholics and the Christian Community can win the battle by using parental controls and stronger yet writing to sponsers and threatening not to purchase($'s) their products.

In the matter of a few weeks this can be cleaned up.

Money is all these filthy minds understand.

Ah Ravensan!

You say it is a coward who will not put his name on the comment.
Is it a courageous man who has to have the last say on a subject ( i.e. This is my last post)?
Or one who writes of others as stuffed shirts, who writes as it is your authority (god) of how men should believe. Your rants and demeaning of others with hate filled words are courageously delivered behind the anonymity of a computer? Your hate is broad as evidenced by your comments to everyone who is disagreement with you. The gay comments you spew show your own hidden disapproval of them. Your writings are chaotic mumbo-jumbo filled with the mythical illusion that you claim of others.

It seems that your courage is in your belittling words of others not in signing your name.


I understand how hypocritical this post may seem but bigotry in all forms is one of the deadliest sins of all, and I recommend that any person who would like to show true devotion to their faith or beliefs should not be fueling such an asinine argument over such a trivial joke. Offense taken may vary from person to person, but if offense is taken, then maybe this "attack"should be taken as a rhetorical question or looked upon as the view many Romans had during the time of early Christian community. The last thing we need is more division in our world, and frankly, some of your ridiculous comments truly give your faith and beliefs a bad name.

Well the main reason Rome fell is because people became lazy and just wanted to be entertained. Now we have the colosseum where the Ravens play and people spending more time in front of the tv and on the internet than practically anything else. Television shows things that were unheard of in the movies when I was a kid. It seems that the world really doesnt have much farther to go before God says, "ok enough. Now its time for Me to rule here." Believe me, there is nothing wrong with pointing this out, and it certainly isnt being pointed out due to hatred. I look at it as doing people a favor. Of course if it tells someone not to live a certain lifestyle or whatever, it is easy for them to just say it is all due to hatred. That way they feel less guilty about not listening to the advice. Thanks.

DD - In all fairness, it was Greg who threatened to bail out, not ravensfan. ravensfan's ego and monumental need to defend delusionalism from all comers, makes it impossible for him to bail out as long as there are more windmills for him to tilt at. I wish it was ravensfan, his repeating of his baseless personal counter-charges without ever tackling the allegations made against religion (as if he could), are growing so loathsome, that I believe his tactic may be to bore me into submission.

Yes, it was I, and not ravensfan, who bailed. Not out of cowardice or arrogance, but simply because I recognize that the certain people contributing to this string cannot engage in rational disagreement or, otherwise, they post anonymously without any sense of ownership of their views. Frankly, I do not have time for this, and a post on some episode of the Simpsons has just devolved into the internet's version of road rage. If my views are considered cowardly or arrogant, then so be it. I'll let the rest of you hash out whatever it is that you're "discussing" because I can't figure it out. It's beyond the scope of my intelligence or reasoning. I'm going to have a drink. Cheers.

Hey folks, if you say there is no God then why do you attack those who believe in God since God does not exist? This makes no sense.

FinishTheRace - It is not your belief in your made up deities we are concerned with, it is the damage that is done to society when those irrational beliefs are organized and focused to further agendas that threaten freedom of thought, threaten the safety of the world and interferes with our dealing with the complicated problems facing us without having to overcome delusional dogmas and doctrines, to enact the needed changes, that such moribund institutions foster .

Hey Greg,
I hope you enjoyed your drink. You are not anonymous--you are Greg--or Ravensfan is Ravensfan--what does that mean on this post--I am Ravensfan Anon--most folks here are hiding behind their anonymity--even those who put their names down have their first names only or made up names--makes not one bit of difference to me--I know Ravensfan as only that--I don't want to know anything more--I read all his opinions though--I enjoy them and I would read them even if he were anonymous. So don't get all tied up about my anonymity. I agree with Robert one hundred percent that you or anyone else has a right to believe as he pleases, and I have a right to mock that you believe in a God and you have a right to mock that I don't believe in one--but when policies are made based on beliefs like those of Clay that's when women, gays and others suffer from Biblical edicts--which even the church elders violate. Funny you should muse that my post about gays sounds anti gay to you. Here's the deal Greg--among heterosexuals and among homosexuals there are sexual predators. The Catholic Church with its many proscriptions, seems to have attracted a lot of heterosexual and gay predators. The Church seems to have shielded these people for fear of losing money and reputation. My comment about gays being too afraid to admit they are gay hiding behind their vestments and seducing young boys too afraid to defy the authority of the clergy is right on target and it does not come from homophobia--I believe gays should be openly gay, they should not be made to feel guilty about their sexuality, they should be allowed to marry--as should heterosexual priests be allowed to marry--then the sexual predation that has been rampant within the church
will, at the very least, decrease. I know why Robert is on these blogs fighting--the anti abortion stance of the various churches--it is the poor women who are affected by it. Rich women, or middle class women, even a minister's daughter, could go off somewhere and get a clandestine abortion, by paying for it. Not so a poor lady. The rich and the devout make laws for those who are the most vulnerable. Similarly the churches bar women from being ordained. The story is the same about gays--they cannot marry, they cannot be openly gay and serve in the church--this is a sin. So, what do they do? They hide, they enter the church anyway, and then they find their sexual outlets. Ditto for heterosexual priests who have affairs with women and spawn illegitimate children. Ireland has just started probing the sexual abuses perpetrated by priests--victims are beginning to emerge and the Catholic bastion seems about to be rocked by these scandals. Separate God from religion the religious say, some bad apples do not represent all and so on and so forth--the excuses are innumerable. The God hoax has engulfed many nations--in my post--the rant as per Ravensfan--I did not single out any religion--I think Littel's vitriolic crusade on these blogs has not occurred unprovoked--every legislator is terrified of the religious block--at the local, state and federal levels, the religious hypocrites, instead of sticking to things celestial, meddle with things terrestrial all the time--as long as lives are affected adversely the atheists will stand up and rebuke the god believers for perpetuating the myth there is a God and supporting these churches in their political, economic and other subversions. Look at the Delaware diocese. It is indulging in preemptive bankruptcy even as it is being sued by victims of abuse--hanging on to its assets for dear life--the land, the parking lots--even the judge in the case admonished this church for its greed--this materialism, this need to survive at all cost from the church elders--quite astonishing. It is men like these who made up God centuries back and it is men like these who perpetuate the god myth for nothing more than control and power.
Ravensfan Anon

It's not some DELIBERATE PUTDOWN of religion OOGH the liberal media! OOGH! No, it's just a silly joke on a cartoon, whatever. Getting so riled up about a single line in a single episode of a single show on a single network is ridiculous and shows that you people don't know where to put your time. Also Bill Donahue is a ridiculous man anyway.

No. Most times, people work for God because they love Him, fear Him, and they want to accomplish things for Him. If He says homosexuality is wrong then it is wrong. Why argue? Of course if you dont believe, then you, like you accuse the Catholic church of, can make up whatever you want. Thanks.

What did you do last year when the previous Simpsons Halloween special offended the gay community?

Also, I'm not 'making up' what I said, it's plastered all over these comments.

Dom Kinsley,
If the Simpsons put down gays then the show practices equal opportunity put downs. As for you saying it is obvious to you on these blogs how gays are treated, you haven't read these blogs fully. Clay is one example of anti "homosexuality for the sake of the Lord" on these blogs. DD took me to account for what he thought was my subtle anti gay bias. And most of the other bloggers here have loudly protested bias and prejudice against anyone. I think you got into these blogs, read Clay's last comment and judged the entire store of writing as being anti gay--shows your own bias pal, you want to point your finger at someone for something and feel sanctimonious that you have discovered little demons of prejudice in all the writings here. As I said before, Clay does not represent everyone on these blogs and the gay community, if it wants to be mainstreamed, should not consider itself above reproach or comedy--playing the homophobia card every time it is excoriated, criticized or parodied does not serve the gay community well. Gays are human too man. Why shouldn't they be mocked?
Ravensfan Anon

I dont see why anyone has to be mocked. What good does it do for our society? I think it is silly and it encourages people to mock and ridicule others. It encourages America to be childish and it presents a vision of our country as being so. If someone is gay and God doesnt like it. pray for that person. Gays are welcome in the churches as much as any other sinner. Maybe that is anti-gay, because God says it its wrong, but it isnt anti-sinner. It is very much pro-sinner. Without sinners, churches would be empty.

Anonymous - Thank you for at least setting DD straight since I had no clue what he was talking about. Your comment on my ego shows how little you really know about me versus what you think you know. You did fail to mention what allegations I haven't tackled so I can't really respond any further on that point. All I’ll say in conclusion is based on what I’ve read from Robert and yourself is you appear to share the same delusions regarding atheists as some sort of persecuted class.

The main reason Rome fell is lead poisoning. The Romans were loaded with lead by the time it was all over. Rome also fell because it became too unwieldy to administer, and Clay, don't make up history as you go along--and don't forget the barbarians who came after Rome successfully many times--they too played a role. And Rome had plenty of mercenaries in its army to fight the good fight for the empire--didn't work.
Ravensfan Anon

One of the largest problems with the world is that people want to still live like the Romans did. TV plays a major role in that. Now if you watch the Christian channel that may be different, although there is usually a sales pitch. Most Christian programming is ok. I think video games are a major factor in taking up kids time also.

This is all I have to say in reply and in defence for those who love and live for Christ:
For those who choose not to surrender to God and His way of life, a merciful and permanent end to their lives will be met in the Lake of Fire, which will occur at the conclusion of this final judgment period (Revelation 20:11-15).
God Bless you all and I pray that you will all find salvation.

Ah, Bill Donohue noticed that donations are off. Time to brew up a tempest in a teapot to fill those coffers.

I know this is a little late, but I have to comment on everything whenever possible. I watched the episode, and I just thought it was a tiny little thing. If there were an ongoing case study in turning a molehill into a mountain, Donahue would have been released no later than 2004.

(On a personal note, a friend of mine considers it The Simpsons' worst episode. I think he just didn't find many jokes funny -- as such. Hey, that recent Family Guy episode that made fun of Sarah Palin got a very similar criticism from Newsweek.)

I would just like to dip my hat into this ring, and I am astonished that every one of you seems to be ignoring this: Doesn't anyone think that it is simply better to behave decently BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO RATHER THAN BEING FRIGHTENED INTO SUCH A STATE OR CONDITION BY THE EVER-IMPENDING THREAT OF DIVINE PUNITION? If you all think that you can talk as directly as you imagine to God, then I simply can't accept you very easily. I would think the Lord would speak much more subtly than that, and by doing so, He would improve you. He would make you that few iotae more adept at learning His ways.

Also, I think that while we all may live in the same superficial reality, everybody's perception of what happens to us after death is quite different -- and that we are all treated in death as we believed in life. THIS is independent thought, not endless repetition of hearing about the Devil behind every other bookcase and remaining clean of mouth, body and sexual activity. It is exactly why one of my favourite books of all time is the recently published "The Heretic's Secret, Book I: Crusade". Allow me to summarize: A pair of lifelong friends grow up in southern France, until August 1206, when one of them decides he suddenly knows everything it's possible TO know about God. He complains of visions of Death at a feast night held by the local nobles and promptly decides to become a monk. The other man goes off with a troupe of singers for the next 18 months, is asked by the viscount of the city of Carcassonne to follow his old friend and his master, but the plan backfires when the papal legate is murdered, and Jean (the not devoutly Catholic) has to escape while Pierre (the devoutly Catholic) is forced to stay behind. Most of the rest of Pierre's story focusses on the subsequent Albigensian Crusade he takes part in, whereby a Catholic army wantonly and ferociously tries to wipe out a select few Christians who don't believe the Catholic rules to the letter. Meanwhile Jean expands his mind by living with the heretics and learning suppressed books that they retrieved. Books that the Catholic leaders didn't wish to pass into hands like those.

What kind of a legitimate religion has to bar knowledge from its followers? Especially if that knowledge is vital to contacting God? Hmmm? Hmmm? This is why I forsake religion and just try to live in a modicum of comfort and behave civilly whilst I'm at it. I think the character Adso in "Crusade" says it best: "All a man CAN do is look after himself and those he cares about, and hope that that's enough for whatever God 'e chooses."

I'm sorry, Ms. Pflum, but Hitler was actually a Conservative extremist. In any case, at their most basic level, how is a Communist government any more "liberal" than a Fascist government? Both are dictatorships, which would imply a very rightist slant. And, Mr. Barbuto, you have been proven very wrong by my remarks above. Hitler: Extreme Conservative. Hitler: Also Extreme Bigot.

I don't understand how attempting to force your ideas upon anyone else would bring you a shred of favour from whatever God you may believe in.

While no fan of the Roman Church, still I don't think it is great to base one's humor on insulting the centrality of someone's belief. Stick to the periphery. A few jokes about relics or Padre Pio's bloody mess would have been safer societally. I am being serious when I say I think certain things ought to be a bit sacrosanct, not because we agree or like them, but because pointlessly insulting others is lame. If you are going to insult, at least have a reason.

If we were to do a sheerly cultural comparison, the Eucharistic beliefs of the Church, strange as they might seem to outsiders, are really very tame compared to the heinousness of the Doctrine of Predestination. If you want the absolute gruesome nadir of Christendom, the Doctrine of Predestination is more like it. But you don't hear many jokes about that ,yet there should be! (By the way, I don't see all that many great aspects of having grown up Catholic at this point. But at least being raised Catholic the ethos of predestination makes absolutely no sense to me, even though I am quite familiar with the contours of its evolution at this point)

But if you think these Eucharistic conundrums are just the stuff of cartoons, consider this bizarre cartoonish reality from my actual live seminary career. When I graduated from the seminary at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami a real cartoon materialized. it should have been a great day for me. I was the Valedictorian of the Class, but there were personality quirks in the invited guests that foiled my happy day. My Grandmother's friend Beatrice had been invited. She belonged to the same weird religion to which my grandmother had converted after a lifetime in Catholicism. Also invited was a very conservative lady from my home parish St. Rose of Lima, one Claire Van Roy. Well, after the Mass Claire Van Roy came running up to in a fury and said: "That woman from that strange religion took the Host and put it in her purse, what was she even doing in line for communion!" I went over to Beatrice and asked her about it, and she nodded and said "No dear." Then I told Bernie Kirlin and he went over and literally started pulling on Beatrice's purse saying he wanted the Host. It was like something out of a movie, or indeed a cartoon. I felt terrible. But eventually Beatrice opened her purse and gave up the host. I asked her later what she was going to do with it. She said something about St. Germain and the Mighty "I AM" Presence, and I thought well, my life is just way too weird!

Peter -

What does a Calvinist say after he falls down three flights of stairs?

"God I'm glad to get that out of the way!"

If God gave us meagre humans free will, how can He condemn us for its everyday application?

Freedom of choice doesn't mean freedom from consequences.

If nobody else can think for themselves, I have no business talking to them.

All of you – religious AND atheist – have egos that actually challenge that of the Time Cube Man (and he has an ego that surpasses this universe). I think M.L. is probably right, at least to think for him/herself. You DON'T GET PRAISED by deities if you interfere with free will, and is there a possibility that ANY religion's God(s) as worshipped could not have created any of us? One would imagine that all religions would have to have flawless gods, because otherwise the religion collapses from the roof due to some overlooked trouble therewith. I imagine that a Christian – or Hindu – or Jewish – or Muslim – et al. god must be perfect and infallible, thus we mortals, who are not thus blessed, could only be "created" by a being with shifting morals. Not that I believe in creation as religions see it; quite the opposite. Besides, evolution, even if we were not the spawn of some ape-like being as proposed by Charles Darwin, is irrefutable. Can't you comprehend it? Our technology is only improving, and I don't think it will regress any time soon.

Eddie you might want to spend some time controlling your own ego and less worrying about others. Your end is a bit confusing but if you are trying to say many evolving from apes is irrefutable that simply isn't true. You offered no support simply an appeal to ridicule to make your point. None of us have all the answers on the question of creation so your comments are as open to question as anyone elses.

By "evolution" I meant that we are always entering another minute whereby we're much more technologically advanced than the last minute, most recent "Anonymous" poster. And I challenge you to dispute the Time Cube guy's arrogance. I dare you to take a peek at his website – last week I read through it for five minutes too many. He doesn't seem to have a shred of respect for anybody else out in a world that, much as I too personally dislike it, will continue to rely on human interaction. He is so self-contradictory for a character that considers himself a quasi-deity. For example, he thinks the spoken "Word" is a method of enslavement, yet he DOESN'T SEEM TO REALIZE THAT HIS TALKING ABOUT IT IN PUBLIC ISN'T "WORKING" ON AS MANY PEOPLE AS HE WANTS TO THINK IT IS! For crying out loud, this self-declared Dr. Ray is going to have his picture in all the dictionaries 200 years from now as an example of "idiot" and "hypocrite" (which reminds me of a HILARIOUS running gag in an older "Simpsons" where Homer sees himself in the dictionary several times as "stupid," "lucky" and "Homer").

At least everybody on "The Simpsons" (except Lisa and the remaining lucky few who are smart even by reality's standards on that program) know that they aren't the "Wisest Person on Earth". In which case Ray is, actually, a lot like all those religious leaders he rails against with as little point as possible. Including Donohue. Religion and Ray go out of their way to censor free thought.

Like the feud between Joseph Guibord, a printer in 19th-century Montreal (that's in Canada, the country I proudly help inhabit, not a similar location in France) and the city's Bishop Ignace Bourget. I read that Bourget actively harassed Guibord AFTER he died. Guibord had left the Catholic Church for free thought, which irked Bourget's superiors to high heaven (yes, it is a lame and unsubtle pun) so much that they wouldn't respect the sanctity of the man's corpse. Obviously they didn't know or care that the level of respect the dead are accorded is supposed to be a reflection on the society itself. And then when Guibord's remains FINALLY entered the ground for good, Bourget had the concrete and its surroundings deconsecrated.

Which is why I choose not to bother with all that drivel: I cannot be who I am in a church, mosque, synagogue or, for that matter, any temple. The holier-than-thou attitudes that are adopted like so many children seem to have to be if anyone gets married are common to all officials of a faith.

Why is this article still on here or was it all of a sudden it just pops up , Baltimore sun it must be a slow news year for you to reprint this story.

Very good post


A quick lesson in blog "mechanics":

Whenever anyone posts a response to a prior posting (as M.L. Rohali did on August 13) -- no matter how long ago the original posting appeared -- that entry pops to the top of the list appearing in the right-hand sidebar. It has nothing to do with a "slow news day."

Oh, people should leave us Catholics alone.
Dear Thom at least looks happy for once with his family in a lovely photo on the Knights of Columbus website. As his patron saints we are smiling from heaven!

The George Weigel Prize for Catholic Convenience has an Honorable Mention winner. The winner has not quite reached the contradictory height of the regular prize, but for smarmy false humility and faux compassion he deserves a mention. One Patrick Brennan has repined in the Mirror of Justice website about a Huffington Post article from a gay man who was treated badly by Villanova Law School. Or at least this is how Patrick Brennan interprets it, assuming that it refers to the school in question. . What is fantastic about Brennan's view is that knowing full well, and apparently agreeing with the Catholic Church's vast disrespect of gay people generally, he has the faux solicitude to think he is clarifying something with his tendentious explanations. At the George Weigel Prize for Catholic Convenience we are interested principally in the Catholic modus operandi of explanations and apologetics as a definable trope. Patrick Brennan exemplifies this slippery trope admirably. He blithely asserts whatever he wants even against the wide horizon of the Church's clearly prejudicial views. He does it by hinting cryptically in the most shameless way:

"please don't believe everything you read (even when it plays into your pet prejudices or vices)

I am hesitant to make this post, and I do so reluctantly and with personal sorrow. The reason for the reluctance and hesitation and sorrow is that some of what this involves is better forgiven and forgotten. But because someone else is using the matter to do further damage to a person I care about and respect and to an institution I respect (with some qualification that involves the matter that should be forgiven and forgotten), I feel obligated to set the record straight."

The result of Brennan's studied and thespian crypticness is the prima facie conclusion that, given that the very horizon of prejudice, Mr. Brennan's assertions are on their face at least dissembling. But he does it with such panache of befuddled humility and solicitude that he wins the Honorable Mention.

Congratulations to the Winner!

George you get an A for your ability to creatively appeal to ridicule. You also get high marks on narrow minded thinking. I'll admit I haven't read Patrick Brennan, but given your history here I'm sure it was more enlightening than your verbose attempt at ridicule.

Dear Anonymous,

The prolix apogee at which we are aiming in delivering this important prize, named after an important thinker, requires a delicate balance. Your words tell me I am achieving it. But you seem to have me confused with the great thinker himself. I am not worthy to remove the shoelaces from the Prada shoes he was given as a gift.


Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.

Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Religion in the news
Charm City Current
Stay connected