The Pope Francis revolution: Inside the catastrophic collapse of the Catholic right
For years they struck fear in the hearts of progressive Catholic candidates. They could, and did, help destroy presidential campaigns. The media took them seriously, reporting on their pronouncements as representative of a significant bloc of conservative Catholics. They were not legion; but they were powerful. They were the Christian rights smaller, more shadowy counterpart: the Catholic right wing.
But now, many of their leading spokesmenand they are almost all menhave been discredited within a stunningly short period. Former lights of the Catholic right like Bill Donohue and Cardinal Raymond Burke have seen their clout dissipate almost overnight. How did this happen and what does it mean for progressive Catholic candidates eyeing 2016?
Many on the right were the victims of their own rhetoric run amok. Catholic League President Bill Donohue is being widely pilloried for asserting in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack that Muslims are right to be angry, and that Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier played a role in his own death. Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive, Donohue said in a statement that horrified even fellow conservatives.
Donohue, the leading proponent of the war on Christmas and other ginned-up made-for-Fox-News controversies over supposedly anti-Catholic persecution, was the ringleader behind efforts to discredit John Kerry with people of faith during the 2004 presidential election. He attacked Mara Vanderslice, Kerrys first director of religious outreach, as an ultra-leftist who consorts with anti-Catholic bigots because of her work with organizations like ACT UP, an AIDS advocacy group that criticized the Catholic Churchs ban on condoms. The accusations spooked the Kerry campaign enough that they removed Vanderslice as head of outreach, even as Kerry, who is a committed Catholic, faltered in the polls with people of faith.
I think he is going to send them over the edge......