The Last Respectable Biasrnby William A. DonohiiernIIn this age of multiculturalism and sensitivity, there isrnone bigotry still tolerated: anti-Catholicism. As ArthurrnSchlesinger, Sr., Peter Viereck, and Daniel Patrick Moynihanrnhave all observed, anti-Catholicism remains our nation’s deepestrnbias, and the only one found respectable by intellectuals.rnThe anti-Catholicism that marked our nation’s founding wasrndirected at both individual Catholics and the institutionalrnChurch. Somewhat later, it became colored by an anti-Irishrnimpulse; later still, anti-Irish sentiments gae way to bigotr’rnagainst Eastern and Southern Europeans, most of whom werernCatholic. And, of course, there was always the nativishc elementrnexpressed by the Know-Nothing Part)’ and the Ku KluxrnKlan; their fondness for Catholics is well known.rnToday’s anti-Catholicism looks different but still bears thatrnsame odor: there is something basically un-American about thernCatholic Church. Indeed, in a survey in the mid-90’s commissionedrnby the National Conference of Christians and Jews,rnanti-Catholicism was found to be the nation’s leading prejudice.rnTo be specific, the sneaking suspicion that Catholics arerntrying to impose their views on society elevated anti-Catholicismrnto the top of the charts. Incidentally, the authors of the reportrnnever flagged this result but merely made a quiet notationrnof the conclusion.rnContemporary expressions of Catholic-bashing involve suchrnserious issues as bugging a priest in the confessional, forcibly removingrnashes from an employee’s forehead on Ash Wednesday,rnbeheading statues of Our Blessed Mother, villianizingrnCatholics for religious reasons (a la Louis Farrakhan), and di.splayingrnanti-Catholic art so vulgar and blasphemous that only arncollege campus would allow it. The role of the media shouldrnalso not be discounted. Just consider the work of Disney, andrnof its subsidiary, ABC.rnWilliam A. Donohue is president of the Catholic League for Religiousrnand Civil Rights in New York Cit}’.rnThe 1997 fall lineup for ABC included Nothing Sacred, arnprogram of pure propaganda that depicts a politically correctrnpriest. Father Ray. This priest doubts the existence of God,rnthinks of his vocation as merely a “job,” violates his duties as arnconfessor, and instructs the faithful to disobey the Church’srnteachings on sexualit)’. But in the end Father Ray is really arngood guy: unlike his heartiess parishioners who are upset withrnthe homeless for urinating in front of their church (they arernheartless because they are loyal to the Church), Father Rayrnmaintains his compassion. He operates a soup kitchen.rnAs we go to press, the Catholic League has mailed tornMichael Eisner, chairman of Disney, the names of 500,000rnpersons who have signed a petition protesting the show and demandingrnits termination. Moreover, 20 companies —amongrnthem K-Mart, Ocean Spray, DuPont, Red Lobster, Benckiser,rnAmerican Isuzu, AT&T, Sears, and Montgomery Ward—havernall canceled their sponsorship of the show. Nor has the crusadernagainst the program been an exclusively Catholic affair. Withoutrnsolicitation, Protestant churches have made the petitionrnavailable to their parishioners, and Jews and Muslims have alsornsupported the drive. What the faithful of all stripes realize isrnthat more is at stake than just a show that pushes the envelopernagainst Catholics.rnABC’s anti-Catholic bias was especially evident in its coveragernof the funeral Mass for Mother Teresa. Anchor Peter Jenningsrnallow ed Christopher Hitchens o^Vanity Fair and the Nationrnto rant and rave about Mother Teresa’s alleged “falsernhumilit'” and “rabid fundamentalism.” Mother Teresa hadrnone person who hated her, and the Disney-owned networkrnfound room for him to vent.rnHitchens is a notorious critic of Catholicism and the authorrnof a slim book on Mother Teresa—infamous for its obscene title,rnabsence of citations, and its hate-filled commentary. ABCrnv/as certainK’ well aware of all this when it invited him to speak,rnand to allow him to continue his diatribe against Mother Tere-rn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn