Those are the words of William A. Donohue, head of The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, written in response to a Huffington Post op-ed written by Renewal Rabbi Arthur Waskow. In the article, Waskow criticized the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act which requires Catholic institutions that receive federal funds to give female employees the option to use their employer provided insurance benefits for contraceptives. The Catholic Church opposes the use of birth control and is offended by the notion that their money will be used to, well essentially commit sin. Waskow opined that the Catholic Church was “attacking the religious freedom of millions of American women and the religious freedom of American nuns” over contraception.

This touched off a series of private emails, subsequently leaked by someone close to Waskow, between the two men. Part of that exchange included Donohue’s warning that “Jews had better not make enemies of their Catholic friends since they have so few of them” – a statement he attributed to former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Jew so it’s ok. Except that Koch never really put it that way. He also stated that “you have stuck your nose in where you don’t belong.”

Waskow replied “Would you also suggest I keep my long Jewish nose out of some Catholic priests’ rape of Catholic children and some Catholic bishops’ protection of those priests from the law, because I’m not a Catholic? Perhaps you would.” Donahue then referenced child sex abuse allegations in the Orthodox Jewish community: “Since you are interested in the subject of rape, I hope you are following the unbelievable explosion of child rape in the Orthodox Jewish community and the intimidation—by family members—of victims. The pressure put on the D.A. to deep six these rapes is sickening. You need to do something about this epidemic right now.” Of course Waskow is not Orthodox. If Donohue wanted to hit closer to home he could have mentioned the Renewal movement’s mishandling of the Gafni affair, where one of their high profile Rabbis admitted to sleeping with female students, some under the age of consent. In that case, the Renewal movement, including Rabbi Waskow, initially rallied in support of Rabbi Gafni. But I digress.

So yes. This correspondence was forwarded to BuzzFeed setting off a bit of a shit storm. Donohue, who doesn’t officially represent the Catholic Church has always been a controversial figure, ably promoting the agenda of more Conservative elements of the Church while affording the actual Church plausible deniability when he goes too far. As for Waskow, his outrage is justified but he represents a tiny sect and some might say that his allowing the release of a private correspondence violates Jewish law.

This is definitely fodder for yet another entry in Donohue’s and the Catholic League’s Wikipedia entries under “Outrages.” As for me. I’m cool with the vast majority of Catholics who do not remotely consider Donohue as being in any way, shape or form, representative of their beliefs and sentiments. I’ll stick my big fat Jewish nose wherever the hell I please, thank you.

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

2 Comments

  • So let me see if I understand correctly: Some Catholics don’t want their dollars going to birth control, some Jews think that’s their business because they care about nuns’ freedom of expression and both Jews and Catholics have child molesters among their more observant folks. Oh, and both faiths have leaders who would do well to shut up.

    Did I get it all?

  • Mr. Donohue longs for the glory days of the Inquisition. It was so easy for the church to deal with their enemies then.

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