FFRF tells Catholics it’s time to leave the church

March 9, 2012 • 10:29 am

Way to go, Freedom from Religion Foundation!  Their co-presidents, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, have put a full-page ad in today’s New York Times calling for Catholics to do a mass egress (cutely, “exit en mass”) because of the Church’s odious position on reproductive rights.  The ad is below (click to enlarge), and you can see the FFRF’s press release here.

Predictably, there’s a response from the Catholic League’s creepy Bill Donohue, which includes this:

The pretext of the ad is the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Health and Human Services mandate forcing Catholic non-profits to include abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization in its insurance plans. Its real agenda is to smear Catholicism. Here is how the ad begins: “It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages?”

The ad blames the Catholic Church for promoting “acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, overpopulation, social evils and deaths.” It says the bishops are “launching a ruthless political Inquisition” against women. It talks about “preying priests” and corruption “going all the way to the top.” In an appeal to Catholic women, it opines, “Apparently, you’re like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go.”

Yep, Donohue sums up the case pretty well. He continues:

Not a single Catholic who reads this ad will be impelled to leave the Church. That is not the issue (Catholicism, unlike many other religions, is actually growing in the U.S., and worldwide). The issue is the increase in hate speech directed at Catholics.

I’m not sure about Donohue’s numbers here; other data I’ve seen have shown a drastic worldwide decline in Catholicism, although the loss in America may be somewhat offset by Hispanic immigants, and I think the Church may be growing in South America (readers can weigh in).  In general, I think we all know that Catholicism is in trouble because it’s simply out of step with the times.

Nothing will stop Catholics from demanding that the Obama administration respect their First Amendment rights, this vile assault by FFRF notwithstanding. Why the Times allowed this ad is another issue altogether.

It’s not hate speech directed against Catholics (Donohue always plays the persecution card); it’s hate speech directed against the odious and repressive policies of the Catholic Church. And rightly so—next to Islam, it’s the most oppressive and woman-hating of all major faiths. Kudos to Dan and Annie Laurie, and a thanks to the donors who had to pony up for what was a very expensive ad.

h/t: Werner

162 thoughts on “FFRF tells Catholics it’s time to leave the church

  1. What about the First Amendment rights of non-Catholics to not have Catholic religious values imposed upon them against their will?

    …oh, right. Anything less than a sincere outburst of the Sinner’s Prayer followed by tearfully joyful acceptance of Catholic baptism on the part of non-Catholics constitutes anti-Catholic persecution. What was I thinking?



    1. Yes.

      This isn’t hate-speech. This is non-Catholics saying “hey, don’t do that!”

      We wouldn’t have to say anything if the Catholic bigwigs would stop trying to impose their ill-informed morality on legislation that affects us all.

    2. I keep going back and forth. If the non-Catholics want to continue to poison themselves, I think I’m fine with it- just don’t make me pay for it is all I ask.

  2. Bill Donohue doesn’t deny any of those claims in the ad, just said the real agenda of that ad is to smear the church. I guess that might imply those claims are false, but he doesn’t show how they are false.

    1. To Donahue, telling the truth about the church is an attempt to smear it. Anything that puts the church in a bad light is offensive to Donahue, whether or not it’s true.

      1. To the rest of us, telling the truth about the church and putting it in a bad light are all-too-often one and the same thing. We can’t help that – if the church would stop doing bad things, stop covering up bad things and stop acting like it’s anything other than a global empire run by self-appointed theocrats, comprised of a billion people (from the moment of their conception!) and worth countless billions of dollars that’s all built on 1500 years of oppression, murder, greed, hypocrisy and shame, people might stop pointing those things out.

          1. This is twice you have claimed that women are being poisoned. Please explain what the poison is and document it with links to facts (and by facts, I mean facts not unproven things people have pulled out of their butts).

            1. There are fundamentalist Catholics who think that birth control pills are evil things. They claim them to be poisonous. I’m guessing that’s what we’ve encountered here.

          2. The most poisonous element of this entire conversation is that the judgemental, ignorant people without vaginas are telling the people with vaginas what to do with their vaginas (and the associated infrastructure) – and all too often lying through their goddamned teeth to do so.

            The Vatican is built on 1500 years of poisoning peoples’ emotions; making them distrust their own feelings, hate their own bodies and deny their own needs – no more so than in the ranks of their own officers, who wouldn’t know a healthy sexual relationship if it sneaked up behind them in a vestry and promised them candy.

            But anyway, tell me exactly what this “poison” of yours is – if you’re not another hit n’ run troll-for-Ratzinger.

            Then you can tell me exactly how it’s ok that repressed, sexless old men acting as self-appointed decency police (while simultaneously doing nothing about, or protecting, the rapists of children that pollute their ranks) are justified in handing down proclamation after ignorant goddamned proclamation on how a woman should behave – on pain of damnation.

  3. Is there *any* religion that doesn’t claim to be the fastest growing religion? The Catholics are obviously fibbing though… if they weren’t, would they be doing extensive litigation in Belgium to keep atheists on their baptismal roll books? I think all the Christian denominations measure their population by lists of members that they make by recording whoever joined the church, not who is an active participant.

    My old Lutheran church had a membership of about 700-800, but you almost never saw the full membership roster, and I think I (and many of the children of members who left town) are still on it, even though we do nothing in the church. Unless people specifically ask to be taken off or die and the church is made aware of it, there you sit, probably being double, triple or quadruple counted for whatever religions population. The Catholic Church wouldn’t be closing a diocese a week if they were growing.

    1. Interesting. I wrote several years ago to the Bishop’s office in Mechelen (of very bad repute), Belgium, asking to be deleted from their baptismal roll, and they told me I wasn’t registered. These catlickers are real liars. I will try again.

      1. “Catlickers”… I haven’t heard that for a while. It was my bigoted Lutheran grandfather’s anti-Catholic slur of choice. He was born in 1893 so I grew up thinking of it in same category as other racial and ethnic slurs of his generation. I can’t say I ever was proud of his use of the word.

        1. Why? Dario Fo (Nobel Laureate for Literature) did wonders getting Italy out of the clutches of the Vatican by ridiculizing the Catholic pope. Ridicule is a powerful weapon. Écrasez l’infâme! (Voltaire)

    2. The US Catholic church just recently has lost 22 million members, 1/3 of them. 10% of the US population are ex-Catholics.

      They are bleeding members quite rapidly.

      FWIW, last year, the RCC claimed to be up 1%. They only count baptisms. My Catholic relative is now a mid level lay official in a Protestant church but still counted as a Catholic.

      Just about all the sects cook their numbers to appear more powerful.

            1. Not really.

              One of the things Latinos shed when they cross the border is the Catholic religion.

              IIRC, a lot of them go Protestant. Something like 70% RCC to 30% other, just looked it up on google.

              Center/Kaiser Family Foundation 2002 National Survey of Latinos data. ….

              the proportion of U.S. Hispanics who are Catholic has declined while the proportion who are … Latinos. The table presents each survey’s estimate of the percentage of

              The % Catholic among Latinos has been steadily going down since the 1950’s.

              1. According to the Hispanic Churches in American Public Life national survey:

                •The first generation of Latino immigrants is 74 percent Catholic, and 15 percent Protestant.
                •The second generation is 72 percent Catholic, and 20 percent Protestant.
                •The third generation is 62 percent Catholic, and 29 percent Protestant.

                Catholic priest and scholar Andrew Greeley predicted in 1988 that within 25 years, half of all American Hispanics would not be Catholics due to defections.

            2. I read about 15 years ago that evangelism on the part of Protestant missionaries was working in South and Central America because in many cases the Catholics are seen as being in bed with the powerful, and the Protestants are at least a change away from that. Or so it might naively seem, anyway.

        1. I was christened in the Catholic church when I was an infant: promising to do so was the only way my parents could get married by a priest — a situation which mattered only to my paternal grandmother. My parents were not religious, and never took me to church or sent me for any religious education. I’m an atheist today.

          I have, however, been told by sincere Catholics that I’m really a Catholic. You see, when a baby is christened by a priest, the Holy Ghost enters into that baby’s heart and changes it forever. The indwelling presence of God is what makes a person a Catholic and no, they don’t have to know about this presence. They don’t have to know Catholic doctrine. They don’t have to even have heard of the Catholic church, or Jesus, or God. Or, they can reject every single bit of it with fury, scorn, and vehemence.

          Makes no difference. Holy Spirit got inside you — wham! You’re Catholic. It’s done.

          So you see, they’re not lying.

          They’ve made crazy shit up. It’s called knowledge by faith.

          1. So…Catholicism is like Dirofilaria immitis except that it expresses the same behavior-modifing whatevers that Toxoplasma gondii does?

            Sure would explain a lot….


          2. You haven’t thought it all the way through.

            When you die, you are going to be rebaptized.
            And then be a Mormon of course.

            But don’t worry, I’ve already rebaptized all dead Mormons as disciples of “Bob the Rain God”.

            It’s so easy to play Let’s Pretend.

          3. AND,
            1. both swell their numbers to lie to politicians that they can make us vote for them and the faith-enforced-by-penal-law
            2. as we do not want to be buried with a religious ceremony, we are counted as immortal catlicks PLUS whatever trick the ones with the special underwear have planned (I do not believe one second that there is none with that “baptise-the-dead”-thing!)

            In Germany, where there is the churchtax and therefore the tax authorities get the numbers of baptised persons leaving their respective churches, the state has been delaying to publish numbers for five years regularly, until they had to admit that “non-churched” is the biggest among those roughly thirds of populace in 2000.

      1. Perhaps we should all worship Anonymous, they seem to be the most powerful force on the internet. Or maybe Amazon!

    3. Is there *any* religion that doesn’t claim to be the fastest growing religion?

      Jews. And proud of it, it seems.

    4. I always used to joke that I was a member of the fastest-growing religious group in the world – ex-Catholics.

    5. Well, my wife and I (and our 7 children) are also from Belgium, living in Canada since 1996, and I remember the entire controversy about getting out of the church registers. In Belgium, the Roman Catholic Church has of course an interest of portraying itself as important as possible, but it also gets an annual contribution from the Belgian treasury for as long as the baptised individual lives. It could be interesting to see for how long people stay on the rolls after being deceased. Perhaps the taxpayers have to pay to keep your seat in heaven?

  4. Its real agenda is to smear Catholicism.

    Nah, that’s just a side benefit. Besides, the catlickers do a great job of that all by themselves. The FFRF isn’t saying anything that’s not true.

  5. Some of the best contribution $$ I’ve sent out of my checking account has been to the FFRF. I’m proud to be a member!

    1. To GBJames….Hi there, fellow Freethinker! I’m proud to be a member of FFRF.org also. When their newsletter shows up in my mailbox I lock my door and turn off the phone message pest….Love reading all the sensible, reasonable and freedom from fairytales’ stories and accomplishments this organization has made…. Even one of our amazing founding fathers (John Adams) said “the world would be a far better place were there no religion in it anywhere.” You got that right, John!!

  6. Although I have not been keeping up with the missionary wars in Latin America the last I heard was that Pentecostals and various other evangelical christians were being quite successful in converting catholics. In general the catholic church has been (surprise) supportive of the various repressive governments. When, I think it was some Jesuits, sided with liberal political movements the pope tried to put a stop to that. Usually the US government tries (and often succeeds) to do the same thing (Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba).

    1. Yes, very true. Here in Ecuador the other Christian sects are growing fast, probably at the expense of Catholicism. Unfortunately Catholicism looks (almost) sane compared to the loony ultra-fundamentalist sects that are replacing them here.

    1. I think calling it a newsletter is giving it the short shrift. Any FFRF nonmemebers reading need to know that every month you get a very professionally written, large format, newsprint, newspaper that is full of interesting articles, letters and amusing hatemail, and the Blackcollar Crime Blotter feature.

      Since I cancelled the Seattle Times the day after their “no recount needed” editorial, it’s been the only print newspaper I get. It is probably the only newspaper you will ever read that doesn’t give religion a free pass. What could be more refreshing or savvy than that? If that is all you got for your membership, it would be well worth it, but they also do a lot of good works such as the subject of this website article. They are surprisingly active in the courts, as well.

    2. Another plus of membership is being able to subscribe to “Freethought of the Day,” each day an upper in your inbox consisting of short bios & quotes from freethinkers throughout history.

  7. I’m another active FFRF member. It’s one of the best organizations in the country.

    Someone ought to remind Donohue and company that every time anyone steps into a catholic owned hospital they are subject to the “Ethical” Directives of the US Bishops conference. Which means that non-catholic and non-believers are short changed on the best medical care and denied good medical practices and rights to legal drugs and treatments against their will. It also means that doctors and nurses have to set aside their medical oaths to do no harm, especially to women in emergency reproductive situations.

    In fact, it is time this country does something about the religious stranglehold the catholics have on one out of every six hospital beds in the US.

      1. Well actually everyone is shortchanged. There’s tons of information on this at the National Women’s Law Center and Merger Watch. I’ll give you one example. A pregnant woman lands in the emergency of of a secular hospital and is immediately given treatment to ease the trauma and effects of the miscarriage. The fetus is not going to live so the right thing to do is make sure the woman doesn’t develope sepsis or other physical trauma that may harm her ability to have further pregnancies. If she lands in the emergency room of a hospital that is owned by one of the catholic businesses, the first order of priority is to determine if there is a fetal heartbeat. If so, nothing can be done to hasten the fetal death, including protecting the mother’s health and safety. A doctor in upstate NY paid a cab to take his patient to a hospital 100 miles away because his hands were tied in treating her after his hospital merged with a catholic system (this women had miscarried before and this doctor had been able to treat her correctly). In Arizona a woman almost died with a life threatening pregnancy- the only option to save her was an abortion. The nun running the hospital went against the directives and OK the procedure. Then all hell broke loose. She was excommunicated etc.

        This is one of the most ignored problems of violations of separation of church and state in this country.

        1. This is one of the most ignored problems of violations of separation of church and state in this country.

          I’m not American so am asking for information, why is this a violation of church/state separation? Who pays for these hospitals? Presumably people’s insurance schemes?

          1. Some Catholic hospitals in Europe are also bad news. It is known that they refuse painkillers to women during difficult births because “Jesus has suffered for us on the cross.”

            1. That is correct, my wife and I heard this exact argument in Brussels, Belgium. There was even an allusion that the sex involved of getting the baby was a sinful thing too, dating back to a not so long past that women were expected to go to confession about this. Whether the pastors used to jerk off while listening, I can only guess, but it would explain the strange odours in those secluded places.

          2. It’s a violation because a public facility is being allowed to impose its dogma on people of different faiths or no faith. In many areas of the country, a catholic owned hospital is the only hospital available. All hospitals not only receive insurance money, but also federal monies in the form of medicare and medicaid which is paid for by taxpayers. While the catholic hospitals are privately owned, they are allowed to force everyone who uses them or practices medicine at them to bend to their religious set of rules. Our system of separation of church and state has been broken for a long time, and this is just one of the examples.

            1. They are also vastly confused about what protections are afforded by the Constitution. Yes, it protects from certain religious oppressions like the government declaring a specific one for the country.

              But nowhere does the Constitution “protect” Catholics from valid science in school or from health insurance covering a doctor-prescribed procedure or medicine.

            2. They’re sort of public facilities and sort of not. And they’re not government institutions, but they receive a hell of a lot of money from local, state, and the federal government.

              The good news is, if we had taxpayer-funded single payer health care, none of these institutions would have to spend money on treatments that are against their beliefs!

              And yet the Catholic church doesn’t lobby for that.

              1. if we had taxpayer-funded single payer health care

                Nobody has a clue what “taxpayer-funded single payer health care is,” and suspect it’s some form of Pinko-Nazi-Commie Socialism with death panels to kill grandmas.

                So, for the love of all that’s not holy, please don’t ever even think of advocating such a thing.

                What we all want Medicare for everybody.

                That’s it. No need to explain further. Everybody understands exactly what that is, and everybody supports it wholeheartedly and unreservedly. (Well, except for a very small handful of multi-mega-millionare corporate CEOs and their paid lobbyists, but that’s their problem.)



        2. Thank you for your most germane contributions, ForCarl!

          This article is getting old, and no doubt the numbers need updating, but it is always an eye-opener:


          Quote: “Despite the religious label, these so-called religious hospitals are more public than public hospitals.”

          In a similar vein to what you post about, there is pending legislation in AZ to protect doctors who lie to pregnant women about threats to their or their fetuses’ health:


        3. I heard that in the early 20th Century, there was a meme that a pregnant woman should always try to find a Jewish doctor instead of a Catholic one, because if there was a problem during pregnancy, the Jewish doctor would be willing to terminate the pregnancy in order to save her life.

          No idea if that’s true or not.

          1. Well, it happened. I grew up in a very Catholic (German) town in Belgium and we were taught biology by a medical doctor who was a fanatic Catholic. He told us about a case he had of a women who would die if her gestation of a baby would not be interrupted, and that he refused abortion because of religious grounds. The women died, and we all knew who she was.

  8. “It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages?”

    I’m not catholic but I’ve always been fascinated by the claim of a woman’s “right” to have the brain of her term unborn child sucked out and the body thrown into the garbage to be burnt or eaten by rats.

    What is the evolutionary significance of this behavior?

      1. Reminds me of one of the signs a protester was holding outside the Oklahoma legislature
        against a so-called “personhood” bill:


    1. As opposed to having your brain sucked out after birth via religious indoctrination, as appears to be the case with you.

      1. Hey! Can we stick to the topic and not personally insult other commenters, even if we disagree violently with them????


        1. If we disagree vehemently, then yes, but if we disagree “violently”, then most likely not.

              1. You have to be. Just look how the Catholic bishops in the UK are meddling with legislation and insulting gay people.

    2. Well, think of it this way: there is a dividing line between when the fetus becomes a separate human and when it is not; many states make abortion illegal prior to viability (Illinois does this).

      As far as the procedure you talk about: once a woman has decided to have an abortion, it is up to the doctor to determine the best, safest technique.

      The AMA recommends that the procedure that you allude to remain in the toolbox of techniques. We don’t want the legislature to play doctor, do we?

    3. I’m glad you asked as there are some biological issues here that are very interesting in light of evolution.

      Late-term abortions like the one you described are used in cases where a fetal abnormality is not detectable until late in the pregnancy, or in cases where the fetus dies but is not expelled naturally. In the former case, women sometimes choose abortion hoping it will be less psychologically traumatic than giving birth to a deformed child only to watch it die slowly in the NICU. In the latter case, besides the trauma of giving birth to fetus that is already dead, there are significant health problems associated with carrying a dead fetus in the womb.

    4. Not that I think you’re looking for an honest exchange ideas but I’ll bite:

      United States: In 2003, from data collected in those areas that sufficiently reported gestational age, it was found that 6.2% of abortions were conducted from 13 to 15 weeks, 4.2% from 16 to 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks. Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual study on abortion statistics does not calculate the exact gestational age for abortions performed past the 20th week, there are no precise data for the number of abortions performed after viability. In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.

      So the number of late term abortions, if that is what you are alluding to, is extremely small.

      In 1987, the Alan Guttmacher Institute collected questionnaires from 1,900 women in the United States who came to clinics to have abortions. Of the 1,900 questioned, 420 had been pregnant for 16 or more weeks. These 420 women were asked to choose among a list of reasons they had not obtained the abortions earlier in their pregnancies. The results were as follows:

      71% Woman didn’t recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation

      48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion

      33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents

      24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion

      8% Woman waited for her relationship to change

      8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion

      6% Something changed after woman became pregnant

      6% Woman didn’t know timing is important

      5% Woman didn’t know she could get an abortion

      2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy

      11% Other

      1. Steve,

        “71% Woman didn’t recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation”

        I think if you wanted an argument in favor of sex ed or free birth control you couldn’t have done a better job than that statistic.

    5. LOL, if you had an argument you wouldn’t have bothered with the graphic imagery. The fact that you try to make it emotional betrays the intellectual bankruptcy of your position.

      Do you characterize abortion the same way in cases of rape? In other words, do you think rape victims should be denied access to abortions? (Notice I’m not painting a graphic picture of rape being committed and the emotional devastation that is its aftermath, I’m asking the question dispassionately so as to move forward the conversation without poisoning the well. Not sure why you conservative types have so much trouble with that.)

    6. Obvious troll is boring.

      You don’t give a damn about brains. If you did, you’d understand that, at that stage of development, there’s nothing more of significance happening in the fetuses’s brains than in their hearts, livers, kidneys, or other organs. All of which gets equally messily discarded in a procedure that, as with any other surgical procedure (open heart surgery, organ transplants, knee repair, etc.) is not a pleasant thing to witness.

      No, what you care about are the souls of the unborn.

      You do know that the overwhelming majority of conceptions that fail to result in a viable birth are the result of spontaneous miscarriages, don’t you?

      If one is to accept the premise that your gods are pervertedly watching every single sex act, eager to insert a phantasmagorical soul into the oocyte at the same instant the sperm penetrates it, then one must also accept the premise that your gods are equally responsible for all those miscarriages they could have prevented, as well as for the torment the now-disembodied fetus souls encounter.

      In other words, your gods are the most horrifically evil entities possibly imaginable. They insert souls into bits of protoplasm knowing full well that the most likely result of this infection they’re propagating will be, literally, a tortured soul.

      And you not only worship these mosters, but you have the unmitigated gall to insist we respect you for your eagerness to lick their asses.

      The remainder of this post, were I to continue, would be considered unprintable in most family forums, so I’ll shut up now.



      1. your gods are the most horrifically evil entities possibly imaginable. They insert souls into bits of protoplasm knowing full well that the most likely result of this infection they’re propagating will be, literally, a tortured soul

        Don’t be absurd, Ben — God is most definitely not “evil” because since the souls of the unborn have not committed any sins, when they die they go straight to heaven. See, an unborn fetus dying is a good thing!

        Oh, uh…hmmmm…..

        1. Aren’t people, according to catlicker’s superstition, not born with the “original sin,” and if they don´t get baptised they end up in some kind of bus station going nowhere?

          1. if they don´t get baptised they end up in some kind of bus station going nowhere

            It’s just that kind of uninformed anti-Catholic ridicule that Donohue has to fight against — the Most Holy Mother Church dropped that ridiculous notion nearly half a decade ago.

            (On a more serious note, this issue is why, as an ex-Catholic, I don’t think the Mormon practice of baptizing the dead is theologically absurd, as it solves problems like this. The problem itself is silly, of course, but the solution makes more sense than the kludge of limbo, or sending “virtuous pagans” to hell.)

            1. Well, the Morons playing rubber ducky with dead people still runs smack dab into the basic problem with the whole idea of prayer.

              What, this super-dude you’re praying to wouldn’t know about those dead people if you didn’t pray at him? Or, he knows about them, but he’s gonna sit on his ass until you compel him to do something with the power of your rhetoric?


              People buy that shit? And expect others to?

              Morons, the lot of them — and not just the Latter-Day variety.


            2. Great! Half a decade ago. Before that they have been teaching this idiocy for more than a hundred decades to completely flabbergasted kids, as I was. When are the catlickers going to announce that homosexuality is not a sin? Another few half decades?

              1. Never. Sexuality is a sin, its only possible excuse is the production of more catholics to fill the pews and more importantly, the coffers. If there’s no chance of more little catholics then you’re going to HELL!!

        2. The number is 30. 30% of conceptions end prematurely, without human intervention. That is natures’ way to produce healthy off-spring. The ultimate, and often private argument of the church, is to have and enforce an out-breading policy to impose their views and secure their power base.

          1. Out-breading? In that case I am strenuously opposed. There is no worse thing to do to fish than over-breading.

      2. Yeah, the Catholic clergy want to protect life, until they find out they are gay, an unmarried pregnant woman, have been sexually abused by a priest, or living in Africa.

        Also, it is incredibly strange that conservative Christians oppose universal healthcare, but want every fetus to receive it.

        1. They’re consistent because they expect the fetus’s mother to pay for it.

          Give them enough time, and they’ll work up a system where prenatal medical expenses get billed to the fetus, so it owes money as soon as its born. Payments are deferred until its 18th birthday, but interest is charged for those 18 years and 9 months.

    7. I’m not catholic but I’ve always been fascinated by the claim of a woman’s “right” to have the brain of her term unborn child sucked out and the body thrown into the garbage to be burnt or eaten by rats.

      I’ve always been bored by really flimsy strawpeople myself. If there is a hell, you are going to be torched by all your murdered strawpeople.

      And what is wrong with having your brain sucked out and tossed in the garbage? It obviously happened to you and you didn’t miss it for one minute.

      1. There’s a very funny reply here along the lines of the insult the Klingon captain threw at Scotty in “The Trouble with Tribbles” – “Sorry, I meant the Enterprise should be towed away as garbage!” – but the mgmt might construe that as being insulting to P-99, so I shan’t say anything… 


    8. – The problem with your pile of strawmen is of course that in nations that *don’t* labor under the catholic church, very few late abortions are done. This is also better for the woman as there is less risk.

      – Here in Sweden the few late abortions are also done by medication that induces abortion, so the fetus dies first. In most cases that obviates the need for mechanical removal of dead tissue. The reason is that surgical methods are only useful for a few weeks, before and after medical induced abortion is better.

      – A fetus is not a “child”. A pregnancy to term produces a child at birth. Biology 101.

    9. It’s probably adaptive behavior to terminate a pregnancy if in the mother’s judgment the environment is unfavorable to giving birth at that time.

      Of course I don’t really think in humans, abortion is an evolved behavior as it is far too recent innovation allowed by modern medicine. Actually I don’t know if there were abortions before modern medicine (that must have been quite gruesome). Probably people in the old days just waited for the unwanted baby to be born before killing it.

      1. You might be surprised.

        Hint: look up the “original” (if something so ancient and of dubious provenance can be said to exist) version of the Hippocratic Oath.



  9. respect their First Amendment rights

    Why the Times allowed this ad is another issue altogether.

    It’s amazing his head doesn’t explode.

  10. Lolz. All it took me to leave it is to actually pay attention to what the priests sermon on about instead of just falling asleep during mass.

  11. Catholicism is declining steadily in South America. They are loosing the flock, mostly, to neopentecostal churches, but there is some movement among liberal Catholics towards plain secularism.

  12. I figure if Rick Santorum can flap his gums about what the conservative catholics and protestants REALLY think of women, then FFRF can certainly let catholics know what many atheists aay about those women who still pay to stay in a country club that they KNOW discriminates.

  13. This reminds me of a recent heated dust up I had on my facebook wall: I asked “if you don’t want to follow the official church rules, why remain in the church?”

    Short version: “hey, it is OUR church and we’ll ignore official church teaching when we think it is right to do so”.


    1. Hey, just because they put money in the collection plate every week that funds political lobbying, doesn’t mean they agree with the political goals of their church!

      Or something.

    2. “hey, it is OUR church and we’ll ignore official church teaching when we think it is right to do so”.

      But their church is very explicit about having a single, top-down authority, and has for nearly two millennia. As I recall, there was some rather vigorous discussion of this very matter in both England and Germany in the 1600s. It seems to this ex-Catholic that those uncomfortable with an authoritarian religion should look instead to ones without such history.

      Or, you know, abandon religion entirely.

      1. Hey, just because I bow down to these authority figures and keep my dissent quiet doesn’t mean I agree with them!

        -Andrew Sullivan

        1. To be fair to Sully, he’s pretty vocal about his dissent. Of course, that makes it all the more weird that he stays.

  14. Catholics claim to be the “fastest growing” and so do others. However, considering how Catholics differ in what they believe, it’s pretty amusing. It’s similar to how all Christians use the claim that “Christianity” is the largest faith in the world or some such thing claiming all self-professed Christians to bulk up the numbers, all while hating each other and being sure that those “false Christians” are going to hell. It’s unfortunate, that lies seem to be the only thing the RCC and Mr. Donohue have going for them.

  15. Don’t Catholics baptize infants and then keep them on the books forever?

    I don’t have much confidence in their paperwork.

    1. Their paperwork is cooked.

      FWIW, there used to be some sort of involved procedure to leave the church.

      They aren’t offering it anymore.

      Even if you join FFRF or a Protestant church, they are still going to count you.

      1. Even if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit? That’s supposed to be the unforgivable sin.

        Dear Pope Benedict:

        The Holy Spirit eats its own shit while listening to Justin Bieber records.


  16. As a former Catholic who left “The Church” at about the time I became a legal adult, I disagree with Donohue’s apparent certainty about whether it will “impel” any Catholics to leave. It is expressly addressed to “liberal” and “nominal” Catholics and I could see where, for at least some such people, it could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back in relation to these issues. I would guess, however, that most people who are genuinely concerned about such issues are on their way out, or already gone, and an ad like this obviously won’t matter to them. If it’s not really directed at Catholics, what is it? To the extent the term “hate speech” might be intended as a legal term, I would not consider this “hate speech directed at Catholics” but strongly worded political speech directed at the Catholic Church and its interests. As I read it, it takes the position that “The Church” has been and is taking political advantage to further its own interests at some significant cost to society while hiding behind a vague notion of what “religious freedom” permits it to do. It effectively takes the position that churches or religions can be “bad” if their effect on the larger society is considered. Donohue cannot afford to admit that, at least not when the Catholic Church is being offered up as the poster boy.

    1. “To the extent the term “hate speech” might be intended as a legal term, I would not consider this “hate speech directed at Catholics” but strongly worded political speech directed at the Catholic Church and its interests.”

      Donahue doesn’t make a distinction.

    2. There’s little new in that view:

      … I believe (and I believe they know it) that the political power of the Catholic Church is an evil thing, and that it is used without scruple or fairness for only one purpose — to maintain that power.

      — Raymond Chandler, letter to James Sandoe, 15 August 1949


    1. Such a great analogy, but I know from experience enablers hate to be told their enabling. “No! I’m helping!”

  17. It does sound a bit insulting to its target audience, though. I imagine it wasn’t the best approach to put in the “you’re deluding yourself… you are an enabler… Apparently, you’re like [a] battered woman…” bits.

    1. I’m quite sure some people need that sort of prod to be shocked into rethinking their positions. If you want to publish a more accomodating ad, do so.

  18. Sigh… Like the Mormons, Catholics simply count everyone who was ever baptized in their faith as a member of their faith. Regardless of the reality of it.

    The bottom-line is that they’ve lost a lot of people over the years. Last I read, years ago, was only one-third of those who were nominally ‘Catholic’ actually went to Mass. Most Diocese have had to close up to one-third of their churches. Part of it is lack of priests, but part of it is plain-old-empty churches. You can’t keep a Church open when it’s congregation is 12-families going sporadically.

      1. IIRC, they’re bolstered by Eastern European immigrants, although I’d hesitate to say that that was the only reason.

        Non-Christian religions did even better: Up from 2% to 6%, which I guess is mostly Muslim.


  19. (Catholicism, unlike many other religions, is actually growing in the U.S., and worldwide).

    Donohue must be counting Newt Gingrich’s conversion as counting for a whole passel of people; the ego alone is the equivalent of hundreds.

  20. I’ve heard that in Australia, the average age of priests is 60yrs. They have to import them from countries of lesser education to fill the positions available.

    Dan Barker’s book is excellent, as are his debating skills.

  21. Unsubscribing to the Catholic Church seems quite a complicated endeavor: the Vatican has recently ‘abolished’ the liberty of former Catholics to ‘defect’ (or getting ‘debaptised’).
    Meanwhile a growing number of citizens in several European countries are claiming their right to unsubscribe their (forced) membership of the Catholic Church, however with poor and mixed results. It seems that the maximum one can obtain by writing letters etc., amounts to getting blacklisted as a Catholic-wanting-to-defect.

    1. Maybe one should try to get excommunicated? That seems the only way to avoid eternal company of bores and bigots in Heaven…

          1. While that wouldn’t be a difficult decision for me, either, it’s not like many of us are gonna find ourselves in that nun’s position. Note that they don’t excommunicate your average, run-of-the-mill murderer…

              1. Now they have me in a pickle. I can’t leave because I was baptized as a baby. The Holy Spirit entered my heart and did something that can’t be undone. But all I need to do is tell them that I support Planned Parenthood and they’ll undo that undoable event? Cool!

              2. Most interesting, and definitely contrary to what I’ve usually heard.

                Of course, that appears to have been limited to a single diocese, and I wonder how many actual excommunications resulted?

    2. I also noticed that there is pressure to delete the entry

      “List of former Roman Catholics” in the Wikipedia. Opus Dei at work?

      1. Not necessarily so organized, Donohue-fans etc.
        But lots of religion-related topics at wikipedia need to be watched regularly, there are attempts to rereligify all the time.

  22. I believe that abortion is very very bad unless a doctor can guarantee that the birth is life threatening or it is a rape case.

    pre emptive birth control on the other hand is not bad at all. church and state should be separate and their crossing each others lines all the time.

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