Religious provocateur Bill Donohue came under withering attack from fellow political conservatives for remarks that critics say blame the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks for their own deaths.
Upon the brutal slaying of 12 satirical journalists in Paris this week Donohue, who runs the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, condemned the killings, but went on to say, “But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction… What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.”
Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death. In 2012, when asked why he insults Muslims, he said, ‘Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.’ Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive.”
Radio host Hugh Hewitt and Megyn Kelly of Fox News strongly condemned Donohue’s comments.
Hewitt, who identified himself as a practicing Catholic, told Donohue that he was “an embarrassment to the Catholic Church” and tried repeatedly to get Donohue to recant and apologize. Donohue said, “It will be a cold day in Hell” before he apologized.
Donohue told Hewitt he is being supporting in his statement by “the clergy, Cardinals and Bishops” though he refused to name any of them and would only mention one of his board members as a supporter of his statement.
Donohue urged Hewitt to go to his website, at which point Hewitt said, “I have no interest in doing anything to support an organization that will stand over the dead bodies of 12 innocent people and the police that defended them. What you did yesterday was horrible. It was morally abhorrent. It’s like blaming a rape victim for wearing the wrong sort of clothes.”
Donohue followed up his appearance on the Hewitt show going toe to toe with Megyn Kelly on Fox News. Kelly also accused Donohue of blaming the victims saying, like Hewitt, it was similar to “blaming a rape victim for what she was wearing.”
Donohue told Kelly the Muslims were like a wife who had been beaten by her husband for twenty years and one day kills him. Kelly pointed out the woman might have a legal defense, while the Muslims never would.
Donohue told Kelly the Hebdo victims “were not brave. They were pornographers disguised as satirists, the functional equivalent of Larry Flynt.” Donohue’s non-profit has more than $25 million under management with the Christian Brothers Investment Services, a group that allegedly owns stock in distributors of hard-core pornography.
Kelly read from the Supreme Court decision on the First Amendment and offensive cartoons: “The political cartoon is a weapon of attack, of scorn, of ridicule, of satire, it is usually as welcome as a bee-sting. It is always controversial, but despite their sometimes-caustic nature and graphic depiction, satirical cartoons have played a prominent role in our pubic and political debate. From the viewpoint of history it is clear our political discourse would have been considerably poorer without them.”