Catholic League Calls Marriage Equality One of the Most Bizarre Ideas in History

Bill Donohue - Making it up as he goes

Bill Donohue – Making it up as he goes

We have seen how anti-gay Cardinal Timothy Dolan tried to undo what Pope Francis said about not judging gays.

And now this: Gay marriage is “one of the most bizarre ideas in history,” said gay-bashing, Church abuse victim-smearing Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, Tuesday.

Watch courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

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This comes from a man who, besides ignoring Jesus’ admonition to not throw stones (Matt. 7:1),

  • Believes that a man/God who was both wholly man and wholly God came down to earth, sent – you got it – by himself (since there is only one God and he is supposedly indivisible);
  • Believes this man/God was born to a virgin who was impregnated by God rather than by her husband (in other words, this man/God was his own Father);
  • Believes this man/God, though God is indivisible, talked to himself as “Father” though of course there was neither Father nor Son since God is indivisible because that would be polytheism;
  • Believes this man/God was supposed to be the Jewish messiah despite his “nonmessianic career” and even though there is nothing Jewish about his messiah-ship – you did not become messiah by dying and being resurrected;[1] and the whole idea of messiahs in the Old Testament is rather vague – as William Scott Green has written, “In early Jewish literature, ‘messiah’ is all signifier with no signified; the term is notable primarily for its indeterminacy.”[2]
  • Believes this man/God asked himself to lift the burden from him but apparently declined to show himself any mercy and let himself be crucified by the Romans;
  • Believes that three days later this man/God violated the laws of nature and came back, when everyone knows dead people stay dead;
  • Belives this man/God then went to heaven to rejoin – himself; and,
  • That, soon enough this man/God was not only Father AND Son but ALSO Holy Spirit – a three for one deal.

And clearly, Donohue does not know or care much about history.

Christianity did not appear full grown out of Jesus’ breast on the cross though it did grow out of his death. It was written by men up to two centuries later, much of it forged [3] (and contradictory) and is a religion about a Jewish man who in Christian eyes was somehow a man, a god, and a holy spirit, all wrapped into one.

Jews didn’t buy into this for the very good reason that there is nothing Jewish about it,[4] a fact recognized by Paul of Tarsus (1 Cor. 1:23). Yet these writings by Gentiles about a long-dead Jew, many of which were forged, are considered to be the word of God.

Right. Nothing bizarre in all this, apparently.

Some would say Bill Donohue is in no position to call any idea crazy. Look, I’m not here to rip on Christian belief but it was a devout Christian, Soren Kierkegaard, echoing Paul of Tarsus himself, who said of faith that of necessity, it is a “faith in the absurd.” For it is absurd, these things Jesus’ followers are supposed to have believed, the things Christians throughout history are supposed to believe. We must either take offense, Kierkegaard assured us, or we must believe.

The Pagan Romans were struck by what they saw as the essential absurdity of Christianity as well. For one thing, Christians were doing a completely bizarre thing and saying there was only one God rather than many. “I mean, who thinks that way?” they said. To compound their sins these Christians were worshiping not a God but a man. A crucified criminal.

Several Roman authors commented on it, including the fourth-century emperor Julian, who was raised a Christian and is therefore known to history as “the Apostate.” Julian wrote:

But as for the commandment “Thou shalt not worship other gods,” to this surely he adds a terrible libel upon God. “For I am a jealous God,” he says, and in another place again, “Our God is a consuming fire.” Then if a man is jealous and envious you think him blameworthy, whereas if God is called jealous you think it a divine quality? And yet how is it reasonable to speak falsely of God in a matter that is so evident? For if he is indeed jealous, then against his will are all other gods worshipped, and against his will do all the remaining nations worship their gods. Then how is it that he did not himself restrain them, if he is so jealous and does not wish that the others should be worshipped, but only himself? Can it be that he was not able to do so, or did he not wish even from the beginning to prevent the other gods also from being worshipped? However, the first explanation is impious, to say, I mean, that he was unable; and the second is in accordance with what we do ourselves. Lay aside this nonsense and do not draw down on yourselves such terrible blasphemy. For if it is God’s will that none other should be worshipped, why do you worship this spurious son of his whom he has never yet recognized or considered as his own? This I shall easily prove. You, however, I know not why, foist on him a counterfeit son. . . [5]

People like Bill Donohue seem completely unaware of how bizarre their own beliefs seemed and continue to seem to others. Not even all Catholics agree with Donohue, including the new Pope, thankfully, and Donohue, in another life, would likely have been an enthusiastic inquisitor or witch-hunter.

In saying that gay marriage is wrong because not enough religious groups support it is typical of the arrogance of the Church in general throughout history, which has been unable and unwilling to recognize the validity of other worldviews; but Donohue’s words are also emblematic of the conservative view that ignores the voice of the very secular United States Constitution, which precisely because of people like Bill Dononue, leaves God, the Ten Commandments, and Jesus himself out of the equation, an equation in which political power derives not from God and not from religious groups, but from the people. And the people, says the most recent Gallup poll, support Marriage Equality 52-43 percent.

That, Mr. Dononue, is enough.


  1. John J. Collins, The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature (New York: Doubleday, 1995).
  2. William Scott Green, “Messiah in Judaism,” in Judaisms and their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era, ed. by Jacob Neusner, William S. Green, and Ernest Frerichs (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
  3. Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
  4. David Klinghoffer. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 2005).
  5. Julian, Against the Galileans, translated by Wilmer Cave Wright (1923), 362-363, speaking of Deuteronomy 4. 24; Hebrews 12. 29

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