Catholic League’s Bill Donohue Says Non-Religious People are Insane

We have met Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, here before. He’s a rabid Catholic – I use the term “rabid” because he is virulently hostile to the idea of anything non-Catholic – and to say he’s a bit of a crank is to understate the case by a wide margin. This is the guy, after all, who said church abuse victims were “active participants” In their own abuse.

Now, apparently filled with Christmas cheer and taking a break from inventing stories about “homosexuality,” what’s he is telling us is that non-religious people are insane:

Watch courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

They believe that freedom is license to do whatever they want. They don’t want to be told anything, which is why they die prematurely, they’re unhappy, that’s why we have a disproportionate number of agnostics and atheists in the asylum, all of this is true.

Now I’m a polytheist and I believe all gods are real. But that line atheists like to use, that theists believe in an invisible man in the sky, comes to mind. I fully realize that saying you believe in invisible people sounds insane, and I would never tell people who don’t believe in Odin and Thor that they are insane. I can’t prove it after all. And it doesn’t matter to me whether they share my beliefs or not. They’re MY beliefs after all.

It is also true that some atheists think theists are necessarily insane, or at least mentally ill, else they would be atheists too. I believe that both viewpoints are unhelpful. Believe me, I’ve been called crazy for worshipping any gods at all on the one hand, and called insane for worshipping more than one god, on the other. My biggest complaint is that the First Amendment renders all such arguments moot.

It would be far more constructive to just let people be, as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on others.

And in that regard, Donohue is especially problematic, given some of his other statements. Keep in mind, he is also on record as having said that marriage equality is one of the most bizarre ideas in history. But apparently, from his point of view, people who believe in an invisible guy in the sky are NOT insane.

Got it.

This is not all. He is also well known for his persecution complex, namely his War on Christmas shtick, where any idea of a multicultural celebration of the solstice is “cultural fascism.” But for Donohue, the War on Christmas is really more of a war on Catholicism.

So according to Donohue, those people he calls cultural fascists and secularists,

They believe that freedom is license to do whatever you want. That’s why they’re quote non-judgmental, but they made a judgment when they made themselves non-judgmental. They believe in no-holds-barred. They don’t like the three dreaded words in the English language, which we got from our Jewish friends: thou shalt not.

Never mind that “thou shalt not” is the antithesis of freedom. That is why the Constitution is not Biblical. The Ten Commandments are a list of non-freedoms, of things you absolutely CANNOT do, while the Constitution guarantees you the freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness” in your own way, rather than according to a list of exclusions which says “you can’t do this, you can’t do that…”

Being hostile to religious freedom, Donohue says,

They don’t want to be told anything. Which is why they die prematurely, why they’re unhappy, that’s why we have a disproportionate number of atheists and agnostics in the asylum. All of this is true. Now look, they’ve got some serious problems. I’m talking here about the militants. I’m not talking about your average atheist or agnostic. They’re not more of a threat than a lame Catholic is. But I am talking about the organized group. So only a small percentage of them, but every year they have to try to do something to stick it to us. And like American atheists, when do they have their annual convention every year? On Good Friday. See it’s all the middle finger in the face of Christians.

At which point, Bill, Jesus says you should turn the other cheek, and then offer us Christmas as well. Read the Bible. It’s an eye-opener.

Newsmax host Steve Malzberg asked, instead of any real questions, “And you say atheists and agnostics die earlier because they’re unhappy and there’s more of them in mental institutions?”

“Absolutely!” answered Donohue. “I have a book coming out which details all this stuff in great, great detail.”

Well that’s good. We wouldn’t want a book that details generalities!

You take a look at people who are secularists and you compare them to people of faith and there’s a huge difference when it turns to health and happiness. Mental health, physical health and degree of happiness. Now look, they gotta work it out, fine, I’ll help pay for their therapy, just take your hands, your mitts off the Catholics during Christmas.

Malzburg said, “I love this guy, I do.”

The whole health and atheism meme is a favorite one on the Religious Right, and you’ll find the Conservopedia touting research that proves it. And on Patheos, Dr. Greg will tell you that, “I think there is a case to be made that atheism could be a mental illness.” That’s right. You’re mentally ill if you do not believe in God.

I don’t know what this makes me, since I believe in so many.

But it isn’t a lack of “belief” or “god” that affects wellness, but a lack of socializing. As Scientific American pointed out a couple of years ago, “As a religious person, you gain a community of like-minded individuals, many of whom are eager to welcome you into their social circle.” That’s what my wife misses about her days as a Christian: the sense of community. She doesn’t miss the Pentecostal belief system that twisted and tortured her mind so terribly for many years.

Leave it to Bill Donohue then to twist the facts so that they’re as twisted as his beliefs.

And in fact, another article points out that James A. Thorson writes,

Koenig, George, Meador, Blazer, and Cyck (1994) examined religion and general anxiety, as well as depression and any DSM-III disorder, in groups of mainline and conservative Protestants as well as Pentecostals. The Pentecostals had significantly higher 6-month and lifetime rates of depression, anxiety, and any DSM-III disorder. Mainline Protestants had the lowest 6-month and lifetime rates of anxiety disorder and the lowest rates of any DSM-III disorder, and conservative Protestants had the lowest 6-month and lifetime rates of depressive disorder.

Koenig (1992), however, has pointed out that, “It is well known that depression and anxiety are more common among the lower classes, the poor, and the uneducated” (p. 183). One might speculate that these terms fairly describe many of the Pentecostals studied in the 1994 article, and perhaps their higher rates of anxiety and depression had socioeconomic, rather than religious, explanations. Also, it could be possible that individuals with higher levels of anxiety for some reason gravitate toward Pentecostal denominations. In terms of speculation, it is of course possible that Pentecostal affiliation in some way causes anxiety.

“Religion and Anxiety: Which Anxiety? Which Religion?” by James A. Thorson. Handbook of Religion and Mental Health, edited by Harold G. Koenig

Atheists get divorced less often than Evangelicals, and most of the folks in prison are Catholics or protestants, with very few being atheists. From these statistics, you could not conclude that atheists are mentally ill. Rather the opposite.

Statistics don’t tell the whole story, obviously, because there are many factors at play, but on the whole, it doesn’t appear that religion makes you a better person and that it is a sense of community rather than belief that make you healthier.

And contrary to Donohue, if anyone is persecuted here, it is not Catholics, but atheists. After all, you don’t read about people being put into insane asylums for being Christians, but you do read about them being committed because they are atheists.

But it’s far too late in the day to expect honesty out of Bill Donohue.

45 Replies to “Catholic League’s Bill Donohue Says Non-Religious People are Insane”

  1. Talk about insane! This man actually believes what he is saying but who is corroborating what he says? Who is providing the proof, the evidence – the scholarly research?

    NO ONE. His psychotic ramblings are just that – psychotic ramblings.

  2. Bill Donohue is an asshole. Sorry to be vulgar, but it’s embarrassing to have that man represent the Catholic faith.

  3. Donahue is insane. Most likely, he was raped by his church of the endless hidden molestation by its sex starved, not normal celibacy priests

    People like this often take out their self hate on others, an example being the Phelps gang westboro baptists who were vicioulsy beaten by their father,now fortunately dead frepl

  4. Good ol’ Bill. I’ve said this a number of times, and I’ll say it again here. His verbal description of atheists, agnostics, and non-Roman Catholics is an operational definition of the concept of ‘projection.’ Everything he says is applicable, but not to the ‘others’ he so despises in the most un-christian way, but to himself. He’s the one who needs help. It does nothing for his sanity to watch religion and catholicism in particular decrease in relevance day by day. Someday Bill will reach total apoplexy, and then he’ll be gone. Then he can check out if his ideas of an afterlife have any validity…NOT! [WINK]

  5. Euro-Jesus has left the house.

    Have pity. he’s got the post-euro-Jesus Empire blues. you can’t do euro-Jesus in a global village. He’s seeing the End of Days of Jesus/Allah/Yahweh. We’ve outgrown them. When we try to leave, they get abusive…..

    The construct of Euro-Jesus took hold as clerics assumed governance over primitive tribes abandoned by a fallen Rome.
    Western Europe was able to temporarily dominate global culture because it metastasized so quickly. Now, their 400 year empire is over. Sad.

  6. Reading comments from “religious” people like Bill Donahue supports my belief that there is no god, never has been, and never will be.

  7. So, why is he getting air time?
    Where are the media spokespeople to assert that he’s a religious bigot, not worth paying attention to?
    Why do people like this keep on getting pass after pass after pass?
    Why aren’t countervailing arguments going mainstream?
    Why isn’t anyone spending the cash to spread the pushback against this rancid old bunk?

  8. To paraphrase someone who’s name I can’t recall at the moment, how convenient for Bill that God hates all the same people Bill hates.

  9. And I say these faith professing republicans are not only insane, but they are hypocrits, charlitons, and have absolutely no connection with the love of Christ or His teachings. “You will know they are Christians by their love.”

  10. A pal of mine in psychiatry said most of her patients were former religious (mostly RCC) and they were the most fucked up of all. The non believers were usually there because of abuse at the hands of religious spouses.
    Bill has his numbers and facts dead opposite of reality, but isn’t that typical?

  11. I would say that the confrontation between believers and atheists has to cool down. Otherwise, they will both say nasty words, they both don’t beleive. The President of the United States in the inauguration day swears on the Bible of Lincoln. I immagine that all sorts of people watch the event, and are not scandalized by the rite. In the courthouses accross the country, witnesses swear to say “the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God”! Why, why in the world anyone should be offended by the display of a cross, with or without Jesus on it? Why, why, in the world should a Nativity Scene offend anyone? Could anyone evision what the USA government would be without the Christian moral inspiring the Nation? I shall return on the subject. So long for now.

  12. And you cannot even expect the Republicans be the defenders of Christianity and Democrats the advocates of atheists, and a permissive way of life,undergarading all a licentious behaviour! I am a Catholic and a supporter of President Obama!

  13. Why is this mental case not under institutional care? I’d love to debate this moron face-to-face.

    It would be so much fun to destroy his every word. Actually, that can be done in four words, “How do you know?”

    Then keep hammering him for proof of his every statement while tossing in babble verses that say the opposite of what he is saying.

    No, I would not be sorry if he had a heart attack or a stroke during this. It would be “god’s will,” no?

  14. I’m an ex-catholic atheist and I have never, and will never, attack someone because they believe in any god. If someone wants to believe in god(s), so be it … as long as you don’t force me to live my life by your religious beliefs.

    However, you must remember that we are not to be governed by ANY religion, as the Constitution clearly states. It’s not an issue of atheists blocking Catholics or Baptists or Christians as a whole. It’s not about Muslims or Jews or Satanists. It’s about the fact that this country does not have a religion. And it must stay that way.

    As for being offened……would it offend you to see a satanic statue next to that nativity scene?

    Come’on, Sunny Day and Happy Future, we’ve got to be able to find solid common ground here. [WINK]

  15. How bad is it when NEWSMAX is the only forum left willing to listen to you? Pretty freakin bad.

  16. Looks like God and Jesus will never have a break from religious nuts. Poor them for enduring teabaggers and dominionists.

  17. What would you say about the sanity of someone who claims to be a Christian while rejecting most all of the values that the Bible shows that Jesus Christ demonstrated?

  18. Always remember this crap from a catholic:

    “They believe that freedom is license to do whatever they want.”

    Under catholic(or any religion) rule, you will be told what you can do and when. No religion can rule without being in power over your thoughts and deeds. Ever. Like your guns? Only a chosen few will own them under a religious rule. You penis challenged people are a threat

    This is what religion is

  19. Ever since the human race conceived of any god

    We have used religion as a way for men to prod

    People into actions most would, otherwise, not take;

    Murders, wars, beheadings – burning “witches” at the stake.

    “This is what our god demands,” is always the excuse.

    Gods who call for that are ones for which I have no use.

    If gods have an enemy that they need me to smite

    I’d think that’s an indication something wasn’t right.

    Give me One who says that I must love my fellow man;

    Who commands that I help them in any way I can.

    One who calls for tolerance of other points of view.

    One who doesn’t judge what you believe, but what you do.

    “God is love,” the scriptures say – no matter which you read.

    God is our support and comfort in our times of need.

    God does not demand that unbelievers have to die…

    Doing evil unto someone? That’s the other guy.

  20. As a proof that a god, whatever you may want to call he/she, does exist I offer the theory of the “Unmoved Mover” from Aristotle. Look it up and realize how long ago and from a “pagan” culture proof of a monotheistic supreme being was developed.

  21. So a man can prove the existence of a god? Lets remember that Aristotle didnt believe in the same god you do.

    If so, a man can disprove the existence of a god

  22. You don’t have to affirm your oath to christianity in a court of law. I was a potential jurer and it wasn’t required. Yeah the early colonies had theocracy but was quickly tossed out after Christians were killed for not believing like other Christians and the fact that you were taxed if you attended another church outside your parrish.

  23. Humans invent gods to suit their needs.
    The day of the euro-Jesus and sacred texts is over.

    We’re dealing with the aftermath.

  24. To bash Christians is used the same old story, about all the trecherous acts of violence made throughout history. The fact of the matter is that some time has gone by since, and the real meaning of the Christian message is being lived by missionaries that are giving their life to love unconditionally every man. People may continue to address Christians as blood thirsty to impose a faith, no one will be listening because they are speaking to Christians that are dead since centuries. And this way no progress will be made in living in peace.

  25. I wish you protested against those who do harm in the name of your religion as passionately as you do against those that criticize the ones causing harm every day to innocent men, women and children in this country.

  26. Bill Donohue doesn’t believe in anything he is saying. He is a pathological liar and is going to make more money than God writing hateful books, and going on right wing TV shows. The guy is an idiot and his writings are boring.

    He is not in my Catholic league – people who spend time taking care of the sick, feeding the poor, housing the homeless, loving thy neighbor as thyself, not verbally mean to everyone who is different than thyself. When Jesus spoke, he was there to administer to his people who were poor. Bill Donohue has done nothing except fill his bank account [links as to his charity works would be appreciated].

    I hope when the Pope comes to Philly and America that the Pope has a few choice words for him because Bill Donohue is a false Catholic and has his own false religion with the only belief is he’s better than everyone else.

  27. Personally, I believe that the way you live your life, the way you treat others, and the capability of feeling compassion and empathy for others speaks louder than any “religion.”

    Spiritual growth for each individual is different. The growth helps us to evolve and understand others in deeper ways.

    That being said, I admit I have no compassion or empathy for the extreme Right, so I guess I am still a work in progress.

  28. I’m not sure you’re aware of this, but there are many people living in this country who adhere to other religions and do not accept Christianity as true or valid. (And that includes Jews, for all those Evangelicals out there who are so enamored of Israel). There are many others who do not practice or believe in ANY religion. Why would they NOT be offended by a display of Christian religious symbols on government property? How would you feel about a display of Koranic verses on the front lawn of Town Hall?

  29. Five words:

    “uganda”, “law”, “homosexuality”, and “Scott Lively”.

    Google them.

  30. Yep…It’s we non-believers who don’t hear that invisible guy in the clouds talking to us that are crazy… Derp!

  31. I am a person first and foremost. An individual with my own thoughts and actions, free to make choices.

    I am also a Roman Catholic. I disagree with the RC church on issues. I have to live my life for me, not for the church.

    Back in the day, I would have been ex-communicated. My “label” of RC is only that, a label. Me, the person, and how I live my life and treat others is more significant to me.

    I have close friends who are atheists, I also have a friend who practices Buddhism, they are all loving people and we all respect each others’ views. I think that is having the best of both worlds.

  32. Hes clearly not a Christian. Just another religious hypocrite like Romney. I dont think they realize that lying is a sin. They think they are holier than all.

  33. I have nothing against Catholics. I have plenty of bad feelings about the Roman Catholic institution.

    They’ve adapted their interpretation of the bible to suit their sick need for power.

    I was raised Catholic, by the way, even went to a private Catholic high school. Never once did we study the bible. HA! God forbid we find out that Jesus was black he may have had sex with Mary Magdeline.

  34. Catholic teaching:
    Scare the hell out of little kids telling them they’ll burn in hell if they’re not good Catholics.

    Become an altar boy so some guy who couldn’t fit into society can molest you….

    No doubt there are a lot of f–k’d up Catholics!

  35. “…They believe that freedom is license to do whatever they want. They don’t want to be told anything, which is why they die prematurely, they’re unhappy,…:

    Donohue, not atheists, believes that freedom is license to do whatever HE wants and doesn’t want to be told anything. Donohue would do best to shut his mouth and keeps his poisonous words to himself.

    It appears to me that Donohue has many issues to deal with, and that he has an ax to grind about many things since his childhood. Donohue must be kicked out his position in the Catholic League. His words show that he is surely not a follower of Jesus…not the Jesus I know.

  36. John, so what you are claiming is that Aristotle knew more about the cosmos than say Stephen Hawking or even the fictional characters on “the Big Bang Theory”. I’ve read that which you proffer and your interpretation has holes in in big enough to fly a B-52 through. In FACT the physical laws of the universe Preclude and EXCLUDE!!! ANY existence of ANY “supreme” being.

  37. As with other groups, I don’t think it is a good idea to label all Catholics into the same category. There are good and bad in every group.

    The Catholic church has much to be shameful for, especially for their crimes against children. I have known priests throughout my lifetime. Never once did any priest abuse my children or even attempt to. I have a son and a daughter. They are now adults, well adjusted, and we have always been big on communication, so I know they would have told me if that was the case. Just try not to judge all Catholics for the misdeeds of some. As much as the archaic nature of the Church still seems to be apparent, there are many Catholics who are progressive.

    A friend of mine is a nun in NYC. She owns her own business, has worked tirelessly throughout her life for the poor, homeless, and infirm. She leaves bags around NYC in spots that homeless frequent with new socks, underwear, sweaters, so that the homeless find them. Faith is a never ending search.

  38. Undoubtly the man is using the wrong words to address non-believers. To atheists I would ask to explain me the difference between a stone, and a heart in a human being, or a dog, for that matter! The question I’m asking is: what is life?

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