Audio: Hugh Hewitt versus Bill “Those Charlie Hebdo attackers were right to be angry” Donohue

posted at 8:01 pm on January 8, 2015 by Allahpundit

A long clip but a fun one and you won’t lose much if you listen to only the first half. Things start to get hot at around 4:30 and then hotter still at 9:30.

Noah already blogged Donohue’s statement yesterday arguing that, although murder is to be deplored, the Charlie Hebdo staff provoked it by being so gleefully sacrilegious. Hewitt is appalled by that blame-the-victim reasoning, as is pretty much everyone whose name isn’t “Bill Donohue.” Today Donohue posted a new statement on the Catholic League website to “clarify” his earlier remarks. Spot the egregious lie:

My position is this: the murderers are fully responsible for what they did and should be treated with the full force of the law. Nothing justifies the killing of these people. But this is not the whole of this issue.

The cartoonists, and all those associated with Charlie Hebdo, are no champions of freedom. Quite the opposite: their obscene portrayal of religious figures—so shocking that not a single TV station or mainstream newspaper would show them—represents an abuse of freedom.

Freedom of speech is not an end—it is a means to an end. For Americans, the end is nicely spelled out in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution: the goal is to “form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”…

Let’s forget about legalities. As I have said countless times, everyone has a legal right to insult my religion (or the religion of others), but no one has a moral right to do so. Can we please have this conversation, along with what to do about Muslim barbarians who kill because they are offended?

CNN’s not blacking out Charlie Hebdo covers because they’re shocked at obscene images of religious figures. They’re blacking them out because they’re terrified jihadis will try to copycat the Paris terrorists by shooting up CNN HQ if they don’t. And it’s frankly amazing that Donohue, who owes his public notoriety to his willingness to scream about anti-Catholic bigotry on camera, would give them a pass on that. The media usually has no qualms about passing along images like “Piss Christ” denigrating Christian icons, a point Donohue has himself made endlessly in the past. The reason he’s giving them a pass today by presuming good faith “sensitivity” to religion as a motive rather than cowardice is because he wants to encourage their anti-blasphemy ethic towards Muslims. If he plays their game by pretending that censorship is about respect for faith instead of fear, he gives them a reason to add Catholicism to their growing list of Institutions That Must Not Be Offended. He’s quite explicit about this with Hewitt too. What’s wrong with self-censorship in the name of sensitivity, he asks? Why can’t we have a social norm against blasphemy?

Hewitt asks the correct question in response: What do you do when people defy that norm? How far are you willing to go to enforce it? Donohue’s against criminalizing the practice, he claims, but is that because he genuinely opposes penalties or because he suspects people won’t hear him out if he takes too harsh of an approach to blasphemy at this point in the public debate? His logic is conspicuously similar to the collectivist logic used by fans of “hate speech” laws, including his creepy reference to “abuse of freedom”: We should protect free speech up to the point that it’s not hurting society, at which point it’s time to start carving out exceptions. It’s the “heckler’s veto” as social ideal. Provocative speech, which is hurtful to some slice of the public almost by definition, would have a tough time surviving in that moral ecosystem. In fact, years before jihadis decided to escalate the sanction, Charlie Hebdo was sued in French courts on grounds of “racism” for publishing the Danish Mohammed cartoons. They did survive, but as the entire world now knows, Charlie Hebdo was unusually dogged in its willingness to take risks for satire. Hewitt’s rightly suspicious here that Donohue’s system of “moral” sanction for blasphemy would calcify into a system of legal sanction. And you know what? Given the polling, he’s right to be.

Note what Donohue says, by the way, about major figures in the Church allegedly dialing him up and telling him privately that they agree with him. I sure hope that’s not true. The media’s anti-blasphemy drift has enough momentum as it is, without a hard shove from religious figures who actually matter.


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Comments

I am sticking to my pledge to never again — without exception — click on an article written by Noah Rothman. So I’m glad Allahpundit took the time to blog on this issue as well, so that I could read his perspective on it.

That being said, as a Catholic, I find Donahue to be an embarrassment. Perhaps as much of an embarrassment to Catholics as Rothman should be to this web site. He is a self-serving blowhard, much in the vein of Al Sharpton. No one should take him seriously, nor should anyone actually seriously believe that he represents the views of Catholics.

Shump on January 8, 2015 at 8:27 PM

Agree, fully.

Mrs.Scott on January 9, 2015 at 8:05 AM

Wrong time to do it, but Donohue was reminding people that these were cartoon pornagraphers as well as political cartoonists. College restroom stalls have similar artwork. Again, wrong day to fight that battle.
RBMN on January 9, 2015 at 1:01 AM

But at least you aren’t condemned to death by religious zealots if you engage in cartoon pornography.

Myron Falwell on January 9, 2015 at 8:07 AM

Bill “Niemoller” Donahue:
First they came for the pornographers,
And i didn’t speak our because I was not a pornographer
Then they came for the political cartoonists
And I didn’t speak out because I was not a political cartoonist
Then they came for the anti-abortion crusaders, who publish photos of aborted babies and say abortion is murder
And there was no one left to speak for me

PeteC on January 9, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Bill Donohue is a lying POS and he does not speak for Catholics.

Roy Rogers on January 9, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Why can’t we have a social norm against blasphemy?

We used to. We called those folks a*holes. And we made them social pariahs. We sure as heck didn’t shoot them.

Freedom of speech is not an end—it is a means to an end. For Americans, the end is nicely spelled out in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

This guy has trouble with cause and effect, doesn’t he? The “more perfect union” is one that includes the freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

So get ready to learn the Shahada, and become a Muslim or pay the Jizya.

Annar on January 9, 2015 at 8:02 AM

An astaslem!

GWB on January 9, 2015 at 9:22 AM

Freedom of speech is not an end—it is a means to an end.

and

Let’s forget about legalities. As I have said countless times, everyone has a legal right to insult my religion (or the religion of others), but no one has a moral right to do so. Can we please have this conversation, along with what to do about Muslim barbarians who kill because they are offended?

“no one has a moral right to do so,” eh? And just how do we go about having that conversation? lol

How could anyone who believes in free speech as an objective value agree with an emotion-driven, whiny control freak like Donahue? What a dictatorial moron (I wonder if he believes I’m being immoral when I insult him like this, too. :))

Anti-ControI on January 9, 2015 at 9:26 AM

Bill Donohue is a lying POS and he does not speak for Catholics.

Roy Rogers on January 9, 2015 at 9:19 AM

I might believe you if the Pope chastised Donohue for this. What is the chance of that?

It seems to me Donohue was saying exactly what this Pope would say. Of course the Pope knows actually saying it would be impolitic at this time, so if he says anything now, it will just be to decry the violence.

Most people are scum. Most Catholics are scum. That is just the nature of Man. Millions of Catholics like Donohue familiar with Charlie’s obscene blasphemies against Catholicism are secretly (and not so secretly) pleased God saw fit to punish Charlie.

fadetogray on January 9, 2015 at 9:57 AM

Bill Donohue and his org have been bashing and attacking reason for decades.
As frequently as he has been called out and critiqued by the left, liberals, and progressives – he most often been welcomed and encouraged by conservatives and the right.
So it is both welcome – and I now understand necessary – that is the right and conservatives who have taken him down. And I’d say taken him down for good. Hewitt is being nothing less than 100% correct. I don’t even think Hannity will be able to offer his usual brown nosing for Donohue after this.
Michael Moore etc. would have been fully in sync with everything Hewitt says and does here – but indeed Hewitt does it beautifully – and most importantly for those who require it, authoritatively.

verbaluce on January 9, 2015 at 9:59 AM

I’m also glad that Larry Flynt didn’t die from his bullet wound, but if he had died from it, I’m not going treat him like he was a saint. I think that’s the point that Donohue was making…with incredibly bad timing.

RBMN on January 9, 2015 at 1:39 AM

If Donohue had a prepared statement condemning Charlie Hebdo before the attacks and it got published just after the attacks, out of carelessness or even willful indifference, then THAT would be bad timing. But that is not what happened. The reason de etre for the statement was the attacks – he made his comments in direct reply to the event.

Because of this, timing is inseparable from the argument itself. When Donohue responds to an act of terror designed to coerce people into not behaving a certain way with a statement that “I condemn the murderer but we need to stop behaving this way…” then it is not credible to suggest Donohue’s argument isn’t relying, at some level, on the the fact that people were killed for behaving in the way Donohue disagrees with.

He may state flat out that that isn’t his point, but by making the statement in response to the attacks, it can’t NOT be his point.

RINO in Name Only on January 9, 2015 at 9:59 AM

By his logic (ability to blaspheme a religion other than your own), everyone’s a blasphemer.

Christians are blasphemers for denying Muhammed’s status as a prophet of God.
Muslims are blasphemers for denying Jesus as the son of God.
…and on and on…

wvmikep on January 9, 2015 at 10:00 AM

reason de etreraison d’etre

RINO in Name Only on January 9, 2015 at 9:59 AM

Really, self? Really?

Sheesh, on today of all days…

RINO in Name Only on January 9, 2015 at 10:05 AM

Most people are scum. Most Catholics are scum. That is just the nature of Man. Millions of Catholics like Donohue familiar with Charlie’s obscene blasphemies against Catholicism are secretly (and not so secretly) pleased God saw fit to punish Charlie.

fadetogray on January 9, 2015 at 9:57 AM

If you can name a single Catholic leader that endorses Donahue’s idiotic opinion, let’s have it.

As a Catholic I’ve always been aware that particular magazine printed anti-Catholic crud as well. It’s their right. Some “artist” wants to put a crucifix in a jar of pee, and a museum puts it on display…great. Just don’t use public funds to support it.

And it’s one thing to denounce something that offends you…it’s quite another to kill someone over it.

JetBoy on January 9, 2015 at 10:17 AM

reason de etreraison d’etre

RINO in Name Only on January 9, 2015 at 9:59 AM

Really, self? Really?

Sheesh, on today of all days…

RINO in Name Only on January 9, 2015 at 10:05 AM

No sweat. Just blame it on autocorrect like the rest of us do.

fadetogray on January 9, 2015 at 10:18 AM

By his logic (ability to blaspheme a religion other than your own), everyone’s a blasphemer.

Christians are blasphemers for denying Muhammed’s status as a prophet of God.
Muslims are blasphemers for denying Jesus as the son of God.
…and on and on…

wvmikep on January 9, 2015 at 10:00 AM

“hurt feelings” is Donahue’s moral standard – how do you go about debating that coherently? I wonder if Donahue would say that atheists’ have the same right, then, for “freedom from religion” – maybe no one should be allowed to speak publicaly about their religious beliefs in the name of “free speech”!

His position is one of the stupidest ever.

Anti-ControI on January 9, 2015 at 10:30 AM

They’re blacking them out because they’re terrified jihadis will try to copycat the Paris terrorists by shooting up CNN HQ if they don’t.

Because they’re Islamophobic.

theguardianii on January 9, 2015 at 11:46 AM

If you can name a single Catholic leader that endorses Donahue’s idiotic opinion, let’s have it. JetBoy on January 9, 2015 at 10:17 AM

Does this man count as a Catholic leader?
http://m.mic.com/articles/105706/pope-francis-just-shut-down-christian-fundamentalists-in-an-amazing-way

Francis denounces those who mock and condemn Islam. He also denounces those who criticize the Koran, something he calls a “book of peace.”

Francis also says that “poverty” is what led to rise of ISIS.

bluegill on January 9, 2015 at 12:24 PM

bluegill on January 9, 2015 at 12:24 PM

That’s not the same thing, Blue.

I didn’t respond to Jetboy’s point because I had already addressed it. The Pope and the other formal Catholic leaders will not support what Donohue has said because the politics of doing so would be horrific.

However, they could come out with “Je suis Charlie” and a ringing endorsement of the freedom of speech. They could recognize Charlie’s heroism. That would be powerful right now, especially since the Church was one of Charlie’s favorite targets.

They have not done so. That speaks volumes.

fadetogray on January 9, 2015 at 1:01 PM

However, they could come out with “Je suis Charlie” and a ringing endorsement of the freedom of speech. They could recognize Charlie’s heroism. That would be powerful right now, especially since the Church was one of Charlie’s favorite targets.
They have not done so. That speaks volumes.
fadetogray on January 9, 2015 at 1:01 PM

You are right. It’s not exactly the same thing.

But right now, as you probably know, in Europe especially, the media are lecturing people not to attack Islam and are pushing the idea that anti-Islam voices are on par with the terrorists. This Pope has also made a point to call out Islam’s critics.

Likewise, Donohue also sees the strident Islam critics as villains here.

bluegill on January 9, 2015 at 1:14 PM

Wow I gotta say the worst debate ever! If you want to grill someone let them answer, give them all the rope they need to take themselves apart. Hugh what a bowl a crap, okay you know the poor old man shot his mouth off and dug a hole using dynamite. Got it! Move the hell on, Geez you a$$. A million frigging idiots on the left and one silly old man is your target? Holy crap maybe you can assault some child next. It was like listening to Hannity debate “one question nelly” same thing over and over and over. I disagree with this turd almost 100% of the time and still found that I want my twenty three minutes of life back, you bored the hell out of me ask a question once or twice and move the hell on or end the interview and talk to someone relevant. I learned nothing and neither did anyone else except Hugh can beat the crap out of an old man whoopie!

fluffbuni on January 9, 2015 at 7:30 PM

Bill Donohue is a lying POS and he does not speak for Catholics.

Roy Rogers on January 9, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Roy, is the Catholic League’s Donahue the David Duke of Catholicism?

BigAlSouth on January 11, 2015 at 8:04 AM

But at least you aren’t condemned to death by religious zealots if you engage in cartoon pornography.

Myron Falwell on January 9, 2015 at 8:07 AM

No, I’m pretty sure that could be easily arranged under sharia.

This is not a debate about obscenity or propriety. It’s about a sect that has appointed itself as the executioner of its enemies (which includes most people here and on the internet). They only attacked Charlie Hebdo and the kosher deli because they had the opportunity.

What are we to say about the deli owners? Were they offensively foisting their kosher sandwiches on the general public?

Donohue was an idiot on this, as was David Brooks (as usual) and the litany of moronic journalists who said that Charlie Hebdo “had it coming”.

If Charlie Hebdo had it coming, so do we … just for existing. That’s how offensive we are to islam.

virgo on January 12, 2015 at 4:22 PM