The New York Times is being blasted for its decision to run an anti-Catholic ad, produced by the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), bitterly critical of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling protecting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties from the Department of Health and Human Services' contraception mandate requiring businesses and non-profits to provide free abortion-inducing contraceptives to their employees.
“Dogma Should Not Trump Our Civil Liberties,” screams the headline of the ad which ran in the Times' Thursday, July 3, edition, followed by a subhead shouting that an “All Male, All Roman Catholic Majority on Supreme Court” had placed “Religious Wrongs Over Women's Rights.” (To view a PDF of the ad, click here.)
The ad, which solicits for funding and membership in the FFRF, charges the “ultra-conservative, Roman Catholic majority — Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas,” with intentionally coming down on the side of “zealous fundamentalists who equate contraception with abortion.” The ad complains that the ruling, which affirmed the authority of the congressional Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), “marks a turning point in the struggle to uphold civil liberties in the face of relentless attacks by the Religious Right.”
The ad demands that Congress repeal the RFRA, complaining that “Employers Should Have No Right to Impose Their Religious Beliefs upon Workers.” The RFRA, insist the atheist activists, “radically redefines 'religious freedom,' according [to believers'] extreme religious liberty, exempting them from laws they claim create substantial burdens on their free exercise of religion.”
Prominently featured in the ad is the visage of Margaret Sanger, the racist founder of abortion giant Planned Parenthood, along with her declaration that “no woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body.” As noted by Breitbart News, the ad does not include Sanger's assertion that “birth control will lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
The FFRF solicitation closes out with a plea for members and a request for donations ranging from $40 for an individual atheist club membership, to the $5,000 never-ending “After Life” membership.
Breitbart News noted that in their rage over the High Court's supposed Catholic majority, the atheist clan apparently forgot that “there is no 'religious test' for office in the United States, according to the Constitution.”
Patheos.com reported that this is not the first anti-religion ad the FFRF has run in the Times. “They last did it in 2012 when they encouraged readers to quit the Catholic Church,” reported the religious-themed website. “In 2011, an ad wished readers 'Reason’s Greetings,' prompting the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue to call them 'parasites of Christmas.'” In 2010, continued Patheos, “a full-page ad called the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. And in 2008, FFRF urged readers to imagine a world without religion.”
Donohue reacted to the FFRF's latest New York Times anti-Catholic ad by slamming the atheist group for “trotting out the old canard that Catholics are not independent thinkers.” Donohue went on to connect the FFRF's present-day anti-Catholic bigotry to hatred the Christian group suffered over 100 years ago: “From the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, Catholics had to deal with the Ku Klux Klan. Now they must deal with more sophisticated bigots. What unites the Klan and the FFRF is their maliciousness. Unfortunately, as we have seen ... anti-Catholic bigotry has erupted in many quarters, all of them urbane.”
At least one conservative group pointed out an apparently cowardly double standard at work within the Times, noting that while the paper has eagerly and regularly run the FFRF's anti-Christian advertisements, it turned suddenly reluctant when approached by a group that wanted to run an ad critical of Islam, assumedly because it feared violent backlash from militant Islamists.
The Media Research Center linked to a 2012 blog post by libertarian David Volokh, who showed how the Times had run the FFRF's ad titled “It's Time to Quit the Catholic Church,” but demurred when approached with a similar ad, titled “It's Time to Quit Islam,” submitted by a duo of groups, the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), both of them creations in part of anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller.
Geller wrote that in response to her groups' ad, Bob Christie, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for the New York Times, called “to advise me that they would be accepting my ad, but considering the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, now would not be a good time, as they did not want to enflame an already hot situation. They will be reconsidering it for publication in 'a few months.'”
Predictably, the “few months” have turned into two years, and the Times has yet to run Geller's ad — while it continues to roll with the FFRF's ongoing paid anti-Catholic diatribe.
Volokh noted that the Times' response to Geller's submission is proof of one of the points Geller had earlier made: “Almost no Catholics are likely to respond violently even to harsh criticism of the Catholic Church — but enough Muslims are likely to respond violently to harsh criticism of Islam (whether the response is against the critic or against others) that the Times itself views such criticism as unsafe. There are plenty of peace-loving Muslims, but unfortunately there are also enough extremist Muslim thugs to affect what the Times is willing to publish.”