Transcript of the remarks of
Catholic League President William Donahue
at Justice Sunday II, August 14, 2005
Announcer: Please welcome the President of the Catholic League, Bill Donahue.
Thank you, Thank you. Thank you so much. It’s great to be here amongst friends. You know, I know a lot of people in the media are wondering why are Catholics and evangelicals getting together, I got news for you: Get used to it, alright! (applause)
We’re here because we’re concerned about the culture. The heart and soul of any culture has always been religion, but in our society over the last thirty - forty years, it seems that the courts are trying to take the heart and soul of our culture. The courts are making the decisions for us. It’s not the legislative branches. And look at the decisions that they’re making. They’re making it up out of whole cloth.
They come up with this idea in 1965 of a constitutional right to privacy. And then in 1973 they come up with the idea that somehow its okay to kill the kids, that this is somehow reproductive rights. This is a man-made kind of situation, people. There’s nothing in the Constitution which would allow anyone to argue that you can in fact abort a child. That is simply made up by the judges. (applause)
And, equal protection before the laws was written in 1868 so you couldn’t have one law for whites and one law for blacks. How did they go from that to the idea that two guys can get married? How do you figure that one out?
Then you get the other idea of eminent domain. We understand that. The government takes the right of property to make a highway, not to make some rich developer richer. And this is what the judges have been doing and it has nothing to do with the reality that you and I know.
And let me tell you something, I think, you know, Judge Roberts – good man, that’s fine. Personally, I’ve had it with these people who, all they want to do is tinker with the courts. I think we need a constitutional amendment which says, unless the decision by the Supreme Court is unanimous, nine to nothing, you cannot overturn an act of congress. That’s what we need, we need to go beyond Roberts. (applause)
That idea by the way is not new. That idea was by Chief Justice John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. It was seconded by Sydney Hook, the Marxist, former Marxist professor whom I studied under at New York University.
Look, Thomas Jefferson certainly knew that we had to have co-equals in the branches. Thomas Jefferson understood even then that the judges were making up their authority independent of what the Constitution granted. So we can’t have this. We have to certainly respect the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court is supposed to be a co-equal. You don’t like it when judges usurp their authority, I wouldn’t like it either. I don’t want it with the executive branch, I don’t want it with the legislative branch, and it seems to me we’ve got to do something about this.
Now when you mention structural change, the Left says “well, wait a minute, that’s really a major change.” You know, they’re the ones always saying to us, the conservatives, “you have a hard time with change.” They’re the ones that have a hard time with change! But you know what? We need to send in counselors for them, to deal with change. (laughter)
No, we won’t send in any priests or ministers or rabbis because we respect the fact that they don’t believe in anything. We’re going to send them grief counselors. Right. So, just like they do in the schools. And the grief counselors will, in fact, probably, hold their hands because that’s what they do for a living.
You see, because we respect that fact that they don’t believe in anything. They believe in what I call the King Kong theory of creation: you know all of a sudden one day there were a bunch of apes up in a tree and then - kerplunk – they fell down, lost most of their hair and started walking around, that was Adam and Eve. If they want to believe that, that’s okay. Alright? So we have to respect that, that’s where these people are coming from.
Now I’m telling you, I’ve gotten this over the radio shows in the last couple of weeks. Remember, I’m in New York City, I’m not down south. And I’ve been hit up with the same question over and over and over again: "Why are you going to be with the evangelicals"? And I said “what is wrong with evangelicals?” What have they ever done to me? What are you talking about? And you know, they talk about you people, they demonize you people in a way that, that if you did it about any other segment of the population they’d call you a bigot. Well, when somebody demonizes you, they are a bigot. (applause)
And let’s see, who are the people going after John Roberts? It’s not evangelicals, I know who they are. Here’s one guy who said this a week ago on “Meet the Press” – this is a proposed question, this guy said that he hopes the Senators ask these questions of John Roberts. Here’s one: “Are you going to say that because the pope says this, or the church says that, you will do it no matter what?” Who said that? Mario Cuomo! He’s one of MINE, he’s a Catholic and he’s the one saying this. Right?
Here’s another guy: “If Roberts is confirmed, there will be quite a block of Catholics on the court. Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas are strong in the faith. Is it kosher to mention these things?” Well, it is if you’re Christopher Hitchens, that atheist, anti-Catholic bigot. Of course he would mention it. That’s where it's coming from.
And how about Nina Totenberg out of National Public Radio. This is a great one, listen to this one people, I couldn’t even make this up: “Don’t forget, his wife was an officer, a high officer, in a pro-life organization. He’s got adopted children, and I mean he’s a conservative Catholic.” So this is what you’ve got here people. The people who want to raise the bar so high that we can’t jump over it, they’re not coming from the evangelical ranks, I know that. We’re on the same side. It’s coming from these people who are on the Left, many of them are secularists, some of them are maybe people of faith, I’m not going to question that. All I’m simply saying is that I don’t have anything in common with them, I have something in common with you. No, those are the people who are my family. (applause)
Yeah, the Left is gettin' nervous, you know why? I got news for them. Remember that song by Bob Dylan that goes like this - “the times they are a changing?” They are changing, and the vector of change is moving our way, it’s not going their way any longer.
Let me give you an example here of what I’m talking about. Think of it [as a] metaphor – the culture is like several roads and that we’re all on a big bus. Well we know who’s been driving the bus – it hasn’t been us. Matter of fact, the Left who’s been driving the bus, they’re so sweet they allow us to sit in the back of the bus, that’s how tolerant they are. Right? Now they’ve been driving this bus down the wrong road for a long time. Now I’m saying to you people it’s time that we move to the front of the bus and that we took command of the wheel. That’s what I want to see. (applause)
I’m tired of being told that somehow if you have a religious informed conscience, that somehow you’re a second class citizen, you know, leave the driving to these guys. We’ve seen what they’ve done and as far as I’m concerned, if we’re going to make some progress in the country we're goin' to have to discover what our roots are. We’re not imposing any kind of a strict construction idea where everybody has to go off to church on Sunday. I mean they make it sound like as if we’re the theocrats. All we are are decent people who simply say this: that religion is a focal point in our lives. Ninety-four percent of the American people believe in God, 85% in this country are Christians. It’s not a matter of shoving our ideas down somebody’s throat. It’s a matter of us saying that we want to stand up and we want to be counted and we’re tired of being second class citizens to these people and we’re not going to take it any longer.