Idol Chatter

Most fans of “The Colbert Report” know by now that its hilariously truthy host Stephen Colbert moonlights as a good Catholic family man. Last night his Catholic leanings were put to the test by his guest, William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, who made quite an impression.

My curiosity was piqued when Colbert announced the name and affiliation of last night’s guest at the beginning of his show. I wanted to see how the Catholic Colbert would fare sparring with an arch Catholic conservative such as Donohue, known for his media savvy and controversial public statements. Though the Catholic League’s mission is to further “Catholic civil rights” and fighting anti-Catholicism in America, somehow that often translates to a lot of efforts against gay-rights initiatives such as same-sex marriage. And last night, Donohue’s rhetoric didn’t disappoint, as he went on and on about how the one thing that unites conservative Catholics, evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews is the evil, secular left. His commentary was sure to offend just about any group that might be watching, aside from religious conservatives like himself (including liberal women and Jews, gays, and people who are not in support of Bush right now). I searched for the clip on YouTube but so far, no one has posted it (though you can see Donohue go on about the “Jews and Hollywood” if you wish).

The biggest question I was left with following the show: What exactly did Mr. Colbert think of this fellow Catholic? He was rather silent last night and not nearly as hard-hitting with his guest as one might expect. Was he simply overwhelmed by Donohue’s sharply stated views or was he somehow agreeing with what Donohue stands for? I certainly hope not. Listening to Donohue reminded me of the perennial question I am always asking myself: Whether there’s any place for someone like me in a Church with powerful men who offend me like Donohue does. Public figures like Colbert generally give me hope that indeed there is room. But after last night, a girl has to wonder.

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