Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Catholic's Defence Of Don Collins


"Gee, with talk like that about Catholics, John -- includind (sic) the stuff about how some of his best NARAL friends are Catholics -- you'd think that Don Collins was talking about...Jews!"
David Niven once remarked that Errol Flynn was the most completely reliable person he had ever known - it didn't matter who you were, he always let you down.
As can unfortunately be seen, 'The Corner's' resident oaf is no Errol Flynn; however, Podhoretz shares Flynn's quality of dependable undependability - Podson can always be relied upon to pick upon the wrong targets for his aggressive innuendos and blundering smears; and when forced to backtrack, he makes a reversing elephant look balletic.
Podhoretz's target this time has been my friend Donald A. Collins.
Don was, like myself, a regular contributor to the late 'Washington Dispatch', before its editor Shane Cory found better things to do; and I cannot think of any other writer who has produced more words on the subject of the granting of drivers' licenses to illegal aliens than Don. It's a great pity that most of it is no longer accessible, because the amount of work he put in to addressing that injustice against American citizens was heroic.
Don also produced one of the most powerful antiwar columns that TWD ever published. It centred on the question of casualties, and narrated in unflinching detail precisely what metal does to flesh.
We enjoyed a fairy regular e-mail correspondence, whch has since become more intermittent; and the last time I heard from him, he'd just enjoyed his first Christmas in Florida.
Since TWD tanked, Don has contributed to both the Pittsburgh-Tribune and VDare; and it's for a PL column entitled 'Catholic bishops cross church-state line' that Don has had the toilet end of Podhoretz's tongue.
Don has not the slightest hesitation in declaring that he's a Democrat, and he's also a board member of FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), which John J. Miller describes as 'coming dangerously close to trafficking in anti-Catholic bigotry'.
If Miller thinks Don's column is anti-Catholic bigotry, then he's never been through Bridgeton on the 12th of July.
That's real, naked, in-your-face anti-Catholic bigotry, not the anodyne kind imagined by elite bloggers.
So what heinous crime has Don committed? In a nutshell, I still can't work it out.
Don appears to hold pro-choice beliefs which I don't share. He refers to Frances Kissling, of 'Catholics For A Free Choice', as being 'raised Catholic', which is correct, because if she still considers Catholic her actual status is likely to be that of excommunicant. Don's use of the phrase 'Rome and these bishops' makes one flinch slightly, but that's for reasons of native culture; coming from the most reformed country in Europe, it reads like something out of a sermon by John Knox when I am sure Don's intentions are entirely different to The Don's.
In their vapours, neither Miller nor Podhoretz have realised that the focus of Don's column isn't abortion - it's immigration.
As a very prominent advocate for immigration reform, Don notes that America's Catholic hierarchy aren't reliable on immigration. They aren't. That's not a slur, that's a statement of fact.
He notes that five male US Supreme Court justices are now Catholic - and while noting the importance of subjective belief in forming opinion, he doesn't suggest anywhere that the bishops will be working them from the back.
He then notes that after the passage of 'Roe-v-Wade', the hierarchy set out the process of 'infiltrating' and 'manipulating' the political process. (Miller really loved that bit). What Don accused them of was setting out to subvert the separation of church and state, and quotes Timothy Byrnes to the effect that,
"McHugh, who actually drafted the plan, told me that the NCCB's (50-member) administrative board (which first passed the plan and authorized its presentation to a plenary session for adoption by the conference as a whole) debated this section of the document for 'several hours,' searching for a way to formally distance these politically charged advocacy groups from the tax-exempt church."
"As finally adopted, the (pro-life) Pastoral Plan defined a 'congressional district pro-life group' as 'an agency of citizens operated, controlled and financed by these same citizens' and added that 'it is not an agency of the church, nor is it operated, controlled or financed by the church.'

"Some observers nevertheless pointed out that the actual -- as opposed to the formal -- independence of the lobby groups was belied by the highly detailed list of objectives and guidelines that directly followed this disclaimer."
Don notes that,
"In other words, the bishops themselves recognized that the disclaimer was ridiculous. They created an illegal political action machine and dared anyone to complain. "
One might not agree with his beliefs; but what is bigoted about a citizen of a country which deliberately eschewed having an established church pointing out the efforts of a church's leaders to have a concerted influence on policy? Perhaps illegally?
He then winds up by saying that if their behaviour in the aftermath of 'Roe' set any standard, it indicates that the Church might agitate as heavily against meaningful immigration reform.
May God forgive Don Collins for exercising his right of free speech. Our Lord said 'Render unto Caesar'; he gave no direction to cleave unto Caesar. He gave injunctions that those who are persecuted in the cause of righteouness are blessed; but he gave no specific mandate to the practice of identity politics, nor dispensation from adherence to the campaign finance laws.

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