Anti-Catholicism still thrives at the Los Angeles Times, even though readers of the paper continue to call them on it. Last week, the Times published a smarmy op-ed by "humor" writer Barry Gottlieb ("That 'thou shalt not' list just got longer," 3/17/08). In addition to propagating the false story that the Vatican had composed a list of "new sins" (it didn't), Gottlieb mocked Catholic belief, ridiculed the sacraments, and derided the Church. In other words, it was just another episode of Catholic bashing at the Times.
Today (Thu. 3/20/08) - to its credit - the Times published three letters to the editor from readers who objected to the column's blatant bigotry. (I couldn't help but embolden some of the right-on points.)
This screed [Gottlieb's piece] insulting the Catholic religion is inexcusable. To publish this in a daily paper is an insult to every Catholic reader.
I dare Barry Gottlieb to write in this vein about the Muslim religion. He would be apologizing forever, and the Muslims would put a price on his head.
RAYMOND G. BOYD
I have a great idea for an Op-Ed article satirizing Judaism, making puerile fun of its history, traditions, beliefs and ceremonies. I think it's perfect for your editorial pages. What's that? You would never publish such a patently anti-Semitic screed? You would consider it unworthy of a major daily newspaper?
Then why did you give Gottlieb the space to make exactly such an attack on Roman Catholicism?
If an article about the Anti-Defamation League, or the merits of the Israeli wall, contained a tenth of the smart-alecky vitriol of Gottlieb's, it would be decried as anti-Semitic.
MARIA ELENA DE LAS CARRERAS
Bravo, readers. But this entire episode begs the question: Why was Gottlieb's article published in the first place?
This is not the first time readers have objected to such blatant anti-Catholicism at the Times (see "Reader Nails LAT Columnist for 'Ignorance,' 'Naiveté,' and 'Anti-Catholicism'" (NB, 8/13/06)).
The words of Distinguished Penn State Professor Philip Jenkins continue to be ring loud and true: Catholic bashing is "America's last acceptable prejudice."