Are Bill Maher's Catholic Child Abuse Jokes 'Topical'?

On his HBO show that aired over the last week, Bill Maher joked that last Friday, "President Bush spoke at a Catholic prayer breakfast, and you could tell this was a Catholic prayer breakfast because [Maher laughs] it was in the morning and he said 'I'm dying for a little joe' and they brought him an altar boy." The crowd laughed and applauded, and Maher said, "See, I'm not afraid!"

Aside from the fact there are craven bishops who still deserve this joke, isn't this show supposed to be "topical"? Isn't this a little like cracking jokes about that wacky Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle?

A week after we heard endless lectures about how hard-working ethical heroes like the Rutgers women in no way deserve the humor Don Imus dished out, can't we also suggest that hard-working ethical heroes like the nation's Catholic priests in no way deserve Maher's line of "ho" humor?

But for Maher, this isn't about humor. It's personal. It's about his hatred of religion, a hatred so raw that when he went on ABC's The View the other day with his usual rant that religion is "childish destructive nonsense," and Joy Behar lamely suggested maybe he shouldn't be harsh on old ladies who go to the church to light a candle, he replied, "They are certainly better than people who fly planes into buildings, yes. But they are enablers for some thing that is worldwide and winds up killing more people, distracting us from more good works."

As for good works, I can only suggest a new motto: "Annoy Bill Maher. Pray for him."

PS: At the end of this show, in a "New Rules" segment, Maher joked over a picture of Keith Richards, who joked he snorted his father's ashes with cocaine: "New rule. Snorting your father is not crazy. Eating your father, that's crazy." Maher showed a picture of a priest offering a woman the Holy Eucharist. Earth to Maher: Catholics teach the Eucharist is the body of Christ -- the son -- not the Father.

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