HBO's Oliver Slams Catholic Church; Likens Pope to 'Breaking Bad' Thug

On Sunday, HBO's John Oliver gave the latest evidence that the last acceptable prejudice is bigotry against Christianity, especially anti-Catholicism. Oliver blasted the Vatican secretary of state's "defeat for humanity" condemnation of Ireland's vote that legalized same-sex marriage: "Okay, settle down a little, Catholic Church. Remember, you're an organization whose victories for humanity include the Crusades, forced adoptions, and running a widely-successful international pedophile exchange program." [video below]

The host later likened Pope Francis to the lead character on the TV show, Breaking Bad, drug kingpin Walter White. Oliver pointed out how the pontiff admitted that he hasn't watched TV in 25 years, and quipped, "I'm just saying, Pope...there are shows that you might have really liked. If nothing else, I think you'd have loved Breaking Bad. That's a show you could really relate to. It's a story about a man gradually losing touch with reality; overseeing a vast criminal enterprise; and yet, so powerful that no one's brave enough to tell he's wearing a very silly hat."

The former Daily Show personality led into his bigoted attack by noting how "the Irish vote was widely celebrated with one depressingly-predictable voice of dissent." After playing a clip from al Jazeera that quoted the Vatican secretary of state's criticism, Oliver continued with his "widely-successful international pedophile exchange program" line. He then made a lighter joke out of the "defeat for humanity" condemnation: "Let's save the defeat for humanity accusation for things that truly deserve it," and spotlighted a TV advertisement for a device that makes food bowls out of bacon.

Moments later, Oliver underlined that "the Vatican's blinkered stance made a little more sense in the context of a seemingly unrelated piece of information that came out this week," and highlighted NBC Nightly News's coverage of Pope Francis's admission about not watching TV. The HBO host touted how "it might have helped if the Pope had been watching TV over the last 25 years. TV shows have done a lot to acclimate people to same-sex relationships." He ended the Pope portion of the segment with his Breaking Bad comparison.

The Catholic League's Bill Donohue slammed Oliver, along with actress Charlize Theron in a Monday press release:

Many celebrities will do anything to show how utterly welcoming they are of men and women who are in rebellion against their own nature—they applaud every time someone gets Jennerized. But when it comes to Catholics, that's a different story. Indeed, they are obliged to be bigoted.

During the Critics' Choice Television Awards on A&E last night, Charlize Theron said of Seth McFarland, "By the age of 9, he was drawing a comic strip for the local paper. One features a character taking Communion and asking, 'Can I have fries with that?' He got an angry letter from the local priest, and he knew the path he would take. He and that priest spent the next three years in a loving monogamous relationship."

After noting Olvier's remarks, Donohue added, "Smearing the Catholic Church—or any other religious institution—is always wrong, and it is particularly despicable when the smears are based on ignorance and lies."

The transcript of the relevant portion of the monologue from Sunday's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver on HBO:

JOHN OLIVER: The Irish vote was widely celebrated with one depressingly-predictable voice of dissent.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (from al Jazeera broadcast): A sharp rejection today of Ireland's historic same-sex marriage vote from the Catholic Church. The Vatican secretary of state called the result a – quote, 'defeat for humanity.'

OLIVER: Okay, settle down a little, Catholic Church. Remember, you're an organization whose victories for humanity include the Crusades, forced adoptions, and running a widely-successful international pedophile exchange program. (audience laughs) So, let's save the defeat for humanity accusation for things that truly deserve it – like this:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANNOUNCER: We're turning bacon upside! Introducing 'Perfect Bacon Bowl'! And try this: a bacon bowl ice cream sundae – salty, sweet, and fun to eat! (audience laughs)

OLIVER: Oh, that is a defeat for humanity! (audience laughs) Because we are destroying civilization one manipulated pork form at a time! (audience laughs)

But the Vatican's blinkered stance made a little more sense in the context of a seemingly unrelated piece of information that came out this week.

KATE SNOW (from NBC Nightly News): One person who definitely is not watching our broadcast tonight: Pope Francis. In fact, he told an Argentinian newspaper that he hasn't watched television in 25 years. He says he simply decided it wasn't for him.

OLIVER: (audience laughs) Oh, I'm sorry, Pope – this isn't for you? (audience laughs) This isn't – actually, that's a good instinct. This show is definitely not for you. (audience laughs) It's why, in the little warning card at the top of every episode, it says 'UP' – 'unsuitable for popes.' (audience laughs)

But – but it is a shame, because it might have helped if the Pope had been watching TV over the last 25 years. TV shows have done a lot to acclimate people to same-sex relationships. There was Will and Grace; there was Ellen; Queer as Folk; SpongeBob SquarePants (audience laughs) Oh – oh, please! They hang out in a pineapple under the sea. Read between the lines. (audience laughs) I'm just saying, Pope – if you'd watched TV, not only would you have learned a lot, but there are shows that you might have really liked. If nothing else, I think you'd have loved Breaking Bad. (audience laughs) That's a show you could really relate to. It's a story about a man gradually losing touch with reality; overseeing a vast criminal enterprise; and yet, so powerful that no one's brave enough to tell he's wearing a very silly hat.

CyberAlerts Culture/Society Labeling Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Religion Anti-Religious Bias Christianity Sexuality Homosexuality Same-sex marriage HBO Catholic Church John Oliver Pope Francis
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