Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book Review: Get your Catholic mad on

Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America, by Bill Donohue (New York: Hachette Book Group, 2009)

When I picked up Secular Sabotage, I expected that Bill Donohue, the former educator who is the pugnacious president of the Catholic League, would load down the pages with innumerable references to the battles he’s fought over many issues in the last two decades, from his study of the ACLU’s political positions in 1988 to the recent attempt by the Connecticut legislature to dictate the structure of the Catholic Church.

In this much, I was actually disappointed. Donohue, both as a writer and as a speaker, is often so darn witty and likeable that, when he does pat himself on the back—and he does so quite often—it’s like a great speaker’s monologue being periodically interrupted by a loon rushing onstage to splutter a few vulgar notes on a cornet. Given the book’s gloomy, apocalyptic subtitle, you would expect that the book would and even should be devoted to the battles that have been lost, not those that have been won (save in the penultimate, or even the antepenultimate, chapter). Yet at times Secular Sabotage reads as though it were a campaign book for a political candidate in danger of losing his office.