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Mr. Keillor, Get off the

December 29, 2005 |

Mr. Keillor,

Get off the Pope, will you?

He's a civilized, cultured man. He was a university professor for years. He's a skilled classical pianist. He's quiet, almost shy, urbane, decent, and has more class and education and just plain intelligence in his little finger than you'll ever have.

You know, when you think you will get a big guffaw out of taking pot-shots at the Pope or the Catholic Church, you just show yourself to be the typical beetle-browed neanderthal who thinks that all Catholics are stupid, blah, blah blah.

And last week, you called him Pope Clement. Duh. The last Pope Clement died in 1774.

The pope hasn't been carried in a sedan chair in about a century. John Paul II attracted crowds bigger than any crowds in human history for any purpose. When he went somewhere, the planet practically tilted off its axis from the rush of people to be near him. No one in the history of the world has had his influence - and been as truly, personally loved and mourned as he was. And it was all televised. For 26 years. And never once did you see a sedan chair. Some how you missed that. For 26 years.

If you want to know what Pope Benedict really has to say about Christmas, you can find it at the Vatican website. It's nothing about fear - that's your stupid, 'Let's bash Catholics AND Germans' crap.

I am sick to the back teeth with people like you thinking that everything is sacred, no group can be offended, all religions must be tolerated - except the one billion Catholics on the planet, who can be ridiculed anytime you want to.

The good old American anti-Catholic bigotry, the only bigotry left to politically correct liberals. Is it any wonder that Catholics have abandoned the Democratic party in droves? It's full of people like you - who bash Catholics and think you're funny. If being a Democrat would mean being bashed for my religion, and seeing my spiritual father bashed and ridiculed and slandered (he's NOT about 'fear' and the Catholic Church is NOT about 'fear') - why would I have anything to do with that party? Catholics have always been the working-class outsider in the US, and used to always be Democrats. People like you are doing a great job to change that.

I'm Catholic. I'm of German descent, and I'm fed up with it. The Catholics in America are fed up with it. It's not fashionable anymore. Get with it.

And don't come back with the smarmy, 'Just turn off the radio' reply. You try turning off the bigotry and cheap shots. There's no call for it.

Catholics make up one-sixth of the population of the planet. Pope Benedict is the spiritual leader for one-sixth of the population of the planet. Have a little respect for us and for him. Ridicule the Dali Lama; ridicule the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Oh, no, of course not. Ridicule the spiritual leader of one-sixth of the people on the planet - Brilliant! What a concept!

You have a lovely show. Why offend your listeners? Arrogance? Cluelessness? Blind bigotry? What?

C. Fleischman

San Francisco, CA

C.F., yours is just about the best angry letter I've received in more than thirty years of doing the show, and I admire it. It maintains a high level of rage and contempt throughout, and you've got some of your facts straight ---- you're absolutely right about my Pope Clement slip, one of those truly dumb moments that one recognizes about fifteen seconds too late to do anything about - and it's very well written. But you don't know how to stop once you get started. Anger can do this to a person. You get in and you forget where the brakes are. The sedan chair was a little piece of dramatic silliness, as you, in a calm moment, would know. And this is America, pal, where we make fun of just about anything. Norwegians, Germans, Anglos, Unitarians, liberals, Scientologists, Mormons, Buddhists, Episcopalians (why can't Episcopalians play chess? Because they can't tell a bishop from a queen) so if you want everybody to bow their head as you walk by, you've got your work cut out for you. Your sense of persecution is wildly misplaced. If the Democratic party is out of step with the Church, it's because the two are separate and independent, and because the church believes that its teachings on abortion and gays and contraception are more important than its teachings on social justice. Christ said a great deal about the poor, so one would think that's important in Christian theology, but you can make up your own mind about that. If you're outraged at a piece of comedy about the Pope and you accept with equanimity the people in your party cutting Medicaid, then you're a very interesting Christian indeed.

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