NRLC’s Doug Johnson smacks down NCReporter in Catholycs United press call

It’s bench-clearing time!

Fake Catholyc group Catholics United hosted a conference call this morning about the SBA List hearing in Ohio. In their press release, they misstate in the first line that the Ohio commission ruled that SBA List made false claims in their billboards. In fact, in a narrow 2-1 ruling, the commission only found there is enough merit to the case to have a full hearing later. (Perhaps someone should sue Catholycs United for libel?)

The release boasts that Catholycs United is set to unveil a letter “signed by 34 religious and lay leaders throughout Erie County, including at least 13 Catholic nuns, a priest, several business owners and other leaders” supporting their position on the issue. … but did you catch that? A priest! They found a whole priest to support them! So much for Catholics United claims that parishes should stay out of politics (they might, after all, mention the importance of voting pro-life).

Sr. Marlene Bertke, OSB Benedictine Sisters of Erie and David Robinson, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA joined Catholycs United executive director Chris Korzen in hosting the call. Pax Christi and Catholics United have shared staff in the past.

Things got interesting towards the end of the call. As reported by the Washington Independent, Doug Johnson, National Right to Life’s legislative director who provided a sworn affidavit in SBA List’s defense, attended Catholycs United’s call and kept his silence until the very end, when he jumped in and started lobbing truth-grenades:

“Are you familiar with the 23-page sworn affidavit where we enumerate section by section the parts of the [health care reform] bill that allow federal funding of abortion? It’s online and available to anyone who wants to look at it.”

“Do you believe that I was lying when I signed the NRLC’s sworn affidavit to the Ohio Elections Commission?” Johnson later pressed.

Then things got even better:

At this point, a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter admonished Johnson for crashing the call and suggested he host his own call at a later juncture, saying Johnson “came with an agenda and not a question.” … “I write for the National Right to Life News with a readership of over 300,000. What’s your readership?” Johnson shot back at the reporter.


To give you an idea about just how deluded Catholycs United and their side is over this issue, David Robinson, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, made the outrageous claim that “every independent review says it (the health care law) does not expand abortion.” As Tom McClusky points out, Robinson’s claim is demonstrably false. I’m sure that the various folks who have been so energetically fact-checking me will join me in condemning Robinson’s irrational and false claim.

Papists, the other side is getting desperate. Let’s redouble our efforts and continue to pray and act so that citizens are not misled going into this critical election about what is really at stake.

And good on Doug Johnson. I’ll look forward to a clarification from NC Reporter as to their readership.



  • Bruce

    Fred, you’re dillusional if you think that ignoring life is a narrow point of view. I ask, again, if you’re not alive, what else matters? Certainly not the environment or the economy, because you’re not there to experience them. Ending abortion is a no-brainer, and the reason why it should be the ONLY topic covered is precisely because it should not HAVE to be covered. Every republican, democrat, even human being needs to get this right LONG BEFORE moving on to other, LESS IMPORTANT topics. Give me one issue, just one, that is more important than life itself. The environment? If we’re being killed in the safest place in the world for a human to be, who cares what the rest of the world is like? If we can’t survive there, we can’t survive anywhere. The economy? If we’re killed in the womb, we will never have any concept of economics. Such views are the height of folly…so extremely selfish and foolish that they practically BEG ridicule if they weren’t so dangerous. “Abortion, abortion, abortion” Such language on your part shows how ignorant of the subject you are. Take a look, if you’re not a pants-wetting coward, at pictures of abortion. TAKE A GOOD LOOK, FRED. Is the environment or the economy more important than stopping that slaughter? If you think so, you need your head examined.

  • Fred Barry

    You sound like a person who would do more harm to the pro life stance than help. You are exactly why people turn away from talking with people about pro life issues. To suggest that I dont care about life, is just as nearsighted as you suggest that I am.

    Anthony Keiser,
    I am glad to see some fellow Cathlics at least care about fracking. For the most part this is an unknown problem that is now befalling on our citizens. We have zero legs to stand on, if you live in a community where your water supply is being used for this. The problem is Anthony, big oil and gas is so large that they donate to both sides of the aisle and believe me, all the politicians put their hands out. You may have a point, we may have to look elsehwere. The problem is, there is no where else to look. It’s up to us. It would be nice to see people of faith look to other problems that are coming up in our world and join together to combat those things as well. I really don’t care about who said what about the healthcare bill. How can I worry about that, when I may not even have water that is drinkable in a few more weeks?

    • Bruce

      So, you’ll have drinkable water with no one to drink it? Sorry, Fred, one has to first get the abortion issue correct before all other matters receive attention. You should be angry that your candidates flunk life, not at the Church for defending it. And if you choose to flunk life as well, be aware there are consequences.

      • Fred Barry

        Your logic is failed. To seriously live in the world and be alive as you are, and see the entire world through such a narrow lense, goes to show what a sad state the pro life movement is in. You are the exact reason why people tune out and turn off. Yes life matters. Yes abortion is wrong, and we should work to eliminate it. However, if that means that nothing else matters and the entire focus of our lives should be to this single issue?– Sorry Charlie, but I think you are a little too simple for my tastes. One doesnt have to first do anything, to consider many facets of our life. Here is another thing to consider there Bruce. Look at the two bishops from the U.S. that the Pope appointed to Cardinal. That alone should speak to the fact that there are two sides to everything. Again, not to confuse your one track mind- I am not saying that abortion is right. Of course anytime entering into a talk with an extremist, you always have to go overboard trying to explain yourself, because it all comes back to abortion for the one track minds of the pro life movement. Nothing else matters folks! It’s all abortions, abortions, abortions. If you think of anything else you are derided, because you are off topic. What a disgusting waste of thought on my part. I thought maybe people of good will could come together on all facets of life. Once agian, you prove my point for me Bruce.

  • Anthony Keiser

    I understand your concern about natural gas drilling. It scares the heck out of me, especially when folks can light water, as in the-stuff-that’s-used-to-extinguish-the-following, on fire. I do see common ground here. Water is te source of life. You need water for life. One can be both pro-life and opposed to natural gas drilling. To say that it is only Republicans who are pro-gas, though, is not exactly accurate. The congressman who made a bit of a fool of himself in the movie, “Gasland,” calling all of the fracking horror stories, “lies,” is a die-hard Democrat from Oklahoma.
    I would be in favor of a candidate who is both anti-poisoning the water supply, and against abortion. Maybe we have to look elsewhere than two parties to find that candidate.

  • Fred Barry

    Catholics must seriously be the dumbest people on earth. Do you honestly think that people are only going to vote on the red herring issues that you try and create? Did you and your cronies ever consider that there are other issues out there that citizens tend to vote on? I will not vote for the Republican candidates in my state, because they are aligned with the gas and oil lobbyists in our country. My state is being decended upon by the natural gas industy where there is so much money at stake that they are now drilling and fracking right inside our water supplies. So my choice is do we get clean water, or do we get contaminated water where in a few years down the line, my children end up with cancer? That is the choice! So would I ever vote for a Repbulican who doesnt even believe in climate change? Who feels that cheaper energy trumps human life? You Catholics claim to be all about life issues, but the only thing you ever consider to be a life issue is abortion. Try looking outside of that narrow box for once. Maybe you would wake up to other area’s that pertain to life! If you think fracking our water supplies isnt going to be first and foremost on my mind, you are sadly mistaken.

    • Bruce

      If you’re not alive, it doesn’t matter how clean the water is. The environment, economy, and all other issues do not matter if you are dead. First, you have be alive, which means someone else should not be allowed to kill you (whether you are in your mother’s womb, at school, at your desk, or watching TV at a bar). If people are allowed to live, then they can care about the topics you speak of. Republicans and Democrats who support your issues, but also support killing you, are not really interested in you or your issues. Its that simple, Fred. If your life is threatened, and it is for millions of humans everyday, the environment and the economy do not amount to anything.

    • Bruce

      I’ll add that your line of reasoning here, Fred, is about as illogical as arguing what color to paint a house that is on fire. Are you familiar with the term, “re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”? The trouble is, your narcissistic and myopic views on what issues are important is considered smart among other narcissists who have absolutely zero interest in anything other than themselves and their financial interests (notice how the environment was not on that list…and with good reason, because they don’t care about that either). What you have basically declared here, Fred, is that you do not care if your wife, children, and grandchildren are dead or alive. You actually are not even really concerned if your heart stops beating in three minutes either. All you care about is your pocketbook, which will sit in your pants whether you’re breathing or not. It is the height of folly, no different than how a male praying mantis continues to copulate with a female after his head has been bitten off. Such actions are silly, because they do not matter. Kind of like your thoughts here.

    • KCHawk


      To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what mortal sin is.”

      Abortion is mortal sin, and if you want to consider it a “red herring”, you sorely miss the point of voting with an informed conscience. Certainly, pollution is also a moral issue, and one which should be taken into consideration when voting, but a pro-envrionment and pro-choice stance are not moral equivalents.

      As a side note, if you want to have a decent intellectual debate with people starting off by calling them the “dumbest people on earth” might not be the best approach.

      Dominus Vobiscum


  • Diane at Te Deum

    “Catholycs” … I like that. It’s just not fitting to use the name Catholic for such things.

  • Douglas Johnson

    The National Catholic Reporter “reporter” in question was essayist Michael Sean Winters, who promptly posted an essay in which he criticized me for speaking up on the call. His essay is here:

    I promptly submitted a comment to the blog, but it has not yet appeared (“held for review by a moderator,” I think it said), and I won’t be surprised if it never appears. I’ve pasted it in below for those interested.

    Douglas Johnson
    National Right to Life Committee


    Fortunately, the entire Catholics United call was legally recorded by the people who organized the call. I believe that any review of the recording will confirm that Mr. Winters’ account above is inaccurate in several particulars. If Mr. Winters believes my notes are in error on any point, I invite him to join me in challenging the Catholics United organizers to release the complete, unedited recording of the call.

    First, I did not “interrupt” the conference call. I listened quietly throughout the call — for example, while Chris Korzen of Catholics United listed the organization with which I am associated, National Right to Life, as among the organizations he said were spreading lies about the abortion-related aspects of the health care law. I listened to Mr. Winters himself raise politely argumentative questions about the free-speech implications of Congressman Driehaus’s criminal complaint, along the lines that he has further articulated in the essay here. In fact, I waited until every reporter had exhausted his or her questions, and a request by Mr. Korzen for further questions was met by silence. At that point, I did indeed ask Mr. Korzen a question. My question was whether he had read the 23-page affidavit, sworn to under penalty of perjury, that I filed at the Ohio Elections Commission in defense of the truthfulness of the Susan B. Anthony List billboards (which said that Congressman Driehaus voted for taxpayer-funded abortion), or any of the 16 supporting documents filed with the affidavit, which included documents issued by such diverse sources as the Office of General Counsel of the USCCB, the Congressional Research Service, and Mr. Korzen indicated that he had not read the affidavit. I subsequently asked Mr. Korzen a second question as well, which was whether he believed I was lying when I swore to the truthfulness of the 23-page affidavit. He evaded this question.

    I think that’s about the point when the real interruption began — it was Mr. Winters, jumping in to object that I had no business raising such points on a call for the news media, because I had an “agenda.” Apparently Mr. Winters thought I was scoring too many points and/or was assuming some prerogative reserved for special persons such as himself. I have a different perspective. Mr. Winters writes for a newspaper with a circulation of 45,000. His writing reflects advocacy on any number of matters. In fact, he hung up from the conference call and wrote the advocacy piece above, as is his right. I write every month for the National Right to Life News, which has a circulation of 360,000 (eight times larger). I, too, am an advocate. I strive to be a truthful advocate– as does Mr. Winters, I am sure.

    The notion that it is all right for Mr. Winters to raise challenging questions in such a call and then go write about them, because he is the “press,” but “very wrong” for me to do so, is pretentious and untenable.

    In any event, anyone who is sincerely interested in understanding examples of how the health care bill enacted authorities for abortion subsidies should examine our sworn affidavit and its supporting documents, which are downloadable here:

    You might want to also check out the text of H. Con. Res. 254, a proposal introduced by Congressman Stupak on March 19, 2010, to amend the then-pending health care bill to remove certain pro-abortion language inserted in the Senate and to insert a blanket prohibition on federal funding of abortion under any portion of the 1,000-page law. You will find printed on the first page of this resolution/amendment, as original cosponsors, the names of Congressman Steve Driehaus and Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkamper, among others. Regrettably, Speaker Pelosi would not permit a vote on this resolution/amendment. Regrettably, Driehaus, Dahlkamper, and a small number of others then caved in and voted for the bill anyway. The bill as enacted, which is the law today, still contained the offensive language that they had proposed to strike, and it did not contain the prohibition on federal funding of abortion that they had proposed to insert when they introduced H. Con. Res. 254. You can read the resolution for yourself here:

    This is just one more evidence that our analysis of the legislation has been truthful and consistent. There are some other people who are trying to rewrite history, and even to gag anyone who tries to educate the public about the true history.

    Regarding the free-speech problems with the Ohio law, Mr. Winters’s position is closer to my own. The Ohio affiliate of the ACLU has also filed a brief in the federal court in Cincinnati, urging invalidation under the First Amendment of the state-law provisions that Driehaus is using to persecute his political critics, which the ACLU compared to the notorious Sedition Acts. You can read the ACLU brief here:

    Douglas Johnson
    Legislative Director
    National Right to Life Committee
    Washington, D.C.
    legfederal //at// a,o,l,dot,com



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