What is this, open season on the Catholic Church? The Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire need to cool off. I’ve been watching this situation get worse day by day:
Leading conservative leaders began to step in Wednesday to try and quell the simmering controversy over House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt’s attack against Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack as a “pedophile pimp.”
While Bettencourt has apologized for his comments and plans to meet privately with McCormack today, other GOP lawmakers have picked up the assault. Fremont Republican Rep. Timothy Comerford said McCormack is a “corrupt scumbag in my book,” in comments he posted online at the New Hampshire Union Leader website.
Meanwhile, Derry Republican Rep. Andrew Manuse said he would consider seeking legislation to strip the Catholic Church in New Hampshire of its tax-exempt status and accused McCormack of breaking the law by speaking out against the House budget last week.
Manuse backed off later, saying he has no plans to seek such legislation and said his comments were “completely overblown.” (Nashua Telegraph)
“Completely overblown”? Here’s exactly what Rep. Manuse emailed to Bill Donohue:
“I am now considering a bill to remove the Church’s tax exempt status in New Hampshire, for you have clearly shown that you no longer want it.”
There’s no room for confusion here.
Behaving immaturely in public is irresponsible enough, but threatening the Church’s tax status (i.e., livelihood) is even worse … especially when the threat comes from lawmakers once they get upset that people are calling them out for their anti-Catholic rants.
In other words, how is it that Rep. Manuse is fine with punishing the entire Catholic Church in New Hampshire over his personal dislike for the Archbishop there? That’s why I feel free to classify this as anti-catholic behavior, since evidently Rep. Manuse sees fit to threaten all Catholics in the state, making this more than a personal (immature) dust-up.
Rep. Bettencourt is going to visit the Archbishop (to apologize further, I presume). Reps Manuse, Comerford and Lynne Ober (that I know of) should hitch a ride with him.