Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Steve Malzberg Show | Bill Donohue | Patricks | parade | Catholics

Bill Donohue Won't March for St. Pat's, Blames Fellow Catholics

By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 06:28 PM

For the first time ever, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights will not march in Tuesday's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City — and Bill Donohue blames his fellow Irish Catholics for his absence.

"My own people, Irish Catholics, did me in — and I'm walking away from them," Donohue said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"I am boycotting the parade, and I've had it for all time."

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Last year, Donohue severed his group's 20-year-old association with the parade after organizers took the unprecedented step of allowing a gay group to march under its own banner.

The decision roiled Donohue in light of the parade committee's later denying his request for an anti-abortion group to march with its own signs.

The parade, established in 1762, had banned symbols thought to politicize the march, which proceeds up Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and past St. Patrick's Cathedral.

"I wish everybody who marches in the St. Patrick's Day Parade Godspeed. I am an American citizen, I'm also an Irish citizen. I love Irish Catholics, but there's an attempt by people like Niall O'Dowd from Irish Central to turn this into a secular parade," Donohue said, referring to the founder of the Irish news website.

"They don't want it to be a Catholic celebration, they want it to be an ethnic celebration. I want it to be a Catholic and an ethnic."

Donohue — author of "The Catholic Advantage: Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful," published by Image — said that for the past two decades he was told by parade organizers that neither gays nor pro-lifers could march as their own units.

"[They said] if you're pro-life or you're gay and you want to march, you blend in like everybody else," he said, adding that when the decision was made to allow one gay group to march, organizers asked for his support.

"I said, provided that you have a pro-life group; they said that'll happen. Then I was lied to," Donohue said.

The gay group being allowed to march this year represents employees from NBCUniversal, the parent of WNBC, which broadcasts the parade. The parade's 2015 grand marshal, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York's Roman Catholic Archdiocese, endorsed the addition.

Comcast Corp., which owns NBCUniversal, says its gay employees group is one of the oldest such organizations in corporate America, dating to 1986.

Organizers have also indicated that similar groups may be able to apply in the future to be in the parade, which this year kicks off at 11 a.m. and proceeds uptown from Fifth Avenue and 44th Street, ending on 86th Street.

"Quite frankly, gays have their own parade. Why does anybody who happens to be gay or straight have to have their own banner to march in anybody's, pro-Israel, pro-Irish, Catholic parade?" Donohue said.

"Just blend in like everybody else. I thought that your sexual orientation doesn't matter, so just blend in."

Donohue told host Steve Malzberg he had no plans to back down.

"I'm very happy about the stand I took, and I've been praised from a lot of people that at least somebody's going to draw a line in the sand," he said.

"You're not going to double-cross Bill Donohue."

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For the first time ever, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights will not march in Tuesday's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City — and Bill Donohue blames his fellow Irish Catholics for his absence.
Bill Donohue, Patricks, parade, Catholics
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2015-28-16
Monday, 16 Mar 2015 06:28 PM
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