Catholic League To Boycott The Beer That Boycotted St Paddy's

In Depth

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, is claiming that Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams opposed free speech by pulling out of the Saint Patrick’s Day parades in Boston and New York. Now he and his organisation are calling for a boycott of the brewers.

You might remember Mr. Donohue, because we’ve covered his ass-backwards logic before on ROYGBIV. Well, he’s very much at it again in the press release he wrote about the proposed beer boycott. In it he says that rather than the parades being against diversity, the pull out by these major brewers represents opposition to the diversity inherent in Catholic traditions:

None of these companies believe in diversity. No gay person has ever been barred from marching in any St. Patrick’s Day parade, anymore than the parade bans pro-life Catholics or vegetarian Catholics; they simply cannot march under their own banner. The parade has one cause: honoring St. Patrick. Those who disagree do not have to march—that’s what diversity is all about.

…Okay, maybe, maybe I can see a comparison between LGBT+ Catholics and pro-choice Catholics. But pro-life? And that second group? Since when has Rome had a problem with vegetarians?! Make up your mind about if you’re talking about people you like or people you think will burn in hell.

I must have missed that day at Holy Cross Catholic School. Maybe I was out with measles or something on the day that was discussed? Well, if I missed “Jesus Hates Vegetarians” day, Bill, you must have missed the day where they explained the meaning of diversity. Because to quote a very popular phrase on the internet these days, “you keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means.” That’s a good movie, by the way, you should watch it.

In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that the First Amendment guarantees the right of private parade organizers to determine its own rules for marching. It is this liberty that the makers of Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams want to squash.

Another lesson you must have missed is the civics class where the concept of “free speech” was discussed in the US system, because you’re not using that phrase correctly either. Sure, parade organisers are free to decide who they can include or not and what rights they have. These brewers are then free to call you bigots and let you find your own damn beverage service at the last minute. That’s the flip-side of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Everyone gets to use it, including brewers!

The parade is quintessentially Catholic, beginning with a Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is this Catholic element that angers those who are engaged in a bullying campaign against the St. Patrick’s Day parades. The bullies also have nothing but contempt for the constitutional rights of Irish Catholics.

Okay, now, Bill? Stop. Seriously. I’m Irish Catholic. I was born into an Irish Catholic family. I take my heritage seriously. I was baptised as a baby, went to Catholic school for most of my education, had my first communion in the third grade (and while I’d rather have had one of those nice dresses, I gotta say, I looked pretty spiffy in that suit and tie), and was confirmed by my own choice and without any undue influence at 20 years old. I was the only Catholic-born in my confirmation class—every other person was a convert.

I’m also a pro-choice lesbian trans woman. And how dare you try to claim that a desire to see our traditions, our heritage, and our faith recognise all aspects of my identity means my allies (corporate or otherwise) and I are bullying you? My confirmation class priest, Father Steve, would be very disappointed in you, Bill. Very disappointed indeed.

I have had my last Guinness and Sam Adams.

I wish I could say the same for your diatribes, but alas, I am sure ROYGBIV will have many opportunities in the future to cover your whack-a-doodle interpretation of our shared background. In any case, damn, that was a mighty tasty Guinness I had on St Paddy’s, it tasted like equality. Sláinte!

Image via AP Images.

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