The irony is delicious.
FFRF vigorously protested the White House faith-based offices when first created by President George W. Bush. FFRF never thought Catholic League President Bill Donohue would join its protest.
But, on May 17, Donohue wrote a piece saying that President Biden should “do us all a favor and simply trash this office.”
What caused this startling pronouncement? It was the fact that the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships had the graciousness to meet with FFRF and five other secular organizations. That meeting was set up by the Secular Coalition for America. Donohue apparently learned of it thanks to after-the-fact coverage by the Religious News Service.
“None of them are religion-friendly and some are positively militant in their agenda,” fumed Donohue. “If the Biden administration is going to manipulate the founding purpose of faith-based initiatives by welcoming the advice of militant secularists, it would do us all a favor and simply trash this office. It is obviously a bust.”
In short, according to Donohue, governmental offices that are not bigoted toward nonbelievers must be abolished.
FFRF didn’t just protest Bush’s creation of the faith-based offices. It filed suit. After a district court ruled that FFRF had no “standing” or right to sue over this executive action, FFRF appealed that dismissal to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in its favor.
FFRF’s case was remanded to the district level to be heard on its merits, but the Bush administration appealed FFRF’s win to the Supreme Court.
In a 5-4 decision issued in 2007, Hein v. FFRF, FFRF lost the case on standing — not on the merits, which were not addressed.
All we can say about Donohue’s pronouncement is that religion, not just politics, certainly makes strange bedfellows.