As you may know comedian Bill Maher mentioned something about the Pope being a Nazi on his show two weeks ago. Now there are Catholics miffed over the remark and calls to have Maher fired…again. We talked to friend and guest of Maher’s John Fugelsang to see what he had to say about the matter.
FBLA: John, thanks so much for taking time out to talk to us. We’ve been curious what you’d have to say about this.
JF: I need to declare my biases up front. I was raised Catholic, my mother’s a former nun & my father was a Franciscan brother. I helped teach a catechumenate course at the NYU Catholic center, and I’ve done standup about the church & the bible for years.
I also appeared on “Politically Incorrect” over 20 times – I once debated Jerry Falwell on Bill’s show. I’ve opened for Bill Maher, I did an hour long cable interview special with him last year and he’s been incredibly supportive.
FBLA: What do you think of Bill Maher’s comments about the pope?
JF: Bill Maher’s comments were jokes, and intended as such. Notice how these Catholics aren’t outraged at the pedophilia, nor the coverups – no, they’re upset at a late night comic.
Bill was incorrect to say Benedict “used to be a Nazi.” He was a teenage boy in Germany, and forced to join the Hitler Youth. If you’re a kid in Nazi Germany, you had to join. And you can’t just quit the Hitler youth if you feel like it. It’s not the Texas National Guard.
It’s also not been confirmed that Benedict himself was involved directly in any coverup. But he was named as a defendant in a number of lawsuits – and the White House subsequently intervened, saying that he could not be sued as a “head of state.” – of course, Paula Jones suing Bill Clinton? Still fine.
check this out….
Bill’s joke – “The Catholic Church’s attitude is, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” may have been funny, but it missed the point on the Vatican’s Un-Christian Homophobia. Remember – Benedict and his emissaries have tried to blame the Pedophillia on Gay Priests. That’s nonsense. Every society that keeps statistics has shown that the vast majority of pedophiles are heterosexual males.
There are Gay Priests – plenty of ’em. But they’re not molesting anyone – they’ve got boyfriends.
FBLA: What do you think of the calls to have Bill fired?
JF: It’s a very selective outrage. True followers of Christ should be protesting war, the death penalty, poverty and tax cuts for the wealthy. Not jokes.
I’ll have no problems with calling America a “Christian Nation” – if only we’d act like one.
And most Catholics only agree with a Pope when it suits them. Benedict opposed our involvement in Iraq – but where is the Catholic League’s outrage over our invasion and occupation? Pre-emptive war is an insult to God. But for all too many Catholics, it’s “Forgive us our trespasses as we trespass against those we think might trespass against us.”
Same with the Death Penalty. The pope’s against it, Jesus was against it – but the American Life League people are devoting their energy to destroying an artist’s TV show – in a country devoted to free speech.
And torture? Why wasn’t Benedict talking about that during his visit to the States? Why are these Catholics attacking a comic instead of demanding Benedict speak out on torture?
The American Life League may be correct in saying “If Bill Maher had said these things about Jews, Muslims or African-Americans, he would have been fired that day!” But this psueduo-vicitmized whining reveals the self-pity of a majority that can’t stand criticism over its own sins. Why the hell aren’t these Catholics more angry over child abuse?
The fact is that the Vatican has set itself up as God’s own authority on morality and sexual behaviors for over 2000 years. They’ve condemned things Jesus never mentioned – from same-sex relationships, to masturbation, even abortion – and have assumed an air of moral superiority that they’ve failed to back up. But a comic is the problem?
Bottom Line is, Bill’s got a right to say what he wants, and they have a right to try and get him fired. The misplaced rancor over Bill Maher’s comments reveal a rather backward set of spiritual priorities. With all the atrocities being committed in the world today, these people reveal that they’re not about fighting for what Jesus believed in – they’re about protecting their own little club.
FBLA: Nice. Thanks John. Tell us what you up to these days?
JF: My solo show “All The Wrong Reasons” ran off Broadway last year and was nominated for a Drama League award. I’m writing a screenplay for Inventure films about detainee torture, shooting an improv comedy pilot for BET, hosting a cable talk show, performing standup, appearing in several web series, and writing a book about conservative Christianity. I’m also moving to a new place in Hollywood, and you guys should come over.
FBLA: See, someone knows how to treat bloggers.