We relish a good fight. Not that we look for it: just as firefighters don't make fires so they can put them out, we don't set cultural fires so we can put them out. But once trouble begins, we swing into action, doing what we can to bring about justice.
We are approaching the half-way point of 2018, and so far, so good: we've won some important victories, without any help from others, and we've shared in other victories.Giving to this appeal will ensure that we continue our record of success for the remaining part of the year.
No one on TV has been more cruel, and more persistent in his anti-Catholic rants, than Bill Maher. He ended last year in a flurry of hate-filled commentary, mostly ripping our priests. We started a petition drive demanding that HBO officials intervene. Maher's show did not air between Thanksgiving and mid-January, so we waited to see how he would react once he returned. He picked up right where he left off.
This time I wrote to HBO chief Richard Plepler, whom I know, calling him out for his cowardice in handling this matter. We asked our email subscribers to contact him as well. They did. Since that happened, Maher has pulled back from bashing Catholicism. How long this will last is not known, but we know one thing: he wouldn't have zipped it for months had we not protested. This is our victory, and our victory alone.
The front page of the June edition of Catalyst lists two key victories. We forced a New York State senator to apologize for his anti-Catholic remarks, and we secured religious rights for inmates in a Massachusetts prison. In both cases, we did it without help from any individual or organization.
We also had a role in several victories, sharing the limelight with others. For years, we fought the Obama administration's Health and Human Services mandate that sought to force Catholic non-profit entities to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in their healthcare plans. Through TV, radio, and the Internet, we alerted the public to what was at stake. Now, as a result of recent court rulings, and the efforts of the Trump administration, the mandate has been dealt a severe blow.
We were the most high-profile civil rights organization to work against Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald in his bid to become Chief Justice. We were relentless in our campaign, and were delighted when we won.
We played a role in other battles as well, such as successfully protesting the removal of statues of Columbus from public property. From anti-religious liberty laws in California to obscene radio talk-show hosts in Tennessee, we've made our voice heard. Even when we lose, we give it all we can, making sure our adversaries do not walk away unscathed.
If there is one issue that has absorbed more of our time and effort than all of the others, it is our quest to have a fair-minded person be named as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. When we went to press, no official announcement had been made. However, every indicator suggests we are about to score another victory. The current chairman, who allowed anti-Catholic funding on her watch, is being replaced. We trust the new chairman will meet our expectations.
Without your support, we cannot continue to do our work. So please give to this appeal, if you can, because otherwise the other side is likely to win, and that is not something we can tolerate.