Anchor Andrew Mitchell presented radical homosexual activist Dan Savage, most famous for licking doorknobs in the campaign office of Republican Gary Bauer in an attempt to infect him with the flu, as an expert on the Catholic Church and Catholic issues during her MSNBC program on Wednesday afternoon. She introduced Savage, who writes a graphic sex-advice column called “Savage Love,” as the “editorial director for Seattle’s weekly newspaper, The Stranger...political commentator and social critic.” Mitchell lead into her question about President Obama’s commencement address at the University of Notre Dame by stating that the editor was also “sensitive and very well aware of the cultural fault lines within the Catholic community.” She did not mention the Bauer incident during the segment, nor the fact that Savage is an atheist who thinks the Catholic Church is a “criminal organization.”
Mitchell had Savage on as a guest just before the bottom half of the 1 pm Eastern hour of her Andrea Mitchell Live program. She brought up President Obama’s upcoming commencement addresses at Arizona State University and Notre Dame as a topic, and how in the case of his speech at the Catholic school, “critics are taking issue with the president’s positions on gay rights, abortion rights, and stem cell research.” After giving her introduction of the “editorial director...political commentator and social critic,” Mitchell asked, “Why is Notre Dame, which has long, you know, had this tradition from Theodore Hesburgh on -- especially, you know, during the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, of being a broad tent -- why is the Notre Dame commencement so controversial this time?”
Savage used the typical left-wing talking points about the Notre Dame controversy:
SAVAGE: Because we have a new Democratic president and conservative Catholics are trying to dictate terms to all Catholics. A majority of Catholics agree with Barack Obama on abortion, on stem cell research. More Catholics support gay rights than the population at large, and a majority of Catholics voted for Obama. What you have is -- are conservative American Catholics, who are the minority of American Catholics, claiming the right to dictate to all Catholics who may or may not be honored by a Catholic institution like Notre Dame, and it won't stand. There’s a new poll -- a Pew poll, showing that a majority of Catholics -- two-third, support Obama’s invitation to speak at Notre Dame and to be given an honorary degree.
Actually, the activist is giving his spin with some of these poll results. A March 30, 2009 Gallup poll found that only 40% of Catholics found abortion to be morally acceptable. This number falls to 24% among Catholics who attend Sunday Mass weekly. Savage is correct concerning the stem cell research issue and how a majority of Catholics voted for Obama. In the same poll, 54% find homosexual relations to be morally acceptable. Nothing is mentioned about “gay rights” issues, such as same-sex “marriage.”
Savage also misrepresented the results of the Pew poll, which was released on April 30. Only 50% of Catholics support Notre Dame’s invite of President Obama; 28% are against it, and 22% expressed no opinion about it. These figures contrasts with poll results released by Rasmussen on May 5, which found that 60% of Catholics disagree with Notre Dame’s decision to give the president a honorary degree.
Despite his opposition to the “conservative Catholics are trying to dictate terms to all Catholics,” the editor expressed his extreme disappointment in President Obama for not giving prominence to GLBT issues. Just before this, Mitchell finally mentioned that Savage is an “an activist on a number of issues, and one of your issues is also gay rights.”
MITCHELL: You’ve been an activist on a number of issues, and one of your issues is also gay rights. And there have been many in the gay community -- gay, lesbian and transgender communities that are not altogether happy with the track record so far of this president. How would you score it?
SAVAGE: I give him an ‘F’ on gay rights issues, which is in sharp contrast to his really tremendously hopeful, ‘yes, we can,’ ‘change is coming’ rhetoric during the campaign. He made outsized promises to the gay and lesbian community and made them very publicly and very aggressively. He made them in front of general audiences and African-American audiences, not just gay audiences, and gay audiences, of course, include African-American gays and lesbians. He promised to work to end ‘don’t ask, don't tell,’ to repeal it, to show leadership on repealing ‘don’t ask, don't tell,’ to repeal DOMA, to use the bully pulpit of the White House to support gay couples and gay adoptions, and all sorts of things that he’s just not delivering on, not in his first 100 days, and not making any noises on, which is really -- considering what’s going on in the country out there about gay rights, considering the developments in Iowa and Vermont and New Hampshire and Maine, for the silence from the White House on these issues is really damning and really telling, and gay and lesbian -- his gay and lesbian supporters -- and I count myself among them; I voted for him, I gave him money -- are losing patience and becoming very, very unnerved by his, frankly, cowardice on our issues.
MITCHELL: All right, Dan Savage --
SAVAGE: I wouldn’t give an honorary degree right now myself.
MITCHELL: You wouldn’t yourself? Interesting. Well, thank you very much.
SAVAGE: No, the gay rights movement wouldn’t give him an honorary degree at the moment.