A Roman Catholic bishop from Illinois compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin during an April 14 homily, setting off a firestorm of controversy and leading one group to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.
“Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama, with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path,” said Bishop Daniel Jenky.
Jenky urged Catholics to vote in November.
“This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings — could easily be shut down.”
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, believes the bishop overstepped his bounds. Lynn, who accuses Jenky of violating Federal law, has filed a complaint against Jenky with the Internal Revenue Service. (Because churches are considered tax-exempt institutions, they are not allowed to conduct political campaigns.)
“Outrageous, offensive and completely over the top” was how Lonnie Nasatir, the regional director of Chicago’s Anti-Defamation League, referred to the bishop’s remarks.
“Clearly, Bishop Jenky needs a history lesson. There are few, if any, parallels in history to the religious intolerance and anti-Semitism fostered in society by Stalin, and especially Hitler, who under his regime perpetuated the open persecution and ultimate genocide of Jews, Catholics and many other minorities,” Nasatir said.