AUDIENCE MEMBER: Earlier tonight, you were talking about Nixon and the Southern Strategy and bigotry and things like that you and you said, quote, “If you’re really anti-gay, you become a Catholic now.” [Audience laughs.] I was wondering if you were saying that bigots become Catholic now and if you wanted to expand or apologize for that? [Audience laughs.]
MATTHEWS: I think there are people who have chosen to convert to the Catholic faith because they don’t like the liberal positions taken by their sectarian groups. That’s a fact. So, you can write that down. No, you can write that down.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: So, you’re saying Catholicism is drawing bigots? Is that what you’re saying?
MATTHEWS: I’m saying that some people who are bigoted against gay people have changed religions. Yes. You got it right.
I guess this kind of rhetoric is acceptable at MSNBC. I can't help thinking that some guy got fired from ESPN for what was either a casual joking slur or else a pure accident in referring to the Knicks point guard, Jeremy Lin's Chinese-Taiwanese heritage. And I can't help thinking that a similar sentence about Muslims would elicit a firestorm of protest (can you imagine Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann's reaction if Charles Krauthammer, for instance, uttered a sentence like "If you're really anti-semitic now, you become a Muslim").
But, once again, I guess it's OK to denigrate Catholics.