Newhart Cancels Show for GLAAD

It seems that the drama involving the A & E Network and the Robertson family is nearly at an end. At any rate A & E gave in to the nearly overwhelming opposition of the show’s fans to their suspension of Phil Robertson and have allowed him to continue on the show. This is a victory, of sorts, for free speech and a stinging defeat for the GLAAD bullies. Unfortunately they will continue their efforts to marginalize anyone who happens to disagree with their views and not everyone has the resources or the will to fight them.

Comedian Bob Newhart was scheduled to give a performance at a conference by Legatus, a Catholic businessman’s organization. GLAAD decided that the group is anti-gay because they happen to support Catholic positions on sexuality and pressured Newhart to cancel the show. Unfortunately, Newhart complied.Here is an account in

Famed comedian Bob Newhart has canceled a headline show at a conference for Catholic business leaders after a homosexual activist group ran a campaign portraying the organizers as “anti-gay.”

After learning of the 84-year-old comedian’s scheduled appearance at the Legatus Summit in Orlando on February 6, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) began urging him last week to back out. Activists also organized a petition at Faithful America that garnered 17,000 signatures.

Legatus, which was begun by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan in 1987 to network Catholic business leaders, is faithful to the Church’s Magisterium and therefore upholds the Church’s teachings on all moral matters including homosexuality.

“It’s unfortunate that Bob Newhart has decided not to perform at Legatus’ annual Summit in February,” Legatus Executive Director John Hunt told “It’s clear from stories in the media that certain organizations have asked him to cancel his appearance.”

Hunt continued, “Despite the rhetoric in these news reports, Legatus is a faith-based organization that proudly holds firm to the teachings of the Catholic Church especially, in this case, to the teachings on human sexuality.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church bases itself on the Bible, calling homosexual sex “acts of grave depravity” and the inclination toward homosexuality “objectively disordered.” At the same time, it says those with same-sex attractions “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

Newhart, a lifelong Catholic, announced the cancellation on his Facebook and Twitter accounts Wednesday. “Upcoming Bob Newhart Tour Date Change — Bob will not be performing at the Legatus Summit in Orlando FL on February 6th, 2014,” the post said.

I can’t say that I am very disappointed in Bob Newhart. As the article states, He is 84 years old and he certainly doesn’t need to be involved in any controversies at his time of life. Also, as a life long performer, it is very likely that his politics are closer to GLAAD than Legatus. All the same, I wish that he had kept the engagement in order to stand up for the principle that performers should not have to seek permission from pressure groups to decide where to book performances. Does Newhart really want to live in a country where entertainers have to seek permission to perform? Does he want future performers to have to submit their material in advance  to ensure that nothing offensive is said. This may seem far fetched, but there have been places in the world where this was  and is the case.

A long time ago, I happened to see the Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff on some late night talk show.I don’t remember which, but I think it might have been Johnny Carson. During the interview, Smirnoff mentioned that he while he worked in the Stoviet Union, he had to submit his material to a Department of Jokes. A comedian was not allowed to depart from the submitted material or improvise. The host thought this was a joke, but Smirnoff assured him this really was the case. When the host asked Smirnoff if a comedian who disobeyed would be sent to jail, Smirnoff answered that he would not, but he would never be allowed to perform again. Keep that in mind while reading what GLAAD has to say.

GLAAD praised Newhart’s decision Thursday. “Newhart is merely siding with the majority of fair-minded Americans who do not support the anti-LGBT agenda of organizations like Legatus,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s vice president of communications.

“These groups constantly struggle to find high-profile people of faith to speak at their events, but at a time when more and more people of faith are accepting of LGBT people, they will continue to be left to choose between increasingly fringe figures,” he added.

The homosexual activist group launched the campaign in a December 12 post titled “Bob Newhart, don’t become the next Kirk Cameron!”

If you don’t accept GLAAD’s agenda then you will be labeled a fringe figure and marginalized until you cannot find work. The only difference between GLAAD and a Soviet commissar is that GLAAD’s dictates do not have the force of law, yet. In a legal environment where a baker can be compelled to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple against his religious scruples, can the day when legal sanctions against “hate speech” really be so hard to imagine.

What does Legatus say that is so hateful and bigoted? Do they advocate executing gays? Imprisoning them? Well, no. Here are the statements that GLAAD finds utterly unacceptable, as reported by GLAAD. They are quoting from a piece written by John Haas.

There are many reasons why people suffer from SSA disorder. Some “discover” this tendency within them. Others grow into it through pursuits of pleasure or experimentation. Some use it to punish themselves or others. Whether the disorder has some deep, unknown roots over which one has virtually no control, or whether it’s a developed disorder resulting from bad choices, it leaves an individual disposed toward activities and a lifestyle that are dangerous — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Fortunately there is hope for those who suffer from the disorder. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality reports that significant numbers of homosexual persons have undergone treatment and had their sexual drives properly ordered. These findings are a beacon of hope to those suffering from SSA, as well as for their family and friends who desire their happiness and good health. Finally, for those who for whatever reason cannot be cured, there is a support group known as Courage to help them live safe, moral, chaste lives. Those who continue to suffer from this disorder can find true help through an orientation toward their Savior and Redeemer, “the Orient from on High,” and the life that He offers them in Himself.


I often tell my students that no one has ever died from not having sex. Plenty of people have died from having sex, but no one has ever died from not having sex. This idea that sexual expression is the only or a necessary expression of love is the underlying principle behind the argument that we should not deny happiness to two people who are in love, even two people struggling with SSA.

No one is denying them love or happiness. We are not denying love or happiness to the alcoholic by taking away his alcohol. We are not denying love or happiness to the drug addict by taking away his drugs. We are not denying love or happiness to the pedophile by keeping him away from children. In fact, we are showing true love to the sinner by denying him his disordered passions.

Second, even if we grant that people are “born that way,” it is a specious argument to conclude that it is natural and must be accepted. People are born with bad eyesight, but we do not consider that natural. We consider it a disorder that should be corrected with glasses or contacts. People are born without arms and legs, but we do not consider that natural. We consider it a disorder that should be corrected with prosthetic limbs. People are born bipolar and with A.D.D., but we do not consider that natural. We consider it a disorder that should be corrected with medicine and psychological counseling. There is even scientific research showing that alcoholism and pedophilia are genetic, that people are “born that way,” but we still consider them disorders that should be corrected.

Consider that we are all born with original sin. Yet, we recognize that it is a disorder within us and we do our best to overcome it with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, with the help of the sacraments, and the grace of God.

These do not seem to be malicious or hateful statements. The author feels that homosexuality is a disorder and wishes to cure those afflicted by it. Considering that homosexuality is not, in fact, conducive to a healthy or well-adjusted life, there are high levels of depression, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and compulsive risk taking among homosexuals, there is good reason to consider it a disorder not dissimilar to alcoholism. It is perhaps more compassionate to seek to cure the homosexual than tell them that their orientation is fixed at birth and is immutable, especially if they are young people. The idea that sexuality is fixed at birth is, if not actually a lie, is vastly simplistic about a very complex part of human behavior. I strongly suspect that sexual orientation is, to some degree, fluid in most individuals.

I have long on long enough about this subject and frankly I am feeling a little ducked out.

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