US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Calling anyone a Nazi is in poor taste. Calling people dumb is, too.

By Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Can you say “Nazi” and not mean it literally? Sure, I think so. We have Seinfeld to thank for that. But should you call anyone a Nazi? Probably not. Definitely not if you’re a person in the limelight name calling another person in the limelight.

Even still, Susan Sarandon’s remarks about Pope Benedict XVI are such a non-issue that I’m steeping in a tea of self-loathing as I write this. Bill Donahue, with whom I found myself on the same side last week, had to go and make a public stink about it how Sarandon referred to the pope as a Nazi. Which I cannot imagine she meant literally. I’m not even convinced she knew a thing about Ratzinger’s early history with the Nazi Youth (which he deserted). My guess is that she was referring to some of the more hard-lined moves the church has made in the past five years.

But honestly, why make such a big deal about this? Isn’t he just drawing more attention to something that would be better off left to fizzle into oblivion? Even more, why respond with more name calling? Donahue said, “it is very hard to find someone dumber than [Sarandon]."  (Which just shows he's not looking very hard. Or at all.)

Donahue should take the advice my mother gave me when kids at school were saying offensive things on the play ground: Ignore them, don’t join them.