Obama nominee wants to 'punish the Church,' Bill Donohue argues


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New York City, N.Y., Jan 11, 2010 / 10:16 pm (CNA).- Following President Obama's renomination of Dawn Johnsen to head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League stated on Friday that Johnsen "is not someone who simply takes issue with the Catholic Church's pro-life position: she wants to punish the Church."

Johnsen, who has faced criticism in the past for her strong pro-abortion stance, was nominated the first time by President Obama earlier last year. Though her nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by 11 to 7, it eventually expired and due to bureaucratic maneuvering, she never officially served in that position.

"Having failed to secure her appointment last year, Obama has decided that he just can't proceed without her," Donohue said Friday.

Besides her pro-abortion record, Donohue took Johnsen to task for allegedly taking part in a scheme during the late 1980's to strip the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status for violating IRS strictures by holding a strong pro-life position.

Although the lawsuit did not succeed, Donohue charged in a January 8 statement that Johnsen joined the effort alongside Lawrence Lader, co-founder of NARAL, as well as Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who later converted to Catholicism and became a pro-life advocate.

While Donohue says he is not surprised by Obama nominating a pro-abortion candidate, "it is an entirely different matter" that he has chosen an appointee with such an apparent vendetta against the Church.

"Johnsen is not the first anti-Catholic chosen by Obama, but she is by far the most extreme and most dangerous," he concluded.