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Conservative leaders demand apology from Huffington over anti-Catholic column

Arianna Huffington will no longer be the editor of all of AOL's online properties.AP

A group of socially conservative leaders is demanding Huffington Post publisher Arianna Huffington apologize for allowing a column to be published on her website that compares Catholics to pedophiles and attacks communion as a "barbaric ritual."

In the letter dated Tuesday and obtained first by FoxNews.com, the group -- never fans of the online news site -- writes that the website, recently purchased by AOL, is "complicit in bigotry" for publishing columnist Larry Doyle's article about Rick Santorum's Catholic faith. 

"Larry Doyle's recent anti-Catholic screed in the Huffington Post, 'The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum,' is bigoted and unacceptable, and a perfect example of 'flame-throwing, name-calling, and simplistic attack dog rhetoric'" that Huffington pledged to avoid when she launched the Huffington Post in 2005.

"His column should be taken off your site, and you should issue an apology for ever publishing such trash," the group wrote. 

In his so-called satire published Friday, Doyle, a novelist and former writer and producer for "The Simpsons," writes that many readers would be "shocked to learn" about Santorum's religious beliefs, which stem from the church's history in the Crusades "and its current role as the tactical arm" of the fringe North American Man-Boy Love Association.

Santorum, in following orders from the  pope, a "former" (Doyle's quotes) Nazi who Catholics believe "chats with God," has made "no secret of his plans to implement his leader's dicta on allowed uses of vaginas and anuses, but has said little about what additional dogma he will be compelled to obey."

Santorum has "remained silent on his religious organization's various reigns of terror, in which good Protestants and others were tortured and killed in imaginatively grisly ways. Even more chilling is a possible connection between the Roman Catholic Church pedophile program and NAMBLA, which I discovered after conducting some research on the Internet," Doyle writes.

Describing Mass as a "barbaric ritual," Doyle writes that "a black-robed cleric casts a spell over some bread and wine, transfiguring it into the actual living flesh and blood of their Christ. Followers then line up to eat the Jesus meat and drink his holy blood in a cannibalistic reverie not often seen outside Cinemax."

Saying he's a former altar boy, Doyle, claims to have "seen behind the curtain" but escaped. He finishes by writing that he has an "obligation to expose this phony theology" and reminds readers that the last time a Roman Catholic was elected -- John F. Kennedy -- it ended tragically.

Doyle's column was roundly criticized and he wrote a follow-up on Tuesday saying he would not apologize and doesn't care if anyone is offended. 

"My criticism took the form of a ridiculously over-the-top broadside against Roman Catholicism, a demonstration of the type of vicious religious ignorance and intolerance I too often see coming from too many so-called Christians, especially Santorum," he writes.

"I hope (Catholics who are offended) will now think twice before they question the faith of progressive Christians, or Mormons or Muslims. I doubt they will."

"Bigots like Doyle think they can hurl the most contemptible insults towards Catholics ('Jesus eaters') and when called out, claim it was just a joke. What cowardice. What a double standard," reads the letter to Huffington. 

"If such an article was written concerning the Islamic or Jewish faith, the public outcry would be overwhelming, and rightly so. But anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable form of bigotry, and The Huffington Post is taking advantage of that bigotry for all it's worth," they continue. 

As for Doyle's claim it was satire, the group writes that "intelligent readers and the millions of faithful Catholics" who read the article "don't buy such equivocating nonsense for a minute." 

The group warned that such sanctioning by the media of anti-religious rhetoric has enabled the Obama administration to try to institute mandates like the recent contraceptive rule that forces religious institutions to provide insurance coverage to employees that "violates their most sacred teachings."

The group concludes that if Huffington doesn't delete Doyle's piece and issue an apology, "your so-called news outlet cannot be seen as anything but an anti-Catholic talking piece."

The letter is signed by Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center; Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage; Brian Burch, president of Catholic Vote; Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List; Richard Viguerie chairman of ConservativeHQ.com; and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

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