How Not to Respond to a Suicide
I am not familiar with Anthony Bourdain.
I didn’t know anything about him until I found out he had died today, apparently from suicide. I offer my prayers for him– not because I’m better than he is but because that’s what we ought to do when we hear about a death. I offer my condolences to his family.
I do know that no one deserves the drivel that Bill Donohue just wrote about Anthony Bourdain’s death.
This short op ed, entitled “WOULD RELIGION HAVE SAVED BOURDAIN?” is nasty; it’s mean-spirited; it’s self-serving in the most shameless way; and it dances awfully close to heresy. A person representing an organization literally called the Catholic League ought to be deeply ashamed to publish such a thing. This reads like a caricature of what a mean-spirited atheist thinks Catholics think about atheists.
“If Anthony Bourdain had been a religious man, would he have killed himself? Probably not, ” alleges Donohue, on the same day Boudrain’s body was found dead in a hotel room in France. The man’s body is not yet cold. His many fans are reeling in shock. Everyone including Donald Trump of all people is expressing grief and sorrow, relating stories about how Bourdain’s life touched theirs, and Donohue begins his remarks by chiding a dead man. Donohue is less tactful than Trump.
Donohue mocks Bourdain’s atheism, then goes on to explain that suicide rates have risen in recent years and decry the CDC for not measuring how religion affects suicide rates yet. He goes on to plug his book, The Catholic Advantage: How Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful, wherein he claims to discuss this in detail and provide links between religious practice and a decreased suicide risk. He does not give details about his evidence in the op ed; you’ll have to buy his book to find out what he’s talking about. I haven’t bought the book and I do not recommend that my readers do so. Anyone who would behave this callously about a death ought not to be trusted to give reliable information on that topic.