I’ve said many times that anyone who does something to help sick children is doing something noble. For 19 years, Bob Costas has been raising money for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center here in St. Louis, with an annual fundraising concert at the Fox Theater. He calls upon his showbiz friends to line up major comedians and musical acts (e.g. Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, John Mellencamp, Tony Bennett, Hootie & The Blowfish) and thousands of people show up each year.
This Saturday, the headliners are Billy Crystal and Sheryl Crow.
Today, Archbishop Raymond Burke condemned Sheryl Crow’s participation, calling it a “scandal” that a Catholic hospital would be involved with someone who has publicly expressed her pro-choice position and appeared in ads last year supporting Amendment 2 in Missouri (the stem-cell referendum). Burke is the same religious leader who told Catholics that they shouldn’t vote for John Kerry or any other pro-choice politician.
My producer Fred Bodimer got the first word on this story and an interview with the Archbishop, in which he made his case (remember, this is four days before the event!).
Immediately afterwards, I had Bob Costas on the phone with his reaction. Listen to what a classy guy Bob is and how diplomatically he handles this. My favorite part is where he explains that he’ll understand if some who have bought tickets decide not to go, as long as the money from their tickets still goes to the hospital.
What if this situation was reversed? Just imagine the reaction if Sheryl Crow announced “I’m not going to do a benefit for a children’s hospital if it’s associated with the Catholic church, because I don’t agree with them on abortion and stem cell research.” She’d be crushed by all the negative publicity, with people asking how she can turn her back on the sick kids and let her political agenda get in the way of helping them. It would make her “one sheet of toilet paper” gaffe seem even less insignificant than it actually was. Is it fair to treat Crow that way for her views, but not Burke?
Ironically, Billy Joel is performing in St. Louis tonight, thirty years after his hit “Only The Good Die Young” was banned by Archbishop John Joseph Carberry. I wonder how many Catholics were inside the Scottrade Center singing that song with Billy tonight?