Every Halloween we are treated to an extensive array of Catholic costumes, usually featuring priests and nuns. Some of the selections are cute; some are borderline offensive; and still others clearly cross the line. This year is no different.
Regarding the three categories, we never object to cutesy or borderline garb: political correctness has gone too far and we all need to lighten up. The only time we complain is when (a) the costumes are offensive and (b) similar costumes depicting non-Catholic religious figures are not available.
There are many companies that sell religious Halloween costumes on the Internet. Some are quite good. Our favorite is Costume Supercenter: nothing it sells crosses the line. By crossing the line we mean costumes that feature a priest sporting an erection and a pregnant nun in habit.
The offensive priest and nun outfits can be found on several Internet sites, but the website that boasts "The biggest selection of costumes in the world!" is simply called Halloween Costumes. The Minnesota-based company lists its phone number on its website, so I decided to give them a call.
I was number seven in line waiting for an agent, and when some nice woman answered, I told her how impressed I was with their huge selection. I then told her that I noticed that they had a costume of a priest with an erection, and wanted to know if they had any minister, imam, or rabbi costumes featuring the clergyman with an erection. She said she didn't think so.
Then I asked about their Native American costumes. I asked if they had any Indian costumes with an erection. She said she didn't know.
Then I asked if the failure to have costumes of clergymen from other religions with an erection was a function of demand. She said that is probably the case.
So I told her I could fix that problem: I said I would buy 100 rabbi costumes, providing the figure was shown with an erection. She said she didn't know if they had any in their warehouse, and did not know if they would make any for me. I reminded her that she said such costumes were not sold; she did not disagree.
I then said I was really looking forward to seeing what a costume of a Muslim cleric with an erection would look like.
Finally, I told her who I was. She got a little nervous, so I ended the call.
Whatever happened to diversity? Don't these people believe in inclusion? Why aren't minister, imam, and rabbi costumes made that mimic the priest one? I think we know why, and so do they.
Contact Halloween Costumes CEO Tom Fallenstein: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask him why he pulled an "Anne Frank" costume when Jewish groups complained, issuing an apology. What is he going to do about his aroused priest and pregnant nun costumes?
Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.