Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well in US
John Cassidy wrote recently in a New Yorker article:
To educated liberals of almost any description, Santorum is an abomination. It’s not just that he’s a pro-life, anti-gay, anti-contraception Roman Catholic of the most retrogressive and diehard Opus Dei variety. It’s his entire persona. With his seven kids, his Jaycee fashion code, his nineteen-seventies colonial MacMansion in northern Virginia, his irony bypass, he seems to delight in outraging self-styled urban sophisticates: the sort of folks who buy organic milk, watch The Daily Show, and read the New York Times (and The New Yorker, of course).
Check out Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn reacting to this article.
This is, of course only the most recent example of an anti-Catholic current that runs throughout American history. I have already mentioned Gangs of New York which highlighted the conflict between nativist know-nothings and the Irish Catholic immigrants. Lest you believe that these things are merely historical anecdotes belonging to a best forgotten past, let me offer some examples.
Apparently the well known antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has a Catholic equivalent in Rulers of Evil. Here's the kicker... while the antisemitic text can be traced back to Czarist Russia, the anti-Catholic equivalent was published in 2001 by Harper Collins. Here's a brief review.
Saussy, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and author (Miracle on Main Street) turned conspiracy theorist, makes a case here that will strike most readers as awash in bigotry (of the anti-Catholic variety): "[T]he papacy really does run United States foreign policy, and always has." To prove that, for example, the pope controls Washington, Saussy offers "evidence" such as the number of Catholic senators and other high government officials or that "the land known today as the District of Columbia bore the name `Rome' in 1663 property records." Further, he argues that the Jesuits "have imbued western culture with a purely Catholic political theory" the theory underlying the American Revolution, which in turn was brought about by a Jesuit priest, Lorenzo Ricci (aka Laurence Richey), as part of a plan to make America safe for Roman Catholics. Catholics were oppressed in colonial times, Saussy notes, but Catholic immigrants flooded into the U.S. from Europe in the decades following the Revolution. This book has a blurb from fellow HarperCollins author and conspiracy theorist Jim Marrs, and the publisher, in a press release and apparently asleep at the wheel, calls it a "riveting, well-researched and well-documented account of one man's discovery of the true driving forces behind our nation's history." But most will see it for what it really is an anti-Catholic version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
You think that Going My Way presents an accurate picture of Catholicism in America? Think again... as late as 1921 Fr. James Coyle was shot in Birmingham Alabama by a KKK member. When Al Smith ran for president in 1928, hysteria over his Catholicism was rampant. Movies like The Da Vinci Code, Dogma and Stigmata have long since eclipsed any good will generated by the Bing Crosby films of a bygone era.
The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice by Phillip Jenkins