Catholics, Once Again, Considered “Un-American”

Political liberals (e.g., the kind of people who make up the membership of NARAL, the ACLU, and MSNBC) have no objection to Catholic candidates for high office – provided that the Catholics in question don’t belong to what may be called “the Catholic wing of the Catholic religion.”  In other words, political liberals have no objection to Catholic politicians if the Catholic politicians in question deviate from the Catholic faith in a liberal direction.  Their membership in the Catholic Church can be overlooked as long as the Catholic politicians are supporters of such fine liberal causes as abortion rights and same-sex marriage.  Thus former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is okay, and so is Vice President Joe Biden.

In fact they are more than okay.  They are positively desirable from a liberal point of view.  For by approving of Pelosi, Biden, and their ilk, liberals are able to deny the charge that they are anti-Catholic.

But let a genuine Catholic come along – Rick Santorum, for instance – and the liberals show their true colors.  The thing they despise about Santorum (and they really do despise him) is that he actually believes in the moral doctrines of the Catholic Church.  He believes that abortion is homicide; that homosexual behavior is unnatural; and that sex outside of marriage is wrong.  Therefore liberals despise him.  But they despise is not so much Santorum the individual person as the religion he represents.  They despise Catholicism, and by extension they despise all authentic Catholics.

According to the liberal definition of Americanism, Catholics – that is, faithful Catholics – are not, and cannot be, good Americans.  For to be a good American, as liberals see it, you have to be a believer in moral relativism and sexual freedom.

The charge that Catholics cannot be good Americans is an old one.  It stems from the still older charge that began in England in 16th century in the age of Queen Elizabeth (“Good Queen Bess” as she was somewhat inaccurately known), the charge that a Catholic couldn’t be a good Englishman.  For English Catholics were loyal to the pope at a time when Parliament and the monarch had abolished papal authority in England.  Worse still, many English Catholics believed Elizabeth’s claim to the throne was bogus, and that the true queen was Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.  (Elizabeth “refuted” Mary’s claim by cutting her head off.)

Late in the 17th century that famous liberal John Locke wrote a “Letter on Toleration” in which he argued for religious freedom for all Christians – except Catholics.  He made the Catholic exception because Catholics were loyal to a “foreign prince” (the pope), and hence could not be loyal Englishmen.

When the English settled America, quite naturally they brought their anti-Catholic prejudices with them.  They continued, for instance, to celebrate the old anti-Catholic holiday, Guy Fawkes Day (November 5) until, during the Revolutionary War, General Washington banned the celebration for fear it would give offense to our ally, the Catholic King of France.

It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that non-Catholic Americans finally decided that it was possible, and even probable, that American Catholics would be good Americans.  Only then could a Catholic be elected president.  We Catholics thought at that point that the old anti-Catholic prejudice had vanished forever.  We were wrong; now it’s back – but with a vital difference.  The old prejudice was a Protestant prejudice, the new a secularist prejudice.

For a number of decades now, secularists have been out to redefine America and Americanism, and they have been rather successful in their project.  Their aim has been to define the United States as an essentially godless society.  Hence their very strong objection to bringing religious ideas or values into the public realm.  If you’d like to be religious in the privacy of your own home or church, that’s okay.  It’s perfectly fine for religion to be a private thing, rather like stamp collecting.  But please, not in public.  In the public realm, only the beliefs and values of secular humanism count.  Religious beliefs and values are taboo.

Rick Santorum is very openly violating this secularist taboo.  Hence the animosity and scorn that political liberals (strong supporters of the secularist taboo) are directing at Santorum.  Once again, after a lapse of less than a century, Catholicism is charged with being an un-American religion.

 

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  • TV writer

    What Professor Carlin fails to
    point out is that John F. Kennedy was only able to be elected by declaring
    himself a secularist. Here’s what he said in a speech on Sept. 12, 1960:

    {…] “[L]et me stress again that these
    are my views. For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic
    candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president,
    who happens also to be a Catholic. I do
    not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for
    me.

    [. . .] “Whatever issue may
    come before me as president on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or
    any other subject—I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in
    accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures
    or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to
    decide otherwise.”

    Today Rick Santorum is not
    being criticized because he is a Catholic. Far from it.  The concern of many is that, much to the
    delight of fundamentalist Christians and Catholics,  he is proposing to change our current form of
    government to a theocracy.
     

  • TV writer

    What Professor Carlin fails to
    point out is that John F. Kennedy was only able to be elected by declaring
    himself a secularist. Here’s what he said in a speech on Sept. 12, 1960:

    {…] “[L]et me stress again that these
    are my views. For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic
    candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president,
    who happens also to be a Catholic. I do
    not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for
    me.

    [. . .] “Whatever issue may
    come before me as president on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or
    any other subject—I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in
    accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures
    or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to
    decide otherwise.”

    Today Rick Santorum is not
    being criticized because he is a Catholic. Far from it.  The concern of many is that, much to the
    delight of fundamentalist Christians and Catholics,  he is proposing to change our current form of
    government to a theocracy.
     

  • Larry Rose

    For 81 years I have been “Catholic” and for 60 yesrs I have been a Democrat. If you force me to decide between one or the other, my Eternal life is more important to me than my Temporal existence on this earth.!!

  • Andrew Dentino

    TV writer,
    You can’t be serious.  Really?  Santorum scares people because he is a committed catholic, but I don’t think it’s fair to say he is interested in a theocracy.  Obama might try to sell that, but it is just is blowing smoke.  What is your evidence?

  • Justathought

     Besides … it’s Obama that wants a theocracy … with himself as head (of course).

  • VincentScribe

    Andrew, you think Santorum is a committed Catholic. Really? Here are a
    just a few items where he disagrees with the Catholic Church.

    1. So for instance, Pope John Paul II was against anyone going to war against Iraq I think you’ll find that Rick Santorum managed to ignore that Catholic teaching.

    2.The Conference of Catholic Bishops requires that health care be provided to all Americans. I.e., Rick Santorum’s opposition to universal health care is a betrayal of the Catholic faith he is always trumpeting.

    3. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty for criminals in almost all situations. (Santorum largely supports executions.)

    4. The US Conference of Bishops has urged that the federal minimum wage be increased, for the working poor. Santorum in the Senate repeatedly voted against the minimum wage.

    5. The bishops want welfare for all needy families,
    saying “We reiterate our call for a minimum national welfare benefit
    that will permit children and their parents to live in dignity. A decent
    society will not balance its budget on the backs of poor children.”
    Santorum is a critic of welfare.

    6. The US bishops say that
    “the basic rights of workers must be respected–the right to productive
    work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of
    unions…”. Santorum, who used to be supportive of unions in the 1990s, has now, predictably, turned against them.

    7. Catholic bishops demand the withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. Rick Santorum denies that there are any Palestinians, so I guess he doesn’t agree with the bishops on that one.

    8. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops ripped into Arizona’s law on treatment of immigrants,
    Cardinal Roger Mahony characterized Arizona’s S.B. 1070 as “the
    country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant
    law,” saying it is based on “totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants
    come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources.” He
    even suggested that the law is a harbinger of an American Nazism!
    Santorum attacks ‘anchor babies’ or the provision of any services to children of illegal immigrants born and brought up in the US.

    9. The Bishops have urged that illegal immigrants not be treated as criminals and that their contribution to this country be recognized.

    10. The US Conference of Bishops has denounced, as has the Pope, the Bush idea of ‘preventive war’,
    and has come out against an attack on Iran in the absence of a real and
    present threat of an Iranian assault on the US. In contrast, Santorum
    wants to play Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove and ride the rocket down on Isfahan himself.

  • AnnaMarie53

     Vincent, to coin a modern phrase, you are full of it!  Everything you list is not a part of the dogma and/or canon of the Catholic Church.  Either they are personal opinions of our Holy Father, or items which are still open to personal belief or they are half-truths.  You must be a liberal and/or a Democrat.  They specialize in twisting the truth in a manner I call “pretzel logic.”  Your diatribe is a perfect illustration of this concept.  You need to get your facts straight!  Plus, Santorum is no longer a candidate, so your rant is pointless, mean-spirited, and just plain wrong.

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