Report: treatment of Muslims today similar to Catholics and Mormons of 19th century

A new study finds that many Americans remain uncomfortable with Islam and believe its teachings are at odds with American values — which, ironically, echoes in some ways how Americans felt about Catholics a century or so ago.

Details from CNS:

Slim majorities of the people polled this summer by the Public Religion Research Institute say Muslims are an important part of the U.S. religious community and that they are comfortable with Muslim women wearing burqas or Muslim men praying in public in an airport. Those majorities were less than 55 percent in each category.

The report released Sept. 6 by the Brookings Institution, which partnered with the religion institute for the study, noted similarities to how Catholics and Mormons were treated in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Throughout American history… immigrants professing faiths outside the existing mainstream have tested the commitment to religious liberty,” said the report, “What It Means To Be An American.”

It noted that Mormons’ endorsement of polygamy was seen as an affront to marriage and a threat to democracy, leading to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being “hounded” to “the brink of legal extinction by the 1890s.”

Antipathy toward Catholics went deeper, the report said in an analysis of the data by Brookings fellows E.J. Dionne and William A. Galston.

“Catholicism aroused two fears,” they said, “that its theological principles were incompatible with liberal democracy and that it required transnational loyalties to a ‘foreign potentate’ (the pope) that took precedence over American citizenship.”

It took American Catholics a century to allay those fears, the pair noted. And part of that included the reinterpretation of Catholic teaching by the Second Vatican Council “to eliminate the elements least compatible with liberal democracy… the tendency toward theocracy and reservations about freedom of religion and conscience.”

The study also found a double standard for how people judge whether those who commit violence in the name of religion really represent that faith.

A large majority — 83 percent — told researchers they do not think self-identified Christians who commit violence in the name of Christianity are really Christian. But when it comes to self-proclaimed Muslims who commit acts of violence, less than half — 48 percent — say the perpetrators are not really Muslim.

Galston and Dionne drew parallels to previous generations when, in times of world war, German- and Japanese-Americans were subjected to intense persecution. Some of that was fostered by the government, they noted, such as when more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forced from their homes into concentration camps.

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22 responses to “Report: treatment of Muslims today similar to Catholics and Mormons of 19th century”

  1. There have been many acts of violence committed in the name of Christianity undoubtedly. But the person of Jesus Christ is en essence the incarnation of a God of love, forgiveness and peace. Any violence committed in His name is a travesty of His call to love and to be peacemakers (Beatitudes).

    There are millions of peaceful Muslims, but the person of Muhammad was that of a warrior, a man of war who conquered the Arabic Peninsula by the force or arms. His immediate successors conquered the whole of the Middle East, Turkey and Northern Africa in the span of few decades, also by war and conquest.

    While the center of Christianity is a person, Jesus Christ, the center of Islam is a concept, submission to God. Both religions have been misunderstood and misused, but I think that the core of each one is different.

  2. @e_scalia: Actually, it is probably true; Catholicism may be at odds with many of what are considered American values, such as accumulation of wealth, individualism, peace, poverty, forgiveness, etc. While many American values have an origin in Christianity, more and more they are diverging. For example while Americans value the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental right, I don’t know if that would be necessarily a Catholic virtue.

  3. Guess there has to be a group to “hate” for every generation—-this time it is the Muslims. As mentioned above, Germans and Japanese because of WWII, distrust of different religions apparently runs in cycles.

  4. Had Catholics killed 3000 people without cause based on a teaching found in the Cathecism that said it was not only right to kill these people in the name of their faith, but mandatory response to infidels who do not covert or submit as slaves, then I suspect the reaction to Catholicism would have been even stronger bigotry. America’s lack of bigotry showed through loud and clear when on the evening of 9/11 and days after there were not muslims hanging from every street corner or hundreds of mosques burned to the ground.

    Witness the abuse of kids and the number of headlines, lawsuites, hate messages, and everything else over the last few years. This is despite the fact that this is in not way any part of our teaching in the Church and in fact is viewed as a grave sin. In many cases, guilty priests do not believe or accept many of the settled teaching of the Catholic church in areas around homoseuxality acts being gravely disordered and serious sin. While some try to associate this action with those of the Islamists who are using terror as a weapon, the main difference is that Islamist point to actual writings in their Koran and a long history of jihad against infidels on the mission of conquest of the world to Islam while there is not a single thing anyone can point to in Catholic teaching advocating or even tolerating the abuse of a child.

    Another factor is that when the Irish arrived in great numbers around the time of the civil war, huge numbers joined up to fight for the union. We do not see huge numbers of muslims joining up to fight the war on terror. It bought a lot of respect for the Irish at the time.

  5. @pagan sister: The conflict between Muslim East and Christian West goes back to the seventh century, it is hardly an American cycle.

    I agree with you though that in American geopolitics it may have substituted the Cold War as the boogeyman to keep us united in spending money on defense.

    9/11 though is searing reality of a major attack by Muslim extremist on American soil.

  6. Not that it will matter to those who insist on demonizing all Muslims, but the US Armed Forces reports that there are a growing number of Muslims joining the military. And that they appear to be as loyal as any other member of the armed forces.

    Unfortunately, there are those who would rather embrace falsehood instead of dealing with the truth.

  7. The Battle of Vienna 1683, the establishment of the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, Mary is the patroness of the United States and the events of September 11, 2001. I tend to remember the attach on 9/11 was coined as a Holy War. Where is that term today ?

  8. Most Muslims in the American military are probably very loyal, but we can’t get Major Nidal Malik Hasan out our memory.

  9. The Mormon analogy is poor. areas controlled by Mormons were not allowed in the union until those territories outlawed polygamy. Was that bigotry against Mormons??? Or common sense???
    And going from one extreme to another does nothing but trash the truth and like all misinformation can become a cause for disaster in the future.
    I refer to the ceremonies regarding 9-11 in NY which blanketed manyTV stations.
    A problem: One count of how many times the honest truth was said in the mass media during their copious coverage of the anniversary about the identity of those who caused the horrors of 9-11 was :ZERO. No mention anywhere that the terrorists did what they did–not in the name of a country (like Japan), or political party (like the Nazis), but in the name a religion (Islam)-in the name of Allah. And from looking at the behaviour of Moslems all around the world toward others today– terrorizing people is not a rare occurence in Islam. It would be the height of suicidal folly to ignore this difference from other situations we have faced.
    After Pearl Harbor can anyone imagine not even mentioning that the attackers were Japanese and that the attack was done in the name of Japan.When will someone demand we scrub that information from the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor.
    And, ah Yes!! The Arab Spring. Maybe! Or maybe Pollyanna is alive and well. For as I saw on TV just yesterday (Mon Sept. 12) violent Moslem crowds in Egypt were terrorizing the 68 members of the Israeli embassy and tearing its building apart with the tacit approval of authorities (which is typical of what happens in Islamic countries where authorities rarely want to take on their co-religionists on behalf of infidels. Thus noone who is not Moslem can usually feel truly safe in an Islamic country at times of political or religious conflict or dispute.)

  10. deaconjohnmbresnahan

    You see a problem. What is the solution, IYO? Shall we drive out the Muslims (as we drove out the Mormons until they gave up polygamy)?

  11. Rudy #6: Yes, 9/11 certainly is part if not all of the reason for the current feelings about Muslims in general—I expect like the attack on Pearl Harbor caused the treatment of the Japanese in the USA–putting them in camps and taking away their homes and businesses.

    I agree, Muslim East & Christian West differences are not new. Unfortunately hatred and distrust among faiths and cultures etc. seems to be continuous.

  12. #11—Given our principles as a nation, I don’t know what the solution is. But avoiding the truth like it were leprosy is stupid and suicidal in my opinion. In virtually all issues and problems the first step to a rational solution is always to face the truth.
    And the safety of the American people shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness that demands we always consider all religious groups the same, even if one too often incubates and then too frequently embraces the most heinous of terror acts.

  13. deaconjohnmbreshahan #13: “And the safety of the American people shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness that demands we always consider all religious groups the same, even if one too often incubates and then too frequently embraces the most heinous of terror acts.”

    Forgetting history is almost as bad as ignoring it.

    And lest we think this kind of behavior would no longer happen in our country.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many times those who are persecuted turn to persecuting others once they gain power. Will we ever learn?

  14. #14.Our country is on the way to committing suicide if it doesn’t come up with a way to deal with those religious communities inside our country which provide support systems for Islamic terrorists. To want to come up with a way of dealing with this problem is not to want to persecute anyone, but to try to keep our own families from being blown up.
    Pretending there is no problem or refusing to deal with it in a warped sense of First Amendment rights (which was not intended to be a suicide pact) is as I said, poilitical correctness gone suicidely amuck. (Especially since so many are total ostriches on the issue as was the recent media coverage of 9-11. Someone from outer space could have concluded from the lack of truthful coverage that the Towers were brought down and 3,000 people murdered by a gang of 90 year old Finnish grandmothers.
    And to equate every raising of the issue of protecting ourselves from religious terrorists–like the Blind Sheik in NY–as some sort of persecution or power trip– must be some sort of Death Wish for Americans.

  15. The problem of course is not Muslims, but Muslim extremists such as those in organizations like Al Qaeda, Abbu Sayaff, Jemaah Islamiyah and others that radicalize young Muslims through their indoctrination. There is a real threat from these groups and to ignore it would be foolish and dangerous:

    1998 Somalia U.S. Embassy attacks, Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, USS Cole, 9/11 Attacks, Somalia Madrid Train Bombing, London Subway and Bus attacks, Disco Massacre in Bali, Mumbai Hotel Attacks, J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta attack, Ft. Hood Massacre, Times Square failed bombing, all of these are real incident that have caused thousands of deaths of non-combatant civilians and all perpetrated by Muslim radical extremists.

  16. While many want to say the problem is Muslim extremists and not Islam itself, there is the sticky problem of the actual text that is being used as a complete way of life for the muslim community. Some try to use the analogy of only a few priests abused kids, this really does not work. The Catholic Church does not teach now or ever that abusing kids by priests or anyone else was part of the religion or by doing so you gained paradise with 77 virgins. In Muslim countries, we have what is called Sharia law. In fact, those who are overthowing the governments of Egypt and Libya are indicating that Sharia will be a driving factor going forward. Jihad is also clearly also part of the Koran and Islam and respected Islamic leaders in Muslim countries have called for jihad against all infidels.

    Deacon Bresnahan is correct in that we cannot solve a problem if we continue to try to hide the core part of the problem which is the religious beliefs of Islam around Sharia and Jihad. Some want to use text from the old testament, but we have a New Testament in Christianity and we have had centuries of understanding and reform of those beliefs within Christianity. I know of no Church today teaching hate in the way that Islam does on a routine basis. Yes, I am sure that some Mosques and Imam’s do not preach the most vile part of Islam, but I do not see them coming out front and center saying it is not there and wrong. I also saw crowds of people in muslim countries cheering on 9/11 despite efforts by the MSM not to make this too prominant.

    What to do about it? I think we need to monitor the Islamic community for any sign of terrorist threat or support of terrorism very closely. If we see it or hear it being preached or advocated, I think it is treason and should be arrested or deported as treason against the USA. I do not think we should reward Islam as being an equal religion until they remove this part of their faith. If these were the Catholic Church doing anything even close to this, there would be no restraint by the MSM.

  17. The Constitution protects individuals from “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”, otherwise known as torture. Waterboarding, whereby the victim is immersed in water and unable to breathe, is considered a form of torture and prohibited by the United States Constitution. Mormon Sheeple claim that one day, when the Constitution is “Hanging by a Thread”, they will be the ones to save it. That is, of course, if they have their Leaders permission to do so, and it doesn’t involve any pain, sacrifice, or time away from their families!

  18. Of course we have to defend ourselves against terrorism. All legitimate intelligence techniques should be used to prevent would-be terrorists from succeeding. But it seems to me that we also need to attempt to assimilate Muslims in our country as much as possible. If Muslims think that non-Muslims consider Islam evil and all Muslims their enemy, it will only lead to wider hostility from the Muslim community. We tend to want instant solutions to problems, but I think in this case (as in many others) we have to realize that it will take time and patience.

    Chancellor Merkel of Germany recently noted (and had the courage to say publicly) that multiculturalism hasn’t worked. Since I think that expulsion is impossible, the only other long-term solution I can think of is assimilation.

  19. We can thank our “pro life” Republicans and the likes of Congressman Peter King of New York for stirring up the hate.

    This is the same crap that we saw in the 50’s again from the republicans about communists.

    Unfortunately the Democrats did the same thing with the Japanese during WWII.

    Ignorance and playing to the ignorance is what brings this on.

  20. @Don from NH……………………I cant believe what YOU SAID, The REPUBLICANS are stirring up hatred as to the pro life’ stance? HUH??
    Where is your mind as to COGENT process? DO YOU NOT KNOW ‘KILLING OF BABIES’ is a GRAVE MORAL EVI, SIN and MURDER? Even babies born alive due to botched abort NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT getting any medical aid, as this current Pres and his DEM party hold forth these acts as A GOOD!? YOU need to confess this and soon.
    I CANNOT bear to even speak any longer w/a man who slams a MAN and a PARTY that is TRYING to abolish this evil. God have mercy on YOU and your lack of LOVING thy neighbor esp the VOICELESS and Helpless. MY GOD IN HEAVEN I bear could even speak such a ‘horror’?

    The Democrats and JAPAN EXPLAIN. HUH?????

    I know YOU voted OBAMA, as I sense it strongly, NOW LIVE WITH HIM and YOUR ACCOMPLICE w/him in BABY KILLING VIA FIAT.

  21. @Deacon John B,

    BRAVO …BRAVO and BRAVO again on your cogent and responsible post. : ) I am in total agreement w/your views.

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