Martyr in the Bible Belt

The Shriners of Whapping have this interesting story about Fr James Coyle, a priest shot by a Ku Klux Klansman in Alabama in 1921.

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  • There’s a good website about him HERE.

  • There’s a good article about him if any of you have Westlaw or LEXIS or law library access: 20 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 401. Interestingly, it was written by a United States Circuit Judge, Bill Pryor. Future Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black–a good Alabama boy–defended Father Coyle’s murderer. (Hopefully Pryor will get on the Court.)

  • Hugo Black, later a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, defended Fr. Coyle’s murderer and engaged in “questionable” trial tactics that appealed to the jury’s anti-Catholic and racist bigotry in order to obtain an acquittal.In a speech about the case that he gave to the St. Thomas More Society of Atlanta on June 22, 2005, entitled “The murder of Father James Coyle, The Prosecution of Edwin Stephenson, and the rest of the story”, Judge William Pryor of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals noted:“To three of the witnesses, [Black] saved his last question, ‘You are a Catholic, aren’t you?’ And when each witness responded in the affirmative, [Black] ended with ‘That’s all.’ “

  • blarg

    Since we’re on the topic of anti-Catholicism, I finally encountered the outrageous accusation that Catholics are not even Christian –from no less than a former Catholic. Apparently his Catholic upbringing was something other than Catholic, and the come-as-you-are church he attends persuaded him to think this way. Or he never felt challenged by the Gospel, less motivated to read it until he entered that church.