Religious Persecution in the USA? – UPDATED


(Photo: Saturday Evening Post)

Yesterday I linked to several stories that outlined the growing tension between our government and our churches.

Today at Patheos, two more perspectives:

Russell Shaw declares The Persecution of Religion has Begun and explains:

“Don’t think I’m making the wild-eyed claim that this new persecution either is or ever is likely to become a bloody one resembling the purges of the French and Mexican Revolutions or the Communist war on religion—eruptions of violence in which thousands of clergy, religious, and lay faithful were killed. It won’t be a repetition of the Spanish civil war, just 75 years ago, when death squads of the anticlerical left executed the incredible total of 12 bishops, 283 religious women, 4,184 priests, 2,365 religious men, and an unknown number of laity whose only crime was being faithful Catholics.

No, the persecution of religion in the United States won’t be like that. It will be a tight-lipped campaign of secularist inspiration in which the coercive power of the state is brought to bear on church-related institutions to act against conscience or go out of business.”

Meanwhile, Sister Mary Ann Walsh reveals that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has filed USCCB filed a Freedom of Information Act request to discover exactly how a decision by the Health and Human Services division came down against Catholic assistance against human trafficking, when even the Justice Department had supported the work the church has done in the past:

“I have been informed that six organizations applied for anti-trafficking grants from HHS’s Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Four scored so low they did not make the cutoff when evaluated by an independent review board. Two applicants scored well. Heartland Human Care Services scored highest and MRS came in second, very close to Heartland, even after losing points for not being willing to refer for contraceptives and abortions. Yet, after finagling by Sharon Parrott, one of three politically appointed counselors to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, ORR awarded $4.5 million, spread across Heartland, which earned the award, and United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and Tapestri, groups that hadn’t made the grade according to the independent review board.

HHS denies any hanky-panky. Show me the data.

Ambassador Johnny Young, who now heads MRS after a stellar career in the U.S. diplomatic corps, asked for data. Young, an African-American, has seen plenty of racial discrimination. Meeting with HHS’s George Sheldon he noted that he recognized discrimination again—this time because of his Catholic faith. When Sheldon, Acting Assistant Secretary for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, denied the deck was stacked, Young said, in effect, show me the data. No answer yet.

USCCB filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see how these decisions were made. Still no answer.”

Something’s amiss, indeed! Currently 27 U.S. Senators are looking for information on what went down at HHS

As I wrote here:

This is how America will fade away, not with bursting bombs or tidal waves, but with legislators and courts reshaping the notion of rights and entitlements until they become difficult to tell apart, and then deciding who gets to be who they are, and who must change or be ostracized. “Live and let live” which is a dandy and peaceable philosophy acknowledging differences of opinion and perspective, is being supplanted by “think one way, or else.”

UPDATE:
Msgr. Charles Pope has more

UPDATE II:
Bishop Lori’s address on Religious Liberty

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://evaulian-thebestoftheworst.blogspot.com/ Eva Ulian

    Not only are such US institutions biased against Catholics but the whole publishing industry is too- The NY Times never misses an opportunity to go overboard in blackening Catholicism. And if you are a Catholic writer… writing about Catholicism, be fiction or non- just don’t expect to be published by an important US publishing house… unless of course you can come up with a fiction that shows Jesus married to an ex-whore- and make sure you rub that “fact” well in….

  • friscoeddie

    A 4 million dollar grant.?. USCCB Migration office came in second? And Talk about death squads in Spain and Mexico?
    I didn’t get a reserved senior seat on the Muni..maybe it’s because I look Irish Catholic?

  • Greta

    Excellent post and links. It is sad to see at many Catholic blogs they are in total denial that there is anything going on between the Obama administration and Catholics. That is SAD because they are in outright denial in order to continue to support the most pro abortion and anti Catholic president in my 77 year lifetime.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Once again, Anchoress, thanks for reporting on this.

  • SKay
  • Joel

    When I was a child attending Catholic school in the fifties, I wanted to be a martyr when I grew up. I figured it would be easy – you refuse to deny your faith, they shoot you, and you go to heaven immediately.

    When I grew up, I realized that there are different kinds of martyrdom. You may not get shot, as the Anchoress points out. Instead, you won’t be able to do business. You will have to deny your faith or quit your job. You will be ridiculed in public, just for being a Catholic. Your kids will come home from public school and tell you that you are stupid for being Catholic, that your values are old fashioned, and other lies.

    I think that the government and the media are working overtime to do all of this right now. How often do you hear a positive story about the Catholic Church? How often do you hear stories about the good that priests do, without some reference to child abuse?

  • Dan C

    This post was done on the day that marks the anniversary of the priests and their housekeepers deaths in El Salvador in 1989. The right wing, wisely identifying a loss of power and privilege for the Church and society, fails to note the extension of the persecution of the religious during the Latin American Dirty Wars, and today’s on-shore events.

    The only problem with acknowledging this historic link is that the right wing was deaf to these events 20 years ago.

    We are now doing in our country what we as a nation promoted in other countries- persecution of the Church, torture of “enemies,” and blaming the poor for their own conditions.

  • Richard Johnson

    Dan C: “The only problem with acknowledging this historic link is that the right wing was deaf to these events 20 years ago.”

    Yes. Mention the words “liberation theology” in the presence of some conservatives and you will be in for a firestorm of criticism that usually ends up with them blaming the Church for becoming too close to one side of the political system in those countries. In short, blaming the victims for putting themselves in the situation which led to their deaths.

    If that was the case back in the 80s and 90s in Latin America, could it also be the case that the Church in America, being perceived as having taken too close an alignment to one political party here, is also bringing some of this upon themselves?

  • Richard Johnson

    ” How often do you hear stories about the good that priests do, without some reference to child abuse?”

    About as often as you hear stories of the good that teachers do without a mention of “union domination” or child abuse.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    The persecution of religion started I think in the fifties when the supreme court started reinterpreting this part of the first ammendement,
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” by dropping off the “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    The religion part of the first ammendment never intended to keep religion out of the public square. We went a good 175 years with religion being part of our public life.

    What changed? The radical left took root in the US.

  • Sal

    Eddie,
    Think death of a thousand cuts…

  • Richard Johnson

    Manny: “The religion part of the first ammendment never intended to keep religion out of the public square. We went a good 175 years with religion being part of our public life.”

    Correction, we went a good 175 years with the MAJORITY religion being part of our public life. There were times during those 175 years that non-majority religions were not only kept from participating in the public square, but were actively persecuted. Catholics, Quakers, Anabaptists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and many others were considered less-than-welcome in the public life.

    Religious persecution to one degree or another has been present since before the formal founding of our nation, Manny. The famed settlers who came over on the Mayflower were escaping religious persecution, and their children and grandchildren engaged in religious persecution (apparently having forgotten the lessons of their immigrant forebears).

    What you cite as the “radical left” taking root in the US others see as simply a decision to no longer permit the majority faith, whatever that may be, to keep the minority faiths from enjoying the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

  • OldLineStateDad

    The radical left does indeed have its own version of religion. Global warming, racism and overpopulation are its articles of faith, carbon credits are it’s indulgences, and abortion is its holy sacrament.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    @Richard
    “What you cite as the “radical left” taking root in the US others see as simply a decision to no longer permit the majority faith, whatever that may be, to keep the minority faiths from enjoying the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”

    Baloney. You are citing events outside the law. No one persecuted Catholics by legal means. The interpretation of the first ammendment included religion in the public square. Catholic neighborhoods were certainly able to put up Christmas creshes without the ACLU bringing the world on the heads of people. The day the ACLU openned their doors is the day the persecution of religion started in the US.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    So, basically, Richard, you’re in favor of religious persecution, because you believe that what you “The MAJORITY religion” needs to be taken down a peg or two, and because you see the current persecution as some sort of righteous payback for the problems Catholics and Mormons, Anabaptists (Anabaptists?), etc., suffered in the past—also, because our pilgrim forefathers were, generally, just bad people, and relgious bigots. You believe that legal persecution of Catholics today will, somehow rectify the injustices of the past, and it make things, in general, more equal.

    You also seem to be saying that religious persecution is actually part of American life, and, hence, we should not worry about it, just as long as it’s directed against the “Majority” religion.

    Just trying to clarify your position, here.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Dan C, if we’re going to dig up the injustices of the past, one could say that the Left has been totally deaf to the worldwide persecution of non-liberation theology believing Christians: in Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, etc. During the Vietnam war, the Catholic Vietnamese were either ignored, or demonized as being colonial oppressors, and somehow not as authentic as the supposedly noble Vietcong. In the Episcopal Church, third-world Christians were, generally, looked down on, because they were so uncool as to not support gay marriage, or trendy causes such as ecology. Their very real suffering was ignored, in favor of more politically correct “victims”, such as the Palestinians.

    The Left has also been indifferent—when it hasn’t been outright supportive—of the rising tide of anti-semetism, across the world.

    But I think it’s better neither side goes there—agreed?

    Present injustices do not atone for past injustices. If religious freedom dies in the U.S., nobody—except some commisars, or grand inquisitors—is going to benefit.

  • friscoeddie

    When real Catholic persecution with real live bullets happened in the 80s in El Salvador, the US right wing were the allies of the killers of Religious women, the Archbishop, Jesuit priests and the women witnesses. When Alexander Haig , Catholic, Sect Of State said that the religious US women were killed in a cross fire, [and the raped?] the anti commie Catholic laity nodded their head in agreement. now they have the nerve to talk persecution because their USCCB Migration office lost a 4 million dollar contract. At first I thought the cry of present persecution was funny but as I reflect back on my visit to E.S and the killing sites the present whine of presecution creates in me disgust.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Please read my earlier posts, Eddie.

    Past injustices don’t excuse present injustices. The Left has ignored the persecution of Christians (except for some connected with Liberation Theology), and Jews, just as the Right ignored injustices in South America. It is, sadly, in no position to point fingers at anyone else.

    As I said before, I think it’s best neither side goes there. We can shout “El Salvador!” “Arab Spring” at other endlessly. It’s a distraction. Also, a bad idea to try and switch the topic from what’s actually going on today to raking over history yet again.

    Somehow, I doubt the persecution of Christians in Iraq, or the Philippines, the persecution of Christian minorities that’s come along with the rise of the Arab “Spring” fill you with “disgust”, Eddie. This is because you don’t see these particular Christians as being on your “Team”. I suspect what you call “disgust” is more dissappointment that America, and Catholicism, as a whole, didn’t support your preferred brand of ideology back in the 80′s, in El Salvador.

    There’s nothing we can do now about Catholics persecuted decades ago. We can only do what we can, to help Catholics, and persecuted Christians such as the Copts, in the present—by prayer, if nothing else.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And the church needs to stand firm against the culture of death.

  • Oregon Catholic

    I think the sooner that Catholic institutions get out of the business of taking gov’t money and get out of politics the better. We need to stand for beliefs over money or political power. Jesus never fought with Rome, only against the hypocrites among His own people. I know it will hurt many people if we divest ourselves of public money until we can rebuild a true charitable structure, but as someone else pointed out it is modern-day martyrdom. Let’s not be afraid.

  • Richard Johnson

    Manny: “Baloney. You are citing events outside the law. No one persecuted Catholics by legal means.”

    Your ignorance of history seems substantial, Manny, especially the history of your own religious faith in this country. You neglect the numerous religious oaths that were established, both before and after the passage of the Constitution, that were designed to exclude Catholics from participation in government.

    For example, from the pre-Constitution days, there is the Second Massachusetts Charter (//tinyurl.com/6tqefgm) which granted liberty of conscience in the “Worship of God to all Christians (except Papists)”.

    You also conveniently overlook the Blaine Amendments in the 1870s, designed to prevent public funding of parochial schools, the vast majority of which were Catholic at that time.

    So I am sorry, but your claim that persecution of Catholics was done only by extra-legal means prior to the ascendency of “liberal” judges is demonstrably false.

    Manny: “The interpretation of the first ammendment included religion in the public square. Catholic neighborhoods were certainly able to put up Christmas creshes without the ACLU bringing the world on the heads of people.”

    Once again, Manny, you seem ignorant of the history of your own faith. Violence against Catholics goes back much farther than you realize, or are willing to admit. Over on Catholic Answers (//archive.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0103bt.asp) you can read about how the property of Catholics was destroyed and many Catholics were murdered during a period of rampant nativism in the mid 1800s.

  • Richard Johnson

    Nice try, Rhinestone. I agree with you that past injustices do not *excuse* present injustices. Persecution needs to be resisted in all cases, not only in cases where it is your (or my) particular faith that is the target.

    Dan C pointed out correctly that when Catholics were being murdered in Latin American nations in the 80s and 90s, many on the right were dismissive of those deaths, especially in the Evangelical community. I recall significant criticism among conservatives regarding a possible Congressional inquiry into the deaths. The Reagan administration, in their rabid anti-communist efforts, sought to cast those Catholics who were murdered as collaborators with pro-communist insurgents.

    You have it accurately when you say “The Left has ignored the persecution of Christians (except for some connected with Liberation Theology), and Jews, just as the Right ignored injustices in South America. It is, sadly, in no position to point fingers at anyone else.” But then you turn around and chastise Eddie for allegedly being disappointed that “America, and Catholicism, as a whole, didn’t support your preferred brand of ideology back in the 80′s, in El Salvador.”

    What preferred brand of ideology are you talking about, Rhinestone? What do you find different about those Christians who were killed in El Salvador and those being killed in the Middle East? Are they not both Christian? Are they not both worthy of protection and protestation over their deaths?

  • Richard Johnson

    “If religious freedom dies in the U.S., nobody—except some commisars, or grand inquisitors—is going to benefit.”

    Indeed. However, Rhinestone, the ONLY way that religious freedom is going to survive and thrive in this nation is if it applied to ALL people of ALL beliefs, even to those of no particular belief. This means that those who complain about Christianity being shoved out of the public square need to also stand up when other faiths are denied their place in the public square (such as the Summum case). That means, Rhinestone, that if we are to complain about the ACLU not supporting the right of Christians to participate in the public square with their religious displays, we also need to all other groups into account (such as the ACLJ) for not supporting the rights of other religious groups to enjoy the same participation.

    //aclj.org/pleasant-grove/here-we-go-again-summum-v-pleasant-grove

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Richard: “You neglect the numerous religious oaths that were established, both before and after the passage of the Constitution, that were designed to exclude Catholics from participation in government.”

    Are those laws? I clearly said “by legal means.” Again those are events outside the law. There were plenty of Catyholics from the beginning of the natuion, many of which did quite well in this country. Well enough that many, many Catholics felt comfortable to immigrate here.

    Richard: For example, from the pre-Constitution days, there is the Second Massachusetts Charter (//tinyurl.com/6tqefgm) which granted liberty of conscience in the “Worship of God to all Christians (except Papists)”.

    Clearly pre first ammendment. Completely irrelevant.

    Richard: “You also conveniently overlook the Blaine Amendments in the 1870s, designed to prevent public funding of parochial schools, the vast majority of which were Catholic at that time.”

    Perhaps aimed at Catholics but directed across all religions. They also mostly failed as a religious discriminator. They became a way to not fund private schools.

    Richard: Once again, Manny, you seem ignorant of the history of your own faith. Violence against Catholics goes back much farther than you realize, or are willing to admit. Over on Catholic Answers (//archive.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0103bt.asp) you can read about how the property of Catholics was destroyed and many Catholics were murdered during a period of rampant nativism in the mid 1800s”

    Oh please. Violence against everyone has taken place. Agian you failed to read that I said. Again those are events outside the law.

  • Richard Johnson

    For pity’s sake, Manny, did you even bother to read the link at the Catholic.com archive? Here, let me lay it out for you piece by piece. From the Catholic Encyclopedia article located at //www.newadvent.org/cathen/08677a.htm

    “Thus, John Jay, of New York, who afterwards became Chief Justice of the United States, succeeded in fastening upon the Constitution of his own state a provision which denied the privilege of citizenship to every foreign-born Catholic unless he would first abjure and renounce all allegiance to the pope in matters ecclesiastical. This provision remained in force until 1821, when the power and influence of the Federal party had well nigh disappeared.”

    “Thus, it was not until 1833 that the union between Church and State in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was dissolved, and Catholics were relieved from having to pay taxes for the support of the state (Protestant) Church.”

    “New Jersey retained its anti-Catholic Constitution until 1844, and only in 1877 did New Hampshire expunge from its Constitution the provision disqualifying Catholics from holding office in that state. ”

    “While their ignorant followers were engaged in these lawless proceedings the leaders were exerting themselves in various directions to secure legislation hostile to Catholics, especially to Irish immigrants, then mostly of that faith. In the legislatures of some of the states bills were proposed to authorize the visitation and inspection of convents and other religious institutions by state officials, and in Massachusetts, in 1854, such a law, known as the Nunneries Inspection Bill, was actually passed. Under this a legislative committee made a tour of inspection and in a very offensive manner visited several Catholic colleges and convents. In several states, notably in New York, church property bills were proposed which were designed to destroy the title to Catholic church property, which for the most part stood in the name of the bishop, there being then no law for the incorporation of Catholic churches by which such title might be securely held. In Congress efforts were made to restrict the benefits of the Homestead Laws to those who were actual citizens of the United States, and the old-time proposal to extend the period of residence to twenty-one years before a person could be admitted to citizenship was constantly agitated. Of lesser importance were the laws and ordinances passed in Massachusetts disbanding various volunteer militia companies bearing the name of some Irish patriot and composed for the most part of Catholic Irishmen.”

    I’ll leave the remainder of the article for you to read or ignore, the choice is yours.

    Now, Manny, if this is not discrimination with the force of law, I do not know what could be called such.

  • Richard Johnson

    Richard: “You also conveniently overlook the Blaine Amendments in the 1870s, designed to prevent public funding of parochial schools, the vast majority of which were Catholic at that time.”

    Manny: “Perhaps aimed at Catholics but directed across all religions. They also mostly failed as a religious discriminator. They became a way to not fund private schools.”

    Again, Manny, you need to study the history of the time which gave birth to these so-called “Blaine Amendments”. They came directly out of the anti-Catholic fervor of the Know-Nothings.

    //www.blaineamendments.org/Intro/whatis.html

    “Blaine Amendments are provisions in dozens of state constitutions that prohibit the use of state funds at “sectarian” schools. They’re named for James G. Blaine, who proposed such an amendment to the U.S. Constitution while he was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1875. The amendment passed overwhelmingly (180-7) in the House, but failed (by 4 votes) in the Senate. Although the amendment failed narrowly, state-level versions were wildly successful. And in several states, adoption of Blaine Amendments was made an explicit condition for entering the Union.

    “Today, 37 states have provisions placing some form of restriction on government aid to “sectarian” schools and their equivalents that go far beyond any limits in the U.S. Constitution.

    “Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the last remaining federal obstacle to school choice programs (Zelman held that well designed voucher programs do not violate the Establishment Clause), supporters are finding that their states’ Blaine Amendments may prohibit such programs.

    “It was not widely appreciated until recently that Blaine Amendments were passed as a direct result of the nativist, anti-Catholic bigotry that was a recurring theme in American politics during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Finally, in the Supreme Court’s Mitchell v. Helms decision in 2000, the four-Justice plurality explicitly recognized that use of the term “pervasively sectarian” in law was a “doctrine born of bigotry [that] should be buried now.” Justice Breyer’s dissent in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris further acknowledges this tainted history. After Locke v. Davey in 2004, the court made clear that since Blaine Amendments “have been linked with anti-Catholicism” they are unique creatures that merit especially close examination, suggesting that they may be buried by the court soon.”

    When you talk blithely about attempts to expunge religion (and specifically Catholicism) from its place in the public square, it is in large part these amendments you are speaking about, for they form part of the understanding in modern jurisprudence of the doctrine of “separation of church and state” that is derided on this and other conservative blogs.

    To insist, as you have, that what is happening under the Obama administration with regards to bias against Catholics is without precedence is to ignore much of the history of the very struggle you claim to be joining. You would do well to study history, Manny, especially the history of your own faith in this nation.

  • Richard Johnson

    Rhinestone: “…nd because you see the current persecution as some sort of righteous payback for the problems Catholics and Mormons, Anabaptists (Anabaptists?)”

    Yes, Anabaptists.

    //www.anabaptists.org/history/what-is-an-anabaptist.html

    //www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/5

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I was just trying to clarify your position, Richard;

    Do you see the government going after Catholics as some sort of payback for what Anabaptists, and other religious groups, have suffered in America? Are you in favor of it, because you think it will somehow equalize things, or make up for the injustices of the past? Are you arguing that, because religious persecution has existed in america’s past, it’s alright to practice it now?

    And what faiths, besides Christianity, are being oppressed, or denied the public square at the moment? (I’m not familiar with the case you mention; do you have any specific examples? And, if these things are happening, how is cutting off government aid to Catholic services going to rectify this situation?)

    Eddie’s ideology is, I presume, Marxism, judging by his past posts, and because he waxes indignant about Christians persecuted for liberation theology, while ignoring all other kinds of Christian—and anti-semetic—persecution, of which we’ve had a lot, in the modern world. And, he certainly chastises us, so I see no reason not to chastise him a bit, from time to time.

  • friscoeddie

    Rhinestone says; ” Eddie’s ideology is, I presume, Marxism, judging by his past posts,” … reminder ..Joe Mc Carthy died in disrgace.

  • Sophia

    To: Oregon Catholic,

    Bravo!!!

    My first thoughts while reading this post were: Why on earth are Catholic organizations so concerned about getting or not getting government money? Why have they allowed themselves to become so dependent on it in the first place? and why do they seem so surprised that govt. funds come with strings attached? Havn’t the bishops as well a many Catholic institution such as hospitals and schools, etc. been all tied up with those stings for decades? They must know! I would like to see these Church institutions finally learn a lesson from this, cut loose, and deal with the things that are essential on their own and simply adjust on a shoe-string budget!!! Look what little old Mother Teresa and her Sisters have managed to do out of complete poverty and no budget!?! True Love & Guts beats money any old day in my book!!!

    Anyway, Thank You for your comment! I agree with you 100%

    [Then again, there is the other side of the argument -- that this is not about "political power" at all, but about attempting to serve the world in partnership with a government that -- until very recently -- would actively seek out the help of the churches, because of her excellence in education, hospital care, community service, and so forth. Partnering with the government in efforts such as attending to the victims of human trafficking, adoption, etc, churches can bring a sense of humanity and duty where bureaucrats generally cannot, and (here's an idea!) they bring a sense of something greater than the government to what they do. Seems to me we need that. Mother Teresa's nuns have done great things, but only because they have been allowed to do their work. Once the government has pushed the churches out of the public arena, with a "separation of church and state" argument, it will only be a matter of time before they will be prevented from doing much privately, as well. The precedent the administration is looking to set will place civil laws -- including some you may not "approve" of -- above a church's fundamental right to be what it is. Do you think, then, that the church should allow itself to become marginalized? -admin]

  • Richard Johnson

    Rhinestone: “Do you see the government going after Catholics as some sort of payback for what Anabaptists, and other religious groups, have suffered in America? Are you in favor of it, because you think it will somehow equalize things, or make up for the injustices of the past? Are you arguing that, because religious persecution has existed in america’s past, it’s alright to practice it now?”

    No, no, and no. However, it is interesting to point out how quickly those who escape from religious persecution can turn to persecuting others. How many years was it before the children and grandchildren of the Mayflower passengers who came here escaping religious persecution were, themselves, persecuting Quakers, Universalists, Anabaptists and Catholics? Put this beside the paradox of the founders of our nation who, while proclaiming religious liberty for all, reserved some legal sanctions for the dreaded “Papists” they despised so much.

    What I am saying, Rhinestone, is that it seems that throughout history the majority religion, whatever that may be, seeks to use its position and influence to limit the ability of adherents to other religious faiths to practice that faith freely. Whether it is Muslims oppressing other faiths in the Middle East, Catholics prosecuting “heretics” in Europe in the days of the Inquisitions, the Church of England attacking Puritans, Calvin and his followers murdering imprisoning or burning Unitarians, or majority Christians seeking to keep Summum’s “Seven Aphorisms” out of the public square…when it comes to religions the majority almost always believes it is their right to squelch the minority.

    How does this end? By the majority faith (whatever that may be) accepting the secular notion that *all* faiths have an equal right to free expression, and allowing the laws to reflect that. Because trust me, while Catholics may be feeling the brunt pressure from the Obama administration now, I am pretty confident that if Catholics ever do gain majority status in this country there would be a significant number who would advocate limiting the rights of liberal Christians such as myself from enjoying equal standing before the law.

    It’s not about payback, Rhinestone. It’s about overcoming human nature and the “them and us” mentality.

  • Richard Johnson

    Anchoress, I appreciate and agree with your response to Sophia above. But I need your help in understanding something.

    Many voices, predominantly conservative but also libertarian, say that the government should not be in the business of extracting taxes from the people and transferring that money to others. They decry government programs that spend money to help many of the very people you mention. Greta is perhaps a good example of this approach.

    Yet in this instance we have a situation where Greta and others who hold to that position are complaining because the government is *not* giving out taxpayer money to a group. Forgive me, but it sounds at first almost hypocritical. How can we cut taxes and stop extorting money from businesses to support the lazy, worthless welfare cheats, while at the same time giving government money to a group (whether it is the Catholic Church or any other religious group) to help the very same people? Is it OK for the government to extort money (taxes) from businesses and individuals as long as it is given to Catholic Charities?

    But perhaps more importantly, if Greta and others who share her views are successful in the next election and we see a dramatic lowering of taxes and cutting of domestic programs, will we see also a dramatic growth in giving to religious groups so the work can continue? Or will the government still need to provide support to these religious groups so the poor will not go hungry, the orphans will not go parentless, and the sick will not go without treatment?

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    “Do you think, then, that the church should allow itself to become marginalized?”

    Apparently the bishops are pleased enough with this, given their incomprehensible approach to adoption, especially a wholesale abandonment of parentless children, except for those very few kids (five in the past eight years in my diocese) for whom they facilitate placement.

    I think many bishops have been duped and manipulated into this cry wolf approach to the Church’s place in society. It does not serve them well. It positions them as whiners, as victims in a culture full of victims. Another guest-of-the-week on late afternoon talk. Then we can move on to Lindsay Lohan tomorrow.

    While I realize these are my bishops, as a Catholic, I want no part of being a victim.

  • http://elizabethk-fthnfort.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth K.

    Anchoress, your comment above is spot on. It’s important for us to recognize that something important is shifting. If our government cannot partner with a religious institution for the greater good, if our leaders cannot tolerate difference of opinion, we’re in a lot of trouble.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Because, of course, Richard, it’s a well-known fact that Catholics don’t pay taxes to the government, or ever use government services themselves. Also, that the government has never, American history, asked for help from Catholic, and other religious, charities. Also, there are no secular, or non-Catholic charities, that provide services such as abortion, birth control, etc.—Zip, zilch, nada! (Okay, sarc. off.)

    I have to ask—how are other religions being oppressed by Catholic charities working with the government in charitable services, such as providing adoptions, and helping the victims of sex trafficking? Whose religious rights are being trampled on here? The government itself has says that the work the Catholic charities are doing is good. How is anyone being oppressed by what they do? Who is the majority here, and who is the “minority” that’s supposedly being oppressed by this? What is the exact wrong that Catholic charities are alleged to be doing, to innocent victims?

    As I see it, it all boils down to pushing the agenda of: 1. Abortion; 2. Birth control; 3. Same sex marriage. Apparently, it is alright to take government money, if you support these—in fact, it’s somehow a duty, in order to support religious minorities. (Which minorities? What people are we talking about, here?)

    Those who don’t support these things, however, have no right to protest being forced to support such programs through their tax dollars, because—um, well—just because! And if they complain, or say they can’t go along with these programs—why, they’re just playing the victim, that’s all!

    This isn’t about supporting the poor, feeding the hungry or supporting minorities; if it were, the government wouldn’t be so working so hard to dump Catholic charities from their payroll—even when they approve of their work. It’s about pushing a certain agenda.

    Also, since when does charity revolve solely around abortion/contraception? Are these really the most important needs for the sick? The homeless? The abused? For orphaned children, in need of a home? Are adoptions to same-sex couples, or unmarried couples ultimately for the good of children? Or are they about making adults feel good about themselves? And can’t charities be allowed to decide such things for themselves, or is the government going to do all the deciding from now on?

    I think society has turned abortion/contraception into some strange sort of quasi-sacrament, elevating its importance above all else.

    And If the government does manage to fire all the Catholic, and Christian, charities that won’t go along with its program–will it then turn around and start complaining that there just aren’t enough volunteers to help out? We’re continually being told that volunteering is good, helping out is grea, that we must get involved—but how many people are going to step up if they think they’re going to be forced to go against their beliefs, or be demonized as bigots? When the next big disaster comes along, will the government do it all by themselves? Or will they be begging various Catholic and Christian charities, such as the Salvation Army, for help?

    It all boils down to the fact that the government is pushing a certain agenda—and Catholic charities are resisting this agenda.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Elizabeth K., yes—that’s it, exactly!

    If the government is now this antsy about teaming up with any religious charity, if abortion/contraception are now so precious to it that it just can’t bear partnering with any charity that doesn’t believe in it, even when this charity does good work, and helps a lot of people—we are, indeed, in trouble!

    We also have very wrongheaded priorities.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Good on yez, Todd! Yer no victim, bud!

    You are, of course, going to support Catholic charities on your own, now that the government won’t? Show ‘em you’re no victim, bro! Send ‘em your own money! Hey, is that a Kardashian?

    (And, actually I agree that Catholic charities might be better off without government money—but, missing the point? There is that marginalization thing.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, Richard, yes, both sets of Christians were worthy of protection, and sympathy. I was sickened by the killings in El Salvador; I’m sickened by this legal persecution now.

    But, as I said in my earlier posts, I think the left, by ignoring the persecution of non-liberation theolgy Christians, and by its ignoring, or actually supporting, anti-semetism, has lost the moral highground on this one. This isn’t to say conservatives haven’t lost it also—but, unfortunately, the Left just can’t lecture them on this issue, not with any credibilty.

  • Richard Johnson

    Rhinestone: “But, as I said in my earlier posts, I think the left, by ignoring the persecution of non-liberation theolgy Christians, and by its ignoring, or actually supporting, anti-semetism, has lost the moral highground on this one. This isn’t to say conservatives haven’t lost it also—but, unfortunately, the Left just can’t lecture them on this issue, not with any credibilty.”

    Agreed. There is blood on the hands of the left for ignoring this. As for anti-semitism on the left, I simply have two words for you.

    Patrick Buchanan

  • Richard Johnson

    Rhinestone, if you re-read my post you hopefully will see that I was discussing the seeming disconnect between those people who complain in one moment that the government is taking too much money away from people in the form of taxes and spending it on the “lazy poor”, and then in the next moment they complain that their particular religion is not receiving tax money from the government to serve these same “lazy” poor people.

    Look around you, Rhinestone. There are a growing number of people in true need in this country. Homeless shelters are becoming overwhelmed, and here in my hometown the homeless shelter is on the verge of closing for lack of funding. Food pantries are running out of goods. Soup kitchens are reporting ever growing numbers of people showing up for food.

    Are private charities able to keep up without government financial support? In all likelihood the answer is no. What, then, will they do when conservatives win the next election and cut funding for support of the growing number of poor? If private charities cannot keep up with demand now, how will they fill the gap left from the cessation of government programs?

    If the conservatives get their way and we see government programs end, will private charities be able to take up the slack? Will giving increase for these private charities, both religious and secular?

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Richard: “Again, Manny, you need to study the history of the time which gave birth to these so-called “Blaine Amendments”. They came directly out of the anti-Catholic fervor of the Know-Nothings.”

    Oh Richard, you are tiresome. And you don’t read what I said. The Blaine laws that passed, inspite of how they were started, were not based on religious discrimination. Otherwise they would be unconstitutiuonal. Why would they be on the books all these years if they discriminated against any group?

    If this is the best you can do, a law that may have been motivated by discrimination but was ultimately modified, then that illustrates the paucity of your argument.

    You’re obviously aligned with the grievance industry. I bet two thirds of people on the left are. You see discrimination as the characterizing element of our history. Yes, everyone has some grievance to point to. Even the Evangelicals point to discrimination. Sure you can find some examples of Catholic discrimination over the US two hundred plus years. Well Protestants and Catholics had fought for centuries before our nation’s independence, and some of it carried over. But the bottom line is this. Catholics have prospered in this country. They came as immigrants and kept coming over the years. Many are wealthy. If discrimination was the characterizing element, you would not today have Catholicism as the largerst single religous denomination in the country. You’re historical grievance argument is all wet.

  • Richard Johnson

    Manny: “The Blaine laws that passed, inspite of how they were started, were not based on religious discrimination.”

    Enjoy your weekend, Manny.

  • Dan C

    The persecutions in Latin America continue, with Dorothy Strang’s death and the continued “disappearances” of nuns associated with groups like Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. If one only read right wing blogs, one would identify that only Muslins attack Catholic religious personnel. Not so.

    My point however, was to highlight that physical threats and deaths due to following one’s religion was common in the past and supported by the US. Now we are building momentum for this in our country.

    [THIS so-called "right wing blog" (I'm actually a classical liberal) positively reviewed a book about Dorothy Strang (It was actually one of my first posts) and has remembered the nuns and Jesuits killed in Central America and has argued in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and taken other stands that might surprise you. Why would you argue against generalizing by generalizing? -admin]

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Yours too Richard. Give a high five to all those in the grievance industry.

  • LisaB

    I love the way the discussion evolves to support the Anchoress’ post!

    “What you cite as the “radical left” taking root in the US others see as simply a decision to no longer permit the majority faith, whatever that may be, to keep the minority faiths from enjoying the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”
    Sounds like a plan. Taking away one group’s freedom does not equal freedom. The Constitution calls for the freedom of all religions, including the majority faith.

    “Yet in this instance we have a situation where Greta and others who hold to that position are complaining because the government is *not* giving out taxpayer money to a group. Forgive me, but it sounds at first almost hypocritical.”
    Here you’ve given the clearest example of the Anchoress’ point – *shut up and hand it over (conservative) Catholics, but you don’t get a say in where it goes because you think it’s wrong to be over taxed. Only us people who help “the poor” by giving them your money get a say so!!* Besides sounding a lot like taxation without representation, it sounds like a plan.

    “I am pretty confident that if Catholics ever do gain majority status in this country there would be a significant number who would advocate limiting the rights of liberal Christians such as myself from enjoying equal standing before the law.”
    Again, thanks for making Anchoress’ point. *Can’t have those Catholics getting a say so* Maybe there is a plan to stop them from having a voice.

    “Look around you, Rhinestone. There are a growing number of people in true need in this country. Homeless shelters are becoming overwhelmed, and here in my hometown the homeless shelter is on the verge of closing for lack of funding. Food pantries are running out of goods. Soup kitchens are reporting ever growing numbers of people showing up for food.”
    Why, oh why, does this sound like a plan that is being put in place.

  • craig

    friscoeddie says: “reminder ..Joe Mc Carthy died in disrgace.”

    And was proven right decades later, after the Venona transcripts were finally declassified and the USSR’s archives were opened after the fall of Communism. There were numerous Soviet agents working in the State Department at the time, including the darlings of the left, Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs.

    History is not just what appears in the news headlines at the time.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X