Do you think I could get away with it if I said Barack Obama has no rights that any white man is obliged to respect?
Do you think I could get away with it if I added "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"
I don't understand. That works so well for "progressives" when they're talking about Catholics.
As a matter of fact, if you say that often enough and loud enough about Catholics and other religiously Other-ish people, you not only can get away with it but become a go-to guest on your local NPR station.
Thus we explain Amanda Marcotte's appearance today on
Marcotte's main qualification for the guest spot -- and, apparently, her standing gig at Salon, too -- is that she's a pro-abortion radical feminist with a potty mouth and a bigoted streak as wide as the Father of Waters.
YOU GOTTA have somethin' goin' on to A) get hired by, then B) get fired by the presidential campaign of John Edwards, that poster child for sexual liberation in all its "What could go wrong???" glory. Besides, nothing says "thoughtful" and "edifying" like one of Marcotte's anti-Catholic rhetorical flourishes:
Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?
A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.
OBVIOUSLY, the difference between NPR and your typical AM-radio food fight is its guests are bigoted against all the right people.
How progressive of them.
No, really. This stuff is nothing new. Actually, it's as old as the United States itself, and 20th-century "progressives" picked up right where the Know-Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan left off.
If it makes you feel any better, I read that in a 1997 article in The New York Times:
It has been many years since the poet and essayist Peter Viereck called anti-Catholicism "the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals." For Roman Catholics who encounter hostility, condescension and stereotypes among circles that consider themselves singularly free of prejudice, Mr. Viereck's quip remains the last word on the topic.IN OTHER WORDS, "Help! Help! We're being repressed by the papists!"
But now a young Harvard historian has taken another look at the role that Catholicism has played in what he calls "the American intellectual imagination." And his work helps explain some of the intense feelings that surround current issues like abortion and school vouchers, and why American Catholicism and liberalism have seldom been more than uneasy allies.
In a 32-page article to be published in the June issue of The Journal of American History, John T. McGreevy argues that from 1928 to 1960, anxiety about "Catholic power" became a defining factor in the evolution of American liberalism, along with opposition to fascism, Communism and racial segregation.
Dr. McGreevy, the Dunwalke Associate Professor of American History at Harvard, recalls "the most unusual best seller of the late 1940's," Paul Blanshard's "American Freedom and Catholic Power."
"The Catholic problem is still with us," Mr. Blanshard wrote.
In his view, the church posed an international threat to democracy, a threat that, two years later in "Communism, Democracy and Catholic Power," he put on the same plane as that of Soviet Communism. Along the way, Mr. Blanshard characterized nuns as legacies from an era when women "reveled in self-abasement" and he held Catholicism responsible for producing most white criminals.
Today most people might dismiss Mr. Blanshard's books and the fuss they provoked as more of an historical curiosity than a measure of "the American intellectual imagination." But Dr. McGreevy also recalls that in 1949, John Dewey praised Mr. Blanshard for his "exemplary scholarship, good judgment and tact."
McGeorge Bundy called the 1949 book "very useful." Scholarly reviewers hailed its author's "razor keen analysis" as well as his "restraint." Other distinguished intellectuals echoed Mr. Blanshard's parallel between Catholicism and Stalinism. For example, the Protestant theologian Henry Sloane Coffin called the two "equally totalitarian."
On the other hand, Blanshard, who was an assistant editor at The Nation, at least refrained from nasty quips about holy semen in his book, which began as a series of magazine articles in 1947 and 1948. Of course, his was the world of the 1940s -- one chockablock with stigmas, standards and taboos yet to be torn down or cast aside by folks just like himself:
Nobody knows exactly where the elaborate sexual code of the Catholic Church has come from. It has been developed by accretion over a period of nineteen centuries until, today, it is one of the most conspicuous parts of Catholic moral philosophy. Perhaps it ought to be called an anti-sexual code (even though the Church teaches that "a wife may not without sufficient reason deny herself to her husband") because the primary emphasis has always been upon the negative rather than upon the wholesome aspects.WHICH, according to Freud, all involve having intercourse with one's mother. Or some such wisdom.
Austerity was identified with virtue by many leaders of early Christianity. Two Popes, Clement VIII and Paul V, declared that anybody should be denounced to the Inquisitors of the Faith who declared that kissing, touching and embracing for the sake of sexual pleasure were not grievous sins. 1 Father Henry Davis, in his Moral and Pastoral Theology, expresses a contemporary priestly view when he says that "sexual pleasure has no purpose at all except in reference to the sexual act between man and wife... it is grievously sinful in the unmarried deliberately to procure or to accept even the smallest degree of true venereal pleasure."
Freud's wisdom was not available to the Popes and theologians who first imposed celibacy upon a reluctant clergy, and they could scarcely be held responsible for failing to appreciate the gravity of the effects upon human nature of suppressing the basic human instincts.
But what do I know? I'm Catholic.
And a threat to truth, justice and the American Way:
These things should be talked about freely because they are too important to be ignored. Yet it must be admitted that millions of Americans are afraid to talk about them frankly and openly. Part of the reluctance to speak comes from fear, fear of Catholic reprisals. As we shall see in this book, the Catholic hierarchy in this country has great power as a pressure group, and no editor, politician, publisher, merchant or motion-picture producer can express defiance openly--or publicize documented facts--without risking his future.SUMMATION: The Catholic Church has no rights that any white man is obliged to respect. . . . Help! Help! We're being repressed!
But fear will not entirely explain the current silence on the Catholic issue. Some of the reluctance of Americans to speak is due to a misunderstanding of the nature of tolerance. Tolerance should mean complete charity toward men of all races and creeds, complete open-mindedness toward all ideas, and complete willingness to allow peaceful expression of conflicting views. This is what most Americans think they mean when they say that they believe in tolerance.
When they come to apply tolerance to the world of religion, however, they often forget its affirmative implications and fall back on the negative cliché, "You should never criticize another man's religion." Now, that innocent-sounding doctrine, born of the noblest sentiments, is full of danger to the democratic way of life. It ignores the duty of every good citizen to stand for the truth in every field of thought. It fails to take account of the fact that a large part of what men call religion is also politics, social hygiene and economics. Silence about "another man's religion" may mean acquiescence in second-rate medicine, inferior education and anti-democratic government.
I believe that every American -- Catholic and non-Catholic -- has a duty to speak on the Catholic question, because the issues involved go to the heart of our culture and our citizenship. Plain speaking on this question involves many risks of bitterness, misunderstanding and even fanaticism, but the risks of silence are even greater. Any critic of the policies of the Catholic hierarchy must steel himself to being called "anti-Catholic," because it is part of the hierarchy's strategy of defense to place that brand upon an its opponents; and any critic must also reconcile himself to being called an enemy of the Catholic people, because the hierarchy constantly identifies its clerical ambitions with the supposed wishes of its people.
It is important, therefore, to distinguish between the American Catholic people and their Roman-controlled priests. The Catholic people of the United States fight and die for the same concept of freedom as do other true Americans; they believe in the same fundamental ideals of democracy. If they controlled their own Church, the Catholic problem would soon disappear because, in the atmosphere of American freedom, they would adjust their Church's policies to American realities.
Unfortunately, the Catholic people of the United States are not citizens but subjects in their own religious commonwealth. The secular as well as the religious policies of their Church are made in Rome by an organization that is alien in spirit and control. The American Catholic people themselves have no representatives of their own choosing either in their own local hierarchy or in the Roman high command; and they are compelled by the very nature of their Church's authoritarian structure to accept nonreligious as well as religious policies that have been imposed upon them from abroad.
It is for this reason that I am addressing Catholics fully as much as non-Catholics in this book, American freedom is their freedom, and any curtailment of that freedom by clerical power is an even more serious matter for them than it is for non-Catholics. I know that many Catholics are as deeply disturbed as I am about the social policies of their Church's rulers; and they are finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile their convictions as American democrats with the philosophy of their priests, their hierarchy and their Pope.
Or . . . 98 percent of Catholic women have used birth control, so there.
It's an old story, alas. It's also one of America's oldest acceptable prejudices, now that we can't kick the Negroes or the homosexuals around anymore. When you can combine fear of the Other with the ideological outrage of "being un-American," you have bigotry with legs.
What is disappointing is that the mainstream media keeps returning to bigots like Marcotte to reinforce warmed-over paranoia like Blanshard's, which was stolen from the Kluxers and the Know-Nothings, which frankly is so alarmingly WASP, not to mention SWPL. Not only that, it just sounded better coming from a 1940s intellectual rather than your typical postmodern vulgarian.
It's rather like the difference between drinking martinis at the club as you bemoan "the Roman problem" and smoking crystal meth at the Blogosphere Acres trailer park because those motherf***ing Catholic fascist motherf***ers make you want to f***ing kill somebody, and WHERE'S MY MOTHERF***ING PLEDGE-DRIVE, STATION-F***ING LOGO TOTE BAG, BITCH??????
Those people, I swear.