Is the Left Waging a War on Religion?

Is the left waging a war on religion? Peter Beinart doesn’t think so, and published a piece in The Atlantic explaining how the war on religion is just a silly conservative canard. As obtuse as this argument might seem, his missive is instructive as a tutorial in how egregiously modern progressives fail to understand what religion is.

Beinart takes his evidence from a recent study showing that many Americans feel pressured to exaggerate their level of religious observance. The study asked people in live phone surveys whether they attend religious services frequently. It then compared their answers to reports from online surveys asking the same question. The overwhelming majority of self-identified conservatives reported in both formats that they do attend religious services. Liberals were significantly more likely to admit in the online format that they do not.

The presumption behind the study is that people feel more pressure to conform to social norms when they are talking to a live human being. This seems plausible. Thus, the disparity between liberals’ answers in live conversation as opposed to online surveys seems to indicate that they see religious observance as a good thing, and regard religious inactivity is a social negative that they feel some pressure to hide.

The survey’s results are indeed interesting. Also interesting to me is the stigma that still evidently attaches to openly professed atheism (which Beinart also discusses). The brash, proselytizing, Richard Dawkins-style atheist may have some cache in our time, but evidence indicates that most people are still reluctant to be seen that way.

But of course, the fact that Americans like to be regarded as (at least nominally) religious doesn’t in any way disprove the claim that the left is waging war on religion. Beinart’s confusion becomes obvious when he offers John Kerry and Barack Obama as examples of liberals who “flaunt” their religious associations. I suppose in a sense it’s true that these political figures “flaunt” their religion; they must pay regular lip service to their ostensible faith commitments, because if they didn’t, nobody would suspect them of having any. Most serious Christians I know regard these men’s public professions of faith as crass opportunism. All faithful Catholics I know are disgusted by the widespread scandal that is caused when apologists for the culture of death self-identify as Catholic.

Beinart sums up his view in the final paragraph where he explains that:

That’s what the “war on religion” types don’t get. Liberals may dislike the political views that religious conservatives espouse, but they’re quite sympathetic to religion itself. Of course, admitting that would make it harder for religious conservatives to play the victim—which is what the “war on religion” is really all about.

So, Mr. Beinart. Allow me to pose a question. What do you take “religion itself” to be?

I doubt he has reflected very deeply on the question; if he had he wouldn’t have written such a childishly simplistic piece. But we can make some strong guesses as to what he has in mind. Religion is a fairly complicated phenomenon, which tends to entail quite a number of things. On the most obvious, observable level, religions organize people into communities which provide mutual support and encourage good behavior. Liberals approve of that. There is considerable evidence, however, that churches that embrace this organizational function as their most central purpose tend to die pretty quickly. (This was the overwhelming lesson of the accomodationist experiments of the 1960’s and 1970’s.) That’s reflective of another well-confirmed fact: people who view religion primarily as a form of moral calisthenics tend to stop going to church, even if, as this survey suggests, they feel a little bit bad about it. The ones who keep coming are the ones who are there to worship God.

Religion survives when it offers transcendence, and a fully fleshed-out worldview that contains life-guiding metaphysical and moral claims. Of course, the problem with that kind of religion is that it really does influence the way people live. Liberal progressives find that distasteful, particularly insofar as religion poses an obstacle to their attempts to remake the culture completely according to their own views and preferences. If we religious conservatives would just get over ourselves and start accepting that church is just a happy occasion for singing songs, drinking coffee with friends, and re-affirming our general commitment to niceness, think how much better the world could be! Beinart has absolutely no problem with that sort of religion.

It’s ironic that Beinart quotes Ann Coulter claiming that politics is the “religion of the left”, and then goes on himself to suggest that it’s only “conservative politics” that he finds objectionable, and not religion. He could hardly have proven Coulter’s point more neatly. As an acolyte in the left’s political religion, Beinart naturally sees politics as the thing that’s worth discussing; religion is offensive insofar as it bleeds into the territory of topics about which he himself has strongly-held views. Nevertheless, he doesn’t believe that he’s anti-religion. He just wants religious people to be reasonable and discerning about their faith, which is to say, they should leave out all the parts that conflict with the views and priorities of liberal journalists like himself.

Could we work a little harder, please, to enable the Peter Beinarts of the world to realize that their liberal materialism has a real and serious foe in religion? It depresses me to be dismissed as a paper tiger.

Rachel Lu

By

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and four boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at rclu.

  • GaudeteMan

    By the time the majority of worshipers wake from their secular slumber it will be too late.

    • Arriero

      – «[…] every totalitarian success against organized religion […]»

      The fight is not between freedom and totalitarism. Marxism (socialism) and anarchism (libertarianism) are faces from the same coin (byproducts of the French Revolution). In fact, Marx was profoundly anarchist: he merely wanted to control the state, but precisely to destroy it (bourgeois state).

      The fight is between Catholic authoritarism and the rest of flawed totalitarisms, including the very awful totalitarian anti-totalitarianism (freedom as the supreme value is another form, and a very disturbing one, of totalitarism).

      Have we forgotten that the Church is an authoritarian, dogmatic and hierarchical Institution? (And I’m using these three adjectives as a compliment, unlike the anti-Government [anti-Church] puppets.)

      It’s a myth thinking that Catholicism can thrive and expand under the current pseudo-democratic regimes. Reality tells us a story. The Church has been losing ground in the last 200 years. That’s a fact, not an opinion.

      Can we decide democratically whether abortion, for instance, is right or wrong? NO. There are things beyond ballots and opinions. THIS MUST BE SAID CLEAR. Yet try to convince someone that this is possible in a country were freedom and democracy are above anything else. Democracy (*), yes, but for what?

      (*) I defend the concept of «procedural democracy» (it’s quite long to be explained here). Everytime and anywhere someone begins to talk about democracy I end asking him or her: Can you define «democracy», please? Nobody has ever given me a proper response. In fact, nobody has a proper answer (I call «democratic fundamentalism» this rethoric about considering democracy, without defining or knowing what it is or means, the supreme value). I’m certainly tired of all this cheap metaphysics rethoric of «freedom», «liberty», «Republic», «democracy»; being all these concepts a product of the very anti-Catholic Robespierran Revolution (while the correct definition of these concepts were already given by the very Catholic Scholastics).

      • DE-173

        “The fight is not between freedom and totalitarism. Marxism (socialism) and anarchism (libertarianism) are faces from the same coin (byproducts of the French Revolution). In fact, Marx was profoundly anarchist: he merely wanted to control the state, but precisely to destroy it (bourgeois state).”

        Blitheringly silly.

        “Have we forgotten that the Church is an authoritarian, dogmatic and hierarchical Institution? (And I’m using these three adjectives as a compliment, unlike the anti-Government [anti-Church] puppets.)”

        The Church is NOT authoritarian. It does not promulgate rules to restrict your free will, but to empower it.

        The only puppet here is you.

      • RufusChoate

        It must be me but I am always intrigued by your posts as an interesting digression from my standard world view. Admittedly I am a great enthusiast of Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

        • Arriero

          Kuehnelt-Leddihn has certainly very interesting studies. I think the socio-political thesis of Leddihn are incredibly accurate. His theses (or similar) have also been exposed by other thinkers, before and after him.

          • Tony

            I know it’s a good day when I find somebody else who likes Erik der Ritter!

      • GaudeteMan

        (NB: I did not mention Church, democracy, freedom, and numerous concepts and phrases you’ve used which have nothing to do with my simplest of points.) But since you brought it up… – “Have we forgotten that the Church is an authoritarian, dogmatic and hierarchical Institution?” Nice adjectives which might grace the pages of secular history books but in 21st century practice simply untrue. The ‘Church’ has authority in as much as Christ sustains it but it is not seen as authoritative by the secular world, much less the majority of Catholics as having any real authority. If they did see it as such, when the Church said ‘jump’ they would ask, ‘how high’ instead of the yawns of cold indifference and the intellectually superior tisk tisks. Same is true regarding dogma – the Church pronounces dogmas yes, so what? Most dogmas are are rejected by the masses and the lion’s shares of American Catholics. No. This hackneyed definition of the Church is just that, a definition. Those that suffer persecution for fidelity to Christ is a much more workable definition of the Church in the context of Mrs. Lu’s article. Your definition of the Church includes the wolves in sheep’s clothing who sell out the faithful on a daily basis for starters and for enders, one which does not resonant with the soldiers who suffer on the front lines for the truth. We need less Catholics who wax philosophically from their easy chairs and more who stand in the cold and rain in front of abortion clinics, embrace, defend and promulgate the totality of Church teaching, especially with respect to faith and morals and of course raise their children in the true faith come hell or high water. NB2: I am not saying you are not a member of the latter.

        • Arriero

          – «[…] it is not seen as authoritative by the secular world»

          We all know that. The two interesting and important questions are: 1) Why does this happen? (or why has this happened?) and 2) How can this situation be turned around? We have the symptoms, maybe we know the illness, but what about the treatment? If you don’t treat the illness, you eventually die.

          – «[…] We need less Catholics who wax philosophically from their easy chairs and more who stand in the cold and rain in front of abortion clinics, embrace, defend and promulgate the totality of Church teaching».

          A big, big part of the problems of the Church in the last 60 years has been due to a lack of true and deep philosophical approach, a real intellectual debate and a true strengthening of theology. I’m not going to rant here about the II Vatican Council (I don’t have many reasons to do it and the Council certainly did some very good things and probably it was very necessary), but from an intellectual point of view, it certainly «popularized» (in a bad sense) Catholic thinking. It’s not the same (of course, there are exceptions) discussing with an old priest who studied before the II Vatican Council than with a priest who is studying now. In fact, Aquinas and the Scholastics are no longer read (or understood) in many Catholic circles. How can a Catholic who has never read this fundamental work be able to defend other issues? The Church cannot permit priests who have never read the most fundamental works of this same Church. Because only then we come to the kind of (sometimes stupid) problems we now face and who were already discussed and solved in the last centuries.

          Having said that (that intellectuality is crucial in Catholicism, as Pope Benedict always said, by the way), I completely agree with you that practical work is necessary. That’s why Spaniards evangelized America and the world. That’s why Catholics have always been evangelizing the whole world. Because the examples you’ve put are examples of «evangelization». The point is that this same evangelization has to be backed by a conceptual framework. That’s the only way the Church can thrive.

  • publiusnj

    The contention that “people feel more pressure to conform to social norms when they are talking to a live human being” is just more leftist disinformation. This country has NO “social norms” any more. What institution dispenses “social norms”? Not the Government(s): the predominant interpretation of the First Amendment is that any code of morals is inherently religious and therefore must be guarded against. Not the public schools for the same reason. Not the “churches.” To the degree there is a majority religion in America any more, it is a vague amalgam of the thousands of Protestant sects (and it is probably just a 49% or so plurality now), and they don’t agree on much of anything other than that the Catholic Church is unbiblical. Because they are in competition with one another for the pew sitters’ ears, they say all kinds of things about just about any moral issue (after all, we are saved by Faith Alone, right?). So, the public officials can ignore what any of them say on the ground that whatever their personal views, Government should not be getting into picking winners or losers.

    So, what are we left with? Voluntary organizations? Like the Boy Scouts? They too can and have been pressured into relaxing any moral standards they might once have had. The result is there are no moral norms and the only acceptable posture for the Government in the view of the Left is Official Amorality. “An Amoral Government is a Constitutional Government.” So after Transgenderism as the next frontier, what will be left? Polygamy?

  • BillinJax

    We may consider what we see as our modern western society
    the height of human achievement and marvel at our accomplishments but at the
    same time are we not also witnessing the obvious collapsing of it both morally
    and structurally? There is an Evil presence among us which many chose to ignore..

    Far too often in recent history we have seen how leaders avoided the moral
    challenges in the light of truth and chosen do their work in the cool comfort
    of political darkness required to maintain power and control where their deeds
    are less visible and the sleepy eyed gatekeepers have often been unwilling to
    sound the alarm for fear of disturbing the peace. As a result decisions have
    been made, choices are in place, and worst of all we have changed our language
    and vocabulary to fit an agenda contrary to our moral conscience. An unborn
    child is no longer a human being. Killing it is not a crime it is a right.
    Pregnancy is a disease or at the very least, as our own president has declared,
    it is a punishment for poor hygiene practice. Preventing pregnancy is praised
    and to be rewarded by a benevolent Federal government with free contraception
    for women and young school aged girls. All the while the same government
    disallows any mention of God in all its public schools and buildings. Religious
    liberty is no longer constitutionally protected but subject to the
    interpretation of bureaucrats in Washington.
    Free speech is soon to be a thing of the past as power hungry elitists and
    legislators have assumed the role of judges of vocabulary allowed to determine
    what can be publicly permissible speech. Every Christian value which helped
    build the shinning city on the hill is being challenged or cast aside to
    establish the Utopia of fools and it is time for us to unmask and reveal the
    Evil presence in the public policies proposed by the blind or misguided
    individuals perpetuating the corruption of our culture. The most potent weapon
    of Evil is our unwillingness to recognize its existence among us in the hearts
    and minds of some of our leaders and their tarnished motivations.

    Pray the hearts of the faithful will be opened that they may be able to see the
    unseen and unmask and reveal the Evil presence among us today.

  • FrankW

    So in Beinart’s mind, as long as your religion does not require anything of you, then there’s no reason to believe that any war on religion is taking place.

    For Beinart and those who think like him, the practice of religion in one’s daily life is a foreign concept. That’s how political liberals can look at the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate and claim that it doesn’t infringe on religious freedom.

    It’s also how Obama can stand before an evil organization (which was originally founded to rid society of undesirable people, including those of Obama’s race) and say “God Bless Planned Parenthood”.

  • Fred

    Rachel
    Thank you for the thoughtful article, much of what you write resonates with me, as does much of what I read at Crises. Erick Erickson had an interesting article today which relates tangentially I think, and is titled “why are you so angry”. The supportive but angry posts of course tell you all you need to know, and already know, about the state of great divide in our country. I too struggle because I feel nausea every day as I read about the incompetence, immorality and hypocrisy in what passes for the state of our government and the current temporary occupant in our house on Pennsylvania Avenue whom I can barely call by name. I know the forces of tyranny are strong, but I wonder how much we collectively share in the state of affairs by not being stronger defenders of our faith. I have a conservative mindset but I see the spectacle of politics, Republicans and Democrats, in a new light. Yes they are a few important differences, but they seem more the same than different. I still think that part of the way that things became the way they did is because conservatives tend to go about their business more privately whereas progressives make it their business to control your life through government because it is their religion of collectivism. After 55 years I just was baptized and confirmed, and oddly enough part of the reason for that grew out of disgust. When I turned my life over to God I truly felt a peace I never imagined before and see things totally differently. Jesus shows us the way and we have not done such a great job at following – or we would not see the crises of lower numbers hearing and heading the call to holy orders, the closing of churches, and a growing number of people without faith and sad. We can lay the blame with bishops, priests, politicians, and others, but if we don’t stand up for our faith and more importantly share the joy that comes from loving Christ then we have a role to play in the state of affairs. By we of course I’m sharing a personal introspection and of course there are a great many that do just that, but there are a great many who are timid, unsure and afraid of being rejected by a growing secular culture. It is hard to loosen the bind of oneself from earthly things, but eternal life is in heaven and can only come through a personal relation with Christ. I am trying to loosen the straps that bind me.

    • DE-173

      “Erick Erickson had an interesting article today which relates tangentially I think, and is titled “why are you so angry”.”

      The problem with Erickson:

      https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=www.crisismagazine.com&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=banned+by+redstate

      • Thomas

        IS THAT A PLEDGE PIN!!!??? ON YOUR UNIFORM!!!!!!????

        • DE-173

          “I can’t believe I threw up in front of Dean Wormer. Face it Flounder, you threw up on Dean Wormer.”

          • Thomas

            “Give up?

            Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

            Hell no!”

          • Fred

            Your replies gave me a laugh, thanks (sincere). Like we all do here, I read a lot of different material and I find the varying perspectives worthwhile. I do like reading a lot of what Erick has to write, but I could have left his name out here because it wasn’t really relevant (wouldn’t want to plagiarize). The real point being is that we can do more to be the agents of change and not expect others to do the heavy lifting, and more to the point live our faith outwardly with the utmost joy and not in anger to help others realize the love that flows from loving Christ. Before the holy spirit entered my life I could never have imagined writing that just a year or two ago, but my conversion if you will gives me hope that the most hardened nay-sayers can be brought into the light. I’m not naive enough to think that all will though, and though it’s hard to I pray for those I might otherwise view my enemies (sometimes), and for my patience with them. The so called atheists, agnostics and progressives bother me less and less though as they are longing yet they can’t grasp quite yet eternity and so cling to pride. The clash of civilizations I believe will ultimately be between faiths ironically, not of those who have none because they are passionless now, but there is a faith in the world that believes in the destruction and dehumanization of all who are not like them. Our persecution is growing daily and we should remain aware and prepare. I don’t wish to be a martyr, but many are called to be each day by this religion of peace in the world. Did anyone else notice how big Obama’s smile got yesterday when the father of soldier who deserted said praise be to Allah.

  • RufusChoate

    Thanks, this is a fine examination of the long standing disconnect between the Left’s view of themselves as being super-rationale and exceptionally good people and the horrid and insane brutality of the society they create with their policies and beliefs.
    Peter Beinart like most Leftist has the same puerile line of argument on the persecution of faith as any other policies difference. Essentially he states that he is a good person and those who opposed his received wisdom are not. When they complain about his political identity’s disparagement of their moral teachings or voice concerns about government involvement in redefining the ethical framework of Western Civilization it is the Left who is persecuted by being forced to fib about their religious observance and beliefs because being an Atheist is stigmatized. His article is so petulantly childish that it is comic.

    All one has to do is go to any article written about the Catholic Church on its stance on Abortion, Birth Control or Homosexual Marriage or on any other topic and read the comments and find that the Left and the Most radical Fundamentalist Protestants fill the page with the most vile vituperative invective usually revolving about “Child Molesting” Priests, excessive wealth and repressive Patriarchy and that the Church has to update its belief to survive.
    Implicit in that call to “update belief to survive” is a threat of repression. For the Left that is always the end result: Oppression, destruction of opposition and Forced uniformity.

  • Roger Sidoti

    After reading both Beinart’s views and the views of fellow responders, my question would be “Is it possible to have a ‘liberal” world view and be a good Catholic?

    • RufusChoate

      Yes indeed, Isn’t it rich irony that his readers invalidate every point he makes. I am more intrigued about whether you can be on the Left and still be considered sane or honest.

      • DE-173

        LIberalism (i.e., collectivism, statism, secularism) is a mental disorder.

        • Arriero

          Liberalism, in Europe, means Libertarianism.

          It’s interesting that the word Liberalism has these two meanings depending the place. It shows, probably, that Libertarianism and Social-democracy are two faces from the same coin.

          • DE-173

            “Liberalism, in Europe, means Libertarianism.”

            I don’t care. I’m not sure you even know what libertarianism means, because I don’t think the adherents know what it means.

            Since I specified what I mean by it, that’s what is relevant to me.

            It shows, probably, that Libertarianism and Social-democracy are two faces from the same coin.

            No, “social democracy” is the pretentious and polite face of collectivism. Libertarianism, being as it is, inchoate and incoherent, is nothing, so it can’t be the obverse of anything. Ayn Rand’s description of libertarians as “hippies of the right” is as good an explanation as any, and proof that even a stopped clock is correct twice per day.

    • Jay

      It was liberal Catholics who fought for the rights of African-Americans in the 50s and 60s. Even Conservative Catholics (preists among them) wanted “negros” out of “white” parishes. So the answer to your question is YES. Read John McGreevey’s, Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter With Race in the Twentieth-Cenurie.

      Also, thus notion on Left vs Right is exactly why I believe the American Catholic Chuch will someday split like Anglican Church did. This is purely an American issue(s). I recall an interview John Allen did with a another reporter that lived in South Africa (I believe) and he had to spend 15 minutes explaining what Left versus Right is in America.

      This article explains exactly how the Culture Wars will destroy the Catholic Church in the U.S.

      • JP

        Heterodox Catholics only joined the Civil Rights Movement when it was safe to do so. And then they really didn’t get involved until the Black Power Movement.

        • Jay

          They were forced to respond though when blacks moved into parish boundaries. Again, liberals were part of the interracial camp and conservatives were fine happy with segregated parishes.

          • Art Deco

            I would refer you to some of Andrew Greeley’s remarks over the years on the subject of building integrated neighborhoods. Summary: it ain’t easy. What he did not say: it usually fails.

          • Interested

            Perhaps that is from some PBS propaganda tv show?

      • cestusdei

        Very simplistic. It was the Republicans who were the part of African Americans and the Democrats were for segregation. Liberals typically move out of mixed neighborhoods. Is Georgetown in DC white or black, liberal or conservative? They then send their children to private schools, mostly with white children.

        • Jay

          What??? In what era are you referring to? Can you give me credible evidence? Read McGreevey’s book. Actually read all of his scholarship. He’s a good historian.

          • Interested

            And liberal, too.

            • Jay

              How so?

              • Interested

                Really?

          • Art Deco

            Jay, if you’re rendering his thesis correctly, he’s a mediocre historian, by making anachronistic and manipulative use of political terminology as a weapon in a very contemporary argument.

            • Jay

              That’s your opinion. Can you give specifics?

              • Art Deco

                You offered the summary.

                I’m not motivated to read him.

                He’s a regular contributor to Commonweal, which is the favored publication of the careerist middle management of the Church. He landed a faculty position at Notre Dame. He advertises his contributions to the New York Review of Books, which reflects the tastes and prejudices of the academic intelligentsia in general and publishes no friends of the Church. He is also an occasional contributor to The New Republic. No one with visceral loyalty to the Church as an institution would have submitted a piece to that publication in the last 12 years.

                He blogs at Commonweal. Look at his topics, most of which are insipid. These aside, the Church is an interesting ant farm for this man. He evinces no other attachment to it. He admires Garry Wills. The non-academic publications he reads include The New Republic, The Nation, and The New York Review of Books, full stop. You were expecting perhaps Policy Review, or The Wilson Quarterly, or City Journal, or Our Sunday Visitor, perhaps? Think again. He repeatedly refers to controversies over ‘gay’ ‘marriage’, but neither criticizes the practice substantively nor criticizes the courts on procedural grounds. He links approvingly to a piece by one of Michael Moore’s collaborators.

                The man is entitled to take an interest in whatever interests him. The thing is, his interests were selected with an eye to landing an academic job or he really is interested in the sort of things which have distorted and disfigured the study of American history in the last several decades (see KC Johnson on this point).

                Some of us have contended for some time with partisan Democrats who cherry-pick their preferred causes from the past and then lash them to their party in contemporary controversies. It’s a silly and often asinine exercise. If that’s not his deal, that’s not his deal. It’s your summary I am addressing.

                He allowed in 1999 that he did not think ‘liberal Catholicism’ is an ‘exhausted project’. He’s right, the last LCWR sister isn’t dead yet.

                And neither his he. I think I can recognize an institutional parasite without ploughing through two academic monographs on subjects about which I do not much care.

                • Jay

                  That’s fine, but I’m less willing to criticize someone else’s scholarship if I haven’t read it.

          • RufusChoate

            The implausibility of your belief in the Left’s nobility in any cause is monumental but I fear you will never be able to overcome it. It is an obdurate ignorance that I have only seen on the Left because if you understood the truth you would never be on the Left. .

          • cestusdei

            I lived in DC. I also lived in other cities where I watched it happen. How many rich white liberals send their kids to public school?

            • Jay

              I agree. I’m not trying to defend liberalism (although re-reading some of my posts, I can come across as defending). I won’t demonize the other side though.

              Hell, I live about 30 minutes from Boulder, Colorado. Most the residents are part of the “Bourgeoisie Left.” They have very little interest in helping alleviate poverty. The Urban Left, the real individuals who struggle every day with poverty, I have much more respect for and I will refuse to demonize.

              • Art Deco

                The Urban Left, the real individuals who struggle every day with
                poverty, I have much more respect for and I will refuse to demonize.

                There are central city politicians who take an interest in the quality of life in the slums, as well as students of urban policy who take an interst. The ‘Urban Left’ has no use for them. The ‘Urban Left’ is all about building patron-client relationships, full stop.

            • DE-173

              None of the ones that go to Choate or Sidwell Friends.

      • fredx2

        Your statements are far too simplistic.

        “While Birmingham’s fire hoses and police dogs roiled the nation, GOP senators issued this statement in June 1963: “The Republican Members of the U.S. Senate … reassert the basic principles of the party with respect to civil rights, and further affirm that the president, with the support of Congress, consistent with its duties as defined in the Constitution, must protect the rights of all U.S. citizens regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin.”

        Then they put their words into action. The 1964 Civil Rights Act passed the House with 80% of the GOP vote, compared with support from only 61% of Democrats. In the Senate, 82% of Republicans voted for it; only 69% of Democrats did. When the Voting Rights Act passed one year later, Republicans again outpaced the Democrats”

        And:

        “Within the Diocese of Mobile, the civil rights movement complicated relationships between white and black Catholics. In 1963 an African American Mobile man tried to attend mass at a white parish in Orrville. Members of the parish refused him entry, forcing him to drive 15 miles to the nearest African American parish in Selma. Prior to the civil rights era, he might have been allowed to attend the Orrville service, but by 1963 race relations were too volatile for white Alabamians to deviate from the community’s racial status quo. The man complained to the archbishop, who threatened to close the small church if parishioners ever again denied a fellow Catholic—white or black—the right to attend mass. White parishioners, stunned at the archbishop’s reaction, agreed to comply.”

        • Jay

          Where are you getting these quotes from?

          • Art Deco

            Jay, these are commonplaces. Not too difficult to locate. You’re not from around here are you?

            • Jay

              But if it’s in quotes, I need the sources.

              Am I new to around here? Yes, I’m a brand new Catholic (as of April) but I’m leaving the Church, yes…already. The Church is not “One” like I was promised it is.

              • Art Deco

                Lexis-Nexis Congressional likely can direct you to contemporary Congressional votes. I would try an academic library or a metropolitan central library.

                I’ll give you a teaser: the six Republican senators who voted ‘No’ were Cotton of New Hampshire, Hickenlooper of Iowa, Simpson of Wyoming, Mechem of New Mexico, Goldwater of Arizona, and Tower of Texas.

                Any American history textbook will tell you that prior to 1933, the Democratic Party in toto was no friend of the black population. Mrs. Roosevelt was the salient figure in bringing around the Northern wing thereof. Woodrow Wilson was one of maybe two or three post-bellum Presidents who had it in for the blacks.

                • Thomas

                  Dude, I honestly think you must work in Langley.

                  Or, are you the character played by Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor?

                • Jay

                  Perhaps, but Lyndon Johnson turned the tables…didn’t he.

                  Read John McGreevey’s books, the one I’ve already noted as well “Catholicism and American Freedom.” He’s the dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame. Well researched and argued. The Catholicism and American Freedom text was used in my grad history course last fall.

                  • RufusChoate

                    No Lyndon Johnson decided that he would capture the Black vote in the time tested method of the democrat party by massive patronage and transfers of wealth.

                  • Interested

                    He is a Leftist.

              • Thomas

                Jay, the Church is “one.” But that does not mean that every soul will agree on political, social, economic, or cultural matters.

                Every time you walk up to the altar and receive the Holy Eucharist, you know we are one.

                Read all of the Gospel of John, Chapter 17.

                Peace be to you.

                • Jay

                  The Church is NOT one. Just wait and see. The Bishops Synod in Oct will just be the tipping point. The Episcopal Church split because of the Culture Wars and I’m predicting the Catholic Church, at least in the U.S. will follow its footsteps.

                  • Thomas

                    Listen carefully….relax, breathe through your nostrils, and repeat: “I believe in one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church…”
                    Now, open your Catechism of the Catholic Church to paragraph 811 through 822 and read. AND, never forget this when you start searching for the true meaning of the word, “Church:”
                    You are in the true Church, founded by Jesus and handed down through the ages to fallible human successors! Are you breathing through your nostrils? Relax! Don’t ever compare the knock offs, the protesters, to the real deal. You are in the company of giants: Augustine, the Fathers and Doctors, Aquinas, Newman, Chesterton, and all the Saints. Now, do you need me to say anything else?
                    Lastly, take some time off from reading apologetics and theology. Put your nose into Catholic spiritual works, if you haven’t done so already. You need any suggestions?

                  • RufusChoate

                    Too funny, the Episcopal Church is the creation of an impotent lecherous murderous tyrant and was an instrument of the English state it had no divine sanction. Once the state collapsed so did the Episcopal/Anglican Church.

              • DE-173

                “The Church is not “One” like I was promised it is.”

                Then why are you on a site for the faithful Catholic laity?

              • RufusChoate

                Please go and bon voyage but do the world a favor. Read more and converse with adults.

                • Jay

                  No problem. I’ll say Bon voyage to Catholcism as well.

                  If you don’t think I read enough, perhaps I’ll email you my reading list in my graduate program just so you can approve them.

                  • John200

                    A friendly hint: You might also become an adult before you leave the Church in a huff because someone contradicted you in a combox.

                    Your reading list, while surely valuable, does not impress your interlocutors. Many of them (us) have read extensively and are highly literate. Many have advanced degrees. I have three graduate degrees in real disciplines; not Crybaby Studies, not Socalled Sciences, not in Education, not Phys Ed,…

                    But I don’t need to tell you that. You are experiencing the effects. I hope you don’t run off because of this discussion. Really, give it a go. What can you lose?

                    • Jay

                      I can hang.

                  • RufusChoate

                    What is your graduate degree in? Anything in the Liberal Arts and not in the Physical or Analytic Sciences is merely an avoidance of chronic unemployment and not worthwhile scholarship.

                    • Jay

                      I’m a grad student in American history at the Unviversity of Northern Colorado.

                    • RufusChoate

                      The defense rests. You’re unemployable and avoiding the harsh reality of the Left’s economy. .

                    • Jay

                      I’m a teacher!

                    • Art Deco

                      http://www.unco.edu/grad/pdf/unc_history_11.pdf

                      You get a date out of the bird?

                    • Jay

                      Ha! no…my wife of 13 years would disapprove (We both came into the Church this April). She is much more devout than I am. She told me the other day on our anniversary that if she hadn’t married me, should probably would have become a nun! Meanwhile, I struggle day-to-day with my new faith. I have my good days, and bad days.

                      My grad committee is Haberman, Syrett, and Tomlin. All are very young historians, but they’re excellent scholars and even better teachers. The department had a rash of retirements the past couple years with late-boomers retiring.

                      http://www.unco.edu/history/facstaff.html

                    • Art Deco

                      The department had a rash of retirements the past couple years with late-boomers retiring.

                      Late boomers? I tend to doubt that many people born ca 1956 are retiring.

                    • Jay

                      I’m sure early retirement pensions are/were given. It’s a good program. It has certainly made me a better teacher.

                    • Jay

                      I generally mean the older boomers

                    • Art Deco

                      I take it you chose the program for its proximity. They only advertise eight graduate courses in American history and the topics are miscellaneous. It could be worse. It looks like they hired only one or two sectaries.

                    • Jay

                      I also got my undergrad there (in history), so I became familiar with the program. It’s also a teachers school, and that’s my career. I like it because it’s a small program and I’m not just a number to them. The profs know how to teach as well as produce scholarship, so it’s the best of both worlds.

                    • DE-173

                      I also got my undergrad there (in history),

                      You do know that’s called “academic incest”, right?

              • Interested

                It is not the Church founded by Christ? What were you “promised”?

              • David M Paggi

                The Church is truly One, as in “One Lord, one faith, one Baptism,” but she is also one in that every single one of her members are sinners. The Church is One in her Head, Jesus Christ, and in her doctrine and moral teaching, which are as logically coherent as they are demanding and difficult.

                There are many who consider Jesus merely as a great moral teacher or tragic historical figure. However, if one reads the Gospels, that is precisely what He can’t be, because unlike any other historical religious leader He claims to be divine, in no uncertain terms. He therefore is either the greatest liar or lunatic the world has ever known, or He is Who He says He is.

                You have the same decision with regard to the Church: she is either the Bride of Christ or the Whore of Babylon. The Church’s claim is remarkably similar to her Founder’s; she does not consider herself one of many Christian denominations. She rather is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in whom Christ invested His authority (Mt. 28:20) and acts on His behalf in proclaiming His Gospel.

                Along with a remarkable roster of saints, the Successors of Peter have often enough been inept, venal, or even notoriously decadent. Benedict IX bought & sold the papacy three times, while Stephen IV actually had his predecessor exhumed & put on trial. Despite all this, the Church remains the world’s oldest continuously functioning institution.

                There is only one reason to believe anything – if it is true. If you didn’t really believe in Christ or His Church, then you really should not have gone through with receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. If however, you were convinced of the truth of the Church’s claims, then you should consider seriously that you could put your immortal soul in deadly peril if you turn your back on what is true.

                Truth is rarely fashionable or comfortable. It is not easy to accept and even more difficult to live by; I am a miserable failure at both. It would be so much easier for me to give up and find a more “doable” path. However, having confronted a similar quandary I decided to follow Peter rather than Judas. I urge and pray you find the resolve to do the same.

                Whether or not I agree with the opinions you offered is not nearly as important to you (or me) as your eternal destiny. I’m not a priest or preacher, just moved to give you a word of encouragement in what appears to be a rough patch in your journey. While I can tell you that the goal is worthwhile and its pursuit is joyful, it remains the “pearl of great price.”

                To be Christian is to lose everything, in order to gain everything. To be a Catholic Christian is to dwell in the fullest expression of God’s Truth, at sometimes greater cost.

                God Bless!

        • Jay
          • RufusChoate

            This is simply an absurd Leftist assault on the truth that manipulates data until it fits their pre-conceived notion. It might be more germane to discuss how many Democrats died defending Slavery and oppression.
            The Guardian argued for over 60 years that America not the Soviet Union was the greatest threat to Liberty in the world.

            • Jay

              You can’t compare the Dem of the 19th Cent to what it is today. Moreover you can’t say today’s Rep party is the party of Lincoln.

              • Art Deco

                Jay, you had Democratic segregationist pols in Congress during my lifetime as a voting citizen. I’m not that old.

                Both parties have proven to be vessels for the dyads of the day. Currently, the Democratic Party is the electoral vehicle promoting what Thomas Sowell called “the Vision of the Anointed”. The Republicans are the vehicle for every social strand vexed by this.

              • RufusChoate

                You seem to avoid every crime of the Left except reputedly its fantastical record on Civil Rights.

                Try the 20th Century, Harry S. Truman was a Klansman and Progressive, Justice Hugo Black (creator of the legal doctrine of the separation of Church and State) was a Klansman, Rabid Anti-Catholic Bigot and Progressive. and Senator Robert Byrd was a Klansman and a Progressive. The Left has elevated the concept of Race and Class to be key components of the Comprehensive State. The Soviet Union inspired by the Leftist Eugenic Program of the University of Wisconsin and the Birth Control League of Sanger in the 1920’s and built the first Concentration Camps, Death Camps and Labor Camps to eliminate the unwanted. The Left in America from the time of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement supported Fascist Italy, National Socialist Germany and the USSR until they turned on a dime when Hitler invade the Soviet Union.

                The democrat party and the Left today are the party of Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Mengele, Lenin, Hitler, Mao and have embraced and praised every totalitarian dictatorship for the last 90 years.

                The likelihood that the same party that has embraced the elevation of one Race to the status of permanent victim for crimes that the same Democrat Party inflicted on them is so implausible that only an incredibly guilty conscience could conceive of such an audacious lie to allay their guilt.

                • Art Deco

                  Try the 20th Century, Harry S. Truman was a Klansman and Progressive

                  No. Truman had no use for the Klan nor any association with it. He was also a stalwart of the Kansas City Democratic machine; he had no ‘progressive’ associations at all as the term would have been used when he first ran for office in 1923. As for Byrd, his Klan affiliation was quite gratuitous and bizarre and reflective of at the time, the Klan had lost more than 98% of its peak membership and was on the verge of formal dissolution. Byrd entered electoral politics in 1946, so referring to him as a ‘Progressive’ would be anachronistic unless he was associated with the LaFollete crew in Wisconsin or with Henry Wallace’s organization.

                  • Art Deco

                    ‘reflective of an abnormal hostility to blacks at the time”

                  • RufusChoate

                    Sorry but Truman joined and paid the membership fee and like all Klan-Democrat Hybrids he adapted with the times and the fact that he used what Democrat political machine of Kansas City that he had available to advance his career doesn’t prove that he wasn’t a Progressive. Wallace/LaFollette as cult of personality demagogues were competitors for Truman and it again is no surprise he avoiding being subsumed into their orbit.
                    If you indulge in reading his Senate speeches it is clear that he is a New Deal Progressive.

                    Byrd joined because he was a racist. It isn’t really all that complex an equation and he voted firmly on the Left/Progressive side of the aisle for his entire.

                    Why no apologia for Hugo Black? . Oh I understand he was pure evil .

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan_members_in_United_States_politics

                    • Art Deco

                      Sorry but Truman joined and paid the membership fee and like all
                      Klan-Democrat Hybrids he adapted with the times and the fact that he
                      used what Democrat political machine of Kansas City that he had
                      available to advance his career doesn’t prove that he wasn’t a
                      Progressive.

                      Yes it does, if the term has any meaning other than ‘someone who irritates Rufus retrospectively’. There is more than one strand to Progressive-era thought, but antagonism to patron-client machines operated by the likes of Th. Pendergast was bedrock. Truman’s biographers find no indication he was personally on the take, but he played piano in that whorehouse for over 20 years and was a dear personal friend of the sons of the Boss. If HST is ‘Progressive’, everyone with a pulse beat qualifies for the term.

                      It appears Truman did have a nominal Klan membership before he was a public official. My regrets. The Pendergast machine had the local black population as one of its client groups, as noted here:

                      http://statehistoricalsocietyofmissouri.org/cdm/ref/collection/mhr/id/35771

                      Truman was not at all hostile to blacks in the course of his public career.

                    • RufusChoate

                      Truman was constantly redefining himself and obscuring his political affiliations to suit his opportunities and ambitions. As if you read his legislative inclinations and Senatorial Speeches as I suggested you could clearly see the Progressive strain coupled with is New Deal enthusiasms and anti-business rhetoric in his thought process.

                      His 1948 nomination speech has enough evidence of his progressive inclination.

                      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/truman-nomination48/

                      I am familiar with his Kansas City ties but I am also aware that he while balking at the Anti-Catholic policies of the Klan avoiding acting upon the Desegregation of the Military and all of the Civil Rights proposals of the 1946 and 1948 Congress which repealed most of the New Deal programs.

                    • Art Deco

                      Congress did not repeal the salient New Deal programs. Again, using the term ‘Progressive’ to describe Truman is to rob it of its very particular meaning.

          • Art Deco

            Jay, that is not a facially valid use of statistical method. It amounts to saying that if you exclude members of the Democratic caucus who voted against this bill, the remainder have a higher rate of support than the whole of the Republican caucus. Pretty silly.

      • Interested

        Do you believe that propaganda?

      • Art Deco

        Dr. McGreevey’s vitae notes.

        and has published articles and reviews in the Journal of American History, Commonweal, the New Republic,

        He’s arguing on behalf of his own. How many of those articles in Commonweal and The New Republic [?] consisted of an honest dissection of the demographic implosion of the religious orders, the ruin of the Catholic colleges, contemporary Catholic hymnody, the annulment mill, or the identification of the Catholic press with the Church’s enemies?

        I’ll summarize his volume concisely: “Look, squirrel!”.

        • Jay

          Have you read his texts?

      • RufusChoate

        Mythic stories of comforting self validation are always the last resort of the Left. They create a world where the murder of children based on race and gender is endorsed then pat themselves on the back that they were able to transition from White Racism to Black Racism without their constituents noticing and still maintain the same programs.

        The Left is about power not justice or liberty.

    • fredx2

      Oh absolutely. Go read Public Catholic. She is a Democrat and a Catholic.

      • DE-173

        ” She is a Democrat and a Catholic.”

        Is she being treated for her schizophrenia?

      • RufusChoate

        Not really, She is a democrat solely on the left once you move past her putative claim of being pro-life.

        She behaves like your standard totalitarian Leftist and refuses to publish your post if you have the temerity to put out that she belongs to the political party of the Klan,institutional racism, Slavery, Miscegenation, Jim Crow and a host of other morally reprehensible policies.

        Her columns are enervated solipsistic pap without intellectual or moral integrity.

        I don’t care what party she belongs to but she is a Tartuffean fraud in any attire.

  • Adrian J Reimers

    Several years ago, when an aging colleague had suddenly to withdraw from teaching for a semester, I inherited his “Philosophy of Religion” class and in fairly short order to come up with a reading list and strategy. What at first seemed like a reasonably easy task actually posed a difficult puzzle. What is “religion”? Of course I knew. I practice a religion, going to Mass often, praying, reading my Bible, obeying the moral law (as best I could). The problem was, however, that my course was to be on philosophy of RELIGION and not philosophy of CHRISTIANITY or CATHOLICISM. “Religion” turns out to be a rather ambiguous term. (The ancient Romans had a religion that demanded nothing but occasional sacrifices at altars and participation in ceremonies from time to time.)
    About a year or so ago, Nicholas Kristoff wrote a piece in the NY Times about whether Islam constitutes a threat to the international order. His conclusion was that Islam itself does not, because Islam “is only a religion”. He may (or may not) have been right about whether Islam is a threat, but the “only a religion” remark was way off the mark. In some cases at least—for instance, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—one’s religion is everything. The phrase “only a religion” betrays a serious misunderstanding. Of course, no one wages war against a religion that is “only a religion”.
    But there can very well be a war against Christianity or Jews or Islam.

    • Thomas

      Has the Left always waged a war on religion, or did it start after 9/11? This may seem like a poor question, but from what I have seen and read since the attack on the World Trade Center Towers, atheists and Leftists tend to view “fundamentalist” religion as being highly warlike. Of course, being so profoundly peaceful themselves (smirk), the Left attributes most violence to religion and its followers.

      • publiusnj

        Cardinal Wyzynski, the Polish Primate throughout the Post War Period until the 1980s knew that the Left was waging war on religion back then. So did the archbishops of Paris in 1871-73 and in 1793-99.

        • Thomas

          Yes, of course, the French Revolution, clearly. Very interesting how the left has attributed so much death to religion without taking responsibility for their share of bloodshed. Thank you.

      • DE-173

        9/11 was the perfect example of never letting a good crisis going to waste. It was the perfect opportunity to sell the panoptican state in the name of security.

        • Thomas

          The terrorists scared the Lefties. Their response to the airplane attacks was to declare that religion creates crazy murderers. So, here at home, they capitulated to Islam, elected a man as president who would embrace the Brotherhood, and then went on the attack against Christianity.

          • DE-173

            Simpler. The enemy of my enemy (Christianity) is my friend.

        • Art Deco

          Dunno, Adam. In Britain, security cameras are omnipresent. Almost the same deal here, just that they are predominantly privately owned.

          • DE-173

            We have more rent seekers.

    • It’s always possible to go too far in the opposite direction. I read a lot of atheists who treat Religion (always as if it should be capitalized) in the same manner that Hegel treated History — i.e., as an independent, blind force of Nature.

  • JP

    “That’s what the “war on religion” types don’t get. Liberals may dislike
    the political views that religious conservatives espouse, but they’re
    quite sympathetic to religion itself. Of course, admitting that would
    make it harder for religious conservatives to play the victim—which is
    what the “war on religion” is really all about.”

    Beinart’s comments are akin to an executioner saying to the person he is about to execute, “You really don’t know how hard this is for me. I’m the real victim here, not you.” The Left is on a full frontal assault against religion (via the courts, federal regulations, the media, and pop culture). Saying the Left is sympathetic to religion is not only patent nonsense, but it is insulting.

    • fredx2

      A small correction. So long as religion supports Democratic party policy, it is viewed as a good thing. If it contradicts those policies, it is seen as something that should be crushed. it is entirely political.

      • DE-173

        A small correction. “So long as religion is SUBORDINATE to Democratic party policy, …”

  • cestusdei

    It is a war and we are losing. We will win in the end though. In my childhood no federal or state government would have thought of imposing HHS mandates. There has been a constant erosion of religious liberty and it will only get worse.

  • DE-173

    Of course the left is waging a war on religion.

    The left is really a coalition various grievants who propose that government is as an omniscient, in-corrupt and benevolent deity that provides for order, justice and equity, often with a true objective of advancing a peculiar interest and without regard for the consequences of a metastatic superstate.

    In short, they are idolaters, making a god out of the state.

    Now the reality is that government is anything but, but like votaries of other false gods, the objective is forced worship. The easiest way to obtain forced worship is to make the person stand alone against others with only the state to mediate against the vicissitudes of fortune and whim. Consider the things the left has worked to destroy, deform or subordinate:

    The Family
    Fraternal Organizations and other Voluntary Organizations
    Private Property
    Commercial Enterprises
    Local and Municipal Government
    State Government

    Each of those things is now seriously wounded and dependent on the federal government, or its functionaries.

    There is only one last thing that stands between man and the indifferent herd we call society -religion. It must be destroyed in order to make the individual person a willing subject.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Lord Acton summed it up very well: “Civil and religious liberty are so commonly associated in people’s mouths, and are so rare in fact, that their definition is evidently as little understood as the principle of their connection. The point at which they unite, the common root from which they derive their sustenance, is the right of self-government. The modern theory, which has swept away every authority except that of the State, and has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

      • DE-173

        I’m glad to know I’m in good and more eloquent company.

  • fredx2

    Here is the difference: The left Is not waging a war against religion itself. They are waging a war against traditional Christianity – the kind that has existed in this country since the start.
    Since ‘religion” in this country mostly consists of traditional Christianity, they are seen as waging a war against religion itself. They are not.
    So long as religion can be used to forward liberal political goals, they are all for it. They praise religion when it opposes the death penalty, helps the poor, supports immigration reform, supports gay marriage.
    In short, to the extent that religion opposes the liberal agenda, they believe it must be crushed. To the extent it supports it, it may survive.

    • DE-173

      When they came for the Jews, I said nothing because I was Catholic.
      When they came for the Catholics, I said nothing because I was Protestant,
      When they came for the Protestants, I said nothing because I was agnostic.
      When they came for the agnostics, I said nothing because I was an atheist.
      Today they came for me, and there was nobody else.

  • msmischief

    Online surveys? How did they prevent their becoming a SLOP — Self-selected Listener Opinion Poll — notorious for their inaccuracy?

  • Don Campbell

    The Left doesn’t like God’s moral law. So they have taken one of two approaches.
    1. They abandon all pretense and reject God altogether; hence the rise of agressive atheism.
    – OR –
    2. They can’t quite let go so they pretend to reshape God’s moral law in their own image and continue to profess to be Christians; hence what we have with the Mainline Protestant demominations and so-called “dissenting” Catholics.
    Both groups have put Man in God’s place. They are worshipping Man rather than God. They are, therefore, waging war against God, and war against God’s Church. The former openly acknowledge that this is what they are doing; the latter are perhaps delusional or in denial.

  • Paul

    The Left has always been waging wars against religion, and in particular against Christianity, thanks to the likes of Engels & Marx and all the different brands of Socialism stretching back to the days shortly before the French Revolution.
    According to the Left : religion = the belief in God = rules & constraints which , to them, means they cannot realize their full “potentials”. So far history has proved that the only potentials they have achieved are ALL detrimental to society and humanity. The Left still has not come to terms that potentials can be both good and bad, sadly Man’s potentials (without God) have been to this day terribly bad.
    Great article !!!

  • Art Deco

    Fr. Neuhaus noted a number of years ago that Christopher Hitchens had a notice he provided for those offering commissions: that he was willing to write to space and deadline on any topic but mathematics and natural science. Beinart’s in the same line of work. Beinart’s problem is one Thomas Sowell remarked as a signature of the anointed: he confounds intelligence with expertise (and presumably manifests Sowell’s corollary, confounding intelligence with articulateness).

    • Interested

      Love it.

      • slainte

        I always loved listening to Hitchens…didn’t agree with most of what he said…but loved how he said it.

  • hombre111

    Nobody was more hypocritical about religion than Ronald Reagan. When he got elected, I was appalled. But he had said so much about right to life, and so I thought, at last, here is the eloquent man who is going to do something about Roe vs. Wade. But it was just a tactic to get elected. He failed to walk the talk. At least he stayed away from church on a fairly regular basis.
    The ordinary liberals of my acquaintance are appalled, not so much by religion in general, but by the conservative, evangelical brand which denies science, despises gays, and supports predatory capitalism. But they do consider themselves upstanding Catholics and they work hard to make their parishes go. Other liberals, I don’t know. I do know that many of the young people of my acquaintance drop out of the Church because of its attitude toward gays and women.
    I do think there is a general prejudice against religion in academic, literary circles, where so many of the atheists of the world abide. But that was going on when I was a campus minister forty years ago. No sudden resurgence of hostilities, things were bad enough then. But somehow I was always called upon to minister to the university where I worked, whenever there was a moment of tragedy or grief.

    • Art Deco

      Nobody was more hypocritical about religion than Ronald Reagan.

      Nobody is more ignorant of contemporary history than are you. Reagan confronted what every President has confronted: the establishment bar are dead set against decency. He never had the kind of base in Congress that would have allowed him to crack their arrogant heads.

      At least he stayed away from church on a fairly regular basis.

      Reagan was, all his life, a member of the Disciples of Christ, which is a non-creedal sect. That included attending the college run by the sect (of which his brother was a trustee). His obligations under their discipline would be pretty vague. We have it on the word of his son that Reagan was a regular churchgoer between 1961 and at least 1970. I am not sure his habits are tracked for other era. He was disinclined to attend services often during his time in office because he traveled with a clanking security cordon.

    • Art Deco

      The ordinary liberals of my acquaintance are appalled, not so much by
      religion in general, but by the conservative, evangelical brand which
      denies science, despises gays, and supports predatory capitalism.

      They traffic in malicious caricature and so do you. Yay.

      • tamsin

        Excuse me, but did Art Deco just use the expression,”Yay.”? Woot!

    • Art Deco

      When he got elected, I was appalled.

      What’s your point? That your gross misapprehension of social and civic life has at least a 33 year pedigree?

      • hombre111

        Saint Ronald’s election marked the triumph of our conservative approach to economics and the beginning of the long decline that continues to this day. I wrote a prescient letter to the NYT: When a small man casts a long shadow, the sun is setting.

        • Art Deco

          the beginning of the long decline

          Can you define ‘long decline’?

          • DE-173

            The fifty years that he claims to be a priest.

    • RufusChoate

      I regret to inform you that a Saint found Ronald Reagan a good and decent man that united with that same Saint to help to free more people from oppression than any other men in history aside from the Savior himself.

      Are stating by omission that Clinton and Obama didn’t appall you? That says more about you than you might care to share.

      • DE-173

        “I regret to inform you that a Saint found Ronald Reagan a good and decent man that united with that same Saint to help to free more people from oppression than any other men in history aside from the Savior himself.”

        Of course that would be what really gets Hombre’s ire.

      • hombre111

        A Saint did not chide Ronald for complicity in mass murder in El Salvador. I was visiting a little town in Nicaragua called San Juan de Limay, and helped bury fifteen workers who had been murdered on a tobacco farm. Several were no more than boys, and they all died with rosaries around their necks. We put them beside a slaughtered road crew, and the raped and mutilated bodies of health workers, all of them “communists” killed by the Contra, organized, trained, and supported by the U.S.. During that same week, Reagan boasted to America, “I am a Contra, too.”

        • RufusChoate

          You really don’t want to get into a corpse counting game to determine morality especially in very tangential complicity in El Salvador but there is something odd about you comment that didn’t sync correctly with my recollection: The Contras were fighting against the Sandinista in Nicaragua and yet El Salvador does not share an border with Nicaragua and I was unable to find any substantive claims of mass killings by any one aside from the FMLN which is Leftist/Maoist/Communist.

          I realize that the body count gambit will never work with the Left because as I stated elsewhere they are deliberately invincibly ignorant of their own criminal pass because they firmly believe in their own personal immaculate conception and unimpeachable morality.

          No comment on the appalling nature of Clinton and Obama?

          • hombre111

            Woops, I meant Nicaragua, but I was there and you were not, and I threw incense in a church filled with the stench of rotting corpses. Reagan deliberately started the Contra War, after the Sandinistas refused to meekly take their place as an American vassal.

            • DE-173

              Oh shut up, you Marxist windbag.

              • hombre111

                Yep. Defend the murderers and call yourself a pious Catholic.

                • DE-173

                  You are the defender of MASS Murderers.

                  You are nothing but a weevil, living off a host.

                  I don’t call my self a pious Catholic.

                  But then again you are a self-admitted liar.

            • Art Deco

              You’re expecting us to take you as an authority after you confound the countries you were supposedly traveling in, and offer yet another round of historical howlers which have been corrected before in this very forum?

              Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Sandinistas managed to alienate every political and social sector they were unable to suborn. At the end of the line, every political party in Nicaragua not manned by bought off flunkies was their enemy – everyone from the old Grenada burguesia in the Conservative Party to the old line communists in the Socialist Party. The Church, the independent trade unions, the Miskito Indian communities, the Chamber of Commerce, &c. were all fed up. As for the contras, they included a mess of political factions – including and especially fed up Sandinistas (Pastora) and Miskito Indian guerillas.

              The Sandinistas have never won a competitive election in Nicaragua when they couldn’t stuff the ballot boxes.

              • hombre111

                Keep struggling away. In the end, the Contras were convened, trained, supplied, and supported by the U.S., which also used its massive power to organize every conceivable economic and political resource against a poverty stricken nation of four million, claiming that it was a “danger to our national security.” Saint Ronnie will be in purgatory until he can convince each innocent man, woman, or child murdered on his behalf that it was for the sake of a noble cause.

                Your instinct, so typical of conservatives, is to side with the strong and the violent. My instinct is to see things from the perspective of the people smeared on the bottom of the shoe.

                • Art Deco

                  No, my impulse is to side with the forces of civil society, which is to say of households and fraternities going about their business over and against the criminal element and wannabe social engineers.

                  You side always and everywhere with the worst elements in any working political society, because your understanding of social ethics is as spurious as your command of contemporary history.

                  • hombre111

                    The dictators and tyrants of this day, supported by the U.S. for so many years, do not belong to civil society, and their business is plundering the poor. You side with death and call yourself a Christian, justifying your moral deafness with high sounding words.

                    • Art Deco

                      Why not define in minimal detail what is meant by ‘support’? While you’re at it, see if you can even remember a ‘dictator’ by name and what sort of engagement his government had with the United States or any other country in the world.

                    • hombre111

                      When the U.S. Marines left Nicaragua, they set up Samoza in his place. When it was pointed out to FDR what he was doing to his people, FDR responded, I know he is an SOB, but he is our SOB. Or, much later, the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected government of Guatamala, in behalf of Pacific Fruit. Or, the CIA helped overthrow democratically elected Allende, in Chile. In a press conference held last week, the cardinal in Honduras explained all the things that Francis knew about the struggle of the poor in Latin America, and said that people in America don’t have a clue.

                    • Art Deco

                      It’s always memes with you, never actual knowledge

                      Again, it has been pointed out to you before that the President of Nicaragua in 1934 was Juan Sacasa, elected in 1933.

                      Re: Allende in 1973, congressional inquiries, court cases, and assiduous rummaging over a period of four decades by less than disinterested creatures (Seymour Hersch, Landau and Dinges) have failed to substantiate any thesis but one: Salvador Allende was removed from office by military officers fed up with his incompetence, intransigence, and abuses of power. Chile was an economic ruin in 1973. There’s a reason the successor governments have not much tampered with the economic reforms the military implemented in Chile over the years they ran the country.

          • DE-173

            “No comment on the appalling nature of Clinton and Obama?”

            Of course not.

            • hombre111

              When losing the argument, by all means, change the subject. But I am puzzled by the visceral hatred the right has for Clinton. I can understand your hatred for Obama, I mean after all, here is this guy who is black while being president. But Clinton?

              • DE-173

                He’s not “black” you idiot, he’s biracial, and it seems that it was his white side that screwed him up. His mother left his father because he wasn’t radical enough for her.

                I suspect that if she knew you, you’d have been little Barack’s stepfather.

                Now tell us we’re not entitled to judge public figures while you judge you parishioners.

                You can’t lose an argument, because you are in the infirmary.

                • hombre111

                  You can’t shake my sense of sangfroid. I am still waxing content after the whole parish came out to help me celebrate my 50th.. And all those cards and well-wishes from afar. Doesn’t get any better than this.

                  • DE-173

                    ” I am still waxing content after the whole parish came out to help me celebrate my 50th.. And all those cards and well-wishes from afar. Doesn’t get any better than this.”

                    And all that good will coming from a Parish full of people you regularly compain about as tight-fisted rubes.

                    • hombre111

                      An example, sir. An example. The tight-fisted rubes are the local right-wing rednecks who toil for poverty wages and blame it on Obama. Their lack of insight appalls me. And I might have some thoughts about a couple of the trolls who stink up this site, adding no original thoughts, only snide remarks which they call wisdom.

                    • DE-173

                      You are loathesome, sir.

                    • hombre111

                      Heh, heh.

                    • DE-173

                      Speaking of a troll.

          • hombre111

            Whoops! I was in Nicaragua, not El Salvador. Don’t know how that got there. But I was there and you were not. I will never forget throwing incense in a church filled with rotting bodies.

            Speaking of popes. As a Latin American, Pope Francis could tell you what the U.S. did in Latin America, during his lifetime. 1) Helped set up and support brutal dictators in: Cuba, Santo Domingo, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. Trained their military in the School of the Americas. Sold them arms. Sent them military advisors. Opposed the military and political movements that tossed them out. 2)Helped overthrow a democratic government in Guatamala, in order to help keep Pacific Fruit from paying higher taxes, supported government in civil war that followed. 3) Invaded Santo Domingo 4) Supported dictator in bloody war in El Salvador. 5) Started Contra War in Nicaragua, which I witnessed first hand. 6) Invaded Panama. 7) Invaded Grenada.

            Pope Francis saw this going on from a different perspective, and I learned that perspective when I spent years in Latin America. I think Pope Francis and you might have a very different understanding of the peaceful U.S. and its goals in this world.

            • RufusChoate

              Thanks for the acknowledge it was some what comic because I did find claims on far left websites that the Contra’s mass murdering people in most of Central America. Clearly no reputable validated these claim. One odd fact was the Communists in most of Latin insurgencies were very willing to stage mass murders to blame on their opponents. I tend to think political systems and movements with very long histories of mass murder are always the more likely executioner of such atrocities.

              The corpse counting is something the left can never win no matter how tangential the complicity of any American President. There are just not enough examples to equal the Worker’s/Peasant’s Paradises.

              I have no doubt that Pope Francis has first hand experience and knowledge with how the fifth largest economy in the world in the early 20th Century with a prosperous and well educated middle class and a rich in natural resource with a temperate climate could be so easily destroyed by Leftist Demagogues and looters starting with the Peron regimes and moving through “The Generals” and the Kirchner cabal.

              • hombre111

                Actually, he had the experience of how a civilized country could be taken over by a ruthless military, which systematically arrested, tortured, and “disappeared” any “dissident” who disagreed with the government. Most of those killed had no justice. Just torture, and a death over the sea, where they were dropped out of planes and helicopters. The head of the Jesuits in Argentina saw his fellow Jesuits murdered who took a stand against the brutal regime. And has admitted that he was incorrect when he stood back and did little in the face of this atrocity. To this day, the Church in Argentina stands condemned, either for its passivism, or the active collaboration of some members of the hierarchy with the generals. It lost most of one generation of youth, and continues to apologize.

                • Art Deco

                  Hombre111, if you fancy Argentina during the years running from 1973 to 1976 qualified as a ‘civilized country’, you use the term to mean anything you care to or you do not know the history. Stop this. It’s embarrassing.

                  • hombre111

                    Have you visited Buenos Aires or the other large cities of Argentina? I have. People compare Buenos Aires to Paris. Again, are you justifying the destruction of a democracy by the military, with the following reign of terror, which killed thousands of innocent people? Then stop calling yourself a Catholic Christian.

                    • Art Deco

                      Greater Buenos Aires has a population similar to that of greater Paris. The personal income per capita therein is perhaps half that of Paris.

                      The Argentine Republic (or at least those portions of it wherein the writ of the central government ran) had a certain legal order to it from its inception, but a competitive electoral system at its apex and center only from 1912 to 1943 (and not one without some gross disfigurements). The entire period from 1943 to 1983 was characterized by alternation between the military and the Peronist machine; the closest thing to a democratic period ran from 1958 to 1966 and was certainly informed and constrained by both the military and Peron’s minions.

                      The period from 1973 to 1976 was (as any student of Argentine history knows) the last turn at the wheel for the old bugger and his widow and characterized both by horrendous political violence and the ruin of the currency. As for the former phenomenon, a brief precis is offered of the period running from 1964 to 1976 by Jacobo Timmerman in his memoir (Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number). Suffice it to say, the military’s programme of action after 1975 was unsurprising.

                      None of this is esoteric information. No clue why you insist on commenting on these matters.

                    • hombre111

                      Yak, yak. You got that via some encyclopedia or book. Again, I was there and you were not. Again, you try to justify torture and death. Does a conservative really have the heart of Christ? Every word you say tells me that at least, you don’t.

                    • Art Deco

                      Again, I was there and you were not.

                      No. You. Weren’t. If you had been, you would not have to be instructed as to the state of affairs during that four year period. I’ve also offered no justifications of anything.

                    • hombre111

                      Nice try. Your instruction about the state of affairs is a mirage used to justify systematic murder. In a quiet little town in a peaceful valley just south of the Honduran border, I walked with an American nun who ministered to the people between the rows of stinking dead, throwing holy water and incense. These were men and boys who had been working on a tobacco farm. The Contra could have simply burned down the huge barns filled with tobacco, but they did not. They simply shot the workers down. I talked to their families. And then I celebrated their funeral. Do you support what was done? Then why do you try to justify it?

                    • Art Deco

                      I’m not interested in your fictionalized biography. You’re not interested in actual history.

                      The Nicaraguan public finally had an opportunity to offer their own view in 1990 on their country’s political future and the Sandinistas were shown the door. They responded by stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down on their way out (a series of incidents they call the pinata in Nicaragua).

                    • hombre111

                      Your effort to justify the deaths of tens of thousands of people makes you an accomplice after the fact. You, in your heart, are a murderer.

                    • Art Deco

                      No clue what you’re talking about, Mr. Senile Phonypriest. There were four different insurrections operating in Central America between 1960 and 1996. I was not involved in any of them. The Sandinista Front was implicated in at least three of them, as well as misgoverning Nicaragua for 11 years, which is what got them the boot by the Nicaraguan electorate. Sorry that disappoints you.

                    • hombre111

                      Sorry, you tipped your hand. In your cynicism, you have made yourself an after the fact accomplice with murder, and our discussion is over.

                    • Art Deco

                      Your capacity for moral reasoning is severely underdeveloped.

            • Art Deco

              No Francis could not, because this is fraud history with no reality outside your addled head.

              1) Helped set up and support brutal dictators in: Cuba, Santo Domingo,
              Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile,
              Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela.

              Get it through your ignorant head: caudillo rule was the set point of Latin American politics prior to 1930 until it was replaced by episodic institutional or factional military rule. There was no need to ‘set up’ local autocrats and ‘support’ is a humbug term with no meaning. Local autocrats were the outcome of ordinary political rough and tumble there. What’s more, no one could look at this list and figure out to whom you could be referring. The United States has not had an occupying force in Cuba in more than a century, nor in the Dominican Republic since 1924 (bar a brief period when a contingent of American soldiers patrolled the capital in 1965). It did not install ‘dictators’ on either occasion. Neither did it do so in Haiti during the years of American occupation (1916-34). All of this pre-dated Francis’ birth in any case.

              Haiti had a long run under the Duvalier clan, but the U.S. government varied between indifference and antagonism during those years. As we have discussed in the past, the President of Nicaragua at the time the U.S. government departed in 1934 was Juan Sacasa, a constitutional head of state. Rafael Trujillo, Anastasio Somoza, Jorge Ubico, and Maximiliano Hernandez were all self-installed prior to Francis’ birth and before the U.S. government had any clandestine services capacity. Fulgencio Batista was an influential political boss in Cuba between 1933 and 1952, but Cuban politics in that era was electoral and pluralistic. Even as a local autocrat, he was fairly mild (contrast his treatment of Fidel Castro with Castro’s treatment of Huber Matos). The Castro brothers are brutes, but I do not think that’s who you mean.

              God knows who you could be referring to re Brazil, Peru and Argentina. The military retained a corporate personality in those countries and had its own agenda and fish to fry. Other than the current run of machine bosses, the only autocratic regime in Venezuela erected since 1936 was that instituted in 1948. Cannot figure how the U.S. Government gets the bill for that; the country had almost no history of any sort of constitutional government. Political partisans in the history trade have attempted for decades to blame Henry Kissinger for the ruin of Salvador Allende, the dearth of evidence and the ruin of Chile’s economy notwithstanding. Something the political scientist Wm. Ascher reminded his students of a generation ago holds: the precipitating event of Allende’s downfall was not some aristo-capitalist conspiracy; it was a trucker’s strike.

              Again, what always amazes about you is the ratio of vehemently expressed opinions to actual historical knowledge. It’s off the charts.

              • hombre111

                No use refuting this garbage. Believe what you are compelled to believe.

    • DE-173

      “He failed to walk the talk. ”

      At least he wasn’t a failed priest with a a long history of infidelity to his vows.

      Given the disclosures you make here, it is the height of arrogance to judge anybody else.

      • hombre111

        When my bishop made me a monsignor, he said I was one of his most loyal and most faithful priests.

        • DE-173

          Oh, so now authority is credible.

          Either you are adept at concealment,he’s a poor judge of character or he’s as bad a bishop as you are a priest who countenances your libertinism.

          Somehow, I imagine such a bishop as playing cards (or something worse) with Rembert Weakland.

          Of course we only have your word on this, and I take most of what you write with a grain of salt (and two prescription strength 800 mg Ibuprofen and some codeine).

          • hombre111

            Well, actually, my being named a monsignor was, indeed, a lie. I just wanted to see your reply. 🙂

            • DE-173

              Somehow I imagine it’s not the first lie you’ve told or the last.

              See the last paragraph.

    • Interested

      Relativists. Nothing new from you.

  • Michael L. Umphrey

    Good grief. The left IS a war on religion. That’s the fundamental meaning of the Enlightenment.

  • Mary

    They are Masonic– they accept all religions based on the concept that no ideas in any of the religions that would be controversial or challenge any action based on morally saying something is definitely wrong can ever be publically discussed or debated. That is part of masonic temple plolicy. They are promoting Masonry. The Left has become a religion in other words.

  • BillinJax

    The Church is a community of the faithful who accept God in the Blessed Trinity.

    This one and only God is Love. Love does not need to invent, it simply creates. Loves does not have to intrude into our lives, it invites humbly asks us to dwell within it. Love does not make demands on us but begs our dependency on it. Love does not seek to over power our thoughts but to overshadow our hearts that we might think clearly. Love, the God of Christians, does not conquer by brute force to make us captives under its law and will but rather has offered us true freedom by supplying a description of itself and a path to its nature in what we call the Ten Commandments…….. of Love.

  • Tony

    The Left in Europe has been at war against Christianity since the days of the philosophes and the Freemasons. The Left in the United States took a hard turn against Christianity some time around the 1920’s, when Bolshevism became all the rage. We had the possibility of a “progressive” Christianity that was unapologetically Christian, in faith and morals; but the secularists took control of that train and have been running it ever since.
    The Left, waging no war against religion? Angela Davis, Alger Hiss, Margaret Sanger, John Dewey, Alfred Kinsey, Helen Gurley Brown, Germaine Greer, Betty Friedan, Antonio Gramsci, Alan Guttmacher, Mary Calderone, Jack Kevorkian, Mikey Weinstein, the ACLU, The Nation, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Republic, almost the whole American professoriate, Hollywood, etc…

  • SOJewett

    Three things about contemporary religious conservatives puzzle me:

    Why is it so important to you to see yourselves as persecuted victims?

    Why do you have such a strong need to feel morally superior?

    Why do you spend so much time attacking “liberals” instead of focusing on all the positive things you supposedly have going for you?

    • Interrsted

      Why do liberals impose their immorality on society and then claim others should not complain?

    • Scott W.

      Question-begging ad hominem fallacies do not cease to be question-begging ad hominem fallacies just because you phrase them in the form of a question. If you have a question that isn’t just an oily insult, let’s hear it.

  • montanajack1948

    “Most serious Christians I know regard [John Kerry’s and Barack Obama’s] public professions of faith as crass opportunism.” So, serious Christians are now in the business of judging other people’s faith and motives? If only Jesus had addressed the issue of judging others…oh, wait: he did.

    • Interested

      Yes, like you did here. Irony.

      • montanajack1948

        You must be reading something into my comment that isn’t there. I asked a question–rhetorically, to be sure–and noted the apparent disconnect between the quoted statement and what I understand of Christian teachings. I didn’t judge anyone, and you don’t seem to understand what “irony” means.

    • the Heretick

      “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?’

      i don’t think the author is judging their eternal souls, simply commenting on their policies.

  • Pingback: EASTER FRIDAY EDITION | BigPulpit.com()

  • Pingback: 3 Very Quick Things for Friday Night | Letters to the Catholic Right()

MENU