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Democrat Anti-Catholicism… Where Are Our Catholic Leaders?

January 14, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


I remember as a boy I was watching a football game on TV and my dad said to me that Senator Kennedy was at the game. Who, I asked, was Senator Kennedy. My dad told me he was a young senator from Massachusetts who was going to run for president. Interesting information, but then he added this: “He’s Catholic.”
And, of course, because he was Catholic, a lot of folks didn’t want him to win.
That began my interest in politics, John F. Kennedy, and the Democratic Party. Even as an 11-year-old, I followed the Kennedy campaign through the primaries and watched the 1960 Democratic convention on TV, celebrating the Kennedy win. The day after the convention, we began a vacation trip to visit family in Philadelphia. I remember the first morning on the road we stopped at a small diner for breakfast, and an old farmer was there paying his check. I heard him remark to the cashier, “Too bad the Democrats nominated Kennedy — he’ll never win.”
The farmer looked over at our table, saw my brother and me sitting with our parents, smiled and brought each of us kids some bubble gum. The farmer was nice, but I wondered if he just disliked Catholics. A few months later our first Catholic president was elected after a campaign that was filled — in part — with anti-Catholic animus.
When we returned home, my dad gave me a book on Al Smith, the New York governor who was the first Catholic nominated for president, but who lost the 1928 election to Republican Herbert Hoover. I decided then that I was a Democrat since — after all — that was the party that stood up to religious bigotry and prejudice and defended the right of Catholics to fully partake in our civic religion: politics.
I remained a member of that party for most of my life; working to get out the vote, serving as a committeeman, a delegate to conventions, a party officer, a legislative candidate, and an officeholder. But during that time my allegiance to the party began to weaken. It wasn’t over liberal or conservative policies — at the time there were plenty of Blue Dog Democrats like me in the party. It was over the issue of abortion. I opposed it, yet over time most of my party-mates, including notable Catholic politicians, such as President Kennedy’s brother, embraced it.
I watched as the party I had admired and believed in turned its back on my belief in life and began to marginalize anyone with pro-life views. This was dramatically illustrated at the Democratic National Convention in 1992 when the pro-life governor of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey Sr., was not allowed to address the delegates because of his pro-life views. I voted for Bill Clinton that year anyway, something I’ve had plenty of time to regret. I’ve never voted for another Democrat since.
The Democrats, you see, have had a litmus test for candidates; if you are pro-life, you are not welcome. It’s all about abortion. If you can’t pass that test, you’re out. And since 1992 the party has added a second litmus test: same-sex marriage.
You still can be a Catholic and a Democrat, but only if you abandon your right-to-life credentials and your support of traditional marriage, like, for example Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, or the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. Of course there are others, in the Senate, for example, there are 16 Catholic Democrats, clinging to their religious cafeteria while jettisoning the Church’s core beliefs in life, marriage, and family.
As bad as this make-up was, I really never expected a full-blown attack on the Church, especially from my former party that was always in the forefront of religious tolerance and, when it became vogue to do so, civil rights. But alas, this is not my father’s Democratic Party anymore.
Catholics — true Catholics — not the pretenders who pick and choose what they like and don’t like — have been deemed unfit for public service in any serious policy position. Exhibit A in this argument is the attack on Mr. Trump’s nominee for a federal district judgeship in Nebraska, Omaha attorney Brian Buescher.
Buescher, it was discovered, is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and has been a member since he was 18.
That did not sit well with two Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kamala Harris of California. Harris is expected to throw her hat (or bonnet, as the case may be) into the presidential ring for 2020. Both of these senators raised the specter of the nominee’s membership in that heinous “all-male society” and asked if he was aware of the Knights’ views on abortion and traditional marriage.
Hirono, famous for telling men to shut up at the Kavanaugh hearing, stated: “The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions. For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.” She even asked, “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?”
Of course, when Mr. Buescher joined the Knights at age 18 in 1993 there was no push for same-sex marriage. But to the new anti-Catholic left, facts are irrelevant.
This is reminiscent of the battle over the confirmation of a Notre Dame law professor and Catholic, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. During that confirmation hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), in reference to the Roe v. Wade decision, told Barrett, with the approval of the aforementioned Dick Durbin, that “the (Catholic) dogma lives loudly within you.”
What these Senate Democrats are trying to do is to create a religious litmus test that bars any faithful, practicing Catholic from high office. And this is from the party that, for the most part, took anti-Catholic bigotry out of the body politic. And why? Because the party has embraced a new secular religion, one that respects no disagreement with its own “anything goes” doctrine and its supreme sacrament, abortion.
But what is most troubling is not the actions of a misguided party, but the silence from the Catholic hierarchy, which, years ago, had made peace with the pro-abortion party, failing to call out those claiming to be within the Church but supported these extreme evils. I’ve asked the question before: Where are our leaders in these times of crisis?
Well, they were making press statements. In December when this story became known, the USCCB put out 18 press releases, noting the passing of President George H.W. Bush, asking for prayers for those affected by the Indonesian tsunami, and announcing the resignation of an auxiliary bishop, among others. But not one word to defend the Church and the right of orthodox Catholics to take their place in the public square without a religious test.
And, disappointingly, there were no Democrats who publicly raised any concerns about the apparent bigotry by their peers.
The major defense came from Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, who hit the nail on the head when she said: “This isn’t just about the Knights of Columbus or Catholics, this is an ongoing attack from the extremist left of the Democratic Party to silence people of faith and run them out of engaging in public service based on their religious beliefs. It is pure and simple religious bigotry.”
Gosh, where are our leaders?
(You can contact Mike at

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