January 10, 2016

The Last Acceptable Prejudice

Anti-Catholic political cartoon
Editorial cartoon showing bishops as crocodiles attacking public schools
with the collusion of Irish Catholic politicians, Thomas Nast, 1876.

A statement deemed racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic or homophobic can subject the person responsible to public reprimand and disdain. However, hostile and vindictive statements about Roman Catholicism can be made with impunity. The following examples bespeak the mindset prevalent in the academy, the entertainment industry, the elite media and many who advance values based upon today's politically correct mentality. WARNING: The cases of anti-Catholicism chronicled here are offensive in the extreme.

In 2012, The National Catholic Register, compiled these instances of anti-Catholicism. [An internet search will yield more recent occurrences.]
"Piss Christ", is a 1987 photograph portraying a crucifix in a jar of the artist’s urine. Initially exhibited at the Stux Gallery in New York City, it won an award sponsored by the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts. The photo was again exhibited from Sept. 27 to Oct. 26, 2012 at the Edward Tyler Nahem gallery in Midtown Manhattan.
In March 2012, musician Tim Minchin took to the stage on the National Mall in Washington and performed an amplified song that maligned Pope Benedict XVI as no better than "a (expletive) rapist." The song characterized all priests and other Catholics as facilitators of child molestation. It included more than 75 obscenities directed at Catholics, the Pope and that which is sacred to them. It was part of the weekend-long Reason Rally, which presented a litany of speakers and performers who blasphemed Christianity with accusations and vulgarity.
Taxpayers subsidized the display of "Sensation" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which featured the Virgin Mary splattered with elephant dung and adorned with close-ups of female genitalia cut from pornographic magazines. On September 24, 2012, a Wall Street Journal commentary on the Obama administration’s public apologies for the U.S. made video ("Innocence of Muslims") noted that when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a New York senator she criticized the attempt by then Mayor Rudy Giuliani to cut off public funding for the museum. "Our feelings of being offended should not lead to the penalizing and shutting down of an entire museum," stated Clinton.
The University of Minnesota currently employs P.Z. Myers as an associate professor of biology. Myers, a leading public atheist and opponent of "Intelligent Design," desecrated the Eucharist on the Internet.
Colorado taxpayers subsidized a display of a pornographic depiction of Jesus in 2010 at the Loveland City Museum.
Kansas taxpayers commissioned and hosted a sculpture at the municipal Washburn University in Topeka that depicted a bishop in an obscene way. The Thomas More Law Center sued, claiming the statue was an "impermissible message of hostility to Catholics and the Catholic religion" by a government-funded institution. A federal judge ruled in favor of the university, saying the court could not conclude that a reasonable person would construe the depiction as a state-sponsored attack on Catholics.
Countless YouTube videos feature desecrations of the Bible, the Eucharist and symbols sacred to Christians.

The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice
Far from being consigned to the past, anti-Catholicism is thriving. The Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University, Philip Jenkins' thoughtful volume on the topic, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice,  considers contemporary anti-Catholic bigotry in the United States. Published in 2003, the book's subject matter and conclusions have only grown more relevant with the passage of time.

During his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI spoke about persecution of Catholics saying that those who proclaim the Gospel "continue to be persecuted like their master and Lord" Jesus Christ. "However, despite the problems and tragic reality of persecution, the Church does not get discouraged; it remains faithful to the Lord’s mandate." Christ’s message "can never give in to the logic of this world, because it is prophecy and liberation; it is the seed of a new humanity that grows, and only at the end of times will it come to full fruition."

Additional articles:

"Catholic military chaplains face ARREST during Obama’s Government Shutdown," Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's blog.

"The Last Acceptable Prejudice?," America Magazine, Fr. James Martin.

"How to Respond to 'the Last Acceptable Prejudice'" The National Catholic Register, Wayne Laugesen.

"America's Dark and Not Very Distant History of Hating Catholics," The Guardian [UK].

"Some Prejudices are More Equal Than Others," Catalyst Magazine, Philip Jenkins.

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