Is anti-Catholicism on the rise?

Anti-Catholicism is considered acceptable by many elite opinion leaders.

Last week, 43 Catholic organizations, including Franciscan University and Ave Maria University — two schools that stopped offering health coverage because of the president’s health care plan — filed lawsuits against the Obama administration for infringing on their religious freedom.  Even the University of Notre Dame, a school that bestowed an honorary degree on the president in 2009, joined its Catholic brethren in their fight.

Similar to the the media’s decision to not report on the half-million or so protesters who attended the March for Life rally this past January, outlets like ABC, NBC, and CBS — all of whom spent hours on end drooling over a 30-year-old law student — have largely ignored what has become the largest legal defense of religious liberty in American history.

“Evidence of big media’s bias against religion is beyond dispute,” writes columnist Cal Thomas. Noting the countless number of attacks on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Thomas concludes that “any faith attached to a conservative agenda is to be ridiculed, stereotyped and misrepresented [by the media].  Islam is a notable exception.”

Case in point: political commentator and comedian Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” recently skewered the Catholic Church when he showed a picture of the Virgin Mary between the legs of a nude woman.  It’s not the first time he’s done something offensive, and it certainly won’t be the last.  But according to the Catholic League, who is demanding an apology for the stunt, Mr. Stewart has a long history of slamming Catholicism in particular.  In the past, he has compared the pope to the grand wizard of the KKK, questioned whether or not Mary and Joseph had oral sex, and claimed that a Norwegian gunman who killed over 70 innocent people was simply living out his Christian faith.

Not everyone is offended by Stewart’s words, however.  Sandi Villarreal, associate web editor for the left-leaning Christian website Sojourners, thinks Christians should simply turn the other cheek when others mock the Church.  I don’t disagree with her sentiments entirely; religious Americans should be lighthearted about certain issues.  But there is a difference between self-deprecation and allowing oneself to be persecuted.  When Catholics let others make fun of what they believe in on a regular basis, they act as enablers, and become complicit in the culture’s acceptance of values antithetical to the ones preached by Jesus Christ.

Not long ago, ABC decided to air a program originally entitled Good Christian Bitches. Though the show changed its name and was canceled due to low ratings, it proved Cal Thomas’s point about the media’s double standard when it comes to religion.  Could you imagine a sitcom entitled Angry Muslim Clerics or Cheap Jewish Rabbis? Such programs would be offensive, especially to members of the Islamic and Jewish faiths.  The media, however, trashes the teachings of the 1.2-billion-member Catholic Church on a daily basis.

Studies show that even in the sports world those who stand up for their faith are essentially blacklisted.  The outward expression of Tim Tebow’s beliefs made him a primary target for Saturday Night Live.  Manny Pacquiao, after coming out against President Obama’s decision to support same-sex unions, was labeled a “bigoted boxer” for defending the “Church’s cruel, undue dictates” on sites owned by ESPN and Yahoo.  A similar thing happened to Nebraska’s assistant football coach Ron Brown.  Jen Floyd Engel, a columnist for Fox Sports, perhaps emboldened by the president’s endorsement of same-sex unions, lashed out at him for expressing his views on homosexuality.

It’s not that people shouldn’t be able to voice disagreement over certain topics.  After all, it would be great to see Rep.  James Clyburn debate Princeton Professor Robert P. George on whether or not gay marriage is actually a civil rights issue. But when Nick Kristof of The New York Times calls Pope Benedict “crazy,” and when the media applauds Joe Biden for dissenting from the Catholic Church on same-sex marriage, one can’t help but notice the overwhelming amount of animosity directed towards those who uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Standing up for ideas that are unpopular can be difficult and unfashionable. And it may even get you labeled uncool. According to Victor Davis Hanson, being “cool” allows one to do things inside a bubble, free from the political criticism faced by the rest of us.  Those who are perceived as cool — President Obama, George Clooney, Occupy Wall Street, the Kennedys, and Apple — are rarely disparaged, says Hanson, even though they may misspeak about Polish death camps, earn enough money to put them in the rarified air of the 1%, pollute the environment and abuse women.  The eternally uncool, on the other hand — the bumbling George Bush, the uber wealthy Mitt Romney, the racist Tea Party, the sexist Catholic Church, and greedy Big Oil — have to wallow in the scrutiny of the national media when they do something as trivial as misspell the word America.  “Cool,” Hanson believes, “is now America’s holy grail.” It “allows the elite and the rich not just to pursue and enjoy nice things, but to damn others who do the same.”

The Catholic Church, with its teachings on marriage, contraception, sex, and gender roles, would appear to be the ultimate “uncool” institution.  It preaches humility instead of boastfulness, obedience to a higher power instead of to oneself, prayer and community service instead of material success, and patience instead of immediate gratification.  But being unpopular doesn’t mean you need to change your message. Jesus, after all, wasn’t welcome everywhere he went. Yet today, the Church He founded has grown to become the largest religion in the world.

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22 thoughts on “Is anti-Catholicism on the rise?

  1. Paula says:

    Anti-Catholicism is on the rise everywhere! I live in Sweden, a country where Catholics, according to the law, were not allowed to work in schools, hospitals, or in any governmental institution, until 1959.

    Here is the situation today: The leader of “folk party” (The people’s party) wrote an article yesterday saying that the Catholic Church is against science. Our EU minister has two facebook groups: “Papa Don’t Preach” and “RED CART VATICAN” where the bashing of Catholics is constant. “The minister of equality” (as the post is called in Sweden), writes that the Catholic Church discriminates and kills women by not allowing abortions. -.-

    The Socialdemocrates (a big political party in Sweden) published a cartoon picture of the Pope in a graphic sexual nature, saying “Let all the Children come to me”.

    I kind of wish I lived in the US…

    1. whart says:

      The bashing here is constant as well. But, take heart, keep on being a faithful, joyful Catholic. Our Lord himself said I am with you always until the end of the earth.

  2. Curious says:

    Anti-Catholicism is on the rise because anti-God has been on the rise. God has been taken out of our lives in many areas where our ancestors had Him in place. God has been taken out of public schools for starters. Our youth needs God, and they can’t even speak of Him or speak to Him in public prayer in the place that they spend the majority of their day. Look at how the crime rate among our youth has gone up since God has been taken out of our schools. We now have a few generations that have grown up without God in their school days, and these parents ( once students without God in their school days) are now living their lives with less of God in their lives as their children attend schools without God and now THESE children have home lives with even LESS of God. It is a declining cycle that all began with removing God from daily lives. BUT…. Catholicism WILL SURVIVE because it is the TRUE FAITH founded by Jesus, and Jesus said we would live forever. God bless

  3. [...] it seems, is furiously on the rise. 85% of hate crimes in Europe against Christians Anti-Catholicism pervasive in U.S. media U.K. threatens to force clergy to perform same-sex marriages The subtext behind liberal modernity [...]

  4. Mamymaestra says:

    Hi, I´m Mexican, and “católica practicante” (that is one of the current tags for church-going, pro-life Catholics, according to us, and “fanatics” according to our enemies, including many self-proclaimed “catholics” who think that your religion should be kept strictly private, and have nothing to do with political choices, jobs, etc. I think religious values and freedom is under attack in my country, too. Our election day is next July 1st, and many Catholics don´t want neither a return to the PRI, the party that killed thousands of Catholics (go watch “For Greater Glory”)and thousands of students and other people, in 1968 in Tlatelolco, and in Atenco recently; nor the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage PRD.

  5. imjustmusing says:

    Anti-Catholicism is on the rise and it is part of a bigger anti-Christian movement. The progressives are trying to remove all religion from our lives so they can be in control. Without morals or moral conscience there will be no balance. This is what they are trying (and succeeding) in doing.

  6. Candace says:

    Absolutely anti-Catholicism is on the rise. I deal with it on a daily basis, and I never put up with it. Would you put up with anyone criticizing your family? The Church is my family and I will protect and defend it.
    Recently, I listened to a homily comparing Christ as a shepard protecting his sheep from wolves. My parish priest wanted us to imagine Jesus with his clothes torn and wounds on his arms during a battle with a ferocious animal. He wanted us to think of our savior as more of a warrior than just a passive peacemaker. That image appealed to me.
    We often forget that it is not just a person or organization condemning our faith. There is always an evil involved and should not be allowed to flourish.

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