Senators Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris recently pressured a federal judicial nominee, Brian Buescher, to distance himself from the Catholic fraternal group the Knights of Columbus, of which he is a member. This anti-Catholic attack was just the latest in a series—an earlier episode occurred in September 2017, when Senator Dianne Feinstein interrogated nominee Amy Coney Barrett about her faith with the criticism,“the dogma lives loudly within you.”
This anti-Catholicism is of a different sort than the anti-immigrant hostility of the late nineteenth century, which led to the creation of organizations like the Knights of Columbus. The new anti-Catholicism is much more selective because of changes in cultural acceptability. And Senators Feinstein, Hirono, and Harris are obviously attuned to what is culturally acceptable in their circles.
Remember the Russian-hacked emails on Wikileaks in which two Democratic strategists speculated about why some prominent conservative news executives were raising their kids as Catholics? One mused, “they must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.” The other responded that these executives and other conservatives were probably attracted to Catholicism because it’s “the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”
The Democrat strategists who wrote these emails were themselves Catholics. Indeed, another set of Wikileaks emails revealed that certain Catholic-affiliated policy groups—Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United—had been created by Democrat strategists to contribute to a “Catholic Spring.” In the words of one email, this would be a movement “in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a Middle Ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church.”
Read more at First Things.