What’s so funny?
Timothy Dolan, Cardinal of New York, has taken to the Washington Post to assassinate the character of the leading Republican presidential candidate just because he holds a position with which most of the country agrees.
During those happy days decades ago when I taught American religious history to university students, I spent a chunk of time in class on the ugly phenomenon called nativism, defined by the scholar and author Ray Allen Billington as, “organized, white, Protestant antagonism toward the Catholic immigrant.”
I’ve seen the cardinal chuckle and blab. He doesn’t strike me as the type of man to have had happy days decades ago. Cardinal Dolan is a climber. He couldn’t have been too satisfied teaching history. Apparently he was also one of those who presented history mainly in terms of groups and grievances.
It flourished in our country during the 1840s and 1850s — actually becoming a popular political party, the Know-Nothings — and appeared again, in the 1870s, as the American Protective Association; in the 1920s, as the KKK; and during post-World War II America, as Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
From what I understand the KKK was a murderous group which terrorized black people. Not two paragraphs in and a Catholic bishop has condemned an entire country as killers. I detect some disparity between the cardinal and the everyman. Dolan doesn’t have to endure the effects of illegal immigration like the rest of his poor flock. He just has to keep those federal Catholic Charities funds rolling.
These nativists believed the immigrant to be dangerous, and that America was better off without them. All these poor degenerates did, according to the nativists, was to dilute the clean, virtuous, upright citizenry of God-fearing true Americans.
They were Protestants and wary of Catholics. They weren’t Nazi’s trying to preserve a master race. It was a culture shock. Catholics brought poverty, gangs, Mafia and other bad things they’d never had to endure. Most disastrously Catholics have always voted poorly, ushering in city bosses, high taxes, redistribution, and other unconstitutional government. It wasn’t a purity thing, but it’s not like it wasn’t messy. It’s not that Catholics didn’t fear God but they were certainly less ‘American.’
There’s nothing upright about leftist politics. Even today, unfortunately, Catholics don’t vote like Baptists and their bishops don’t really want them to.
(Among other American minorities, it must be said, Catholics like me often drew the ire of nativists.)
I made the point to my students that nativism never really did disappear completely, but was a continual virulent strain in the American psyche, which would probably sadly show up again.
Liberals are always finding ‘virulent strains’ out there which must be eradicated from our minds. Who’s calling people dirty now?
This point my students would not buy. “Father Dolan,” they would say, “there’s no denying that this bigotry was there in our past. But, come on! Who could ever believe now that immigrants are dirty, drunken, irresponsible, dangerous threats to clean, white, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon America! Those days are gone.”
I wish I were in the college classroom again, so I could roll out my “Trump card” to show the students that I was right. Nativism is alive, well — and apparently popular!
Oh that’s funny, my ‘Trump card.’ Yes, those must have been happy days back when Father Dolan was teaching. He’s just so jolly!
“Who could ever believe now that immigrants are dirty, drunken, irresponsible, dangerous threats to clean, white, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon America!”
Does Cardinal Dolan hate white people and Protestants? It sure sounds like it. Donald Trump was not saying that all immigrants are dirty, drunk, and dangerous. He was saying that too many of them are, so therefore the border should be ‘legally’ controlled. People understand this but Dolan shamefully abuses his vital Christian role to ‘correct’ them about it.
From here the Cardinal repeats himself, explaining how we don’t value any immigrants at all, ever, because they’re people, I guess. He even uses the word ‘enlightened.’ Whenever you hear that, think darkness.
I am not in the business of telling people what candidates they should support or who deserves their vote. But as a Catholic, I take seriously the Bible’s teaching that we are to welcome the stranger, one of the most frequently mentioned moral imperatives in both the Old and New Testament.
What a pile from the chancery! Is it possible that back in those bad old days a few prescient souls imagined uncontrolled immigration might leave us with an America full of religious leaders like this? When will the Lord give us Catholics for bishops instead of these dishonest elitist FrancisChurch shills?