The recent dustup between the Administration’s health-care czars and the Roman Catholic Church is, suggests Ferdinand Bardamu, a manifestation of a centuries-long antipathy, suppressed in recent years:
Up until relatively recently, anti-Catholic sentiment on the left was suppressed for two reasons:
- Catholic immigrant groups, mainly the Irish and Italians, formed an integral part of FDR’s New Deal Coalition.
- Catholics themselves are largely left-wing on economic issues.
Recently though, as the descendants of Catholic immigrants have assimilated into the white middle class, Catholics have progressed from being a reliable Democratic constituency to a swing bloc — Bush won the majority of Catholics in 2004. As liberals abandoned their commitment to the working class back in the early 90′s with the rise of libertarians like Bill Clinton and Mario Cuomo, social progressivism (abortion, gay marriage etc.) is now the organizing principle of the American left — and the Catholic Church stands against this. Much has been written about how Obama’s reelection strategy explicitly involves disregarding the middle- and working-class whites in favor of wealthy SWPLs, blacks and Latinos (for whom race trumps religion), and his throwing Catholics under the bus is part of this. Liberals tolerated the Papists only so long as they were useful; now that they’re no longer willing to shut up and blindly vote blue, they’re out of the club.
And that pre-FDR hostility?
The liberals frothing at the mouth over the contraception issue are the heirs of the Know-Nothings and every anti-Catholic movement in American history going back to the Mayflower. Instead of stereotyping Catholics as dirty degenerates with too many kids (read: they have sex more than once a month), lazy (read: they enjoy life and don’t want to slave all day for a pittance), idol-worshipping (read: they appreciate beauty), and disloyal (read: they have greater principles then mindlessly worshipping the state), they rage about how Catholics violate today’s orthodoxy of pseudohedonism and non-judgmentalism. I say “pseudohedonism” because liberals only tolerate hedonism along certain approved paths. They claim to be for freedom until you want to have a cigarette, buy a handgun, or be a man and not a wussy, feminized doormat. “Do what you want, unless you make choices I personally disapprove of.”
Which is not to say that the Vatican doesn’t frown on hedonism either. What they will say, however, is that you’ll have to answer for that in the next life. Liberals, contrariwise, are insistent that you be punished for your McRibs and your M1911 and your Yukon XL right now, so they can enjoy watching your undoing.