|The United States Supreme Court|
The text of San Francisco's anti-Catholic resolution can be downloaded as PDF and read here.
The City of San Francisco, ironically named after a revered Catholic saint, has become the most anti-Catholic city in North America. If faithful practicing Catholics feel unwelcome there, they should, as the city has gone to great lengths to make sure of it. Now the door has been opened for other cities throughout the United States to follow suit with similar resolutions. The cowardice of our United States Supreme Court justices has officially made the United States an anti-Catholic nation once again, not only in culture but also in law, just so long as anti-Catholic legislation remains "non-binding" in print. Welcome to the new America -- the return of Know-Nothing politics.
The real danger presented here is long term. While the City of San Francisco is well known for it's anti-Catholic culture, and now for it's anti-Catholic city ordinances, the United States Supreme Court has effectively allowed the city's resolution to set a new legal precedence in the United States. As we have seen from Supreme Court cases such as Engel v. Vitale, which effectively banned prayer in public schools, these things have a tendency to snowball over time. Legal precedents create public attitudes, or at least they lend to them. They give prejudice the legal cover it needs to perpetuate itself. In time, another U.S. city will pass another anti-Catholic "non-binding" resolution. That will be followed by another and another, until perhaps within a decade or two, these things become rather common. When cities, counties and states use "non-binding" resolutions to define a religion (such as Catholicism) as "hateful and bigoted" it's only a matter of time before those legal definitions become the settled attitude of the people, especially if they work for government. What seems like "no big deal" now will soon become a very big deal within a decade or two.
Anti-Catholicism has become the "last acceptable prejudice" in the United States. We've come such a long way since the days of the Know-Nothing Party, the Blaine amendments, and the 1928 presidential campaign of Al Smith. While some Protestant Fundamentalists still seek to defame and slander the Church at every opportunity on the Internet and in print, they have effectively become a marginalized fringe that are no longer taken seriously by mainstream Protestants. However, over the last two decades a strange new alliance has taken shape. They say politics makes strange bedfellows, and the same could be said for bigotry. During the early 1990s a new type of anti-Catholicism surfaced in America, and this time it was centered in the Left-wing news media and the Democratic Party. The very party that once served as a safe haven for Catholics in the early to middle 20th century, actually turned on the Catholic Church toward the end of the 20th century. The type of anti-Catholicism that emerged among Leftists in American politics was one of subtle defamation. Catholic politicians who effectively disowned the teachings of the Church became the little darlings of the Democratic Party, while those who took their faith seriously were quietly asked to leave the party. A Catholic Democrat running for office could expect to get full backing from the Democratic Party if he opposed the Church's teachings on abortion, homosexuality and private property. This opposition need not be in word, but it certainly had to be in deed (i.e. "voting record"). Democratic politicians who fit this description, (such as Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Nanci Pelosi), sailed to the front ranks of the Washington political establishment. Those who didn't fit this description soon found themselves politically orphaned, without a party to represent them, unless they went to the Republican Party which has thus far only given them lip service. Now what was once just found in politics and media rhetoric is working it's way into city resolution that are being upheld by federal courts. The new Anti-Catholicism is simple and easily embraced by anyone, regardless of their religious beliefs. It can be summarized simply as "The only good Catholic is a bad Catholic," meaning one who doesn't follow the teachings of the Church. By approaching anti-Catholicism in this way, the Church and it's teachings can be attacked, without looking like Catholic people are being defamed directly. It's just an illusion though. In fact, Catholics are being defamed, along with their religion, if they so choose to practice it and take it seriously.
Ironically things have a way of coming full circle. That marginalized fringe of anti-Catholic Fundamentalists are now getting a whole new set of readers for their anti-Catholic material. Strangely enough, many Left-wing Liberals are now reading, and in some cases reprinting, much of the same anti-Catholic propaganda used by Protestant Fundamentalists in generations past. It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.