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Anti-Catholicism Spiked In 2020 – OpEd

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There is plenty of empirical evidence to conclude that anti-Catholicism grew by leaps and bounds in 2020: church vandalism, much of it done to make a political statement, was rampant in those parts of the country where mob rule was tolerated; Covid restrictions on houses of worship were often imposed arbitrarily, requiring Catholic dioceses to challenge them in court; comments made by political and cultural elites about Christians, especially Christian voters, were harsh if not cruel.

As important as any measure, Catholics themselves expressed concern about the state of bigotry in the nation. An EWTN survey in late August found that a majority of Catholics said they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the following:

  • Vandalization and attacks on churches
  • Overall anti-Christian sentiment on the fringes of the protests
  • Calls by activists to tear down statues, murals and stained-glass windows depicting Jesus as a “white European”
  • Vandalization and tearing down statues of famous Catholics
  • Protesters in Portland, Oregon burning Bibles

Not surprisingly, those Catholics who attended Mass once or more a week were the most alarmed about these events.

Who are the most likely to be anti-Catholic? Not surprising to the Catholic League, but no doubt surprising to many others, it is precisely those who fancy themselves as the most tolerant who, once again, showed themselves to be the most intolerant. For example, a Rasmussen survey found in October that 15% of Democrats who were likely voters said that Catholics should be prohibited from sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court; the figure was 9% for Republicans.

A large survey of the American public conducted by the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, “Democracy in Dark Times,” reported in November that Biden voters were much more likely to consider Trump voters negatively than was true vice versa.

The majority of Biden voters consider Trump voters to be “closed-minded” (89%); “misguided and misinformed” (89%); “intolerant” (86%); “racist” (83%); “religious hypocrites” (80%); “authoritarian” (77%); “dangerous” (77%); “ignorant” (78%); “fascist” (63%); “un-American” (53%); “un-Christian” (59%); “undereducated” (63%); and “dishonest” (58%). Four in ten Biden voters consider Trump voters to be “evil.”

It can safely be said that when Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “deplorables,” she was speaking for most Democrats. The level of hatred that Republicans have for Democrats is nowhere near as great.

It is telling that this survey did not ask Trump voters whether they consider Biden voters to be “religious hypocrites.” Perhaps that is because the University of Virginia social scientists figured it would be a waste of time: one can hardly be a hypocrite about a value one does not possess.

The cancel culture, which impacts Catholics as much as any segment in society, is not executed by those who hold to traditional values. No, it is the reserve of the educated elites, those who see themselves as beacons of tolerance. On that score, their hypocrisy quotient would be near perfect.

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William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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