Fear the Catholics among you!

If you were a native-born American in the 1840s and 1850s, you quite likely thought the massive wave of Catholics immigrating into the United States was an invasion by a foreign power whose values were incompatible with American principles and saw it as part of a vast Papal conspiracy to conquer and subdue American democracy. Fear the Catholics among you, for they have come to spread their superstitions, their theocracy, their idolatry, and their false God! And we all know how that played out…

They became Americans just like you and me.

Anti-Catholicism in the United States



  1. I remember reading about this back in my college days. And remember the lingering sting of it that my father felt. Fresh out of college and desperate for a job, he was offered one at the YMCA, but was told by the Catholic Church that he would be excommunicated if he took it. Why? Because of the YMCA’s previous actions against Catholics and the Catholic Church’s long memory.

    Since then, I occasionally point out that first Irish and Italians became “white” in America. Then, surprise, surprise, even Jews became “white”. And despite the years of Yellow Peril, even Asians have almost become “white” though, to be honest, this country is not even close to ready to elect an Asia president. So in that sense they might not be quite as “white” as African-Americans.

    As Woody Guthrie wrote:

    And all creeds and kinds
    And colors of us are blending
    Till I suppose ten million years from now
    We’ll all be just alike

    Same color, same size
    Working together
    And maybe we’ll have all of the fascists
    Out of the way by then, maybe so
    Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/billy-bragg/she-came-along-to-me-lyrics/#6j8xhqhEc6t0lTf2.99

    1. Quite literally, if you just substitute a different ethnicity for the Know-Nothing anti-Catholic rhetoric of the 1840s and 1850s, you will be reading one of today’s nativist rants. It was wrong then; it’s wrong now.

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