Christine Flowers, 8/26/2016 [Archive]

Trump Camp's Latest Move is to Bash Catholics

By Christine Flowers

They told me not to overreact. Read new Donald Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon's comments "in context," they said. And, after all, Christine, you're an immigration lawyer, you have a tendency to blow these things out of proportion. Chill, lady. Go say a rosary, and call us in the morning.

This: "I understand why Catholics want as many Hispanics in this country as possible, because the church is dying in this country, right? If it was not for the Hispanics."

And this: "(Paul Ryan) is rubbing his social justice Catholicism in my nose every second."

And this: "That Whore of Babylon stuff, who's to say it's not really true?"

I won't allow slurs against my faith to be justified by irrelevant and off-point debates about illegal immigration. Bannon basically said my church was in the business of supporting illegal immigration so that it could pad its numbers and add money to the weekly collection plate. He knew exactly what he was doing when he conflated "immigrant" with "Hispanic," puckering up for that high-pitched dog whistle that identifies all "undesirable foreigners" as papists. The man is not only offensive. He's wrong.

While most Mexicans, Central and South Americans and other Latinos self-define as Catholics, a very large minority are evangelical Christians or belong to one of the other Protestant denominations. This is something that's been lost on Bannon, who presumably whispers in Trump's ears. And I'm thinking that's because it's an easy thing to slam the Catholic Church these days, which has been living through a rather dark period.

I'm used to dealing with that attitude from liberals who never saw a vestibule they didn't want to refurbish as a transgender bathroom. I've dealt with the rants of pro-choice Catholics who've added abortion to the list of sacraments and who see absolutely nothing immoral or evil in allowing "other people" to choose infanticide. Yes, I said infanticide. Sorry if that upsets you.

But as much as I'm repulsed by the left-wing haters, I'm equally disturbed by those on the right who cloak their anti-Catholicism behind this law-and-order rhetoric, this affinity for walls, this sympathy for young, white women from California killed by brown men from Honduras. I'm not saying we should welcome criminal aliens into our midst. I am saying we can't be dishonest and try to lay the blame for that criminality on an organization that exists to do God's work, even where it stumbles mightily.

Bannon is just another example of what I like to call "the backdoor bigots." They don't actually come out and say they hate the church, because even though anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice, it still doesn't fly in polite company. Instead of actually coming out and calling Mother Teresa the sister of Miss Babylon, they will point to some negative societal influence or occurrence and then deftly tie the church to it.

Liberals often point to homophobia and sex abuse (in the case of priests, usually same-sex abuse) and policies that allegedly hurt and disenfranchise women to undermine the good that the church has done and will continue to do. The greatest private social network of charity across the nation is supported by the Roman Catholic church, including schools, hospitals, women's shelters, crisis pregnancy clinics, orphanages and a host of other institutions that exist to be "their brother's keeper." But for the left, this pales in comparison with the fact that this church stands in the way of social engineering, which upsets their secular apple cart.

But the brother and sisters on the right are equally adept at their delegitimization tactics, and Bannon is Exhibit A. It's ingenious, really. Take someone who is already persona non grata in society, a Catholic. Conflate him with someone who is even less desirable, an immigrant. Push it a little further, and make that immigrant "illegal." Add water, stir, and you have the perfect souffle of blame.

People who think the church is a den of pedophiles and hates women will likely vote for Hillary in the fall. On the other hand, people who think the church hides criminal aliens behind the altar will gravitate toward Trump.

Once again, I'm reminded why I'm disgusted by both sides. And once again, I'm reminded why Al Smith lost that presidential race, and JFK needed to assure the Houston pastors that he wasn't in the pope's pocket. The times, they're not a-changing.

---------

© 2016 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

Download Christine Flowers's color photo - Download Christine Flowers's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Christine Flowers's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

Papal Politics COLOR
By: Nate Beeler

February 19, 2016

Papal Politics
By: Nate Beeler

February 19, 2016

Pope vs Trump COLOR
By: Bob Englehart

February 19, 2016

Pope vs Trump
By: Bob Englehart

February 19, 2016

Trump v Pope
By: Monte Wolverton
Cagle Cartoons
February 23, 2016

Trump v Pope Color
By: Monte Wolverton
Cagle Cartoons
February 23, 2016
    

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]