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War on Rome…

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Maura Jane Farrelly, I read your article “War on Rome” published in AEON Magazine on May 22, 2015, with great interest. I am old enough to remember the religious political machinations that accompanied the presidential campaign of Senator John F. Kennedy and as a student of Judeo-Christianity and world history and was intrigued with the breath of your piece. In the interest of a full disclosure, I completed all my sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church at the age of twelve, and remain a perennial student of the faith, therefore your comprehensive exposition relative to Catholic and Protestant history, and the current religious dynamic in electoral politics in conjunction with world events, resonated with me. In particular, your analogy relative to current popular sensibilities and perceptions concerning Islam’s abiding interests in undermining the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States, with anti-Catholic bias that gained popularity during the Protestant Reformation movement, in the 15th century, is compelling.

The history of Catholicism in the western hemisphere is in deed colorful, and the advent of the Protestant Reformation became the impetus for the “America” experiment, vis-à-vis, the separation of church and State, and representative, secular government. The growth and advancement of “Protestant America” from its founding in 1776 to the largest economic power in the world, and the hegemonic geo-political leviathan on the planet is self evident. Hence, the political concept of America’ “exceptional-ism” is a popular theme and many Americans define themselves as a free, noble and (some have said) “chosen” people. And the current bogeyman, by way of “Islam” has no connection or similitude with Christianity in general and Christian America, in particular. America was accordingly imbued with and absorbed by the Puritan Protestant ethic, and the vernacular “WASPs” (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants) represented a “super” class of Americans that remains…

The Church of England was the tip of the spare relative to the Protestant Reformation movement by way of King Henry VIII’ break with the papacy, and the establishment of the Church of England. But, English Puritan Samuel Mather in 1672 called the “manifold Apostasies, Heresies, and Schisms of the Church of Rome’ that drove the Puritans to Massachusetts in the 1620s and 30s were being mimicked by the English King. They believed that the Church of England was tainted by the remnants of Catholic theology, and they thought these, pope like relics destroyed the “freedom” people needed in order to accept salvation from God. Because Americans held onto this Puritan understanding of Catholicism for centuries, the idea that the founding of Massachusetts had been a bold bid for ‘freedom’ became an almost religious truth which continues to reverberate… But history records that people were actually executed and banished in colonial Massachusetts because they held ideas about religion that were considered dangerous…

In 1774, John Adams felt sorry for the Catholics he observed at a mass in Philadelphia: The ‘poor wretches,’ the future US president told his wife, were ‘fingering their beads chanting in Latin, yet not a word of which they understood.’ By 1960, the self-help guru Norman Vincent Peale worried that Catholic voters were theocracy-loving minions who’d put a man, the Catholic John F Kennedy, in the White House who couldn’t ‘withstand the determined efforts of the hierarchy of his church’ to meddle in US politics. So Peale (the original ‘positive thinker’) formed the National Conference of Citizens for Religious Freedom and campaigned for Richard Nixon.

“For most of US history, voters, ministers and lawmakers believed that there was something fundamentally un-American about Roman Catholics. They weren’t ‘free’ – and they couldn’t be free so long as they worshipped within the Church of Rome. Catholics were an element in US culture that had to be kept as far away as possible from the centers of political, military, economic and educational power. Letting such an intrinsically enslaved element ‘have its say’, so to speak, would constitute an existential challenge to the US, since at its core, the country was just an idea – the idea of freedom.”

Click here to read the entire piece: http://www.sound-meal.com/?p=102

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Written by gjamescadreusa

June 6, 2015 at 7:21 pm

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