Monday, February 05, 2007

Anti-Immigration? It's the Catholicism, Stupid!

Recently, I noted that the American right's paranoia about immigration has everything to do with culture. Some facts stand out: 63% of white evangelicals view immigrants as a "threat to U.S. customs and values", and 90 percent of the Family Research Council's membership favor deportation of illegal immigrants. Evangelicals have managed to deftly fuse national identity with religion.

Which brings us to Catholicism, which, by its very definition, is universal. And indeed, if you scratch a little below the surface of the anti-immigration movement, you will find vestiges of the old anti-Catholicism still lurking. The anti-Catholicism that doomed the presidential ambitions of Al Smith, and almost derailed John Kennedy. Of course, modern evangelicals play down these differences, because of their strategic deal with the Catholic right (see here for how Neuhaus misinterprets this alliance). But sometimes, the truth just seeps out. Via Andrew Sullivan, discredited evangelical pastor Ted Haggard had this to say:

"And the nations dominated by Catholicism look back. They don't tend to create our greatest entrepreneurs, inventors, research and development. Typically, Catholic nations aren't shooting people into space. Protestantism, though, always looks to the future. A typical kid raised in Protestantism dreams about the future. A typical kid raised in Catholicism values and relishes the past, the saints, the history. That is one of the changes that is happening in America. In America the descendants of the Protestants, the Puritan descendants, we want to create a better future, and our speakers say that sort of thing. But with the influx of people from Mexico, they don't tend to be the ones that go to universities and become our research-and-development people. And so in that way I see a little clash of civilizations."
Notice the build up. He firsts talks about how Protestant countries are so superior to Catholic ones. And then he brings in the unwashed Mexican masses. Catholic Mexican masses. Yes, it's all about the culture. Are you listening, Neuhaus?


Anonymous said...

You all believe what you want about evangalists, but this is a stupid opinion. Facts are nice and all but make sure the facts are valid. :(

PS This is the worst website i have ever been on!!!!!!!!!!!!

And another thing, dont suggest that all evangalists think that way about immigration.

Anonymous said...

You all believe what you want about evangalists but dont make inferences about all evangalists. And make sure that your stats are all valid!