Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why Catholics Especially Should Condemn Trump's Promise to Halt Muslim Immigration

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for the complete halt of all Muslim immigration to the US. "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life." Nice to say they have "no respect for human life" while also being a candidate who supports abortion (depending on what day of the week you ask him, but I digress).

Now, I'm not naive when it comes to radical Islam - we're seeing the death of Europe over it (coupled with the voluntary sterilization of the post-Christian world). So, yes, some Muslims are very, very bad. Yes, the Koran indeed has verses encouraging death, murder, and terror - and this is NOT a misinterpretation of the Koran, as so many politically-correct politicians have insisted. However, as a Catholic, I cringe whenever I hear an American call for the halt of immigration due to religion, since Catholicism felt that bigotry since before the United States was a nation.

For instance, the state constitution in New Jersey granted religious freedom to all residents except Catholics. In fact, most of the 13 colonies either banned Catholics from settling there, or at least severely restricted (or banned) the celebration of Mass. During the mid-1800s, reacting to the large wave of German and Irish Catholic immigrants coming to the US, a new political party emerged - the American Party, powered by the anti-Catholic "Know Nothing" movement and their secret society, the Order of the Star Spangled Banner. Their platform demanded that anyone who has "any allegiance or obligation of any description to any foreign prince, potentate or power" - in other words, the Pope - should never be allowed to hold political office. My ex-wife had to reside in the US for three years before she was entitled to citizenship - for other immigrants, the wait is five years; the American Party called for a 21-YEAR waiting period. They demanded the repeal of all existing immigration laws, demanded the establishment of an American public school system in order to counteract the Catholic school system, "war to the hilt" on Catholics in politics, the protection of "Protestant interests", the sending back of all "foreign paupers", and "eternal enmity" against anyone who tries to carry out "the principles of a foreign Church or State" - i.e., Catholics.

The American Party won many seats in local and state elections, and even won some national seats. Anti-Immigrant/anti-Catholic violence erupted around the country. Things got so bad that Mass was suspended in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia because too many Catholics were being assaulted on their way to Mass. The basilica in Philadelphia has very high windows because the builders, knowing the hatred of the area, built them too high for rock-throwing bigots to reach. There were riots in several cities, priests and nuns were harassed and sometimes assaulted, and several people even died.

The Civil War basically disrupted all the Catholic immigrant hatred for a while, but it would rear its ugly head again in the early 20th Century when more poor Catholic immigrants from Poland, Germany, Italy, and parts of Eastern Europe flooded American cities. The Ku Klux Klan would re-emerge across the nation, demanding a halt to immigration; that these immigrants were a threat to our jobs, our culture, and "our religion". Even during the call for Prohibition, many of the supporters of that movement said that banning alcohol was a way to "punish the Germans" who were waging war in Europe and stealing our jobs at home. The same thing that politicians and Protestant ministers were shouting in the 1840s are shouted today at Latinos: immigrants are stealing our jobs, bringing in diseases, raising the crime rate, and are endangering our culture and our religion. And now, Trump is saying the same thing that those Know Nothings shouted - kick out the immigrants, ban certain religions from coming here.

And many Americans are eating it up. We haven't really changed much. That's very sad.

My advice to America is the same as to Europe - you want to combat radical Islam and stop Muslims from "taking over"? Then start having bigger families and teach them to be devout in their faith. A Christian West will never be conquered by Islam, and a nation that is fertile will never be scared of immigrants. And stop hating Catholics. Isn't 500 years long enough to stop being so bitchy about things? If we don't learn to work together, everything is lost.