The catch-cry of early 2004 was “anyone but Bush.” Anyone turned out to be John Forbes Kerry & a question arises. Frankly, I don’t have the answer. Maybe his supporters can help me out:
Who is more decadent? Kerry, his party or his church?
He has a family religious history out of a novel. He recently was informed that his paternal grandparents were Jews. Grandfather Fritz Kohn was born in the Czech part of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1873. He converted to Catholicism in 1902 & became Frederick Kerry, while still in the empire. He emigrated to Boston & married Ida Lowe, who had also converted from Judaism to Catholicism. Then, years later, before our candidate was born, he committed suicide.
John grew up knowing nothing of this. But, if he wins, he will be, simultaneously, the 1st alter boy to become President, & the 1st of Jewish descent.
Of course, as a Catholic Massachusetts Democrat, JFK follows his hero, John F. Kennedy, declaring himself politically independent of the church. He votes for legal abortion & Co. He told a 2003 audience that “one of my objections to this administration is that it has crossed that delicate line that our forefathers drew in the Constitution that separates church and state. And it is vital for us to hold on to that line.”
Indeed Thomas Jefferson & James Madison, cofounders of his party, did their best to separate the two. But Kerry lied. He is for legally linking them.
His politics are smothered in religion. However, he is aware that Catholics, 44% of Massachusetts, are only 23.7% of Americans. Protestants & other Christians are 58.5%. His hustle is pandering to the religious & political ignorance of most white Protestants, Democrat & Republican, without overly antagonizing Catholics, conservative or liberal, plus secularists, Jews, gays, within his party.
On June 26, 2002, Michael Newdow got the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that “under God” in his daughter’s school’s Pledge of Allegiance violates the 1st Amendment’s “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Within hours, the Senate voted 99-0 for a Democrat-authored resolution directing its legal counsel “to seek to intervene in the case to defend the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.” Kerry told Boston TV that the ruling was “half-assed justice … the most absurd thing … That’s not the establishment of religion.”
Of course Jefferson had no religious pledge for students to recite. On April 13, 1820 the author of Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom & father of its University, wrote to William Short:
“The history of our University you know …. The serious enemies are the priests of the different religious sects, to whose spells on the human mind it’s improvement is ominous …. They pant to re-establish, by law that holy inquisition, which they can now only infuse into public opinion …. But in despite of their fulminations against endeavors to enlighten the general mind, to improve the reason of the people, and to encourage them in the use of it, the liberality of this State will support this institution, and give fair play to the cultivation of reason.”
Madison pushed Jefferson’s statute thru Virginia’s legislature. He went on to be “the father of the Constitution” & author of the Bill of Rights. After Jefferson’s death he replaced him as University Rector. A March 19, 1823 letter to Edward Everett declared that
“The difficulty of reconciling the Xn mind to the absence of a religious tuition from a University established by law and at the common expence, is probably less with us than with you. The settled opinion here is that religion is essentially distinct from Civil Govt and exempt from its cognizance; that a connexion between them is injurious to both; that there are causes in the human breast, which ensure the perpetuity of religion without the aid of the law.”
Francis Bellamy, Baptist minister & Socialist, wrote the Pledge in 1892 for the 400th anniversary of the ‘discovery’ of America. But there was no “under God” in it. Congress added the words in 1954, after a campaign by the Catholic Knights of Columbus.
Its theological pronouncement was part of a bipartisan demagogic strategy in the face of ideological & military challenge by atheist Stalinism. Its words officially ‘established’ the God of the domestic “Judeo-Christian way of life” that politicians of the day endlessly defended against “Godless, atheistic Communism.”
Kerry & his party’s leaders know this. But Gallup tells them that 53% of Americans don’t understand that the Bill of Rights & the 1st 10 Amendments are one & the same. They see that 84% opposed the court striking “under God” from the Pledge. These worldlings know Gallup’s 2/25/03 Briefing said that 67% of self-identified Democrats believe there is a devil. They read Gallup’s 9/9/03 report: “even among liberals and Democrats, majorities disapprove” a federal court’s 11/02 ruling that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore had to remove his 10 Commandments ‘rock’ from his courthouse.
The scientific community is increasingly secularist & liberal. So are much of academia & the media. According to The American Religious Identification Survey – 2001, non-religious — atheists, agnostics, humanists, etc. — are now 14%, 1 of 7 Americans, & growing, particularly among college educated. But ‘liberal’ takes on different meaning among rural Americans, 21% of voters & mostly white, Blacks & Hispanics. Beyond the 24% of Americans, 17% of Blacks, with college degrees & the millions more in schools, it frequently means vague economic populism & sexual tolerance, combined with formal theocratic fundamentalism. Forty-seven percent of Americans, 57% of Blacks, believe God created the world within the last 10,000 years.
Most US Protestants know nothing of the history of Madison’s 1st Amendment or what it meant to him. He did his best to separate religion & government at every level. He didn’t get all he wanted. He felt separation should apply to the 13 states, as well as the federal government, but Massachusetts had an official Congregational religion until 1833. The religious right feeds churchgoers similar remnants of British church-state alliance thinking that the founders carried over into their new republic, “Done … in the year of our Lord one thousand and eighty seven” at the end of the Constitution, Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation, etc. But most believers don’t know Jefferson & Madison’s mature anti-clerical writings exist.
That said, Protestants take more liberal stances on sex than Kerry’s church. It opposes masturbation, contraception, vasectomy, in vitro fertilization, sex outside of marriage & divorce other than for adultery, as well as abortion & euthanasia. They’ve been known to masturbate, use condoms, etc. Divorce is almost as common among Protestants as marriage use to be. When it comes down to it, they are for legal abortion in some or all situations presently permitted. They interpret Kerry’s statements as he means them to: ‘I promise to accept your Protestant standards, prayers in schools & privacy in the bedroom.’
That Kerry gets away with using Kennedy as his homeboy Catholic secularist role model reminds us that most Americans are historical illiterates. In 2003, Gallup reported that “three-quarters … think more than one man was involved in Kennedy’s assassination …. The public is equally likely to mention Kennedy as Abraham Lincoln (17% each) when asked to name the greatest US president.”
Right-wingers think the Soviets killed Kennedy (15%), or Cuba (15%). Liberals go CIA (34%) or Lyndon Johnson (18%). The 56% of Americans picking the Mafia are largely nonpolitical youth.
In life, Kennedy & his Attorney-General, brother Bobby, committed the greatest criminal violation of separation of church & state in US history. They wiretapped Martin Luther King’s phone & bugged his hotel rooms. It came out in post-Watergate revelations, & is discussed in established biographies of Kennedy & King. Yet how many of the Americans, Blacks, Catholics or Democrats who give themselves a hernia from worrying about who killed that wonderful man are aware of his unconstitutional spying?
One Democrat does, unless we are to believe that a Massachusetts Catholic Democratic Senator doesn’t know that a Massachusetts Catholic Democratic President’s infamy can be found on the shelves of every library in his state.
To be sure, Catholic Kennedy had nothing to do with this. The Pope didn’t put him up to it. Democrat Kennedy did it. The FBI was looking for Commies among King’s advisers. In the June 7 New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg quotes Kennedy’s 1960 speech before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, citadel of Protestantism, declaring that “the separation of church and state is absolute.” Hertzberg says that “it is just barely possible to imagine such a speech being delivered today by Senator Kerry. Could the same be said of President Bush?”
I rise in Kerry’s defense. His ghost-writers are as good as Kennedy’s. The problem is that his deeds will be as bad as Kennedy’s. His vote for the Patriot Act, combined with insistence that a secret-police president is his hero, tell us that his idol’s crimes would be a reasonable worst-case template for a Kerry administration, facing Islamic terrorism abroad, & growing left anti-war opposition at home.
Kerry’s latest foray into spirituality is his endorsement of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act. It would give employees the right to seek accommodations for their religious practices as long as they do not create an undue hardship for the employer. The legislation defines undue hardship as a significant cost — financial or logistical — to the business.
It is supported by the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention & the major Jewish organizations. But the ACLU is opposed. It warns that the legislation could create scenarios whereby people use their religious practices as an excuse to violate the civil rights of others.
It is concerned that religious people could then legitimately refuse to work with the opposite gender or gays. Or that they would justify proselytizing on the job, which provokes bitter arguments, or even wear swastikas, which would start riots.
The ACLU points to recent court rulings that employers didn’t need to accommodate religious practices & asks whether courts would rule the same way under WRFA.
It cites a police officerâ¤™s request to refuse to protect an abortion clinic & a social worker’s Bible readings with prison inmates in counseling sessions. The ACLU says that the Act “is overly broad in the way it was drafted, and could cause problems for employers that want to enforce non-discrimination policies that go further.” It wants a bill that would only require employers accommodating re holiday observances, religious clothing & beards.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that “Jewish leaders believe Kerryâ¤™s vocal support for the legislation, which he touted when he spoke to the Anti-Defamation League in May, could counterbalance the ACLU.”
Just because he’s running for President & sees a chance to get some pious votes, people suddenly start badmouthing him, calling him a demagogue. But let’s be fair to the guy. This isn’t the 1st time & it won’t be the last time he panders to one, some or all religions.
Bush just visited John Paul ll. He was critical of the President’s war but he continues “to follow with great appreciation your commitment to the promotion of moral values in American society, particularly with regard to respect for life and the family.” In fact, the Pope’s critique of Bush’s war won’t help Kerry with Catholic voters, & his “appreciation” of Bush’s anti-abortion & contraception stands won’t hurt Kerry. Ireland’s classic Catholic saying is “I take my religion from Rome, & my politics from home.” But in the US, most Catholics take neither religion nor politics from Rome.
There is 1 Catholic church/state issue that is almost universally unknown. The US stopped recognizing the Papal States in the 19th century. But Reagan reestablished diplomatic relations with the Vatican as part of a strategy to use the 1st Polish Pope in defeating Soviet Stalinism in his homeland. The USSR is history, but the US still recognizes the Vatican as a state.
Early American diplomacy recognized the Papal States because the Pope ruled a temporal government extending across Italy from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian Seas. The Vatican’s 113 acres were established in 1929 under the Lateran Treaty between the Papacy & Mussolini, designed to settle church claims re its lost territories, seized by the Kingdom of Italy in 1870.
Its the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, an architectural masterpiece & superb museum, but nothing more. Recognizing it as a temporal state is no better than recognizing the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ new headquarters, north of New York City, which likewise occupies a goodly acreage (& has the world’s worst art).
Beyond treaties, the Supremes tend not to accept cases challenging the constitutionality of US foreign policy. The 1776 revolutionaries had no choice but to wheel & deal with despots. Their alliance with France’s Louis XVl was crucial to winning independence. As America’s Plenipotentiary to his court, 1785-89, Jefferson played a major role in the French revolution. The educated wanted an American style regime, & moderate revolutionaries met in his home. But with degeneration of the anti-clerical republic into Napoleon’s empire, world politics became Britain in Canada, playing Indians off against the US, the Pope, Muslim pirates in Tripoli, Bonaparte in Louisiana & Haiti, with its slave revolt, et al. Jefferson & Madison lived in a wooden ship vs. iron cannonball world, full of unpleasant but necessary diplomatic maneuvers & inevitable wars.
Ratified treaties bind the US to obligations subject to public legal scrutiny. Beyond them, mandatory adherence to the 1st amendment in dealing with the world clearly can’t be found in the constitution. The Bill of Rights & religious freedom came along with America’s moon-rocket, but where a hand-held rocket, given to Afghan Islamic fundamentalists by Kerry & Bush’s parties, ended up doesn’t come within the Supremes’ purview, whatever historians think of the start of the chain of catastrophes that led to 9/11.
However, if we could scroll him up to our times, recognizing the Vatican today, when it isn’t a state, is hardly Jeffersonian. His last letter, written 10 days before his July 4th, 1826 death, tells anyone with eyes what he hoped his Declaration would ultimately do:
“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man.
The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
Kerry gets away with breaking with the church’s position on abortion because average American Catholics are Protestants who are too culturally unsophisticated to know it. At every level there is dissent from the party line. Priests bail out over celibacy. Gays organize within the ranks. Victims of pedophile priests sue bishops. Catholic university science courses generate secularists, not monks.
The 12/18/99 NY Times published an article re a survey of the NY Archdiocese (which includes 2.4 million Catholics in Manhattan, the Bronx & 8 upstate NY counties, but not the 3 other city boroughs). “567 said their religious preference was Catholic, 198 said they were former Catholics.”
That since then the national church increasingly hemorrhaged parishioners is universally understood. But the poll’s distilled numbers still give us a broad picture of the political & religious spectrum within the remaining flock.
To make sense of their stats, staff demographers broke down ‘Catholic’ into Catholic Raised, Catholic Now, “based on those who consider themselves Catholics; Practicing … describe themselves as practicing, Non-Practicing are Catholics now who do not describe themselves as practicing; Former Catholics … were raised Catholic but don’t consider themselves Catholics today.”
Selected poll stats tell us much about the factors producing the collapse.
Catholic Now: Male/Female 43/57
Do you consider yourself a practicing Catholic?
Yes 71 No 27 NA 2
Practicing: Male/Female 42/58
[A]ppropriate for religious leaders to take a public position on abortion?
Practicing: Appropriate 59 Not 37
[A]ppropriate for them to urge people to vote for or against a political candidate because of the candidate’s stand on abortion?
Practicing: Appropriate 31 Not 64
Cardinal O’Connor has said elected officials who are Catholic face possible excommunication if they publicly support abortion rights. Do you approve or disapprove of this action by Cardinal O’Connor?
Approve 33 Disapprove 60
Are you in favor of or opposed to letting Catholic priests get married?
Favor 51 Oppose 41
[L]etting women be ordained as Catholic priests?
Favor 56 Oppose 38
[L]etting homosexuals become Catholic priests if they remain celibate?
Favor 46 Oppose 43
Abortion should be generally available to those who want it; or 2. Abortion should be available but under stricter limits than it is now; or 3. Abortion should not be permitted?
Available 24 Stricter limits 43 Not Permitted 32 DK/NA 2
Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults in their own house should be legal or illegal?
Legal 62 Illegal 25
[S]omeone who engages in homosexual relations can still be a good Catholic?
Practicing: Yes 68 No 21
Are you of Hispanic origin or descent, or not?
Practicing: Hispanic – 30 – Not Hispanic – 59
Was your total family income in 1998 UNDER $15,000, $15,000-$29,999, $30,000-$49,999, $50,000-$75,000, OVER $75,000, REFUSED
UNDER $15,000 11 $15,000-$29,999 18 $30,000-$49,999 30 $50,000-$75,000 13 OVER $75,000 16 REFUSED 12
Gender Male/Female Non-Practicing 47/53
Hispanic – 48 – Not Hispanic – 44
UNDER $15,000 18 $15,000-$29,999 22 $30,000-$49,999 24 $50,000-$75,000 12 OVER $75,000 13 REFUSED 11
Did you attend … a Catholic … school?
Elementary 23 High School 5 Both 19 No 52 DK/NA 1
[L]ast grade in school you completed?
Not a HS grad 19 HS grad – 27 Some College 24 College grad 17 Post grad 13
What is your religious preference today?
None 46 Protestant 40 Jewish 1 Other 8 DK/NA 4
Some people think of themselves as evangelical, or fundamentalist, or charismatic. Do you ever think of yourself in any of these ways?
Yes – 30 No – 64 NA 6
Are you of Hispanic origin or descent, or not?
Hispanic 36 Not Hispanic 55
Was your total family income in 1998 UNDER $15,000, $15,000-$29,999, $30,000-$49,999, $50,000-$75,000, OVER $75,000, REFUSED
UNDER $15,000 17
OVER $75,000 18
Understanding polls is an art & a science. By luck, I interviewed the world’s greatest demographer, the late Egon Mayer of City University of New York. The American Religious Identification Survey – 2001, a poll of 50,000 Americans, the 2nd largest ever done, taught him a deep truth:
“The religious right makes the most noise. It sounds like its gaining strength. But reality is the other way around. The percentage saying they have no religion is growing. More important, millions of people are changing their religious ideas and organizations in a liberal direction.”
Gallup’s historic stats confirm this. In the 1930s, they didn’t dare ask Americans if they would vote for a Black for President. Most whites would have hung up the phone. Today over 90% say they would. The notion of full human equality became central to our culture with the Black civil rights struggle of the 1950s & 60s. It immediately generated a mass women’s movement. Equally important, the 1969 Stonewall Inn riot triggered off a huge gay movement which made similar legal gains.
‘Mass movement’ is a misunderstood term. These were hugh. But most Blacks, women, gays, weren’t marching, let alone most whites, who either opposed them or did nothing beyond vaguely sympathize with their egalitarian demands. But equality before the law became the secular reality & its impact percolated thru American society.
As everywhere, the overwhelming majority grow up believing in their family religion. They acquire further basic values from their schools, religious or secular. Since the 60s, all state-certified schools must at least formally teach human equality. The mass Christian sects, Catholicism the largest, follow an ancient text full of male chauvinism & homophobia. What we are experiencing is the slow but steady destruction of those venerable sects as the reality that society is legally egalitarian, & the better for it, becomes the dominant element in the average American Christian’s cultural values.
The Bible says God created man in his image. We witness the unmistakable opposite. Millions are cleaning up God’s act for him, in response to unmistakably higher secular standards. Sect after sect is waging a mini-civil war over ordaining female & gay clergy.
The Times’ Catholic stats tell us much about the contemporary American church & its future. It will continue to lose followers at every economic & educational level. It has already lost at least 25% of its Latino working class followers, mostly to Protestant store-front sects.
Shacking up with Protestants & Jews & the intermarriage flowing from it, take their toll among educated Catholics. In metro New York, with its substantial Jewish population, “it is the historic ‘mission’ of one’s 1st Jewish girl friend to convince a Catholic boy that Voltaire was a good guy & the priests were idiots,” as an ex-Catholic friend put it. The educated accept Darwinism in state & quality private universities. History courses take up the inquisition. The church apologizes for persecuting Galileo for teaching that the earth goes around the sun. Sex, science & history send significant numbers of intellectuals into the atheist camp.
Bush’s theological/political strategy is to call for an anti-gay federal constitutional amendment, to mobilize the most conservative religious elements here, for a last ditch battle against the oncoming hordes of cultural change. Kerry’s is to run with the fox & hunt with the hounds. He panders to the populist liberalizing flow, whether it speeds up or slows down. Hence his double-reverse-triple-whammy re abortion & the judiciary.
He will appoint only pro-abortion Supremes, but anti-abortion lower court judges are OK. This means that, in today’s every-Catholic-is-his-own-Pope church, Pope John Forbes is announcing that he is not excommunicating the remaining Swiss Guards, the anti-abortion, pro-celibacy traditionalists in his party, who vote for it for economic reasons. If some bishops won’t give him communion, he is still willing to give it to their followers, particularly the Catholics among the party hacks, who commonly pander to the catholic right on a local level, as with Kucinich, who was anti-abortion as long as his ambitions centered on the Polish Catholic vote in Cleveland.
His something-for-everyone pandering style makes Kerry oppose Bush’s federal anti-gay marriage amendment, while supporting such at the state constitutional level. Nationally, gays are major players, numerically & financially, in the Democratic Party. But Massachusetts has many traditionalist Catholic Democrats.
With his calibrated domestic religious demagoguery, Kerry isn’t about to break diplomatic relations with the Pope. But, beyond that, Catholicism would play no important international role in his regime. Indeed we have to get the world ready for a possible next war-crimes administration, a Catholic Democratic President who no one would ever mistake for Jesus or Jefferson, whose pandering to the diminishing Zionist minority within American Jewry puts him closer to Ariel Sharon than to his Pope.
As I write on religion & politics, self-proclaimed leftists, liberals & secularists ask me if Methodist Bush is for-real about his Christianity. They are frequently disappointed when I say that evidence of his fanaticism is overwhelming. They want him to be a demagogic cynic so they can even more legitimately hate him.
With Kerry it is the opposite. They want to vote for him. Therefore they want to believe that he is a clever hustler, pandering to Catholic fools. Otherwise he is a fool, & educated anybody-but-Bushies feel degraded voting for idiots. But they have no problem voting for clever Democratic demagogues, hustling fools, if they can get something from them for their issues.
Many are ex-Catholics, all know such. They see endless millions pouring out of the church, worldwide, & know more will do so. They don’t want a Kerry who genuinely believes in an institution racked with pedophile scandals.
The only sign that his Catholicism might be real is that he once was an alter boy. Many readers know people with early hyper-involvement with a sect, who just can’t get it out of their heads. But the ex-alter boy has been able to politically break with the church on abortion & other ‘moral’ issues, when it suits his purposes. This, combined with accelerating electoral religiosity, as with endorsing the WRFA, show commitment to demagoguery as a way of life.
Readers may ask why Kerry can’t solve his problem by leaving the church? But the conventional wisdom among bipartisan strategists is that most Catholics will tolerate any amount of theological heresy &/or sinful living on a politician’s part, if he’s good on their issues, but that millions of traditionalists won’t vote for an apostate. He is a direct challenge to them.
Kerry’s Kennedyesque statements declaring himself politically independent of his church serve to draw attention away from his Catholicism. But his positions on the Pledge & WRFA work in the opposite direction. He disagrees with his church on legalized abortion. Does he agree with the Pope & 2/3rds of his party, who are convinced that the devil is loose in the world?
The Gallup organization was legitimately disturbed by its finding. The devil as organizer of natural or social evil went out of style in serious intellectual circles centuries ago. That so many voters are steeped in medievalism is a sign of the wretchedness of most of American public high school science education. Every politician talks on & on about educating kids. Except that 8-year olds don’t vote. Its most adults who need that education, but a demagogue pandering to as many of their follies as he dares to can’t say that to them. The end result? Millions of their youths will grow up buying season tickets to ball games, playing slot machines in casinos, & praying, instead of studying sciences that would be useful to them in an increasingly high tech global economy.
But now a new church scandal has arisen that theatens to put Kerry on a cross, if I may be forgiven my choice of words. The 6/13 Times exposed the sordid truth. “Short on Priests, U.S. Catholics Outsource Prayers to Indian Clergy.”
God almighty! Our churches are sending requests for special masses to India, where “memorial and thanksgiving prayers conducted for local residents are said for a donation of 40 rupees (90 cents), whereas a prayer request from the United States typically comes with $5 …. Bishop Adayanthrath said sending Mass intentions overseas was a way for rich churches short on priests to share and support smaller churches in poorer parts of the world.”
The International Union of Prophets & Saints, AFL-CIO, was ready to do election-day telephoning for Kerry until the story broke. But now Joe Baloney, National Secretary of IUP&S, says “Mother of Jesus! No more American prayers said in Maylayalam! Kerry’s got to go on record opposing the Vatican’s destruction of our spiritual economy. If he doesn’t, we are going to get the whole AFL-CIO to tell him & his damn church to go to hell.”
Pundits aren’t sure which way the Catholic Democrat will go. What do readers think? Is he for American prayers staying here, where they belong? Or is he for Indians praying in Maylayalam for the soul of Grandpa Fritz?
LENNI BRENNER is the editor of 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis. He can be reached at BrennerL21@aol.com.