Monday, August 16, 2010

The Manhattan Islamic Center, American Religions and the Presidency - Some Other Bigotry Worth Contemplating

There has been but one Roman Catholic President of the United States: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Aside from JFK, there have been two other Roman Catholic candidates for President: Al Smith in 1928 and John Kerry in 2004.

There have been 3 Roman Catholic Vice-Presidential Candidates: William Miller (R-1964), Ed Muskie (D-1968), and Sargent Shriver (D-1972)

There has been one Greek Orthodox Catholic candidate for President, Michael Dukakis.

There have been no Jews nominated.

No Mormons. No Atheists (that we know of).

Certainly no Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims.

Thus far, the score is:

WASPs 42
Catholics 1
Black Protestants 1

A bit lopsided?

That it is primarily white Protestants leading the charge against the Islamic Center in lower Manhattan should speak volumes to the rest of us about the priorities of the (barely) majority Protestants. Of course many Protestants do not fall into this hysterically xenophobic group. And, sadly, there are many Catholics - led by the likes of xenophobe-in-chief, Pat Buchanan - who are lining up against the center.

If you fall outside the pale of mainline white Protestantism, however, recall that you, or your near ancestors, suffered this exact same kind of intolerance. Think long and hard about what your forebears suffered and poke around in the vast computer knowledge files to see how similarly they were portrayed in the press as are Muslims now. 

Meanwhile, even with the election of a black President, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a Catholic or a Jew, among others, to move into the White House.

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