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I believe that there are two distinct movements at work in our culture. They are: 1) Anti-Christianity and 2) Anti-Catholicism. During this Christmas season, it becomes easy to confuse the two. I am going to devote some time to the "Anti-Christian" movement in an effort to distinguish the differences and to show why both are areas of concern.

The Anti-Christian movement can easily be confused as attacks both God and Christmas. Many mask their hatred of Christianity and religion by saying that they are being sensitive to others. This appears to be the desired effect of those who have worked to take Christ out of Christmas and make it into a holiday season. They want Christmas to be turned into a celebration of the winter season.. This celebration of winter instead of Christmas, was in effect asking Christians " to celebrate something they didn't celebrate - winter - as if they were pagans in the Roman Empire" This has supposedly been done in an effort not to offend non-Christians.

"Too often, school administrators lack the courage to challenge organizations like the ACLU. Gibons says the tactics and strategies of the ACLU in its war on Christmas are the very definition of bullying, and to avoid costly litigation from the ACLU school boards and local governments frequently submit to the ACLU's demands that far exceed the limitations on religious observance on government property that is actually required by law." Last Christmas, Columbia High School in South Orange-Maplewood New Jersey, forbade the chorus form singing Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer. This was because of the reference to a "foggy Christmas eve" . This is how absurd the campaign against Christianity has become. This may be why it appears that the tide has begun to turn.

The Catholic league took on Wal-Mart over Wal-Mart's discrimination against Christmas and Christians. Wal-Mart called Christmas the "holidays' while they did not do the same for Hanukah and Kwanzaa. Wal-Mart was forced to back down from their misguided effort.

The Anti-Christian and Anti-Religion movement has even made it into the fashion world of jeans. Cheap Monday Jeans are a hot commodity among the youth of Sweden. The logo of a skull and the cross turned upside down on it's forehead, " is an active statement against Christianity, according to it's designer Bjorn Atldax. " I'm not a Satanists myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion.".

In our country, there is a constant battle in the Courts to eliminate all references to God in our public life. Dr. Michael Newdow has sued in various Federal Courts to remove "one nation under God" form the Pledge of Allegiance and " In God we trust' from our currency. This is based on a twisted view of the separation of Church and state. Our country was founded on Biblical principals and our founders consistently referred to God and asked for God's help and guidance.

I believe that the above examples of Anti-Christianity were essential to distinguish it from an equally great problem. This problem is the hatred of Catholics in our society. This hatred can be either very obvious or subtle.

" Anti-Catholicism is religious or political opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, often employing mischaracterizations, stereotypes and negative prejudices. Anti-Catholicism typically applies only to those instances in which Roman Catholics are harmed, persecuted, or discriminated against for their beliefs by other Christians: Roman Catholics may also be the target of persecution of Christians in general"

I believe that some of the basis of Anti-Catholicism is possibly the result of ignorance. This ignorance was the result of a Church that made itself difficult to understand. For centuries, the Church used Latin in its' services and the Mass was offered by priests who had their backs turned to the people. This certainly could have contributed to people being wary of Catholics. It can fuel rumors and misunderstandings.

When Saint Jerome translated the whole Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into the Latin Vulgate, it was into the common language of the people of the west. This was done to allow the average person to understand the Bible. This attempt at openness became a mystery as fewer and fewer understood Latin. This could have easily aided non-Catholics in having an Anti-Catholic opinion.

When I spoke with my father about this topic, he told me a couple of his own memories of Anti-Catholicism. When Senator John Kennedy ran for President against Vice-President Nixon in 1960, there were many references to how Kennedy would be controlled by the Pope and would answer to Rome first. There was even a gag about what phone number he would dial for help and advice it was "The Pope" upside down. This is a clear example of a society being Anti-Catholic. He remembers being in Church and the priest telling the people not to vote for Kennedy because he was Catholic, but to vote for the person they believed would be the best President. This was done so that people would not be able to claim that the Catholic Church fixed or influenced the election.

During the summer of 1972, my father taught Bible school at St. William's parish in Shelbyville, Tennessee. There he claims to have experienced Anti-Catholicism. Shelbyville is a small town approximately 55 miles south of Nashville. At the time there was only a Sears catalog store and a Kmart for shopping. Everything else was mom and pop stores. Thinks either had to be ordered or a trip to Nashville of another bigger city was required. When he first arrived in town early on a Sunday morning, he asked a policeman where he could find St. Williams. The officer said that there was a St.Mary or a St Joseph or something down the road. My father knew that the officer did not want to use to correct name and did not want to give him the right directions just because he was obviously Catholic. Driving a car form New Jersey certainly did not help. He found out that there were a great number of Christian Churches in town. They mostly did not like each other as all felt that their particular beliefs were correct. They were however united in their dislike of the Catholic Church and the people who attended it. Those parishioners had it difficult to practice their faith as they were often made to feel as though they were not part of the town's society.

He reminded me that the KKK did and does not only dislike Blacks, they also do not like Jews and Papists (Catholics). .Prior to looking into this



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