Fellow faithful Catholics, we've had our grins and chuckles since that article appeared in the Atlantic, but I think it's time to understand what's going on here. In reality, this portends future dangers if we don't take this, and larger problems, seriously.
It seems that every time some tyrannical regime tries to ascend in power, they decide to target a demographic group to act as scapegoat. The scapegoat group is often a minority group within the locality in which it finds itself. The tyrants use the scapegoats as a rallying target at which most, if not all, the other groupings can unleash their mob-like hatred. Of course the tyrants are mistakenly perceived to be champions, having duped the populace at large to target the scapegoats.
We saw this play out in the French Revolution, as bloodthirsty mobs lopped off the heads of their hated aristocrats and yes, Catholic clergy and religious. Just a scant 85 years ago, Adolf Hitler riled the Nazis against Jews, eliminating 6 million of them (along with other "non-Aryans") before the end of World War II.
Would-be tyrants of our current times are now drawing bulls-eyes on the backs of their chosen targets - Catholics who are faithful to the traditions of the teachings of Jesus Christ that have been taught for centuries. I think we saw that play out quite a bit after the Dobbs ruling was leaked, with the vandalism and even destruction of churches and pro-life pregnancy centers. Some of those were operated by protestant, but by and large, it was Catholic institutions that were targeted. They still are being targeted.
Now we see the bigotry being played out in once-reputable publications. Yesterday the Atlantic magazine published an anti-Catholic screed entitled "How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying To Co-Opt The Rosary". The author, Daniel Panneton, is a Canadian who rails against "homophobia", "masculinist anxieties", "the hostility towards liberalism and secularism inherent in traditional Catholicism" and "far right fantasizing about killing activists". Meanwhile, I detected nary a peep about all the destruction and vandalism against Catholic institutions of late, let alone the threats uttered by "Jane's Revenge". Certainly he said nothing about the attempt on Justice Kavanaugh's life.
Frankly, I'd expect something like this coming from academia in Canada. What concerns me is why Atlantic would choose to publish this. Bear in mind that Nazi hatred against Jews began rather innocuously, with the publication of propaganda such as Panneton's article. What the Nazis, and now Panneton, used was one of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals", the 13th rule to be precise. I quote: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)"
Panneton's article isn't just an isolated screed by one lone nutcase. Look at it in historical context, even if that history is just in the last month. I am somewhat dismayed by the cavalier and jocular attitudes that I am seeing among faithful Catholics. Yes, the Rosary is powerful against evil, but we must not take pleasure in the attempts to demonize us. If we as Americans fail to use our rights to insist that we not be the targets of religious bigotry, then we will see ourselves and our children consigned to social and even literal ghettos as it becomes increasingly dangerous to live our Faith and bring others to it. Yes, I know that Christians in the very nascent Church did that, but they had no choice. We do. Will we fritter that away while we shoot off silly memes that actually affirm Panneton's statements?
What I suggested on Facebook is that we go to Atlantic's page and report the article as hate speech, for that is what it is. Write a "letter to the editor" at theatlantic.com. Fellow Catholics, please don't just engage in guffaws and bravado amongst yourselves. Below is my letter to the Atlantic.
I am saddened that in this day and age a publication of your caliber would stoop to publishing such slanderous screed. To portray Catholics faithful to their centuries-old traditions as "violent", "racist" and "paving the way for terrorist attacks" is nothing short of religious bigotry. Indeed, it smacks of the propaganda that Nazis published against Jews as they were ramping up their attempts to marginalize and ultimately imprison and execute millions of them. It wasn't long after those publications that the infamous Krystalnacht happened. Now Catholics too are seeing their churches and buildings burnt and vandalized, with great escalation after the Dobbs ruling was leaked.
Would you publish any other such diatribe against Muslims? Jews? Hindus or other faiths? Somehow I think not. Why then would you publish such trash against Catholics? Decent people demand an answer, and a repudiation of that article in your next issue. Thank you for your time.
Please act now and be praying those Rosaries.