Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the communist USSR (aka, the Soviet Union, aka, "the Empire of Evil"), famously said, "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."
At the risk of sounding hystrionic, I believe that is exactly what we American Catholics did on Tuesday, Election Day. Most of those who self-identify as Catholics once again gave our votes to a candidate -- indeed, candidates -- who fundamentally see in the Catholic Church society's primary bête noire, an eternal enemy to be harried and harassed until she and her offspring are at the very least long, far gone (Voltaire and Rousseau, it seems, never died).
In this respect, we have become the new "capitalists." For by willfully giving such people continued power, we also give them authority to do harm to our religion's teachings and, to the degree we remain faithful to the latter, ourselves.
As evidence, look how the POTUS (i.e., "President Of The United States") has pushed same sex marriage. See how he has championed abortion more than any other President. Observe his intransigence on the HHS mandate (see also here). And then consider what this has already meant and will mean to the religious liberty we hold so dear in this nation. (See here, here, and here. Even the Vatican is concerned.)
Do a search for "Catholic bishops should stay out of politics." Clearly the desire amongst so called liberals and progressives is to restrict the voice and influence of Catholics in the public square. (For those who have a problem with equating Catholic bishops and Catholics writ large, consider that between faithful, orthodox Catholics and the US bishops much less the Magisterium as a whole, there is no daylight, especially on the so-called "five non-negotiables.")
This cannot stand. It must be stopped. Our republic cannot afford a naked public square. Naked, however, it is quickly becoming and naked more it will grow over the next four years.
Please, pastors start preaching and teaching about these issues! Please, Catholics stop reflexively rejecting the Church's teachings on morality and religious liberty, because if the surveys and studies are accurate, most of us don't know the very basics of our faith, much less why the Church is so counter-cultural on the hot button topics of our day.
It wasn't long ago that to be a faithful Catholic in this world meant certain death. In many places, it still does. It was even true within this country over the last 175-plus years.
For example, under threat of execution, Catholic priests could not step foot within any of what are now the New England and mid-Atlantic states. The Whig (or Federalist) Party to which John Adams belonged went the way of the dodo bird in great part due to its lack of attachment to religious liberty.
One could correspondingly argue the only reason the Party of Jefferson and Jackson -- i.e., the Democrats -- lives today is because early on, it was our nation's greatest champion for religious freedom, not incidentally for Catholics (although for Baptists and Methodists, too).
Even after independence, America was often a dangerous place for Catholics. On August 5, 1855, for instance, anti-Catholics at Louisville, Ky., set fire to Catholic homes late one night. Those who ran from their homes to escape the flames were gunned down. Two men were lynched. That night, almost 100 people died.
Besides the aforementioned mayhem, religious riots such as those depicted in the powerful Martin Scorsese film The Streets of New York took place in 1834 Boston, 1844 Philadelphia, and on several occasions during the 19th century in New York City.
In the 1920s, a Catholic priest in Birmingham, Alabama, was gunned down on his front porch. The subsequent trial refused to convict his admitted murderer. (Consider that all of this is post the Bill of Rights' establishment of religious freedom.) For much of our history, real or de facto signs hung from businesses throughout our lands, "Help wanted: No Irish [i.e., Catholics] need apply."
Also, several Supreme Court decisions quoting Jefferson's "wall of separation between Church and State" were animated by anti-Catholic views such as those held by the late former KKK member and Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. Indeed, judicially derived statutes concerning religion have most often flared up at times of either high Catholic immigration or when the Church's hierarchy has been unusually vocal.
All of which is to say there was a time when discrimination and persecution were facts of life for American Catholics. That time could come again. Thus, let's stop being complacent with our votes just because we aren't yet Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Myanmar (Burma), or the like.
In other words, let's stop giving those who would figuratively or literally hang us the rope with which to hang us. Let's start standing up for our holy faith. Let's start standing up for ourselves.