Democrats just keep outdoing themselves. In the domain of anti-Catholic bigotry, that is.
Until recently, it was hard to believe that they could be any more anti-Catholic then they were after the Amy Coney Barrett kerfuffle, in which Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Durbin (D-IL) questioned whether Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith should disqualify her from a circuit court judgeship. Senator Feinstein now infamously said, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.”
The sentence went viral not just because it was utterly weird, but because it laid bare a hostility towards religion that Democrats had previously succeeded in masking with liberal euphemisms about tolerance. Coney Barrett, an incredibly polished and accomplished working mom, became an overnight hero, and the phrase “dogma lives loudly” became a sort of rallying cry for the faithful who have suffered the left’s soft discrimination for years.
But Democrats upped the ante last month by taking a direct swing at one of the Church’s most beloved organizations: the Knights of Columbus, a men’s lay organization centered around service and charity. Yet another duo of Democratic senators trotted out the anti-Catholic song and dance, using another judicial nominee’s membership in the organization to question whether Catholics can be judges. Senator Hirono (D-HI) accused the organization – which Pope Saint John Paul II once called “the strong right arm” of the Catholic Church for its charitable work – of extremism and suggested that nominee Brian Buescher should resign if confirmed. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) directly attacked the organization’s positions on marriage and abortion, which happen to be core tenets of Catholic teaching. In other words, she critiqued the Knights, and consequently Buescher himself, for being Catholic.
At least one of their colleagues is worried. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), accused colleagues of “fomenting religious bigotry” and said that, “elected leaders who weaponize religion are playing a dangerous game.”
And yet it’s a game Democrats seem eager to play. Look no further than California and Pennsylvania, where the politically ambitious Democratic attorneys general Xavier Becerra and Josh Shapiro have succeeded in dragging the Little Sisters of the Poor back into court. After the Trump administration put an end to the years-long fight over whether the order of nuns should have to provide things like abortion pills in their healthcare plans, Becerra and Shapiro filed challenges to their religious exception, which courts ruled earlier this week can proceed. It’s almost like the left has a maniacal obsession with the Little Sisters, never mind the creepiness of powerful men like Becerra and Shapiro trying to make nuns provide birth control pills.
All of this raises a question: why did the party that once stood with Republicans in almost unanimously passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act turn on the millions of Americans who are proud of their religious affiliations? Many of those Americans are especially proud of their religious affiliations and memberships because of the good work those organizations do. The Knights of Columbus, for example, has been at the forefront of efforts to help persecuted religious minoritiesin the Middle East, efforts they were involved in long before the federal government began to take action. At home, the Knights donated $185.6 million to charity and spent 75.6 million hours in service in a year, according to their latest report. They are “extreme” only insofar as their charitable impact is staggering. The Little Sisters meanwhile, do extraordinary work caring for poor and dying elderly in clean and loving homes all around the world.
The Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental provider of healthcare, charity, and education services to the poor in this country. It counts tens of millions of Americans who view that faith as a positive contribution to a free and pluralistic society. With all due respect to Senator Feinstein, the real concern is that her party seems so eager to disagree.
Ashley E. McGuire is a Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association.