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The bigotry of the pious

For a man who doesn’t read a lot, President Donald Trump sure has been influenced by history. What’s amazing about the days of yesteryear is not just that we keep repeating their errors, but that these mistakes move so seamlessly through time, the past being prologue and all that Shakespeare stuff.

So it is with the defining tradition of bias in the United States. There is no group we haven’t hated and abused: ethnic groups, racial groups, gender groups and, of course, religious groups. Our intolerance casts a wide net.

Does anyone remember that John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president? Why was he the first? Because of anti-Catholic bias. In spite of the fact that there were 42 million Catholics in the country in 1960 — 16% of the population — there was a prevalent belief that any Catholic politician would owe his first allegiance to the Vatican.


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