I all but stole the above title from an article I recently read. I changed the first word from “How” to “Did” and made it a question.
It relates to abortion. Anyone who understands American history knows that at one time the Evangelicals, with whom the Conservative Catholics now form a “Club for Trump,” once did not have a particular fondness for those who professed allegiance to the Pope. It was during the time of the second coming of the KKK that began in 1915 and grew to millions in the 1920s that white Protestants saw as their main target people who were destroying the morals of our nation because they were not sufficiently American. These were the Catholics and the Jews. This hatred was virulent not only in the South but in the mid-West.
Now all is forgiven or probably forgotten. It took a while but the abortion issue brought them together. But what is most amazing about this, while the Conservative Evangelicals and Conservative Catholics find common ground, the issue was first brought to the fore by Liberal Catholics as the article notes.
Early on the article notes: “In September 1972 several hundred young, liberal pro-lifers gathered on the Washington Mall to protest against abortion. . . . All of the speakers—ranging from Erma Clardy Craven, an African American Democrat who chaired the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to the Rev. Charles Carroll, an Episcopal priest from Berkeley, California, who opposed the death penalty—were liberals. The antiwar Lutheran minister Richard John Neuhaus gave a speech denouncing both abortion and the war in Vietnam, . . . To the leaders of the National Youth Pro-Life Coalition (NYPLC), the organization that orchestrated the demonstration, it seemed unthinkable that anyone would equate the pro-life cause with political conservatism. At the time, many of the nation’s leading advocates of abortion legalization were Republicans, and many Democrats . . . were defenders of the right to life for the unborn. “We consider ourselves an extremely liberal group,” Susan Bastyr, a co-founder of the NYPLC, declared. Neuhaus concurred. “The anti-abortion forces are not instruments of political and social conservatism, . . . Rather they are related to the protest against the Indochina war, the militarization of American life, and the social crimes perpetrated against the poor.”
It seemed the Evangelicals could not go along with the liberal view because they disagreed with the stance opposing the militarization of American life and had little concern with the social crimes perpetuated against the poor. “Conservatives such as Reagan and Helms did not subscribe to the Catholic social vision that had shaped the pro-life movement’s early politics, nor did they often agree with Catholic bishops on any item except for abortion. Reagan, for instance, frequently faced criticism from Catholic bishops during his first term for his administration’s cuts in social welfare spending and for his nuclear arms buildup.”
It appeared then that “most of the evangelicals who enlisted in the pro-life cause in the late 1970s and 1980s were political conservatives, so after they joined the campaign, they converted the pro-life movement to the politics of the right. Politically progressive Catholics viewed the campaign against abortion as a human rights cause, but evangelicals reframed it as a campaign to restore the nation’s moral order.” As noted, restoring the nation’s moral order was one of the aims of the KKK
I took from it that the American bishops in the Catholic Church gave up on the idea of human rights, advocating social programs to help the poor, women’s and gay rights, rights of transgender folk (have not heard any condemnation of the new Arkansas law), stopped opposing war and the death penalty, and otherwise only concerned themselves with one issue, abortion, so to ally themselves with the Evangelicals.
The article is well worth reading.