Guest / Limited Access /

"Our great enemy is Roman Catholicism," wrote David Gregg, pastor of Boston's Park Street Church, in 1888. "This is a system thoroughly organized, and if we are to take it at its own word, it is root and branch, in toto, anti-American."

"The jihad is coming quietly to America by the intentional building of Muslim populations in small to medium American cities," blogger Pamela Geller wrote in 2007. "Islam is a political ideology and it is incompatible with democracy," she wrote in 2008.

Has Islam replaced Catholicism in American religious politics?

According to Jonathan Den Hartog, assistant professor of history at Northwestern College in Minnesota, the way many Christians react as American Muslims increase in numbers and prominence has a lot in common with the way many Protestants responded to early America's growing Catholic population.

"There was a long tradition of seeing Catholics as controlled by Rome, or controlled by their local parish priests, or manipulated by Jesuit agents," Den Hartog told CT. "Also, Americans remembered the persecution that Catholics had inflicted, whether under 'Bloody Mary' in England or in the French Wars of Religion or in the exile of the Huguenots."

A scholar of American religious history, Den Hartog is expanding his dissertation, Patriotism and Piety, into a book exploring religion in the Federalist Party.

What sort of rhetoric did one hear about Catholics in those days?

The biggest concern that lot of people have in that period is whether [Catholics] can actually be proper citizens of the United States in a democratic republic. They often [say] they're in bondage to a foreign power, by which they mean the Pope. So because these individuals are religiously bound to another entity they can't be ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueDivision Is Not Always a Scandal
Subscriber Access Only
Division Is Not Always a Scandal
What to think of the 45,000 denominations that rose from the Reformation.
RecommendedNo Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
No Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
Scores sign statement against SOGI protections.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickLatasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
Latasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
The founder of Be the Bridge reveals her vision for solving America's race problem.
Christianity Today
Islam, Immigration, and Catholics
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.