In my previous post we talked about whether anti-Catholicism is the last socially acceptable prejudice remaining in America, as is often claimed.
We saw that, while what counts as “socially acceptable” can be debated, there are a number of easily namable prejudices that are quite acceptable in America, including prejudices against conservative Protestants (Evangelicals and Fundamentalists), against organized/western religion as a whole, and against Muslims (in the sense of actual undue hostility, not just prudent caution due to 9/11). (There is also, of course, some anti-Semitism, but it is not socially acceptable in general American culture.)
Contemporary America’s socially acceptable prejudices go way beyond religion, however. Let’s name a few non-religious ones . . .
1) Prejudice against large families: This is something that some Catholics end up experiencing. Stories about of people with large families encountering those who sneeringly ask them (even in front of the children), “Haven’t you heard of birth control?”
This form of prejudice—originally inspired by the Rev. Thomas Malthus and reinvigorated in the 1960s & 1970s—is particularly short-sighted since children are the economic future of the country. We need more children to stave off a demographic winter like the ones poised to sweep across Japan and Europe.
This leads to another prejudice . . .
2) Prejudice against non-environmentalists: Environmentalists have been so successful in worming their way into American media culture that you can’t watch TV or listen to the radio without a constant, Chinese-water-torture-like series of exhortations to “Go green,” minimize your “carbon footprint,” and promote “sustainability.”
Story after story focuses on environmental issues with either no challenge at all to the environmentalist viewpoint (it is simply assumed to be true) or with only lip service (frequently sneering lip service) given to alternative viewpoints.
3) Prejudice against traditional values concerning homosexuality: Homosexuals have achieved great success in framing their cause in terms of the civil rights model, with the result that objectively disordered behavior is commonly treated as normal, and anyone who disagrees with this is treated as a pariah.
The way the trend is going, expect anyone with traditional sexual values to be regarded as the equivalent of a Klansman within a generation.
On the other hand, there is also:
4) Prejudice against homosexuals: While the Holy See has been quite firm that homosexual behavior is objectively disordered and not to be given societal approval, it also recognizes that there is such a thing as unjust discrimination against homosexuals (see also here, and here).
While conscientious Catholics studiously avoid such prejudice, not everybody is a conscientious Catholic, and all one has to do is look at the bullying behavior of teenage boys toward those they even suspect of homosexual tendencies to see the malice that is out there.
These prejudices go beyond religion and into the realm of moral values, but then there are prejudices that are at best only peripherally related to such values.
Those will be the subject of our next post.
What are your thoughts?