Margaret Sanger’s scheme to subvert Protestantism

Allan Carlson has a great article on Touchstone–the most complete telling of the collapse of the (liberal) Protestant churches’ opposition to contraception that I have seen.  As Carlson tells it, birth control was, until the 1920s, as abhorrent to Protestants as to Catholics.  Then birth control advocates, particularly Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, succeeded in manipulating prominent clergymen into the pro-contraception camp through eugenics advocacy (“How else can we keep the unfit from spreading their genes?”) and anti-Catholic demagogy (“How dare those Catholic tyrants tell us free-thinking Protestants what to do in our marriage beds!”, ignoring the fact that it was Protestants, not Catholics, who made America’s anti-contraceptive laws and social mores).  I am still perplexed that the collapse of opposition to birth control happened so suddenly.  In 1931, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ (an American ecumenical Protestant body) endorsed contraception, in a complete reversal from earlier that same year.  Member bodies protested vigorously, but then quickly fell into line.  The only holdouts, besides the Catholics, were the fundamentalists.  Carlson finds surprising evidence that, while liberal Protestants bought into the ugliest forms of anti-Catholicism, the fundamentalists showed a generous appreciation for the pope’s moral witness.

So, for me, the lesson is that liberal Protestants are more easily manipulated by anti-Catholic bigotry than fundamentalists.  Catholics thinking about how to focus their ecumenical energies should take note.

8 Responses

  1. There was serious concern that the USA would become a Catholic state, following several decades of Ellis-Island’s open doors.

    This is the key.

  2. Irish Catholics didn’t like English Protestants moving to Ireland. Roman Catholics don’t have any right to move to another country with a different religion and just take over that society. Your arrogance is stunning. Other cultures can protect their own existence. In fact it is their God-given right! I guess your attitude is the same as Mexican Catholics who think they should be able to invade someone else’s country. Unbelievable.

  3. Looking at the religious composition of our High Court today, we must admit, the nativist groups who warned of Catholic and Jewish immigration were proven correct.

  4. Hi Phil,

    So is your way of defending Protestant distinctiveness is to jetison traditional Protestant morality and become stooges of the atheists? I doubt this is really what you mean. How the hell does supporting Protestant-made laws and customs constitute a Catholic takeover? My point is not that Protestants are wrong to want their own countries. They (or rather the mainline among them–as the article makes clear, the fundamentalists didn’t fall for it) are wrong to let libertine atheists define their distinctive values for them.

  5. This is arguably true, but the way to fight Catholic or Jewish usurpation is not to embrace atheist pig morality. This is an important lesson for the anti-Islamists of today. They may fight Islamic takeover, by all means, but they shouldn’t let it lead them to embrace depravity.

  6. I would like to point out that when one is a speaker of English, quite possibly descended from the original English colonists who settled in Southern Ireland in the Middle Ages, one does have the right to object to false doctrines held by ones fellow countrymen. It is in fact a patriotic duty. Merely having history of protestantism does not give a country an intrinsic right to have their religion unchallenged, just as a history of being Catholic was apparently not a challenge to Thomas Cranmer and the other reformers.

  7. So, for me, the lesson is that liberal Protestants are more easily manipulated by anti-Catholic bigotry than fundamentalists.

    This is absolutely true. Having been Protestant Fundamentalist, and being now Roman Catholic, I can state to a certainty, that Catholics’ greatest allies in the War for Civilization are people who think they worship Mary and are bound to go to Hell for it. And oddly enough, Liberal Protestants’ greatest allies in the Roman Catholic church are RC clergy (and lay busybodies) who cannot distance themselves quick enough, far enough from Mary.

  8. Hi Steve,

    I’m glad your experience matches my observations.

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