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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
This article was originally published at LifeSite News
An acclaimed Catholic author and essayist has called upon Joe Biden to call time on attacks by Big Tech and the mainstream media on ordinary believing Catholics.
In her second open letter to Biden, published in Newsweek, Mary Eberstadt listed several examples of recent censorship and defamation of Catholics or Catholic institutions because they express the doctrines of their faith, and stated:
Mr. President, you are the most visible Catholic political leader in the world. You have a unique opportunity, once again, to demonstrate your stated commitment to being president for all. It's the bully pulpit. Call off the woke online haters stalking your fellow Christians. Call out the ugly, un-American tradition of which they are part. Tell your progressive allies, and everyone else, that prejudice remains prejudice—even when it is aimed against people who did not vote for you.
These Catholic institutions included Catholic World Report (CWR), the news wing of the venerable Ignatius Press, which primarily publishes works of Catholic philosophy and theology, often by popes and saints. CWR was temporarily banned from Twitter for posting a news item in which it factually stated that “Biden plans to nominate Dr. Rachel Levine, a biological man identifying as a transgender woman who has served as Philadelphia’s health secretary since 2017, to be HHS Secretary for Health.”
“Days later, authorities relent and restored the account,” Eberstadt observed.
“But the message they sent was loud and menacing. If a cultural authority as established as Ignatius Press can be punished online for being Catholic, who will be spared?
Certainly not David Upham,
an associated professor of politics at the University of Dallas. Eberhardt recounted how an “online mob” tried to get him fired from the faithful Catholic
institution. According to the Dallas Observer,
Upham referred to Dr. Levine in a Facebook post by his birth name, “referred to [him] as male”, and described how “dissenters” will be forced to lie
about the new Secretary.
“Dissenters will have to say ‘SHE’ and ‘WOMAN’ or ‘HE’ and ‘MAN’ even when they know it’s false,” the professor wrote.“Dissenters will have to pay for and provide hormonal treatments that will materially harm men and women’s capacity to fulfill the command of almighty God to be fruitful and multiply by the mutual clinging of male and female.”
However, the university stood by its faculty members. “This time around, the woke pile-on failed,” Eberstadt recalled.
“University of Dallas authorities refused to genuflect; instead, a joint letter from the provost and president affirmed that ‘The university embraces unreservedly the Church's articulation of the moral law.’"
The next Catholic institution cited was TAN books, which since 1967 has been publishing traditional devotional and theological material. Ads for its books have disappeared from Facebook and Instagram, Eberstadt observed, and smaller, lesser-known Catholic businesses have also suffered from the deplatforming of their ads.
Then there’s the Susan B. Anthony List, which since 1993 has supported pro-life politicians, especially women: Facebook censored its ads during the last election (and previously). Eberstadt noted that this is only one of several pro-life groups that Big Tech and the mainstream media interferes with and condemned the NBC’s “uncritical” acceptance of the notorious Southern Poverty Law Center’s characterization of even faithful Christian organizations as “hate groups.”
“One such is the Ruth Institute, whose mission—in the words of its Catholic founder Jennifer Roback Morse—is opposing ‘sex abuse, pornography, and divorce’,” Eberstadt wrote.
“Mr. President, the Catechism, for its part, also opposes sex abuse, pornography and divorce,” she continued.
“By the standards of the SPLC, every Catholic in America who accepts the Magisterium now qualifies as part of a ‘hate’ group. So does every Catholic monastery, convent, school and archdiocese. So do Catholic soup kitchens, old-age homes, refugee resettlement programs, adoption agencies and other charitable operations run by the Church.”
Finally, Eberstadt cited a flagrantly anti-Catholic essay in the New Republic, which was accompanied by a cartoon depicting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett as the pope.
In her first open letter to Biden, Eberstadt asked Biden to reach out to the March for Life in January, as a way of reassuring those who did not vote for him. Biden did not do this, but rather promoted abortion with some of his first executive orders. Nevertheless, Eberstadt hopes that the politician, who was baptized and professes to be a Catholic, will do something to protect his fellow Catholic Americans from further abuse.
“As the first president with a photo of Pope Francis in his office, you should be the last to ignore what that same pontiff has called 'the challenge posed by legislators who, in the name of some badly interpreted principle of tolerance, end up preventing citizens from freely expressing and practicing their own religious convictions in a peaceful and legitimate way’,” she concluded.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, author and founder of the Ruth Institute, told LifeSiteNews via email that she was “grateful” for Eberstadt’s intervention.
“I am grateful that Mary Eberstadt catalogued in one place all the problems a Biden Administration is likely to pose for faithful Catholics,” Morse said.
The foundress of the Ruth Institute observed that Eberstadt wrote the letter in “a way that takes Biden's self-identification as Catholic at face value.” Morse is not inclined to do that.
“I seriously doubt that he cares about the harm his administration will impose on the Little Sisters of the Poor and David Daleiden,” she said.
“Biden is a self-described Catholic who is in active dissent from the Magisterium on every major contentious issue,” she continued.
Morse said that there is a “bigger problem” than the censorship and deplatforming of Catholics by non-believers: the activities of dissenting Catholics.
“The bigger problem that Eberstadt did not mention is that the government of the United States of America is now in the hands of dissenting Catholics,” she stated.
“This unprecedented situation will heighten the tensions within the Catholic Church, and cause damage far beyond that which a purely secular administration could cause.”
Carl Olson, the editor of Catholic World Report, told LifeSiteNews that he “certainly” agreed with Eberstadt but also that he believes “they will have no effect at all on President Biden.”
“He’s been in the public eye since the early 1970s, and his public record reveals, again and again, a man who is willing to say nearly anything (some of it plagiarized or blatantly false) to climb the political ladder,” the CWR editor said via email.
“It’s ironic, I suppose, that Eberstadt calls on Biden to use 'the bully pulpit' of the Presidency to push back against the anti-Christian haters and bigots, as Biden himself has often used his various positions of power to bully and attack others,” he continued.
Olson thinks that appealing to Biden as a fellow Catholic is “a pointless exercise, except to expose just how contrary Biden’s actions and stances so often are to clear Catholic teaching about sexuality, marriage, life, and related matters.”
“Biden’s many anti-life initiatives during his first weeks in office tell us what we need to know about his approach and priorities,” he added.
“And they are rarely, if ever, pro-Catholic. I don’t expect him to do much, if anything, to push back against the online hectoring, bullying,