Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy Guy Fawkes Day

Or as it was referred to in colonial America, Pope's Day.
Colonial America was almost entirely Protestant Christian. Anglicans to the south and Puritans to the north. One of he things they had in common was hatred of the Catholic Church. On the 5th of November they celebrated the failure of Catholic terrorist Guy Fawkes to murder the royal family of England in 1605. The celebrations included bonfires and burning the pope in effigy.
During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington needed every man he could muster to defeat the British army and Catholic recruitment was kinda rough with a majority of the soldiers being as openly anti-Catholic as much as anti-British and going around burning the pope's effigy on 11/5 every year. Washington forbade the practice amongst the soldiers and that was pretty much the beginning of the end of the celebration of the day in America.
Even, after the Revolution, Catholics didn't have full rights in America. Today, Catholicism is largest Christian denomination in the US and Catholics enjoy all the rights any American might enjoy.
John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic president of the US. Yesterday we elected Joe Biden as a Catholic vice president.
Right wing fundamentalist politicians have stacked the Supreme Court with a majority of Catholics, largely in a singular effort to restrict women's reproductive rights. Catholic politicians generally gain much support from these groups, too. In California Catholic groups have banded together to deny homosexuals marriage rights under Proposition 8.
Boy, have we have come a long way !
Happy Guy Fawkes Day, everyone !

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