The Catholic Vote

The Catholic Vote

The Catholic Vote

The Catholic Vote

Excerpt

T HERE are few matters involving morals on which Protestant and Catholic churches take diametrically opposed positions. They often differ in degree on such issues as temperance, gambling, and divorce. But no Catholic or Protestant churchman would endorse drunkenness and deplore sobriety; praise gambling and censure thrift; applaud the rising divorce rate and bemoan monogamy where it still survives. However, birth control is one bone of contention between the churches wherein each regards the other as the devil's advocate.

The 1959 birth control controversy, involving Protestant and Catholic churches, Presidential candidates and the President, was only the latest chapter in a long history of church-church and church-state controversy over the issue. In the nineteenth century, birth control was widely regarded as a dubious enterprise, spawned by stubble chinned women. The early pressure for legislation forbidding the dissemination of birth control information and the sale of contraceptives came from Protestant churches. New York, in 1869, in response to the urging of Protestants, banned the giving of contraceptive information and material in an obscenity law. Other states, such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Washington followed New York's lead with similar legislation. At the national level, the United States Congress passed the Comstock law in . . .

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