|We do not want thy chicken sandwich|
Last week, Boston mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based restaurant chain, telling the company it is not welcome in Boston because its leaders espouse a traditional Christian view of marriage.
Catholics and Chick-fil-A basically hold the same views on marriage, so perhaps Catholics aren't welcome in Boston either.
Wait a minute. Catholics have never been welcome in Boston--at least not among the elites. In 1647, the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed an ordinance making it a capital offense for a priest to be inside the colony's boundaries. That's right--if you were a Catholic priest in those days, the Puritans would kill you.
And elite Bostonians have been bigoted toward Catholics ever since. A Boston mob burned the Charlestown convent in 1834, whipped up by sermons from Protestant preachers, including Lyman Beecher--an open anti-Catholic bigot. Although the rioters were tried in criminal court, most were acquitted.
In 1859, a Boston school official whipped young Thomas Whall, a Catholic school boy, for refusing to read from the King James (Protestant) version of the Bible. This incident triggered the Eliot School Rebellion--a walkout from the public schools by Catholic school children.
And let's not forget the Know-Nothing Party of Massachusetts, which took over Massachusetts government in the mid-1850s and passed several anti-Catholic laws. To this day, the Massachusetts Constitution contains a provision prohibiting any public funding for a religious organization--passed specifically to hinder the Catholic Church.
Mayor Menino's disdain for Chick-fil-A is only the latest in a long series of incidents in which elite Bostonians have showed their disdain for traditional religious values.
Chick-fil-A is fortunate to get a clear snub from Mayor Menino. Having been warned, it seems unlikely that Chick-fil-A will open a restaurant in Boston.
And that is truly unfortunate, because Boston food is lousy; and Bostonians would have benefited from a restaurant that cooks good Southern food.
Ellis, John Tracy. Documents of American Catholic History. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1956.
Fossey, Richard & LeBlanc, Robert. "Vouchers for sectarian schools after Zelman: Will the First Circuit expose anti-Catholic bigotry in the Massachusetts Constitution?" Education Law Reporter 193, 343-352 (2005).
McGreevy, John T. Catholicism and American Freedom. New York: Norton, 2003.
Mulkern, John R. The Know-Nothing Party in Massachusetts: The Rise and Fall of a People's Movement. Boston; Northeastern University Press, 1990.
Schultz, Nancy Lusignan. Fire and Roses: The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2002.
Severson, Kim. "Chick-fil-A Thrust Back Into Spotlight on Gay Rights." New York Times, July 26, 2012.