Searching for my mainline

Via Atrios and MediaMatters, the Wall Street Journal had a strange article about the supposed fall of the WASP establishment. At times, it lapsed into borderline-offensive whinges about how darkies and Jews were pricing WASPs out of all the best neighborhoods. But I thought this point about politics was interesting:

The Protestant downfall can be attributed many things: the deregulation of markets, globalization, the rise of technology, the primacy of education and skills over family connections.

Yet many also point to the shifting dynamics of the faith itself, with mainline Protestantism giving way to the more fire-and-brimstone brands of Evangelicals in recent decades. The Episcopal Church, usually seen as the church of the Establishment, has seen some of the most pronounced declines in recent years.

Rev. Mark S. Sisk, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, said the polarized landscape of religion today hasn’t favored more moderate faiths like Episcopals.

“When it comes to elective office, I can’t think of anyplace in the country where being a middle-of-the-road Episcopalian would be a great plus,” he said.

The decline of the Yankee Republican is quite striking. You see it with elected office, where the Thomas Keanes and Nelson Rockefellers of yore have been replaced by ranters like Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani that nut from Buffalo who sent around racist emails. You see it at the National Review, e.g. with Chris Buckley. And even though we just had a WASP president from a very established northeastern political family, his greatest political coup was forsaking mainline protestantism to commune with the snake-handlers.

This may not seem like much to people who aren’t ethnic northeasterners (like I am). But it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that the phrase “old Yankee Republican” will soon make no sense to anyone






81 replies
  1. 1
    Waynski says:

    Are the Episcopals really losing members to snake handlers? I would guess that they’re losing more to non-believers.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    @Waynski:

    I don’t think they are, no. But the snake-handlers are more powerful politically.

  3. 3
    El Cid says:

    They staked their late 1970s and 1980s victories on the capture of the Southern white conservatives and the Western anti-government pseudo-populists.

    Now, many Northeastern and Midwestern Republicans seem surprised that their base took over the leadership of the party and the party institutions.

  4. 4
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    It never can be repeated enough, even if we’d prefer to forget it:

    President Jacques Chirac wanted to know what the hell President Bush had been on about in their last conversation. Bush had then said that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw “Gog and Magog at work” and the biblical prophecies unfolding. But who the hell were Gog and Magog? Neither Chirac nor his office had any idea. But they knew Bush was an evangelical Christian, so they asked the French Federation of Protestants, who in turn asked Professor Römer.

    This next is my favorite part:

    (Professor Römer) explained that Gog and Magog were, to use theological jargon, crazy talk.

    We’ve always had peculiar sides, but 2001 is the year that crazy went mainstream. And stayed.

  5. 5

    “When it comes to elective office, I can’t think of anyplace in the country where being a middle-of-the-road Episcopalian would be a great plus,” he said.

    Um. Yeah. Leaving aside the whole idea that a church shouldn’t care about such things, I’d be pretty damn relieved if my particular brand of religion lost clout because it wasn’t crazy enough.

    Episcopalians – Ur doin it rite.

  6. 6
    Brachiator says:

    Via Atrios and MediaMatters, the Wall Street Journal had a strange article about the supposed fall of the WASP establishment.

    God, this is beyond stupid. At one point, the New York establishment was Dutch (see, for example, the mixture of nostalgia and relief of their demise with respect to the old Dutch upper class in the novels of Edith Wharton). Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1764 – 1839) according to the Wiki, for example, was “the tenth richest American of all time.”

    Nineteenth Century robber baron Jay Gould had British and Scottish ancestry and because of his last name, was suspected of being Jewish.

    The WASP establishment was never what it was all cracked up to be.

  7. 7
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Do they really handle snakes? or is it a euphemism?

  8. 8
    Xenos says:

    From my own corner of New England Episcopalianism (rural Hippy division), it has largely devolved into an actual religious organization with little to offer establishment types seeking to consolidate and extend social power. I suppose that in Copley Square or Chestnut Hill the old guard may still hold sway.

    The children of Episcopalians are not defecting to Evangelical churches. They are marrying Jews, Catholic, Buddhists and Greeks, and raising the next generation outside of any of the churches.

  9. 9
    Waynski says:

    @DougJ: Agreed. Also, I wasn’t suggesting you thought the Episcopals were losing converts to Evangelicals (i.e., snake handlers). To me the article seemed to imply it.

  10. 10

    The Episcopal Church attacts 5 times more Catholics than it loses to Catholicism, and seems to have a growing contingent of ex-evangelicals (mostly gays or friends of gays) in the south and west. It’s a good fit for those who like the mysticism of liturgical worship without heavy handed doctrine and lists of rules to follow, or just like weekly doses of good sacred classical music.

    But the church is in decline. Most of it is due to having a fertility rate of 1.3 kids per couple. The Episcopal Church is still mostly white, and mostly urban and white urban people are ageing and in decline. Also embracing women’s ordination and gay inclusion has completely transformed the look and feel of the church. It transitioned us from being the white establishment at worship to attracting progressive people from lots of ethnic and class backgrounds.

    We did just consecrate an openly lesbian bishop last weekend in Los Angeles.

  11. 11
    catclub says:

    As an Episcopalian, it was hard reading Civil War history, as
    virtually all the generals on both sides were Episcopalians.

    Makes it harder to pretend that our denomination is following the guy who said his kingdom was not of this world.

  12. 12
    Martin says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Some of the Pentecostals do. If you want the philosophical center of Appalachian protectionism, the snake-handlers are probably the community to look at.

  13. 13
    MR Bill says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Yup, it’s for real: see http://news.nationalgeographic.....dlers.html
    Every couple of years or so, the local news (out of Chattanooga TN for me) will have a report of someone dying or being hospitalized from rattler or copperhead bites, received in the course a snake handling ritual…

  14. 14

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Some of them do, per Martin. But it’s a useful umbrella term for fire-walking, faith-healing, witch-exorcising, babbling in tongues, vomiting demons into paper bags – all the carnie “miracle” bullshit much of the evangelical community is into.

  15. 15
    Ash Can says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor: I understand what you’re saying, but the unfortunate necessary flipside to this is the “crazy-enough” gaining clout. Seeing the Republican party shift and evolve is one thing; seeing it charge full-speed over a cliff and plummet crashing and burning into a canyon is quite another. (Conserva-Dems may make me tear my hair out from time to time, but the fact is, they’re the new Yankee Republicans by default.)

  16. 16
    Walker says:

    Having spent my HS years in the mountains of Tennessee, and having a dated a Charismatic, it irks me when people equate Evangelicals and snake-handlers. This is like saying all Christians believe that the Pope is infallible.

  17. 17
    aimai says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    Oh holy g-d I want a bumpersitcker that says that for every single religion:

    Judaism–U R Doin It Rite
    Buddhism etc…

    aimai

  18. 18

    And who wrote that article?

    It’s not “Episcopals”. It’s “Episcopalians”. Geez. It’s as bad as saying “Canadans” instead of “Canadians”.

  19. 19

    I still remember when the inside joke (via an old friend) that the Episcopal Church was the “Republican Party at prayer.” But he told me this some time in the early 80’s when things wuz a changin’.

  20. 20
    Jim C says:

    Just like Sister Ray said.

  21. 21
    trollhattan says:

    Speaking of religion, Christ on a cracker, Darth Cheney sez, “Vote for Meg lest ye trigger my wrath.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/static/w.....y-end.html

    Teh Force: a deep disturbance within felt.

  22. 22
    Mike in NC says:

    But it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that the phrase “old Yankee Republican” will soon make no sense to anyone

    Gone the way of the dodo bird and the sabre-toothed tiger.

    Seeing the Republican party shift and evolve is one thing; seeing it charge full-speed over a cliff and plummet crashing and burning into a canyon is quite another.

    Milbank had a piece in the WaPo about this yesterday and the wingnuts weren’t too happy about it.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....inionsbox1

  23. 23
    Martin says:

    @trollhattan: Like I said in the other thread, the primary is turning into a competition of who can lose the general election the worst.

    Cheney as endorsement? Yeah, that’ll help win over the majority of voters in CA.

  24. 24
    LD50 says:

    And even though we just had a WASP president from a very established northeastern political family, his greatest political coup was forsaking mainline protestantism to commune with the snake-handlers.

    To underscore this further, Grampa McCain switched from Episcopalian to Southern Baptist around ’07, no doubt since he thought it’d help him with the Neo-Confederate wing of the GOP.

  25. 25
    LD50 says:

    @Jim C: Doug couldn’t hit it sideways.

  26. 26
    Waynski says:

    @toujoursdan: You are correct on Episcopalian. Apologies for repeating the Episcopals error in my comments.

  27. 27
    Ash Can says:

    @Mike in NC: When you’ve lost Dana Milbank…

    This whole thread reminds me of something I saw this AM: via the GOS, Newt Gingrich is too bugfuck crazy even for Fox’s Chris Wallace.

  28. 28

    My criticism was of the article. I expect them to get it right, not necessarily the commenters.

  29. 29
    MR Bill says:

    “Gimme that old time religion,
    that old time religion,
    Gimme that old time religion,
    it’s good enough for me..”

    We will worship like the Druids,
    Drinking strange fermented fluids
    Running naked through the wo-ods,
    And that’s good enough for me!

    Well, we went to worship Venus
    And, by god, you should have seen us
    ‘Cause the clinic had to screen us
    But she’s good enough for me.

    When we worship Bacchus
    The ethanol will sock us
    We’ll all get good and raucous
    And that’s good enough for me.

    from http://brimstone.com/~jasona/m.....igeon.html

  30. 30
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Slightly O/T is this sum-up of the Abrahamic faiths as movies:

    Think of it like a movie. The Torah was the first one, and the New Testament is the sequel. Then the Qu’ran comes out, and it retcons the last one like it never happened. There’s still Jesus, but he’s not the main character anymore, and the messiah hasn’t shown up yet.
    __
    Jews like the first movie but ignored the sequels, Christians think you need to watch the first two but the third movie doesn’t count, Muslims think the third movie is the best, and Mormons liked the second one so much they started writing fanfic that doesn’t fit with ANY of the series canon.

  31. 31
    Eric U. says:

    @Mike in NC: a little too much truth for the WAPO, I’m afraid. I really can’t believe what happened in Utah, the merely crazy among the Republican leadership must be a little afraid.

    Snake handling is a lot less common than speaking in tongues, but “snake handler” just rolls off the tongue a lot better.

  32. 32
    Violet says:

    Aren’t the Old Yankee Republicans the classic Totebaggers?

  33. 33
    Turbulence says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor: Um. Yeah. Leaving aside the whole idea that a church shouldn’t care about such things, I’d be pretty damn relieved if my particular brand of religion lost clout because it wasn’t crazy enough.
    Episcopalians – Ur doin it rite.

    Actually, the Episcopal church cares quite a bit about policy. Their most recent General Convention asked the government to institute a single-payer healthcare system. For better or worse though, they’re totally clueless about communicating this stuff: General Convention results in a 6-inch stack of paper and buried in there is the resolution on single-payer. The delegates all agree that is great but no one really communicates that to the people in the pews. And then they wonder why their lobbying is so ineffective.

    So, not to disagree with you, but it is a bit disappointing when your denomination has actual policy ideas but can’t even articulate them well.

  34. 34
    Ed Drone says:

    @aimai:

    Judaism—U R Doin It Rite
    Buddhism etc…

    Wouldn’t that be more like:

    Episcopagan — UR Doin’ It Rite
    Judaism— R U Doin’ It Rite?
    Buddhism — U R Doin’ It w/o Rite
    Teabaptist — The 2d Amendment R My Rite

    And so forth…

    Ed

  35. 35
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Martin: Poizner has a new set of ads going on about how awesome the “papers, please” law in Arizona is, and about how tough he’d be on immigrants. Yeah, that’ll work in the general election.

  36. 36
    frankdawg says:

    I think the biggest change is that Catholics are now considered white people. In fact many of the conservative Christians hold an affinity for Catholics because of the churches strong commitment to anti-abortion, anti-birth control issues (for everyone else not for themselves it should be noted).

    In the old KKK one K stood for Katholics but now that they agree on this social issue & there are different ‘threats’ they have expanded the circle enough so that even Southern Europeans are now ‘ok’.

  37. 37
    Violet says:

    @toujoursdan:

    The Episcopal Church is still mostly white, and mostly urban and white urban people are ageing and in decline. Also embracing women’s ordination and gay inclusion has completely transformed the look and feel of the church. It transitioned us from being the white establishment at worship to attracting progressive people from lots of ethnic and class backgrounds.

    There are Episcopal splinter churches that are “traditional Episcopalian” or something. In other words, they’re much stricter and don’t allow teh gheys. I’ve know someone who is a member of one of them and the reason they joined is that the regular Episcopalians are far too liberal for their tastes. Can’t be allowing those ghey and wimmin priests and whatnot.

  38. 38

    @Turbulence:

    There is a lot of truth to that.

    But there is the Episcopal Public Policy Network, which exists to lobby Congress on matters of policy and while I know that disturbs some here, the policy is generally from a liberal/progressive/inclusive perspective.

  39. 39

    “The Republican Party at prayer,” is pretty funny and as I remember it was accurate. Watching the current GOP go over a cliff doesn’t bother me too much but the lack of a responsible opposition party would be a bad thing, for the nation and for Democrats. I’m not particularly fond of the Rockefeller Republicans fleeing to the Democrats…

  40. 40
    catclub says:

    @MR Bill:

    In the Church of Aphrodite
    priestess wears a see-through nightie.
    She’s an awfully righteous sightie,
    and its good enough for me.

    Gimme that old time religion….

    … is also there, my favorite.

  41. 41
    Martin says:

    @Comrade Kevin: And Meg is trying to one-up him on immigration as a result. I love the ‘protect Prop 13’ angle as well. I’m sure the 60% of renters in the state will be thrilled to learn that you want to make sure that wealthy property owners never have to pay their fair share in exchange for higher parcel and sales taxes.

    These two are marinating in fail. The last poll, from Rasmussen, no less, shows Brown pulling away from both of them over this insanity.

  42. 42
    Randy P says:

    The Episcopal church lost a huge number of people when they ordained Gene Robinson as the first openly-gay bishop. Our local church probably lost 1/3 of the membership overnight. It was the right thing to do, but it decimated them.

    I can see where people for whom the most important factor in a church is social conservatism over tolerance would be attracted to the evangelical mega-churches.

  43. 43

    @Violet:

    Yeah. There was a major split in 2003 when gay bishop Gene Robinson was consecrated and about 200,000 (out of about 2 million members) left. It seems to have purged the church of much of its conservative, establishment wing.

    Generally they HATE to be called Episcopalians, though. They call themselves Anglican and seethe with hatred toward the Episcopal Church

    When that split went happened the conservative “Anglican” blogs were wingnut central – similar conspiracy theories about the church’s leadership, crazy paranoid stuff, all kinds of anti-gay/anti-women rhetoric, Glenn Beck type arguments, out of context quotes, you name it.

    It’s been interesting to see a lot of it mirrored by the Tea Party group after Obama was elected.

  44. 44
    trollhattan says:

    @Martin:

    Regrettably, the other campaign has so far resisted my suggestion of, “Pick Your Poizner” (TM) as a winning slogan. I’ve also found out he sometimes packs heat over at the Dept. of Insurance (as an enforcement officer he kan haz gunz).

    Why does every rich nutjob want to be King of California?

  45. 45
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Walker:

    This is like saying all Christians believe that the Pope is infallible.

    Most evangelicals in the south believe he’s the Anti Christ and Catholics should, as a rule be, roasted on stakes.

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    Chris Shays, baby!!!

    or is he Catholic?

  47. 47

    @trollhattan:

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney has thrown his support behind Meg Whitman’s gubernatorial bid, saying the former eBay CEO can “do for California what Ronald Reagan did for America.”

    Christ almighty, why doesn’t he just invite the woman on a hunting trip? (And do I detect a jab at Bush the Lesser? I believe I do.)

    Also2, I apologize for bungling Episcopalians (which I probably just screwed up again.)

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    @trollhattan: Let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to run for the office if you aren’t rich. Media buys in CA are wicked expensive and you’ve got 3 major markets and a half dozen minor ones to cover just to get anywhere. So you both need your own money and access to your friends money to even be viable.

    Then, with the assumption that you need to be rich to even run, you need to be willing to give up a decent chunk of that money for a shitty job that doesn’t pay much and is certain to make 90% of the state hate you. I think that only leaves rich nutjob as the main qualification to credibly run for governor or senate.

  49. 49
    Splitting Image says:

    It even makes old MAD magazines seem obsolete. I have most of the collection my dad put together back in the 1960s. Most of their satires on religion and politics pretty much assume that mainline Protestant = conservative = Republican. Reading about the teabaggers every day sometimes makes it seem like nothing has changed since then, but really a helluva lot has changed.

    Nowadays those churches are some of the most reliable progressive voices. It doesn’t get said often enough, but I really admire how the Evangelical Lutheran church handled the vote on their social statement last year. They worked very hard to get a broad consensus on a lot of touchy issues and managed to pass a fairly sensible plan of action. I wish that were contagious.

  50. 50
    JGabriel says:

    @Violet:

    There are Episcopal splinter churches that are “traditional Episcopalian” …

    Wouldn’t a really “traditional” Episcopalian be one who still worships the English monarchy?

    .

  51. 51
    khead says:

    Snake handlers are a branch of Pentecostals.

    Meet Dewey Chafin. The article is 20 years old but he’s still alive and kicking at his little church in Jolo.

  52. 52
    maurinsky says:

    On the plus side, my ex-in-laws were all Yankee Republicans going back for generations, but now they are all Democrats because the Republican party has gone insane. This all happened starting in 2000 – my retired Marine, former POW father-in-law vowed never to vote for a Republican again after George W. Bush was “elected”, and all the rest of the family followed suit in the following years.

  53. 53
    Culture of Truth says:

    Representative Patrick McHenry wants Ronald Reagan to replace Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill. 8 in 10 Americans oppose the idea, a new poll shows.

    Seventy-nine percent said the suggestion is a bad idea, compared with 12 percent who supported the plan. Nine percent are unsure.

    More than 7 in 10 Republicans do not back the switch.

  54. 54
    JGabriel says:

    @trollhattan:

    Why does every rich nutjob want to be King of California?

    To be fair, some of them want to be King of Texas. However, few of the rich Manhattan wingnuts want to be King of Wall Street; they already think of themselves as Kings, and you don’t want what you’ve already got.

    .

  55. 55
    Ailuridae says:

    @Brachiator:

    No offense but the Van Rensselaer were part of the Episcopalian power structure. The ran the free masons in NY for generations.

    I suppose if its an ethnic quibble that Anglo-Saxons can only refer to Anglos, Jutes and Saxons maybe it would be inappropriate to call the Van Rensselaer’s WASPS but yeah, they’re pretty fucking WASPy.

  56. 56
    JGabriel says:

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney has thrown his support behind Meg Whitman’s gubernatorial bid, saying the former eBay CEO can “do for California what Ronald Reagan did for America.”

    Way to push the achievements of the Bush administration there, Dickie.

    .

  57. 57
    Randy P says:

    @JGabriel: That was actually a sore point in pre-Revolutionary times and source of an earlier schism. Swearing allegiance to the King was part of the service.

  58. 58

    @JGabriel:

    Well that’s what’s ridiculous about “traditional Episcopalians”.

    The Church of England split under Henry VIII, was reunited with the Catholics under “Bloody” Mary and split for the final time under Elizabeth I. Needless to say that this back and forth generated anger on all sides. There were Catholics who still wanted to unite with Rome, and Puritans who wanted anything vaguely Catholic to be purged from the church (the most intolerant version of the Puritans ended up in MA.)

    The Elizabethan settlement was meant to be a compromise between the two factions. Essentially everyone was supposed to use the same prayer book for worship, but what you believed was your own business. Elizabeth said she had “no desire to make windows into mens’ souls”.

    These so called “traditional Episcopalians” want to make windows into mens’ souls. They want a pure church where everyone thinks the same. They want to purge the gays, the women priests, the unitarian contingent, the agnostics who like sacred music and ritual, and all the other heretics from the church because they’re not “Christian” enough.

    That is not traditional at all. The church was founded on very minimalist doctrine, a whole lot of diversity and ambiguity, and minding your own business. We all worship the same, but what goes on in your head shouldn’t be judged by others. “Traditional” Anglicanism/Episcopalianism is ambiguous, diverse and very very messy. It always has been and there have always been people who hate that about it.

  59. 59
    JGabriel says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Representative Patrick McHenry wants Ronald Reagan to replace Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill …

    It’s like no one ever says to him, “Hey, Pat? You know, being from the former confederacy and all, most people might not think of you as the most neutral advocate for removing Grant from the $50 bill.”

    .

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @frankdawg:

    I think the biggest change is that Catholics are now considered white people.

    This will be news to Latinos.

    @Martin:

    And Meg is trying to one-up him on immigration as a result. I love the ‘protect Prop 13’ angle as well. I’m sure the 60% of renters in the state will be thrilled to learn that you want to make sure that wealthy property owners never have to pay their fair share in exchange for higher parcel and sales taxes.

    Of course, typical California craziness is that some progressives would love to combine rent control with an increase in property taxes for landlords. And property owners will find it interesting to learn that they are all apparently, by definition, “wealthy.”

    And I’m not sure how you connect Prop 13 and sales taxes.

  61. 61
    Geeno says:

    @Brachiator: Don’t forget the Roosevelts.

  62. 62
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    They always have to bitch about something, don’t they? The President is a white protestant. In fact, damned near all Presidents are white protestants. The nuclear go codes always end up with a white protestant, so they need to quit complaining.

  63. 63
    JGabriel says:

    @Ailuridae:

    I suppose if its an ethnic quibble that Anglo-Saxons can only refer to Anglos, Jutes and Saxons maybe it would be inappropriate to call the Van Rensselaer’s WASPS …

    Not so much. The Dutch, IIRC, are pretty much descended from Jutes and Saxons too – and Frisians. And the Frisians are linguistically, and probably tribally, the closest group to the Angles.

    This message brought to you by the ongoing series “Today’s Moment In Historical Geekery”. Please support our sponsors.

    .

  64. 64
    Turbulence says:

    @toujoursdan: That was an outstanding comment.

  65. 65
    JGabriel says:

    @toujoursdan:

    There were … Puritans who wanted anything vaguely Catholic to be purged from the church (the most intolerant version of the Puritans ended up in MA.)

    Yeah, Boston becoming Irish Catholic Central is almost as ironic as the Republicans becoming the party of the south. It’s kind of amazing how the wheel turns.

    .

  66. 66
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @toujoursdan:

    The most traditional wing of Anglicanism is of course the Anglo-Catholic wing-trying to forget the Reformation happened, and trying to either mimic pre-Reformation England or a more late 19th/early 20th century Tridentine faith.

    And yes, many Anglo-Catholics (as well as more traditional i.e. Latin Mass goers) venerate King Charles I as a martyr and saint.

  67. 67
    mclaren says:

    The phrase “Dixie Democrat” no longer makes sense to anyone either. Demographics moves on. Things change.

  68. 68

    Nowadays there are two versions of Anglo-Catholicism represented by two different groups.

    There is the anti-women, anti-gay Forward in Faith and the pro-women, pro-gay Affirming Catholicism. The latter group is far larger than the former (many of whom have become Catholic or Orthodox.) There is also an active Anglo-Catholic Socialist group which I am part of.

  69. 69
    JM says:

    They became the White Trash Party. For a while, it was a source of strength.

  70. 70
    Brachiator says:

    @Ailuridae:

    No offense but the Van Rensselaer were part of the Episcopalian power structure. The ran the free masons in NY for generations.

    No offense taken, and it is interesting to note the Van Renseelaer’s connections to the Espicopalians and free masons.

    I suppose if its an ethnic quibble that Anglo-Saxons can only refer to Anglos, Jutes and Saxons maybe it would be inappropriate to call the Van Rensselaer’s WASPS but yeah, they’re pretty fucking WASPy.

    It’s not just an ethnic quibble, but a matter of historical accuracy. Otherwise, we might as well describe Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie and Joseph Kennedy as WASPs.

    I take everyone’s point about an overarching WASP power structure, but it absorbed a fairly diverse crowd. Of the historically richest Americans, John Rockefeller was from French French Huguenot stock; John Jacob Astor, the first US multi-millionaire was born in Germany; Cornelius Vanderbilt was Dutch; Stephen Girard was born in France (and left his fortune to charity, though myopically to benefit white male orphans); Alexander T. Stewart was born in Ireland; Andrew Carnegie was from Scotland; Frederick Weyerhaeuser was born in Germany; and even Bill Gates is not pure WASP.

    Steve Jobs’ birth father was Syrian Muslim, which of course makes him part terrorist by contemporary wingnut standards.

  71. 71
    Balconesfault says:

    Funny joke from the turn of the 20th Century that Gary Wills includes in one of his books on religion in America:

    An Episcopalian is a Presbyterian with a trust fund.

    A Presbyterian is a Methodist with a college education.

    And a Methodist is a Baptist with shoes.

  72. 72
    JGabriel says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    The most traditional wing of Anglicanism is … trying to forget the Reformation happened …

    The most traditional Anglicans are RenFaire attendees?

    .

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Good stuff. And there is also John Milton’s Puritan judgement on the “new” churches:

    New presbyter is but old priest writ large

  74. 74

    Old Yankee Republicans of the traditional Protestant variety are either an extinct species or they soon will be.

    What else is dying is the old N.E. Yankee tradition that one’s religion is a private matter between one’s self and one’s particular Dear & Fluffy Lord and that one’s religion was not a matter for public discussion or debate.

    But thanks to the damned snake-handlers, everybody now feels a need to proclaim their faith.

    I call bullshit. The New England Yankees had it right

  75. 75
    Xenos says:

    @toujoursdan:

    We all worship the same, but what goes on in your head shouldn’t be judged by others.

    Many of us mumble through parts of the Nicean Creed, although each worshipper mumbles through different parts. Another example is the great Episcopalian George Washington: he went to church every Sunday but always walked out before the Eucharist.

  76. 76
    frankdawg says:

    @Brachiator:

    OK – non-tan Catholics. The fact is still one of the groups the old southern baptist/methodist/kkk faction hated was catholics – the ol papist idolitors. Now they are OK with that same batch whereas the “white” episcopalians who are ok with choice in pregnancy are on the outs.

    i.e. Catholics now count as white to the KKK.

  77. 77
    Brachiator says:

    @frankdawg:
    The fact is still one of the groups the old southern baptist/methodist/kkk faction hated was catholics – the ol papist idolitors.
    True dat. The Indiana Klan particularly had a thing against Catholics:

    The Klan’s primary enemies were Catholics who the Klan feared were behind secret plots to overthrow the government and exterminate Protestants. Another important enemy was people of foreign birth, especially those from Catholic countries. A third, and lesser enemy, were blacks. Blacks in Indiana were not heavily targeted, as in the south where segregation was more rigorously enforced. On the lower end of their list of enemies were adulterers, gamblers, prohibition violators, corrupt politicians, and undisciplined youths.

    Through the government, the Klan’s primary goals was aimed at eliminating parochial schools, and removing all Catholic influence from public schools…. Samuel Ralston delivered a anti-Catholic speech in 1922 which the Klan reproduced an spread across the state. With their support, he was elected to the United States Senate in 1923. At the height of its power the Klan had over 250,000 members, which was over 30% of state’s white male population.

    The Indiana Klan was taken down in reaction to a sex scandal of biblical proportions involving one of its top leaders, D.C. Stephenson, in 1925.

    Now they are OK with that same batch where as the “white” episcopalians who are ok with choice in pregnancy are on the outs.

    They are happy to co-opt Catholic anti-abortion theology and anti-ghey rhetoric, but I’m not sure about the rest.

  78. 78
    kuvasz says:

    Boy, what goes around comes around. Booth Tarkington wrote of the dissolution and disappearance of the old political and economic overlord class of WASPS over a century ago in The Magnificent Ambersons.

    Same as it ever was.

  79. 79
    frankdawg says:

    @Brachiator:

    Funny, I lived in Northern MN for a year a while back. The people there were pretty OK with black people but Native American’s? Whoa Nelly they hated them! I think the hate works best against those closest. If you lived in an all white city you might have a KKK that focused on Jews or Catholics but as soon as blacks moved in . . .

    What I think is really sad is how quickly the bullied take the bully’s role. The Catholics, who 20 years ago would have been excluded, are now the most vocal at demanding exclusion of ‘the other’. If you were bullied as a kid you are either going to gain sympathy for victims or become a bully I guess.

  80. 80
    Hob says:

    @Brachiator:

    I’m not sure how you connect Prop 13 and sales taxes

    I thought what Martin was getting at with “in exchange for higher parcel and sales taxes” was that as long as property taxes continue to be held down by Prop 13, the state and localities will continue to rely on other revenue sources, such as parcel taxes and sales taxes.

    Of course, parcel taxes hit property owners rather than renters, but they’re regressive in that they’re unrelated to the value of the property – so the current system not only favors property owners over renters, but favors wealthy property owners over non-wealthy ones.

    And yeah, plenty of property owners aren’t wealthy. Still, as someone who used to own real estate in California, I’ll tell you that with what I got back from the mortgage interest deduction, I was getting a pretty damn good deal on my taxes – and that was on the full value of an insanely overvalued property, so it wasn’t a matter of Prop 13’s limitation on reassessments, but just the overall cap on rate increases. If it weren’t for the bubble, I would’ve been getting an amazing deal. I think renters would’ve been justified in resenting that, and compared to pretty much everyone I know who’s a renter (including myself now), I was wealthy then just by virtue of being able to buy anything of that size.

  81. 81

    @Xenos:

    We have an ex-Methodist parishioner who still does that. He says he leaves before the “hokus pokus” begins. Our priest has no problem with it, but he just asks not to do it in an obvious way when the bishop visits. LOL

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