Ötven éve 1968. január 1.-én adták ki az USA-ban az Avant Garde magazin első számát, amit három éven át még tizenhárom példány követett, hogy aztán ne jelenjen meg több belőle, mert a kiadó elvesztette a pert, melyet a kormány indított ellene obszcenitás vádjában.

Sokan ismerjük a betűtípust, amiről nem is tudtuk, hogy kifejezetten a magazin miatt készült. A betűtípus túlélte a cikkeket, amelyek az ötven évvel ezelőtti Amerika politikai, kulturális, vallási témáival foglalkozott meglehetősen sajátos stílusban. Érdekes olvasni ezeket az esszéket, megdöbbentő hogy bizonyos esetekben mennyit változott a gondolkodásmódunk, és másokban mennyire kretének vagyunk még mindig.




Láttál már Muhammed Ali grafikát vagy zöld színű Marilyn Monroet? És disznó rajzokat Picassótól vagy John Lennontól? De felhívhatod az újságban lehozott telefonszámokat, hátha még felveszi valamelyik tábornok, vagy CIA-és,  beszólhatsz nekik, de most nem a vietnámi háború miatt.

Vagy elolvashatod az alábbit, mi miatt aggódtak ötven éve az amerikai NER-esek. 






A well-educated American may be thoroughly familiar with the Second law of Thermodynamics and be capable of reciting Elizabethan poetry by the hour, but if you ask him

Who is the most likely to become an alcoholic, a (1) Jew, a (2) Catholic, or a (3) Protestant ?

he’ll be completely nonplussed by this simple question. Nor will he have the slightest idea whether a Jew, a Catholic, or a Protestant is the most apt to be diabetic or epileptic. Ask him to identify the socio-religious group that commits the most crimes, the group that's the most prejudiced, or the group that's disproportionately represented among bookmakers, and he'll throw up his hands in surrender. More than that, he’ll probably be offended by such questions.

We Americans are awfully squeamish about differences between people, as C.P. Snow discovered recently when he observed that the Jews seem to be very intelligent - he received a slew of nasty letters for going against the American grain. The fact is that we Americans are well aware that religious and racial differences may lead to prejudice and persecution. Many Americans originally came here because of religious differences; we've had our worst internal conflict because of racial differences.

But people, alas and hallelujah, are not peas in a pod. Protestants are different from Catholics, and Christians are different from Jews. And the differences sometimes have important consequences. For example, we know that Catholics have more children than Protestants have, and many more children than Jews have. Therefore, even though Catholics are a minority now (23 per cent of the population, compared with 68 per cent Protestants and 4 per cent Jews), they’re going to increase until eventually they become a majority - and America will be more and more influenced by Catholic attitudes and Catholic values. So, once we learn what typically Catholic attitudes and values are, we will have a pretty fair picture of what American society will be like in the 21st Century.


The reason why Jews differ from gentiles, and Protestants from Catholics, is that the three groups have different religious beliefs and religious institutions; their members have had different histories; and their child-rearing practices are different.

In Judaism, for example, man is not born in sin, to be saved only by the grace of God; he is born blameless, and can please God simply by leading a righteous life. The Jewish religion emphasizes conduct (obeying the laws laid down in the Old Testament) rather than belief (the nature of God, the possibility of salvation, etc.). Protestant denominations differ in their religious views, but the three branches of Judaism Orthodox, Conservative, Reform - differ in how many laws they obey (whether they recite prayers upon arising, for example).

This emphasis on the play of the hand rather than the bidding, on action rather than theory, is a reflection of Judaism's concern with this world rather than with the next. As an old rabbi once said, "One hour of repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the whole life of the world to come." The Jewish religion, unlike Christianity, has only vague ideas about heaven and hell and immortality.

Not expecting pie in the sky, the Jews logically enough are a nonascetic people, preferring their pie in the here and now. This nonasceticism helps explain the traditional Jewish interest in good food and soft luxury, Grossinger's and the Concord. (You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Jewish rye, but it helps, it helps.) It also goes to explain the Jews' concern with health and the great number of Jewish doctors. And it helps account for the fact that, according to Kinsey, Jews generally have more marital intercourse than non-Jews.

On the other hand, Judaism enjoins charity upon its people, the care of widows, orphans, and the needy. During World War II, Jewish mothers (with Jewish mothers' logic) would tell their youngsters, "Eat your slop, remember the starving children in Europe." Catholic mothers, as we shall see, were more likely to say. “Eat your slop, because I tell you to."

Finally, the Jewish religion has no priestly caste. "The rabbi, the spiritual leader of a congregation,” writes John Cogley, “is not looked upon in the way Roman Catholics regard their priests or even in the way most Protestants regard their pastors. Rather, he is expected to be a teacher, learned in the law and trained in the principles of Judaism, but with no special priestly or hierarchical status.” Nor does Judaism have any authority who can decide what is, or what is not, true Judaism. The Jewish religion thus encourages equality and individualism.

The history of the Jews, before and after their dispersion from Palestine, is simple to describe because it’s been so repetitious. The Jews enter a new country; they become rich and powerful; the non-Jews become envious and angry, and throw them out on their ears. (See Theodor Reik’s Curiosities of the Self.) It is probably because of their manic-depressive history that the Jews are such a fearful people, always suspecting that a pogrom lurks around the corner. It is their Cassandra Complex - the feeling that inside everything marvelous (including Trojan horses) there are menacing enemy soldiers.

The Cassandra Complex of the Jews is one reason they're such a middle-class people, always deferring their gratifications like mad: They save not just for a rainy day but for the Flood itself. The Jews are inveterate worriers. When M. Zborowski studied hospitalized Jewish and Italian war veterans, he found that both groups were more sensitive to pain than Protestants were. When he gave the Jews and the Italians painkillers, however, the Italians became cheerful, the Jews continued worrying about how seriously ill they were.

After their dispersion, the Jews became an urban people, and many went into business. One reason was that a lot of other desirable occupations were barred to them by law politics, government service, the military, land-owning. Another reason was that, as a merchant, a Jew could be independent, and find time for his thrice-daily prayers, and he could quickly leave the country if persecution started, and set up shop elsewhere. The Jews' background in business accounts for the fact that nowadays some Jews are sharp and shady operators why you have many Jewish slumlords and Jewish bookmakers, not to overlook Abe Fortas and Louis Wolfson.

During their dispersion the Jews became liberals, having learned that conservatives tend to want racially pure nations and state churches. They also came to stress the importance of family life and family ties, because if the synagogue burned down they could still pray in their homes.

Finally, and perhaps this above all, the Jews came to think the world of education. In the ghetto, the most respected man was the only professional man: the scholar-rabbi, a man obliged to learn not only the Old Testament but the Talmud-63 volumes of commentary upon the Old Testament. “Learning and scholarship rather than power or even wealth came increasingly to be the measure of a man in the ghetto communities,” writes Gerhard Lenski in The Religious Factor.

To punish their children, Jewish parents rarely strike or spank them, but instead invoke symbolic sanctions - like taking away their privileges. What this does, Michael Argyle reports in Religious Behavior, is to make many Jews impunitive – when something goes wrong, Jews accept it philosophically. Tell a Jew he can't join a country club, and he’ll just shrug his shoulders and walk away although he’ll write to his Congressman later on. Jewish parents also help make their children ambitious, stressing high standards of success. Compared with Protestants and Catholics, Jewish parents are the least likely to be indifferent toward their children (Morris Rosenberg. Society and the Adolescent Self- Image). Finally, despite the many “Jewish mothers," Jewish parents tend to encourage their children to be independent, to think for themselves. Should a 12-year-old be allowed to decide for himself whether to go to church or Sunday school? When a group of Detroit residents was asked this question, Lenski reports, 7 per cent of the Catholics, 21 per cent of the white Protestants, and 32 per cent of the Jews said Yes.

To sum up: Jews tend to be this-worldly, nonascetic, health-minded, charitable, business-oriented, liberal in their politics, family-oriented, individualistic and independent, intellectual, ambitious, and impunitive.


Catholicism is the most other-worldly of religions: To the good Catholic, the world we inhibit now is only a brief prelude to the majestic symphony to come. And therefore it is foolish to get terribly involved with social movements, foolish to expect to create a paradise on earth. In 1950, Pope Pius XII even took American Catholicism to task for the “heresy of action” - for the idea that “the world can be saved...by external activity.“ The proper study of mankind is not man, but God.

Not surprisingly, many Catholics don't have the worldly ambitiousness of Protestants and Jews - why work your behind off here, when it’s there that counts? Added to this is the Catholic belief that work is God's punishment for Adam’s fall. Even education is not all that important to many Catholics, unless it’s religious education: So long as someone believes Catholic doctrine, he will eventually meet God face to face.

In Adam’s fall we sinned all, but because of Christ's sacrifice man can redeem himself if he follows the dictates of the church and the clergy. The church is God’s avatar on earth, the pope His vicar, and their rulings must be obeyed as if they were God's own. This viewpoint, together with the Catholic Church's unchanging political structure - it is a monarchy - has also served to discourage recalcitrance; and the history of the church, and especially the response to the Protestant Reformation, has further sealed the doom of religious dissidence. A good Catholic obeys because he has been told to obey; in fact, obedience is characteristic of Catholics in almost every sphere of their lives. When asked which is more important for children, obedience or intellectual autonomy, for instance, 40 per cent of the Protestant clergy (Lenski reports) and 81 per cent of the Catholic clergy chose obedience.

Toward the family, Catholicism is as favorable as Judaism - the family is a locus of prayer for Catholics, too. As a consequence, the family ties of many Catholics are made of iron. Indeed, Catholic immigrants from southern Italy are even more family-oriented than Jews. When Italians and Jews were asked whether they agreed that “Nothing in life is worth the sacrifice of moving away from your parents,” 18 per cent of the Jews and 41 per cent of the Italians agreed. “Even when teenagers get married, their main loyalty still belongs to their fathers and mothers.” Of Jews, 36 per cent agreed; of Italians, 54 per cent agreed.

Nathan Glazer, in Beyond the Melting Pot, even suggests that the reason blacks and Puerto Ricans have not displaced the Italians from gangsterism in America is that "the Italian family and neighborhood provide connections of a closeness and dependability that other groups cannot match.”

Toward sex, Catholicism is contemptuous - if you must have it, have it, but only within the context of marriage and only for the purpose of begetting children. This anti-sex attitude was a reaction to the old Roman orgies. Today, the best Catholics - the celergy - do without sex altogether, and it's almost impossible for someone to both have sex and become a saint. On the other hand, Catholicism is permissive toward both drinking and gambling. 

To deal with sins in general, there is the  confession: One tells one’s sins to a priest, does penance, and emerges as good as new. Instead of mulling over one’s guilt, chewing it around for a while, one quickly disposes of it altogether. The confession, then, serves to externalize and weaken the superego - which may be one reason why Catholics, otherwise so obedient, have proportionately the highest crime rates in every country they inhabit.

American Catholicism is somewhat different from the Catholicism of the Old Country. For one thing, most American Catholics place the American Way of Life before their religious beliefs - John F. Kennedy maintained that the dictates of his country came before the dictates of the pope. And, oddly enough, the majority of Catholics in America vote not for the conservative Republicans but for the more progressive Democrats. One reason is historical: When Catholics immigrated here in great numbers during the 19th and early 20th Centuries, they found that the middle-class, Protestant, Republican Party wouldn't touch them with a 10-mile pole. And so the Catholic immigrants, the vast majority of them lower class, gravitated to the Democratic Party - where the majority still remains. Another reason for Catholic support of the Democrats is that Catholics are security-minded (because of their strong family ties), and not afraid of big government (because of the historical association between Catholicism and state governments), and therefore, like the Democrats but unlike the Republicans. Catholics want a stronger role for the government in everyday affairs. Compassionate papal encyclicals from Quadntgetimo Anno (1931) to the recent Mater et Magistra have endorsed virtually all the provisions of the welfare state. On the other hand, there is a distinct branch of lower-class conservatism in Catholicism - Robert Welch of the John Birch Society maintains that half of his members are Catholics. These contradictions are clearly seen in America’s labor unions, which are generally composed of Catholics and generally run by Catholics (like George Meany). The unions tend to favor more government intervention, but otherwise are conservative - against helping blacks, for the Vietnam War, etc. (And, because of the Catholic's lack of enthusiasm for work, America’s labor unions are more intent on reducing working hours rather than obtaining power for the laborer.)

The typical Catholic, with his lack of enthusiasm for work, as well as his unwillingness to take a better job in Los Angeles when his family lives in Boston, does not quickly rise in the class system, the way Jews has done. Even today, Catholics are heavily represented in the lower classes. A Notre Dame sociologist, John J. Kane, writes: “It seems that Catholics creep forward rather than stride forward in American society, and the position of Catholics in the mid-20th Century is better, but not so much better, than it was a century ago." Yet one immigrant Catholic group has distinguished itself somewhat: the Irish. Blessed with an understanding of America's language, the Irish had a tremendous head-start on the other immigrants, and today it is Irish-Catholics who dominate America's labor unions and police departments, who dominate the Catholic Church itself (which is one reason the church looks with kindness on drinking and gambling), and who have, until very recently, dominated the Democratic Party. (Their political hegemony is declining as more Irish-Catholics join the middle class, move to the suburbs, and vote Republican.)

To discipline their children, Catholics as lower-class people do - use physical force, and they like their children to be seen but not heard. The stern discipline helps make Catholics extrapunitive  - when things go wrong, they blame other people, and may even resort to physical retaliation. Tell a Catholic he can’t join a country club, and instead of shrugging his shoulders he’s apt to pop you in the nose. (Which helps account for the prevalence of brutality among America's Irish-dominated police departments.) The harsh discipline also is one reason why Catholics are somewhat more prejudiced than other religious groups (omitting southern Protestants) - a physically abused child grows up feeling weak, and as an adult prefers to identify with the strong (the military, big business) rather than with the deprived (minority groups).

To sum up: Catholics tend to be other-worldly, relatively uninterested in work, obedient, family-oriented, sympathetic toward the poor, unintellectual, extrapunitive, and more prejudiced than Jews and northern Protestants.


There are over a thousand different Protestant churches in America, varying all the way from Fundamentalists (who believe that every word in the Bible is literally true) to Unitarians (who don't recognize Jesus as their "Lord and Savior”), so it’s somewhat misleading to talk about "Protestants" as if they were a homogeneous group. Still, 85 per cent of all American Protestants belong to just 12 denominations, these denominations have a sense of unity (Protestants marry Protestants of other denominations without qualm, but not Catholics); and they share many beliefs, other than simply being opposed to papal supremacy.

There are so many Protestant denominations because of the philosophy behind the Reformation itself. Protestant leaders, by stressing that people can find God in their own way, and by proceeding to argue that the Catholic Church did not have the one true way, implied that there were many, many different routes to God - and thus encouraged more and more "petty reformations.”

Individualism is at the heart of Protestantism. When a Protestant prays, he does not call upon the Virgin Mary to intercede for him, nor does he call upon any of the saints; he does not use beads or rosaries; he does not need nine other men to pray with him (as Jews do for special prayers). He reads his Bible directly and prays to his God directly. And if he tells his sins to a clergyman, he knows that only Christ can forgive. As Luther said, "Every man will have to do his own believing as he will have to do his own dying."

Protestantism is more this-worldly than Catholicism, and it urges man to build the Kingdom of God on earth; it is more tolerant (in modern times, at least), holding that there is no single true religion and encouraging diversity; and it emphasizes individual morality more than Catholicism, calling as it does upon all Protestants to honor God by leading a totally religious life, not just on Sundays and not just in church, but at all times and everywhere.

Another important difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is in their attitudes toward work. To Protestants, thrift and hard work are man’s ways of honoring God, and prosperity is God's reward to the hard-working man.

Toward sex, Protestantism has a deep antagonism, the result of its Puritan heritage. And toward the family, interestingly enough, Protestantism is rather cool, emphasizing as it does the greater importance of work and the total religious life.

The Protestant immigrants to America were fortunate indeed, for their ideals were just what America's frontiersmen needed - the ideals of self-reliance, individualism, hard work, and practicality. Understandably, the Protestant immigrants became successful almost overnight. (The Mormons, who were mostly Protestants originally, repeated this success.) "Almost from the very beginning," Vernon Pope has written, "Protestantism tended to be the religion of the ruling and advantaged groups in America."

Because of their privileged position, and because the Protestant religion suggests that poor people deserve their fate, Protestants have always sided with political conservatism. We made it, why can't you? Theirs is the philosophy of rugged individualism, the survival of the fittest, and I’m all right, Jack. Protestantism is the most uncharitable and hard-hearted of the major religions of America. And what with Protestant control of the country, it is understandable that America had to wait so long for such elemental decencies as Social Security and national health insurance.

Like Jews. Protestant parents encourage their children to be independent and intellectually autonomous, they inculcate high standards of success; and they use symbolic punishments instead of physical punishments. But unlike the Jews, Protestants don’t become impunitive. They become intropunitive.

Became of their sense of man’s basic unworthiness and individual responsibility, Protestants tend to be as hardhearted toward themselves as they are toward other people. Tell a Protestant he can’t join a country club, and he may feel he deserves the slight and walk away weeping.

To sum up: Protestants tend to be this-worldly, hard-working, individualistic, self-reliant, moral, tolerant, Puritanical, callous toward the poor, directed away from the family, and intropunitive.


Now that the main characteristics of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants have been sketched, we are in a position to understand many of the fascinating differences between the three groups.

At birth, Jews are the most likely to have a tendency toward a dozen or so minor hereditary diseases, as well as diabetes mellitus - the explanation being that (1) throughout history. Jews with these discuses were very careful about their health, and (2) Jewish doctors never engaged in such shenanigans as bloodletting, with the combined result that Christians with these hereditary diseases died out, but the Jews with them have survived. Catholics at birth are the most likely to have epilepsy - because epilepsy is not uncommon among the later children of large families.

Jewish children, despite the fact that the Jews sanction divorce, are the least likely to have parents who have separated. Next come Catholics, then Protestants. Although divorce is relatively rare among Catholics (because of the religious ban on divorce as well as the strong Catholic family), desertions are relatively high.

Partly because of their authoritarian church, Catholics are more conventionally religious than Protestants, and far more conventionally religious than Jews. Ninety-two per cent of Catholics, 87 per cent of Protestants, and 44 per cent of Jews are "absolutely certain” there is a God. The reason modern American Jews are so irreligious, according to Will Herberg, is that the Jewish immigrants who came to America were still in the Middle Ages, and their religion could not easily surmount the shocks of a secular age whereas Catholicism and Protestantism had already faced and weathered the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Nathan Glazer also suggests that while Jews have a horror of converting to Christianity, many won’t hesitate to convert to psychoanalysis - a scientific, humanistic, nonascetic religion founded by fellow Jews.

Now, Jews are, of course, the most likely to have experienced prejudice - followed by Catholics. It is also true that the American people accord higher status to (1) Protestants and to (2) Catholics than to Jews. Yet, amazingly enough, as youngsters and probably throughout their lives Jews have higher self-esteem than either Protestants or Catholics have. This is partly the result of their family wealth, partly the result of their getting excellent grades in school, and partly the result of the fact that they come from intact families.

Among all three religious groups, self-esteem tends to vary by the nationality of one’s parents:

  High Medium Low
Geman Jews 62% 19% 19%
Russian Jews 59 21 21
Polish Jews 51 20 29
German Protestants 53 21 26
English-Welsh Protestants 39 24 37
German Catholics 48 27 26
Italian Catholics 45 25 30
Irish Catholics 39 25 36
Polish Catholics 28 28 45

Among (he factors involved are when one's parents came here (German Jews, for example, came before Russian Jews), and what wealth and skills one's parents brought with them (German immigrants were wealthier and more skilled than Polish immigrants).

Similarly, even though Jews suffer the most prejudice, they are the least affected by it - those Jews who have been discriminated against are less likely than Catholic and Protestant victims of prejudice (1) to have low self-esteem or (2) to have psychosomatic complaints. Milton Rosenberg writes:

Perhaps the prejudice against Jews in the society it is so pervasive that its expression is taken for granted; perhaps Jewish children are taught early to expect such alights and to harden themselves againts them; perhaps, since discrimination plays such a relatively large role in the lives of Jewish children, they may lend to react by attributing the fault to the discriminator rather than to themselves.

Or, as mentioned, the answer may be that Jews tend to be impunitive - they ignore slights. Protestants who have experienced prejudice have the lowest self-esteem and the most neurotic complaints - evidently because they’re intropunitive.

Comparing the values of adolescents, Rosenberg found that:

Catholic boys are more likely than Jewish boys to stress motoric values (good at working with hands, fighting, tough, good athlete). They are also more concerned with being efficient and practical and with being a "deeply religious person."...There is some tendency for Jewish boys to be more likely than Catholics to emphasize intellectual values, although the differences are not striking, Jewish boys are significantly more likely to stress being “clear-thinking and clever" and "logical and reasonable." …Protestants… more likely than Catholics to emphasize being “well-respected, looked up to by others." They are more likely than Catholics - but not significantly so - to emphasize being "dependable and reliable." “moral and ethical," and “honest and law-abiding."

In school, Jews do the best work, followed by Protestants and then by Catholics. Jews also go the furthest: 63.1 per cent finish high school, compared with 49.1 per cent of the Protestants and 43.0 per cent of the Catholics. Lenski writes, "...it appears that the high dropout rate of Catholics is a major factor contributing to their relatively low rate of upward mobility and high rate of downward mobility." Why are Jews so smart, and Catholics not so smart? Perhaps the main reason is that Jews grow up in small families, where they get loads of attention; Catholics grow up in large families, where they may be neglected. As Lenski points out, "Research has...demonstrated that performance in school is positively correlated with I.Q., (and) that I.Q. is negatively correlated with family size...”


As adults, Jews are disproportionately to be found among independent businessmen and professional men - one out of three is self-employed, compared with 10 per cent of Protestants and 8 per cent of Catholics. About 16.3 per cent of the nation’s lawyers are Jews, as are 10.9 per cent of the nation's doctors. Interestingly, Jews tend to avoid the "dependent" professions, like engineering and school-teaching (although in New York half the teachers are Jewish). Protestants become corporation executives and professional men - in fact, more Episcopalians and Congregation - alists become professional men than Jews do. Catholics are disproportionately represented in the working class, but the middle-class occupations that do attract Catholics are finance, law, engineering, art, acting, teaching, and politics. Catholics are astonishingly unlikely to become scientists they produce one-sixth the number that Jews and Protestants do. “Scientific activity, more than any other," Lenski explains, “demands intellectual autonomy.” It’s also true that Catholics, with their more involved theology, tend to find that science is antagonistic to their beliefs. Only 17 per cent of white, college-educated Protestants see a serious conflict between the teachings of their church, compared with 32 per cent of white, college-educated Catholics.

In choosing a job, Jews are the most eager to get ahead Lenski found that they prefer a job with opportunities for advancement over jobs with high salaries or with good working hours, or jobs that are important. Protestants come next, then Catholics. And a study that Melville D. Dalton (The Journal of Political Economy, 1947) once made of machinists in an industrial plant showed that Catholics were more likely than Protestants to goof off on the job. Finally, Lenski found that Catholics are less likely than either Protestants or Jews to have fond feelings for work.

In their financial habits, Jews and Protestants have middle-class traits - they save for rainy days. Catholics tend to live for the moment. With regard to installment buying, Lenski found that 56 per cent of the Jews, 44 per cent of the Protestants, and 40 per cent of the Catholics thought it unwise. Jews save more money than Protestants or Catholics save, and are willing to undergo hardships in order to save - the Cassandra Complex at work.

Not surprisingly, then, Jewish families tend to be wealthier than Protestant families (except for Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians), and Catholic families are the least wealthy of all.

Jews are more likely to vote than Protestants or Catholics are, and more likely to vote Democratic. In modern times, the only Democratic Presidential candidate who didn't win the Jewish vote was Harry S Truman - Jews deserted him for Henry Wallace. Locally, however, Jews often vote Republican - in New York, they helped elect Fiorello La Guardia and John V. Lindsay. Catholics tend to be Democratic, too, while Protestants are the most Republican.

When it comes to liberalism, however, Jews leave Catholics as well as Protestants behind. Catholics tend to want freedom from - from poverty and illness. Unlike Protestants, Catholics want the government to do more for education, for housing, for medical care, for unemployment. (Fifty-eight per cent of a sample of middle-class Catholics favored live welfare state, 62 per cent of Jews did, but only 39 per cent of Protestants did. The Jews probably would have ranked higher, but many Jewish doctors gag at the idea of government aid to medicine.) Protestants tend to want freedom to - the whole bag of civil liberties. Does the Bill of Rights permit criticism of the President, attacks on religion, Fascist speeches, and Communist speeches? Sixty-three per cent of Protestants, 57 per cent of the Jews, but only 52 per cent of the Catholics say yes. In another study, nearly 50 per cent of the Catholics were opposed to letting ministers of other churches teach anything contrary to the Catholic religion publicly (on radio or television or in the press).

Catholics are also more likely than Protestants or Jews to be prejudiced. A study that Gordon W. Allport and B. M. Kramer made of 437 students, for example, found that 71 per cent of the Catholics, 62 per cent of the Protestants, and 22 per cent of the Jews were prejudiced (Journal of Psychology, 1946). Fifty-eight per cent of the Catholics in Lenski’s study said they would be disturbed if Negroes moved into their neighborhood; 53 per cent of the Protestants and 19 per cent of the Jews said they would be disturbed. George Gallup found that 60 per cent of Catholics and 53 per cent of Protestants feel that Negroes themselves are most responsible for their plight.

The Jews come in for criticism for their business practices. Only 47 per cent of Protestants and 45 per cent of Catholics feel that Jewish businessmen treat them fairly; (Seventy-one per cent of the Protestants feel that Catholic businessmen treat them fairly. 78 per cent of the Catholics feel that Protestant businessmen treat them fairly.) Lenski offers the explanation that many Christians encounter Jews "in the context of die merchant-customer relationship.” which "normally involves conflict, and, for the customer, tension and anxiety as well....The Catholic and Protestant groups are far less vulnerable in this respect since the businessmen among their members are much more likely to be members of some large, bureaucratized enterprise." While there is some truth in this explanation (it helps account for black antagonism toward the Jews), it also seems that some Jews are simply more eager to get away with whatever they can. If you were given a parking ticket, but by some fluke could get away with not paying it, would you pay it? In a small-sample survey of Lenski’s, 63 per cent of the white Protestants, 61 per cent of the Catholics, but only 31 per cent of the Jews said they would. Further, as we shall see, Jews have a high rate of arrest for business crimes.

As for moral standards in general, Protestants are the most strongly against drinking and gambling: Catholics are the most strongly against birth control, divorce, and Sunday business; Jews are rather uncritical of all these things, but since the Jews are a rational, this-worldly people, it is gambling that the greatest number - 32 per cent - disapprove of.

Paradoxically, more Jews than Catholics or Protestants drink - 87 per cent of Jews. 79 per cent of Catholics, and 59 per cent of Protestants. Yet Jews almost never become alcoholics - a drunken Jew is like a Catholic who gets divorced. According to Charles R. Snyder, "...through the ceremonial use of alcohol, religious Jews learn how to drink in a controlled manner; but through constant reference to the hedonism of outsiders, in association with a broader pattern of religious and ethnocentric ideas and sentiments, Jews also learn how not to drink."

Catholics are especially likely to become alcoholics - 40 per cent as often as Protestants and Jews do. And it is not Italian Catholics who become alcoholics, but Irish Catholics. In a study of a New Haven mental hospital, 0.8 per cent of the Italian inmates were found to be alcoholics, compared with 10.0 per cent of the Irish Catholics. And in a study of Bowery derelicts, 44 per cent of the whites were found to be Irish. Part of the explanation for Irish alcoholism is the tension created by suppressed sexuality - Irishmen traditionally marry late, if at all. Italians, on the contrary, almost all marry, and early - Italians regard sex as necessary and normal, which is one reason there are so few Italian priests in this country. Another reason for Irish alcoholism, according to Roger J. Williams, may be hereditary Irishmen may lack the enzymes needed for disposing of the alcohol in their systems. Daniel Patrick Moynihan speculates that Irish alcoholism is one reason that Irishmen, unlike Italians, haven’t made good gangsters. "Bookmaking, policy, and drugs are complex, serious, exacting trades." he writes.’They are not jobs for heavy drinkers."

Catholics are also 8-1/2 per cent above average in schizophrenia (a lower-class illness, as studies have shown), while Jews are 69 per cent above average in manic-depressive psychosis (an upper-class illness). Catholics are the most prone to homosexuality - probably because of their stern fathers. Jews are the most prone to neurosis, with two-and-a-half times the neurosis rates of Catholics and Protestants. One reason is that Jews are far less reluctant to consult psychiatrists for their emotional problems, and this imbalances the surveys; another reason may be that Jews, with their warm families, are less likely to crack completely, and crack only partially. In the famous study of Manhattan residents, Mental Health in the Metropolis, the authors concluded: “While there are fewer Jews than Catholics or Protestants who are completely well, there are also fewer Jews who are so mentally sick that their social functioning is impaired."

Protestants are 39 per cent above average in hospitalizations for senile psychosis, and 34 per cent above average in hospitalizations for cerebral arteriosclerosis. The reason is probably social, not medical: Protestants, with their looser family ties, send their senile grandparents to hospitals instead of letting them die at home.

Protestants also are the most likely to commit suicide - they are intropunitive. Catholics, being extrapunitive, and because their religion forbids suicide, have a low rate - but they have a high rate of serious assaults. Jews are the least likely to commit suicide.

Figures on the crimes committed by the three groups are hard to come by, but here are the results of one study done in the Netherlands:

Crimes commited
  Protestants Catholics


Percent of population 54,4 35,0 1,8
Thefts 52,4 43,9 1,3
Receiving stolen goods 51,5 41,1 4,9
Minor sexual offenses 72,9 24,1 1,4
Rape 59,7 39,0 0
Serius assault 48,2 49,3 1,8
Manslaugther & murder 58,3 38,3 1,8


Clearly, Catholics tend to be extrapunitive; Jews tend to be shady businessmen; and Protestants, with their sexual hangups, tend to have trouble with their sexual drives.


As promised, no religious group has been whitewashed: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, as we have seen, have their good points and their bad points. Protestants tend to be hard-working, dedicated to civil liberties, and ethical; they also tend to be lacking in deep sympathy for the underdog, and uptight sexually. Catholics have strong family ties, are the most religious, and are charitable, they are also the least intellectual, the least hard-working, the least in favor of civil liberties, and the most prejudiced. Jews are liberal, intellectual, and hard-working; they are also prone to shady business practices.

Also as promised, these differences have practical consequences. And, frankly, it is Catholics whom Americans have to worry about the most.

Take the controversy over financial aid to parochial schools. The usual argument against such aid is that it would tear down the wall that separates Church and State. But another trenchant argument we cannot ignore is that parochial schools are a danger to American democratic thought. Gerhard Lenski found that Catholics who have attended parochial schools are less in favor of civil liberties than other Catholics. For example, 55 per cent of public-school-educated Catholics believe that ministers of other faiths should be allowed to preach, publicly, things that are contrary to Catholic teachings; only 35 per cent of parochial-school-educated Catholics feel that way. Lenski concludes: "...the further Catholics advance in their educational system, live further they depart from the traditional American norm. With advancing education and with the expansion of the Catholic educational system, acute tensions could develop in the future because of the conflict between Catholic and non-Cathohc viewpoints on this matter.”

Another place where we must be concerned about Catholicism is abroad, for it is a fact that Catholic countries have proved to be the most susceptible to Communism and to Fascism. Henry P. Van Dusen of the Union Theological Seminary writes:

The countries in which Communism or its twin tyranny, Fascism, are the gravest threat today are, almost without exception, countries in which Protestantism has not been the preponderant form of Christianity - Russia and her satellites, France, Spain, Portugal, and many Latin American nations.
Even more striking in this fact: There is not a single instance where a country in which Protestantism has been the formative influence - Scandinavia, Holland, Switzerland, Great Britain, the United States - has fallen victim to Communism or is seriously threatened by Communism.

Part of the reason for this state of affairs is that the Catholic Church itself is authoritarian, and it fosters the pursuit of security and the surrender of individual autonomy. But perhaps the main reason why Catholic countries are susceptible to Communism and Fascism is that these countries tend to be the poorest - because of the Catholic lack of enthusiasm for work. Think of Spain, Portugal, Ireland, most of South America. Lenski writes: “Some Catholic nations – such as France, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile - are quite highly industrialized, but none of them are leaders in the technological field, nor do they seem likely to become so.” The nation that is going to start rivaling the United States is Japan. Lenski goes on: "Within the boundaries of the United States it may even be that the rapid growth of Catholic population in New England in the last century has contributed to the decline of that region as the center of economic progress and advance....”

Still, the greatest danger posed by Catholicism is not abroad, but at home, right here in the United States.

Catholics have larger families than Protestants because the Catholic Church opposes all forms of birth control except abstinence and the rhythm method. Consequently, the Catholics in America will eventually outnumber the Protestants, and our society will, for the first time, be dominated by Catholic values and Catholic beliefs.

Gerhard Lenski suggests that the following are the developments “which are likely to be encouraged by the growth of the Catholic segment of the American population and the decline of the white Protestant segment":

  • rising birth rates;
  • declining restraints on gambling and drinking;
  • increasing restraints on divorce and possibly birth control;
  • a slowing of industrial progress, and possibly also of scientific advance;
  • a decline in the importance attached to intellectual independence; and
  • a narrowing of the latitude for exercise of free speech.

To those Americans, including many Catholics, who value free speech and free thought, the idea that these developments are possible will be depressing. And even though there has been ferment in the Catholic Church recently, the Pope has remained adamant in his refusal to approve artificial methods of birth control.

And birth control is the answer. Once Catholics are permitted to use the pill or the coil, Protestants and Jews can rest more assured that the American Way of Life will continue indefinitely. What we must do is persuade the Catholic Church hierarchy that it is in their own best interests to approve of artificial birth control.

We can make a magnificent case. It is partly because of their large families that the Catholics in this country are so poor - Catholic parents can't afford to send all of their children to college. And in large families, the child does not get the attention he needs - one reason for his lower I.Q., and the paucity of American Catholic intellectuals. Possibly one reason Catholic parents insist on complete obedience from their youngsters, and use physical force in disciplining them, is that it is hard to control a lot of children. Perhaps with smaller families, there would be a relaxing of discipline - and fewer Catholic homosexuals. Perhaps prejudice among Catholics would also decline. Certainly epilepsy would. And it is even possible that alcoholism among Irishmen would become less common once the Irish, no longer worrying about having to support a lot of children, got married earlier. In short, birth control could more American Catholics healthier, wealthier, and wiser.

Let us hope that a future pope is moved by these arguments. For time is running out. The Rev. James M. Gillis, a former editor of Catholic World, after consulting various demographers, has predicted that by the year 2000 - which is only 31 years away - most of the babies born in the United States will be Catholics, and soon after that Catholic adults will outnumber non-Catholic adults.