What kind of birth control message from Sanger to a KKK rally would have generated “a dozen invitations to speak to similar groups?” Another question: Why would such a distinguished Catholic magazine as Commonweal defend the credentials of a figure who openly supported the racist and violent Ku Klux Klan, whose members at the time were lynching African Americans and getting away with it?
In a 1924 recorded radio broadcast, Sanger said:
“We must make this country into a garden of children instead of a disorderly back lot overrun with human weeds. In a home where there are too many children in proportion to the living space, the air and sunlight, the children are usually overcrowded and underfed. They are a constant burden on their mother's overtaxed strength and the father's earning capacity. Such homes cannot be gardens in any sense of the word.” Radio WFAB Syracuse.
Prof. George points out that this quote is not directly about race, “but the reference to ‘human weeds’ and the desire to ‘breed a race of human thoroughbreds’ is profoundly revealing of her eugenicist mindset.”
Mary Beth Bonacci, noted Catholic speaker and author of Real Love: Answers to Your Questions on Dating, Marriage and the Real Meaning of Sex, adds a personal comment:
"How could you take the countless references to human weeds, inferior races, and sterilization of the unfit in Margaret Sanger's writings out of context? There is no other context. I know. Shortly after Margaret Sanger visited southern Colorado in the 1920's, my Italian immigrant grandmother was sterilized without her knowledge or consent. Sanger was a racist, a eugenicist, and the reason I have no cousins. We were the 'unfit.’"
Regarding the criticism by Paul Moses of Bishop DiMarzio’s public association with Vito Lopez and Mayor Bloomberg, Commonweal provided a live TV feed of the Al Smith Dinner where New York’s Cardinal Dolan sat on the raised dias with President Obama himself. When a bishop meets with a politician who supports abortion he risks being described either as “inclusive” or “hypocritical.”
Bishop DiMarzio never endorsed Mayor Bloomberg, and Vito Lopez was not running for re-election when the bishop made his robo-calls thanking him for supporting Catholic education.
The bishop anticipated criticism of his column:
“Some may think my tone a bit strident and even un-nuanced. Maybe the time has come for more direct conversation on these matters, if we hope to preserve what is left of our God-given and Constitutionally-protected rights.”
In a media environment where any slander about Mother Teresa is tolerated, but journalists run to the defense of Margaret Sanger’s racism, the bishop is right to call for “more direct conversation.”
(Column continues below)
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