Monday, April 21, 2003

The Last Acceptable Prejudice

A few months back I read about a forthcoming book by Penn State history and religion prof Philip Jenkins. Jenkins is well-known of late for a couple of reasons: first, his 1996 book Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis made him a sought-after figure during the priestly sex-abuse scandals this time last year (many people were probably surprised to find that his thesis did not damn Catholicism or priestly celibacy); second, his 2002 book The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity and the companion article in The Atlantic Monthly gained him serious attention for his forecast of the growth and development of Christianity in this century.

The book I read about also concerned Christianity and its largest Church, Catholicism. In particular, it was to focus on the bias against that institution and its members.

This book, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice is now available (I just purchased a copy at Barnes and Noble). It should be an interesting read. As Jenkins notes, he used to be a Catholic, but is no longer; nor does he have any vested interest in defending Catholicism (one would expect just the opposite from a former Catholic). He simply trains his scholarship on the only bias which is acceptable among the elite of the West, or at least a significant portion of that elite.

It should be an interesting read.

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