Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Three - The Church of the Servant-Girls

The Unholy Alliance

Everywhere throughout America today the ultimate source of all power, political, social, and religious, is economic exploitation. To all other powers and all other organizations it speaks in these words: "Help us, and you will thrive; oppose us, and you will be destroyed." It has spoken to the Catholic Church, for 1,600 years the friend and servant of every ruling class; and the Church has hastened to fit itself into the situation, continuing its pastoral role as shepherd to the wage-slave vote.

In New York and Boston and Chicago the Church is "Democratic"; so in the Blaine campaign it was possible for a Republican clergyman to describe the issue as "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion." But the Holy Office was shrewd and socially ambitious, and the Grand Old Party was desperately in need of votes, so under the regime of Mark Hanna, the President-Maker, there began a rapproachment between Big Business and the New Inquisition. Under Hanna the Catholic Church got representation in the Cabinet; under him the Cardinal's Mass became a government institution, a Catholic College came to the fore in Washington, and Catholic prelates were introduced in the role of eminent publicists, their reactionary opinions on important questions being quoted with grave solemnity by a prostitute press. It was Mark Hanna himself who founded the National Civic Federation, upon whose executive committee Catholic cardinals and archbishops might work hand in glove with Catholic labor-leaders for the chloroforming of the American working-class. Hanna's biographer naively calls attention to the President-maker's popularity among Catholics, high and low, and the support they gave him. "Archbishop Ireland was in frequent correspondence with him, and used his influence in Mr. Hanna's behalf."

And this tradition, begun under Hanna, was continued under Roosevelt, and reached its finest flower in the days of Taft, the most pliant tool of the forces of evil who has occupied the White House since the days of the Slave Power. President Taft was himself a Unitarian; yet it was under his administration that the Catholic Church achieved one of its dearest ambitions, and broke into the Supreme Court. Why not? We can imagine the powers of the time in conference. It is desired to pack the Court against the possibility of progress; it is desired to find men who will stand like a rock against change - and who better than those who have been trained from childhood in the idea of a divine sanction for doctrine and morals? After all, what is it that Hereditary Privilege wants in America? A Roman Catholic code of property rights, with a supreme tribunal to play the part of an infallible Pope!

Under this Taft administration the country was governed by the strangest legislative alliance our history ever saw; a combination of the Old Guard of the Republican Party with the leaders of the Tammany Democracy of New York. "Bloody shirt" Foraker, senator from Ohio, voting with the sons of those Irish Catholic mob-leaders whom the Federal troops shot down in the draft-riots! By this unholy combination a pledge to reduce the tariff was carried out by a bill which greatly increased its burdens; by this combination the public lands and resources of the country were fed to a gang of vultures by a thievish Secretary of the Interior. And of course under such an administration the cause of "Religion" made tremendous strides. Catholic officials were appointed to public office, Catholic ecclesiastics were accorded public honor, and Catholic favor became a means to political advancement. You might see a hard- swearing old political pirate like "Uncle Joe" Cannon, taking his cigar out of the corner of his blasphemous mouth and betaking himself to the "Cardinal's Day Mass," to bend his stiff knees and bow his hoary unrepentant head before a jeweled prelate on a throne. You might see an emissary of the United States government proceeding to Rome, prostrating himself before the Pope, and paying over $7,000,000 of our taxes for lands which the filthy and sensual friars of the Philippine Islands had filched from the wretched serfs of that country and which the wretched serfs had won back by their blood in a revolution.

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