Margaret Sanger, "Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows," 1928.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of CongressLibrary of Congress Microfilm 130:0729B."


Politics makes strange bedfellows, Surely there have been none stranger than the liberals, the “progressives”, the champions of freedom who are supporting Governor Smith because of his stand on prohibition. Verily they are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. In all tolerance and in all respect, to brush aside the religious aspect of this campaign is to remain stupidly satisfied with a superficial tolerance, and to ignore its profounder and most interesting aspects. “As a man thinketh, so is he...” No one, surely, would say that Governor Smith, if elected, would act in a manner disloyal to the great church in which he was born and brought up. He cannot go against its edict.

Father P.J. Ward, of the National Church Welfare Council of Washington, D.C. has defined the attitude of the Catholic Church concerning the moral and habits of non-Catholics. The Catholic Church, he has declared is the depository of eternal truth, the Kingdom of God on earth. She is responsible for the morals of the entire human race. “It is her duty to interfere and block all legislation that will adversely affect the morals of non-Catholics, as well as Catholics, because she feels that these are her children, though they have been led astray by error. The Catholic Church never loses the hope that non-Catholics will be some day counted in the fold. Therefore, it is necessary to supervise all social and moral legislation.”

The same authority has assured us that the Catholic Church is opposed to Birth Control because it interferes with the plan of God, “who intends that people who marry may do so for the purpose of procreation or may live in each other’ love in strict continence, like brother and sister. Marriage without the desire and responsibility of parenthood, or not lived in strict continence, is immoral and sinful.” Such is the attitude of the National Catholic Welfare Council concerning Birth Control. Would Governor Smith dare or care to oppose its mandates in wielding a powerful opposition in any legislation involving the conscious control of procreative faculties aiming toward racial health, or toward the improvement of child life and the decreasing of infantile and maternal mortality rates? No. His mind, admirable as it may be, is oriented in the direction of his church. It is attuned to the closed world of pre-ordained Catholic morality, which refuses to recognize that one man’s virtue may be another’s sin, or that in the realm of ethics the last word has not yet been uttered.

The question is not merely one of Governor Smith’s liberality or open-mindedness. It is of powerful institutional forces, which will evitably and with quiet power unconsciously direct his activity. Let us not forget the career of John Purroy Mitchel. The frying-pan of Prohibition may be uncomfortable; but shall we on that account, caste away the precious freedom of our hard-earned “ethics of the dust” for a closed world of an alien and imprisoning morality?


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