2.14.2021

Hugo Black was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1926 after he had built a political base in part through his delivery of 148 speeches at local Klan gatherings, where his focus was the denunciation of Catholicism.

The Ku Klux Klan believed that Catholicism was incompatible with democracy and that parochial schools encouraged separatism and kept Catholics from becoming loyal Americans. The Catholics responded to such prejudices by repeatedly asserting their rights as American citizens and by arguing that they, not the nativists (anti-Catholics), were true patriots since they believed in the right to freedom of religion. 

With the rapid growth of the second Ku Klux Klan (KKK) 1921–25, anti-Catholic rhetoric intensified. 

The Catholic Church of the Little Flower was first built in 1925 in Royal Oak, Michigan, a largely Protestant town. Two weeks after it opened, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of the church.  

On August 11, 1921, Father James Coyle was fatally shot on his rectory porch in Birmingham, Alabama. The shooter was Rev. E. R. Stephenson, a Southern Methodist Episcopal minister.  

 

The murder occurred just hours after Coyle had performed a wedding between Stephenson's daughter, Ruth, and Pedro Gussman, an American from Puerto Rico. Several months before the wedding, Ruth had enraged her father by converting to Roman Catholicism. 

Stephenson was defended by Hugo Black, a future Justice of the Supreme Court. 

In Alabama, Hugo Black was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1926 after he had built a political base in part through his delivery of 148 speeches at local Klan gatherings, where his focus was the denunciation of Catholicism.

Howard Ball characterizes Black as having "sympathized with the [Klan's] economic, nativist, and anti-Catholic beliefs." 

As a Supreme Court justice, Black has been accused of letting his anti-Catholic bias influence key decisions regarding the separation of church and state. For example, Christianity Today editorialized that, "Black's advocacy of church-state separation, in turn, found its roots in the fierce anti-Catholicism of the Masons and the Ku Klux Klan (Black was a Kladd of the Klavern, or an initiator of new members, in his home state of Alabama in the early 1920s)."

 A leading Constitutional scholar, Professor Philip Hamburger of Columbia University Law School, has strongly called into question Black's integrity on the church-state issue because of his close ties to the KKK. Hamburger argues that his views on the need for separation of Church and State were deeply tainted by his membership in the Ku Klux Klan, a vehemently anti-Catholic organization. 

 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Catholicism_in_the_United_States