March 24, 2014

Irish America is Protestant too

St. Patrick’s Day Graph: Irish in America are Protestant, not Catholic
On the matter I first noted Fintan O’Toole, who said:
"And – here’s a thing that is almost always forgotten – most Irish-Americans are Protestant."
Then Professor John P. McCarthy of Fordham University, who NY said:
"I must acknowledge Mr [Fintan] O’Toole makes a valid note, often unappreciated in Ireland, about the substantial portion of the Irish American population, including many of the presidents, who were Protestant."

Then I got this interjection on Twitter:

Then this:

Tobin Grant said:
"In the American imagination, to be Irish is to be Catholic... The link between being Irish and being Catholic remains strong in the American imagination. To be really Irish is to be Catholic."
And the money quote:
"This conflation of Irish and Catholic identities is, in part, bigotry. The Irish immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s were a threat to Protestant America. Earlier immigrants from Ireland who were Protestant were viewed as not truly Irish. They were ‘Scotch-Irish’, which meant that they were really of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ stock, not the ‘savage’ Irish race. Carroll points out, however, that these so-called Scotch-Irish were fully Irish, just ones with loose ties to the Presbyterian church. Many left the Presbyterian church and became Methodist or Baptist. There were also many Catholics in pre-Famine America who converted to Protestantism." 

And following on from the last, this from Irish Central: 'Shock survey shows Irish Americans are more Protestant than Catholic'. The report said:
"Based on the survey, 20 million Irish are Protestant Irish while 13.3 million are self-professed Catholic Irish with the rest not answering or no religion. 
The sense has long been that Irish Catholics are the most prominent. Major events such as JFK’s landmark election as the first Catholic U.S. president raised the Irish Catholic profile. 
In addition, through their own schools, dances, and religious orders, Catholicism seems woven into the very fabric of Irish American history."

Saint Patrick's Day in America was initiated by the Portestant Scots-Irish in 1737 in Boston. The first proper St. Paddy's day parade in New York was in 1766 when soldiers from the British Army's Irish regiments (Catholics were forbidden from joining the army until 1778) met at the Crown & Thistle tavern in Manhattan, drank a toast to King George III and then paraded through New York . Read more here.

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