An Image of God: The Catholic Struggle with Eugenics by Sharon M. Leon

By Sharon M. Leon

Within the first half the 20 th century, supporters of the eugenics circulation provided a picture of a racially reworked the US through curbing the copy of "unfit" individuals of society. via institutionalization, obligatory sterilization, the limit of immigration and marriages, and different equipment, eugenicists promised to enhance the inhabitants - a coverage time table that used to be embraced via many major intellectuals and public figures. yet Catholic activists and thinkers around the usa adversarial a lot of those measures, announcing that "every guy, even a lunatic, is a picture of God, now not an insignificant animal." In "An photo of God", Sharon M. Leon examines the efforts of yank Catholics to thwart eugenic regulations, illuminating the ways that Catholic suggestion remodeled the general public dialog approximately person rights, the function of the nation, and the intersections of race, group, and relatives. via an exam of the wider questions raised during this debate, Leon casts new mild on significant concerns that stay crucial in American political existence at the present time: the establishment of marriage, the function of presidency, and the separation of church and nation. this is often crucial studying within the background of faith, technological know-how, politics, and human rights.

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T WO Cooperative Clergy? Catholics in the American Eugenics Society In 1921, among the wildlife and the dioramas that filled the galleries of New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the noted Yale economist Irving Fisher joined with Charles Davenport, Madison Grant, C. C. Little, and Harry Olson at the Second International Congress of Eugenics to plan a national organization to promote eugenics in the United States. Taking their cue from the success of national eugenics organizations in Norway, Sweden, and England, the American participants began to appreciate the advantages of a single organization that could coordinate eugenics efforts across the country.

These challenges called into question the Vatican’s relationship with traditional regimes and promoted widespread anti-clericalism. Also, the rationalism of the Enlightenment led to “higher criticism” of the Bible that no longer treated the scripture as if it were literally true. Combined with discoveries in geology that undermined the veracity of the creation story, these intellectual trends caused the Vatican to react with great distress to the erosion of its traditional base of authority. 16 In 1878, Pope Leo XIII began a twenty-five-year reign that had profound effects on the way that the institutional church responded to a rapidly modernizing and industrializing world.

38 She wanted to provide the working classes with information about safe and effective contraception— information that had been available to the middle and upper classes for years—which would allow them to limit the size of their families, therefore freeing them from undue economic hardship and, in particular, freeing women from the debilitating trauma of perpetual pregnancies. Sanger’s campaign was shocking enough to shake the Catholic clergy from its reluctance to speak out on the matter. One prominent Catholic who stepped forward was the Reverend John A.

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