When You Want to be Anti-Catholic, but You Don’t Want to Hurt Anyone’s Feelings

Aaron Griffith is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.  As part of his research, he recently came across an ad for a 1949 tent revival in San Bernardino, California.  The minister leading the revival was William S. McBirnie.  According to his 1995 obituary, McBirnie was a “conservative commentator” on his “Voice of Americanism” radio show, the pastor of the United Community Church of Glendale, and the founder of the California Graduate School of Theology.

This ad shows the connection between anti-Catholicism and fundamentalist revivalism in the mid-20th century:

Griffith 2

On his Facebook page, Griffith writes: “T[hat] F[eel] W[hen] you want to be anti-Catholic, but you also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

Here is a larger image of the description of the first night of McBirnie’s revival:


One thought on “When You Want to be Anti-Catholic, but You Don’t Want to Hurt Anyone’s Feelings

  1. Back in the 1970s Stuart McBirnie’s broadcast, The Voice of Americanism, used to run on a Christian radio station in my area. Once I contacted the station and voiced my opinion that I did not think the broadcast fit well into the overall format of the station. Specifically, McBirnie seemed to be concerned only with current events and politics rather than spiritual matters.

    Until I read today’s link to the Danforth Center, I had no idea that McBirnie had founded a large church in Orange County. Which, by the way, is still there to this day. Out of curiosity I visited the church website and was surprised to read that the church had decided rather recently to affiliate with The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Interestingly, hadn’t the late Jerry Falwell done the same thing at his church several years before his death? I think he did. While the SBC does occupy a generally conservative place on the theological spectrum, it is so large that it also contains the proverbial “mixed multitude” of heterodox figures. Most of these liberals are discreet enough to fly under the radar and not overtly state their opinions; however, they did come into limited visibility at the most recent SBC denominational meeting this past Summer. I wonder what some of these conservative independent churches think they are gaining by affiliating with the SBC. Respectability?


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