Margaret Sanger is one of those mysterious historical figures that are curiously immune from attacks of the left despite her statements that would be enough to damn anyone. Few figures were so politically incorrect by modern standards than she. Her statements against the black population are scandalous. She advocated eugenics that targeted the mental ill and the poor. However, few people realize how bigoted she was against the Catholic Church.
Nicholas Kaminsky’s book, “Church Control or Birth Control”: Margaret Sanger’s Propaganda Campaign against the Catholic Church, sets the record straight. His biographical sketch of the birth control rabble-rouser traces the anti-Catholic roots of her radicalism. Moreover, he proves that she targeted not the Christian morality of the time but the Catholic Church.
She attacked the Church mercilessly in her campaigns. Margaret Sanger made use of anti-Catholic sentiments found in sectors of America in the early twentieth century. She framed the debate to try to make Catholics appear anti-American and contrary to freedom and science.
Mr. Kaminsky’s book is a textbook study about a textbook radical who faithfully followed all the rules of revolutionary psychological warfare to push her agenda forward. Like all revolutionaries, she held that the end justified the means, frequently stretching the facts to fit her narrative. His account shows how remarkably unoriginal Sanger was in her attacks since she repeats most of the Enlightenment calumnies that have circulated and continue to circulate against the Church.
The book is also very helpful in tracing the nefarious process by which birth control became acceptable in America. It was clearly the gradual concessions of the Protestant sects that opened the way. The strong stand of the Catholic Church justified her focus on the Church as the only effective opponent.
Mr. Kaminsky got it right. Margaret Sanger’s efforts were nothing more than a propaganda campaign against the Catholic Church. Sanger died in 1966 knowing that she did not succeed in changing the Church’s teaching. In fact, the Church only strengthened Her stand with the publishing of Humane Vitae two years later. The radical revolutionary joined so many others in their failure to change the Church. In face of so many propaganda campaigns, the Church can well say unperturbed paraphrasing Cicero: “I have already seen other winds. I have already weathered other storms.”