Didn't right-wingers howl for decades that the folks on the other side of the aisle were anti-religious? Didn’t they scream for prayer in public school? And taxpayer funds to be used for private – including Catholic and other religious – schools?

And didn’t they just get what they wanted, with several Supreme Court decisions ultimately tearing down that wall separating church and state, which they said was just a big myth anyway? What with this being a “Christian nation," and all?

Well, look who’s anti-religious – even anti-Catholic – now?

“If you’re a taxpayer – in New York or anywhere in the U.S. – you’re getting scammed by groups like United Way (and) Catholic Charities,” writes Betsy McCaughey in the New York Post

“You may think these are charities. Truth is, these groups are hauling in millions in taxpayer dollars – your money –under government contracts to facilitate illegal immigration.”

Keep in mind, these were the folks not too long ago who wanted to abolish the federal welfare state because they believed local charitable and religious organizations could do a fine job feeding the needy.

Times have changed apparently.

You might remember Betsy McCaughey. She was once New York Governor George Pataki’s lieutenant governor.

Now she and others, including many more conservative Irish Catholics, are, um, blasting Catholics.

Hypocrisy seems to be their new religion.

These days, when tax money goes to Catholic Charities, it’s “money laundering,” McCaughey writes, adding, “Democratic politicians want to maximize illegal immigration, but they don’t want their fingerprints on it. The remedy: pay so-called charities that will do the work for them. Who’s in on this scam? President Joe Biden, and politicians across the country including Governor Kathy Hochul.”

Yes, because when people think of devout Catholics – those who wanted to deny communion and even excommunicate politicians like Biden – they certainly think of pro-choice Democrats.

This is the gross bargain conservative Catholics have struck to line themselves up with Republican power brokers. Some of these folks used to ask what would Jesus do?

A Catholic Charities CEO in upstate New York once offered a pretty good answer: “We are called by Jesus to accompany the vulnerable and welcome the sojourner. For decades, people of many faith denominations have welcomed refugees into their homes, houses of worship, and communities. … the act of welcoming refugees is an expression of our faith and our belief in the dignity and value of every person.”

Ew. That's so literally Christian.

But in 2022, it seems Jesus would just file a lawsuit. 

A conservative group called CatholicVote has argued that “American Catholics deserve to know the full extent of the U.S. government’s role in funding and coordinating with Catholic Church affiliated agencies at the border.”

In other words: Are you now, or have you ever been, complicit with the meek?

A Texas nun has proudly declared: Yes I have!

“There is nothing wrong,” Sister Norma Pimental told National Catholic Reporter, “with feeding the hungry and providing care for those here in our country.”

Or is there?

McCaughey and her pals all sound like the wingnuts who wanted to keep Al Smith from becoming president.

“The money isn’t coming from the Sunday collection basket,” McCaughey writes.

“Sister Pimentel admits her organization is reimbursed by the federal government. It’s coming from taxpayers, who have no clue they’re supporting this operation.”

Well! She “admits” it! As if Sister Pimentel is the one trying to hide something.

By the way, I would love to hear some more conservatives talk about not allowing a single federal penny to go to religious groups engaging in any kind of partisan advocacy.

Because you know what that sounds like? Build a wall! Of separation! Between church and state!

*This column first appeared in the July 27 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.