A Controversial Manhattan House of Worship...In 1785
Now this is interesting. I was aware there was widespread anti-Catholicism in the early United States, but I thought it became really "a big deal" much later on, when enormous numbers of Irish came fleeing the Potato Famine.
(Colonial anti-Catholicism struck me as something largely limited to the Puritans, on theological grounds.)
The claims of those who claimed Catholics would turn the U.S. over to the Pope did not come true, even when we elected John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, as U.S. President. Islam, which is far less centralized than Catholicism, would be even less of an "infiltrator threat." After all, the closest thing Islam has had to a universally-acknowledged leader is the Caliph, and there has not been a Caliph since 1922, when the last Ottoman Emperor was deposed.
In fact, Catholics have gone on to make many great contributions to the United States. Our open society is one of our greatest strengths and we should not let the fears of the moment potentially deprive us of talented people. I agree with Father Madigan on this issue.
Still, it's good to hear that the backers of the Cordoba House (the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque") are not accepting foreign money, let alone money from the Middle East. At the very least, it's generally a good idea to avoid even the appearance of evil.