Most Catholics have experienced anti-Catholicism based on any number of wrong-headed societal assumptions. We are lumped in with the worst done by a minority of Catholics over the centuries. Anti-Catholicism gives not even a glance at the grace and objective good that the Catholic Church has done.

That said, we can only imagine what it must feel like to be a Muslim these days and hear one's faith associated with terrorism and evil, not just by vulgar comedians or in ignorant media comments but by the most powerful people in the land.

How would it have felt to hear a proposal for a shutdown of all Catholics entering the United States because of some IRA attacks?

As Catholics, were proud that our popes and bishops have consistently preached love, tolerance and respect for Muslims, Jews and all people of other faiths.

As Americans, we were proud of President George Bush after 9-11. We respect your faith, he told Muslims. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.

That tolerant, unifying influence is no longer felt. Almost half of Americans view Mulisms negatively. The us-against-them attitudes directly correlate to the unprecedented rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Jews and others.

What must it feel like to see hateful graffiti against your faith sprayed on your childrens school, or on your home? That happened just last month in Troutdale.

Words that sow division not only damage our relationships with our neighbors (weakening our nation) but with God, for we are all children of God. Words that sow unity not only heal and strengthen our immediate social bonds but also our country and our love for God.

We are rightly outraged by anti-Catholicism. May we also be outraged by other hate speech and crimes.

Kristen Hannum