Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) has accused Catholics of tolerating a level of anti-Catholicism in official government circles that would be permitted by no other ethnic or religious group.
Addressing the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn, he attributed the defeat of tuition tax credit legislation to anti-Catholic bigotry.
Moynihan pointed out that the liberal credentials of the 34 organizations in the National Coalition to Save Public Education were allowed to go unchallenged and added that President Carter was allowed to renege on his promise of Oct. 19, 1976, "to find constitutionally acceptable means to help parents of nonpublic school students."
The New York senator said that the defeat of tax credit legislation in the 95th Congress came only after intense lobbying by the national coalition and after the administration made its defeat a major legislative objective.
He quoted coalition assertions that tuition tax credits would lead to resegregated and stratified schools, release public funds to support sectarian principles and violate the Constitution and American principles.
"That is an example of outright anti-Catholic bigotry, historic bigotry," the senator concluded.
Moynihan announced that he would introduce two tax credit bills in the current Congress. One will provide aid to college students and the other will give up to $250 a student to parents of non-public elementary and secondary students.
He said that the constitutionality of tuition tax credits has still to be tested in the courts. The effort to kill legislation on the premise of presumed unconstitutionality only denies supporters their day in court, he held. The senator criticized Attorney General Griffin Bell's preliminary judgment that tax credits would be unconstitutional.